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Clearing up confusion over Buckston Browne

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I refer to the article about proposed development at the Buckston Browne Research Farm, Downe, Kent (AJ 29.5.03), headlined 'Mayor orders change to Darwin lab'.

The position is that the London Borough of Bromley recently referred one application for redevelopment at Buckston Browne Farm to the Government Office on the grounds that it was development in the Green Belt and a departure from the Bromley Unitary Development Plan.

The deputy prime minister decided not to intervene and the decision was issued on 7 May. A second application was similarly referred on 19 May, but consideration of the application has not commenced as we are awaiting additional documents.

No Article 14 direction has been issued and no officer has commented on either application, as to do so would have prejudiced the Deputy Prime Minister's quasi-judicial role.

Andrew Melville, director of planning, Government Office for London, London SW1

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