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Clause 7—(Additional Powers Of The Minister With Respect To Development Plans)

Volume 437: debated on Tuesday 13 May 1947

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I beg to move, in page 7, line 10, to leave out "it appears to the Minister," and to insert:

"the Minister is satisfied, after holding a local inquiry."
The purpose of Clause 7 is to enable the Minister, where he considers that the local planning authority has been dilatory and is not likely to be able to submit a development plan within the appropriate time, to take action in default. Representations were made in Committee that this action should not take place except after a public local inquiry. The Amendment is designed to meet that point. The Minister will not be able to act until after a local inquiry has been held.

I do not think we ought to let this Amendment pass without expressing our gratitude to the right hon. Gentleman for accepting a suggestion made in Committee, I think by me, and supported from this side, to provide that the powers of local authorites should not be taken away without a preliminary local inquiry. We think that the incorporation of this Amendment improves the Bill in a material respect.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 7, line 21, to leave out "other area," and to insert:

"neighbouring area, or any other local planning authority which appears to the Minister to have an interest in the proper planning of the area concerned."
One of the alternatives to the Minister making a plan himself when a local authority is in default is to require another authority to make the plan instead. During the Committee stage attention was drawn to the fact that the authority to be asked to make the plan might be one that had no connection with the area in default. This was also the result of a suggestion from the Opposition. I personally will always be happy to accept a good idea, from wherever it comes.

My recollection of what took place in Committee was that we criticised the original Clause pretty strongly, because, as we pointed out then, it would enable the Minister to say that a local authority miles away should be responsible for the planning, for instance, of Plymouth. We are still not quite happy in regard to this Clause, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will be very sparing of the use of his powers under it. Nothing could promote greater fric- tion than the Minister suddenly directing that a part of Yorkshire should take over the planning of Lancashire or, indeed, that the Devon county council should take over the planning of the city of Ply-mouth.—[An HON. MEMBER: "There would be a revolution."] It might be that Lancashire should plan Yorkshire. What the result would then be, I do not know. Be that as it may, I hope the exercise of these powers will be used sparingly. I cannot help thinking that it would be better that the Minister should himself take over the duties, rather than run the risk of creating local hostility.

Amendment agreed to.