I beg to move, in page 4, line 8, to leave out "commencement of this Act," and to insert "appointed day."This is a preparatory Amendment with a view to an Amendment which it is intended to move later to Clause 108. It is clear that to limit the local planning authority to the period of three years from the date of the commencement of the Act might be unduly restrictive. Under the scheme of the Bill the local planning authorities under existing Statutes, the 1932 and the 1944 Acts, will continue to carry on their functions until the appointed day. The result is that the planning staffs employed by those existing authorities will not be transferred to the new ones until the appointed day arrives. It follows that in the short period of a matter of a few months, which may elapse between the Royal Assent being given to this Bill and the appointed day, most of the planning authorities would hardly be able to make any useful progress. It is thought that the time ought to run against them as from the appointed day.
As I see it, this Amendment has rather more serious consequences than the right hon. and learned Gentleman indicated. It follows from what has been said by the Minister of Town and Country Planning that the appointed day is to be early in 1948, and local authorities will have until 1951 to prepare their plans. From that point of view, it may be reasonable to give them more time, and I do not object to that, but the consequences appear to be serious under other provisions of this Bill. I would like to hear what the Minister has to say in regard to Clause 74, which deals with the question of ripe land. No land can come within that Clause unless it is land where planning permission is granted under the Bill. Can we possibly have planning permission granted when in fact there is no plan prepared by the county council? It would seem that all planning permission is likely to be postponed or, alternatively, that we may get planning permission given for things which do not conform to the plan which is ultimately madeI would like to know what the effect of this Amendment will be upon the cases which would otherwise come earlier under Clause 74. A similar point arises in regard to Clause 57 (1), where the vesting of the right to compensation again relates to the appointed day. I am not quite sure whether that is affected by the Amendment, but I ask that we should be told to what extent this postpones the giving of planning permission, and how planning permission can be given in the intervening period. We ought to be told something about those two points before we part with the Amendment.
There is no doubt that the need to obtain planning permission arises as from the appointed day, and arrangements are also made in the Bill for the interim period. That is to say there will be a need to get planning permission. Under Clause 10 that is continued during a period from the passing of the Bill to the appointed day, so that there will always be the obligation to get planning permission regardless of whether the plan has actually been prepared and approved or not. The county councils will be in much the same position as the interim development authorities are in today. Those authorities are constantly dealing with applications for development without having a plan before them. The county councils will, at least, be in the position that they are preparing one, and they will have the competent staff to advise them, whereas the existing position is that many interim development authorities are dealing with applications without having any plan at all.As regards Clause 74, I do not see how the question of the deferment of the three- year period affects the situation with regard to ripe land. If the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) will look at Clause 74, he will see that there are a number of possible conditions which have to be satisfied to make the land ripe land and none of those are in any way dependent upon the date When the plan of the local authority has been approved.
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 4, line 11, to leave out "commencement of this Act," and to insert "appointed day."This is a drafting Amendment with a similar purpose to the Amendment to line 8.
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 4, line 32, to leave out from the beginning, to "by," in line 34.I wonder if it would be for the convenience of the House if I might deal with this Amendment and also the following Amendments—in line 35, after "undertakers," insert "any land allocated by the plan."; in line 36, at end, insert:
In line 37, to leave out from beginning, to end of line 5, page 5, and to insert:"(including any land which that Minister or authority or those undertakers are or could be authorised to acquire compulsorily under any enactment other than this Act).
In page 5, line 9, at end, insert:(c) designate as land subject to compulsory acquisition by the appropriate local authority—
(i) any land comprised in an area defined by the plan as an area of comprehensive development (including any land therein which is allocated by the plan for any such purpose as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this Subsection), or any land contiguous or adjacent to any such area";
Formidable as these Amendments may seem at first sight, on the Order Paper, they are intended to be little more than drafting Amendments which will put beyond all possibility of doubt, what we believe is, in truth, the existing law in regard to these matters. It has recently been the subject of litigation in the courts which has not yet reached its final conclusion although the position of the Minister has been vindicated in all respects, by two decisions of the Court of Appeal. As hon. Members know, this Clause deals with the power of designating certain areas as being, as a whole, subject to compulsory purchase. It follows the provisions of the 1944 Act, which contains powers to designate areas of war damage or of bad development—areas of blitz or blight, as they are called in the appropriate jargon —which it appeared to be desirable to redevelop as a whole. In the operation of the 1944 Act questions arose as to whether particular sites for the development of which there was no actual or immediate plan, could be included in the designated area. There was a good deal of legal argument about the matter which was finally solved, so far as the matter has gone at present, in favour of the Minister's contention. There was also the question of the extent to which fringe land—land on the periphery or on the boundary of the area—could be included in the area. It has always been considered by those who have hitherto had to deal with the administration of the 1944 Act that these were matters which came within the discretion of the Minister, but in order to put the matter beyond all possibility of doubt, in order to avoid any risk that in the future there may be litigation which will not only cause great expense to the persons who engage in it, but will involve considerable delay in bringing these schemes into operation, the present Amendments have been put down. Under them, the local planning authority will have a discretion to designate any land as a development area if they think that it ought to be developed as a whole for any of the purposes indicated in the Clause, notwithstanding that there may be land on the fringe—or, indeed. that there may be islands not on the fringe but in the centre of the area, which, in the interests of good planning and good estate management, it is desirable to acquire and deal with, together with the rest of the area as a whole, even though there may be no immediate plan to change the actual user of the sites It is in order to enable that to be done, and to put it beyond all possibility of doubt for the future that these powers dc reside in the local authority, with the approval of the Minister, that these Amendments are put down."(3) For the purposes of this section a development plan may define as an area of comprehensive development any area which in the opinion of the local planning authority should be developed or re-developed as a whole, whether for the purpose of dealing satisfactorily with extensive war damage or conditions of bad layout or obsolete development, or for the purpose of providing for the relocation of population or industry or the replacement of open space in the course of the development or redevelopment of any other area, or for any other purpose specified in the plan; and land may be included in any area so defined, and designated as subject to compulsory purchase in accordance with the provisions of subsection (2) of this Section, whether or not provision is made by the plan for the development or redevelopment of that particular land."
Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendments made:
In page 4, line 35, after undertakers," insert:
"any land allocated by the plan.
In line 36, at the end, insert:
"(including any land which that Minister or authority or those undertakers are or could be authorised to acquire compulsorily under any enactment other than this Act)."—[The Attorney-General.]
I beg to move, in page 4, line 37, to leave out from the beginning to the end of line 5, page 5, and to insert:
"(c) designate as land subject to compulsory acquisition by the appropriate local authority—
This is another of the group of Amendments to which I referred earlier.(i) any land comprised in an area defined by the plan as an area of comprehensive development (including any land therein which is allocated by the plan for any such purpose as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of this Subsection), or any land contiguous or adjacent to any such area."
I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 6, to leave out from "subsection," to the end of the line.The Amendment moved by the Attorney-General raises certain difficult and possibly controversial issues in regard to what he described as fringe land. We on this side of the House yield nothing to hon. Members opposite in our desire for a plan to proceed in a comprehensive and harmonious way, and we are desirous that every reasonable power should be given to enable that to be so. The danger I see in the Amendment, and in the Attorney-General's speech recommending it, is the danger which I think Parliament must always be very, alert to scrutinise and investigate, that in the interests of tidiness too wide powers will be given. Here we are dealing with the designation of land subject to compulsory purchase, and that is a thing of real moment to those in possession of the land. The question is how wide those powers of designation should be in plans for the comprehensive development of an area. The right hon. and learned Gentleman has said that it is desirable to include powers to take over those fringe areas, and to designate them as liable to compulsory acquisition. We say that is neither desirable nor necessary. If the area contiguous thereto is in fact, being developed as part of a comprehensive and harmonious planning scheme, it will surely be included in the area of development, and therefore be subject to designation under the terms of the Amendment, without the words which we propose to delete. If the words are left in, there is no limit at all to the acquisition of fringe land simply on the expectation that it may at some time be administratively convenient to have powers of designation for the compulsory purchase of that land. That seems to be giving too wide power, especially in view of the words contained in a later Amendment which the right hon. Gentleman is to move, in page 5, line 9, at the end to insert:
We think that the words:"(3) For the purposes of this Section a development plan may define as an area of comprehensive development any area which in the opinion of the local planning authority should be developed or re-developed as a whole, whether for the purpose of dealing satisfactorily with extensive war damage or conditions of bad lay-out or obsolete development, or for the purpose of providing for the relocation of population or industry or the replacement of open space in the course of the development or re-development of any other area, or for any other purpose specified in the plan; and land may be included in any area so defined, and designated as subject to compulsory purchase in accordance with the provisions of Subsection (2) of this Section, whether or not provision is made by the plan for the development or re-development of that particular land."
should be omitted from the proposed Amendment so as to fix a limit and deny the right to designate land merely because it is adjacent to an area."or any land contiguous or adjacent to any such area"
I beg to second the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.The final words of the proposed Amendment seem to be too wide. I think the effect of the words would be to extend the area without any limit at all, and without there being anything in the statute to say that the Minister has to regard the extension as reasonably necessary for the proper development of the area. I am the more doubtful about the necessity for the words, since the right hon. Gentleman has been successful in the Court of Appeal in what is generally known as the Plymouth Case. I could have understood the necessity for some amendment, had the decision of the Court of Appeal been different. I have been unable to study the decision in the Plymouth Case beyond what appeared in the newspapers. However, the facts will be very well known to the right hon. and learned Attorney-General and I should have thought that the effect of the Plymouth decision was to render these new words and certainly their extreme wideness quite unnecessary. While I can understand that the right hon. Gentleman wants it to be quite clear that certain subjects are to be for his determination and not for the determination of the courts, I do not think he wants to put on the Statute Book something which relieves him of all direction as to the matters to which he should direct his mind. I should have thought that, if the effect of the Plymouth appeal is what I suggest, he does not need these last words which we propose to delete, but, if he is of a different opinion and thinks he ought to have something of the kind, I suggest that he should consider some form of limitation to make it quite clear that the general matters to which he has to direct his mind in approving the area to be designated remain as before, and that he should not be given new powers of an unlimited extent.
There is one further point I should like to put to the right hon. and learned Gentleman in support of the Amendment to the proposed Amendment in the hope that he will give further consideration to this matter. He might perhaps even withdraw the proposed Amendment and have something different inserted in another place, because the words are absolutely unlimited and far too wide. When one looks at the definition of the words "comprehensive development" one sees that the area of development might include an area, where no provision is made by the plan, for the development or redevelopment of that particular land. I should have thought that in that definition of comprehensive development there would have been no doubt that "fringe" land would be covered. These words, therefore, at the end of the right hon. Gentleman's Amendment are entirely unnecessary and superfluous, and give the Minister a power which he does not want of making wide areas designated as subject to compulsory purchase, when, in fact, neither he nor the local authority wants to acquire it.
We will certainly consider the point made by hon. Members opposite. Indeed I am inclined to think that the words in the existing state of the law are unnecessary both for the reasons stated by the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) and for the reason the Court of Appeal give in their decision.
Surely the decision in the Court of Appeal in the Plymouth case was on the 1944 Act, and we are tonight dealing with the 1947 Measure. Surely the decision applied to the case of whole designation and the purchase order was under Sections 1 and 2 of the 1944 Act.
That is a point, but there is also the point which I was about to mention that this decision of the Court of Appeal is under appeal to the House of Lords, and—although I do not anticipate it—it is possible that the House of Lords may take a different view. The intention of the Clause as at present framed is to be on the safe side, both in regard to the decision and in regard to any other possible litigation which may arise in the same way. If these words are unnecessary it may be said of them that they do no possible harm. They are intended merely to clarify what we believe, and what the Court of Appeal believes to be the existing state of the law.As the matter stands, it might be that the whole of the land on the boundary of the proposed area was all war damaged, or all obsolete, or all badly developed, as the case may be, and that in view of the topographical features of the neighbourhood—the roads, the levels, the railways, the rivers, and matters of that kind—it ought to be included in the area to he developed as a whole, as a matter of town planning, and as a matter of good estate management. One wants, in redeveloping an area of that kind, to get an area which is convenient for planning and for management purposes. If, for instance, enemy action has left the fringe undamaged, and it otherwise would clearly be an area appropriate to redevelopment as a whole, it ought to be possible to include it. There is also the point that land on the fringe of the redevelopment area, although its use may not be immediately changed, may derive considerable betterment from the development which takes place within the area. Conversely, it is possible, although much less likely, that it may suffer some worsening. It is thought, in these circumstances, that it ought to be possible for the local authority to recoup itself in regard to development, or, possibly, in appropriate cases, take over land which might otherwise suffer worsening if not included in the area as a whole. For these reasons we want these words to put the matter beyond the possibility of further time-wasting litigation. We will consider the point which has been raised. We will consider the matter again, but we shall have to consider it in the light of that paramount factor of avoiding the possibility that these matters may, in the future, be subject to litigation.
I am not sure I follow one point, that is, in regard to the betterment that might otherwise accrue. Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman suggesting that betterment might accrue without obligation to pay betterment charge under Part VI of the Bill? How would that come about?
Clearly, owing to the great amenities of new development in the centre of the area, houses on the fringe of it may acquire a much higher value, although they remain exactly as they were before—not subject to any new user or any change in physical condition. It would be betterment resulting wholly and solely from the work done by the local authority and the community in the area as a whole.
In view of the Amendment which has been moved, and of the speeches made in support of it, I ask the Minister to give further consideration to this matter. The hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningharn- Buller) has said that the words of the proposed new paragraph (c) are too wide They cannot be. No words to acquire land can be too wide, until the people have got the lands which belong to them. I ask the Minister to see whether he could not find words which would be much wider. I ask him to consider, with his colleagues in the Government, the desirability of taking over the whole of the land and making a real plan.
Question, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the proposed Amendment," put, and agreed to.
Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 7, to leave out from "authority," to "compulsory," and to insert, "ought to be subject to."This is a drafting Amendment concerning land likely to require compulsory acquisition, and we think it ought to be subject to compulsory acquisition
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 9, at the end, to insert:
This Amendment is linked up with the other Amendments which I ventured to deal with comprehensively. It defines what is meant by an area of comprehensive development, and indicates, for the purpose of this Clause, what plans may be made by the local authority in regard to it."(3) For the purposes of this Section a development plan may define as an area of comprehensive development any area which in the opinion of the local planning authority should be developed or re-developed as a whole. whether for the purpose of dealing satisfactorily with extensive war damage or conditions of bad lay-out or obsolete development, or for the purpose of providing for the relocation of population or industry or the replacement of open space in the course of the development or redevelopment of any other area, or for any other purpose specified in the plan; and land may be included in any area so defined, and designated as subject to compulsory purchase in accordance with the provisions of Subsection (2) of this Section, whether or not provision is made by the plan for the development or redevelopment of that particular land."
Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 9, at the end, to insert:
This proviso was, in fact, tabled for discussion in Standing Committee, but it did not receive any discussion at that stage. Its purpose is, I think, clear from the wording of the Amendment. It is that, where land is designated as land subject to compulsory purchase, the Minister shall receive, not only the development plan, as he does at present under Clause 5, but, at the same time, an estimate of the cost to be incurred in the compulsory acquisition of the land so designated. I think that this is a proviso which will commend itself to the good sense and feelings of prudent economy on all sides of the House. There is already a limit in regard to the time in which designation can take place, but there is, of course, no corresponding stipulation as to the cost of the designation, and what we fear is that, if there is no such stipulation as to cost, as would be imported into the Bill by the insertion of this proviso, there will be a temptation, possibly, to designate land more widely than can economically and properly be acquired. This, of course, is a matter of considerable concern to the ratepayers of the local authorities intending to acquire land, but not only to them, because, if we turn to Clause 86 of the Bill, the House will see that there is provision for substantial Exchequer grants in the case of the compulsory acquisition of land. Clause 86 (5) provides for grants payable"Provided that in the case of land which is designated as land subject to compulsory acquisition there shall be submitted to the Minister together with the development plan an estimate of the expenditure to be incurred in the acquisition thereof."
of no less than 90 per cent. and,"in the case of land acquired for the redevelopment as a whole of areas of extensive war damage, or for the relocation of population"
The taxpayers of this country are, of course, vitally interested in the question of the compulsory acquisition of land, since they are sub-sidising it to a very heavy extent out of the national Revenue, or, in other words, the taxpayers' pockets. What we seek to do is not to prevent the proper designation of land which ought to be subject to compulsory acquisition, but simply to ensure that the factor of cost is one which is present in the mind of the Minister, and that, I think, is a proper requirement. The taxpayers must look to the Minister in this case as being the custodian of their interests in regard to the large subsidies in which they are involved in paying for the cost of the compulsory acquisition of land. If that estimate of the cost has to be before the Minister, there is an assurance that the aspect of cost will be in his mind, and, further, that the aspect of cost will he in the minds of the local authorities at the time of the intended designation. For those reasons, and in traditional conformity with prudent economy, I hope the Amendment will be accepted."in the case of any other land, an amount equal to eighty per cent. of the said annual costs."
I beg to second the Amendment.It is essential, not only in the interests of the taxpayers, but also in the interests of the ratepayers, that the question of cost should be kept very much in the public eye. The Bill gives vast powers to local authorities to carry out redevelopment, and as far as the taxpayers are concerned, up to 90 per cent. will be given by way of grants in the initial years. That, however, is not a set figure. Later in the Bill we shall discuss in some detail what local authorities can expect in the way of grant. The point is that a large grant is likely to be paid by the Exchequer, and at the same time the local rates will have to bear the balance. It is a great tradition in local government that the citizens of the local authority are kept well informed as to what expenditure their county council, rural district council or other local authority are likely to undertake. I feel that it would be most wrong if at this juncture we were to depart from that principle, and, therefore, I hope the Minister will accept this most reasonable Amendment.
Hon. Members will appreciate, no doubt, that under Clause 88, in connection with Exchequer grants, full information has to be given of estimated expenditure, and, therefore, the taxpayer is fully protected before any grant is made by the information in regard to finance, revenue and so on which the local authority is required to give under that Clause. Nevertheless, we have no great objection in principle to the proposal contained in the Amendment, and, in fact, it is the common practice in the case of blitzed or blighted areas to put forward a global estimated figure in respect of the area as a whole, and for that figure to be made public. It is not an exact estimate, of course, but it may afford some guide as to the probable burden on the rates of the proposals which the planning authority is making. In so far as the figure remains merely a global estimate relating to a large area, the practice is quite unobjectionable, and there is a great deal to be said in favour of it, but if by one method or another the figure can be related to particular holdings, a disclosure of an estimated value in advance might obviously have a somewhat prejudicial effect upon the subsequent negotiations for the purchase of a particular holding.As the Amendment is now drafted, it would apply not only to cases where some large area was being dealt with, where some area of blitz or blight was being designated, but also to cases where some small piece of land was being designated because, for instance, it was required by a local authority for the purpose of carrying out some function, or in order to ensure that it would be used for the purposes of the development plan In such cases one might well have to deal with single parcels of land, and in that case to disclose in advance what the estimated cost to the local authority was likely to be would obviously have a considerable bearing on the negotiations into which the local authority subsequently had to enter as to what, in fact, they would pay for the land. However, we will consider the matter in the light of the observations which have been made by hon. Members opposite, with a view to seeing whether it is practicable to include in the Bill some such provision as this to cover the large comprehensive areas. Meantime, the House may be satisfied with the assurance that this Amendment really does no more than give statutory and obligatory effect to what is the practice which is commonly observed.
I would like to put to the right hon. and learned Gentleman one point in regard to Clause 88 which he has prayed in aid in this matter. The Amendment which I moved relates to an estimate of the costs incurred in compulsory acquisition. The wording in Clause 88, as he will appreciate, is not on all fours with that. It says:
It may be that the estimate of the cost incurred in compulsory acquisition would be contained in those words. I do not know. I would like the right hon. and learned Gentleman to address his mind to them, because he will appreciate that the wording is not the same in the two cases, and the point may be rather different."that there shall have been submitted to the Minister such information as to the proposals of the local authority for the lay-out and redevelopment of the land as the Minister may require. …"
I agree that the wording and the obligation in Clause 88 are very much wider. Clause 88 provides, in this connection, two conditions to the making of grants in respect of the cost of these redevelopment areas. The local authority, first of all, has to submit to the Minister such information in regard to the proposals for redevelopment as he requires to enable him to compare the estimated cost of the scheme, which includes the acquisition of the land involved in it, with the financial return which may be expected from the scheme when the scheme has been carried out and completed. Secondly, the proposals have to be approved by the Minister, with the consent of the Treasury, as being financially reasonable, having regard to the circumstances of the land, the requirements of the proper layout and redevelopment, and so on. So that the first consideration to which the Minister and the Treasury must have regard is really the cost of acquisition, rebuilding, reconstruction and so on, and then they set against that the probable revenue when the reconstruction has taken place.
I would like to put one question to the Attorney-General. He dealt with the question of the taxpayer on Clause 88. Referring to the question of the ratepayer, I would like to get the position clear, taking the particular case of Sheffield, for example. As we know, the local authorities will have to reorganise their finances considerably during the next few years, in view of the Electricity Bill, the Transport Bill and this Bill. It is necessary that the ratepayers as a whole should be able to take into account the whole question of expenditure. The learned Attorney-General used the words "large area" and "particular area." I am not very conversant with this Bill, but I would be obliged if he would give the assurance that when he is considering this Amendment the words which he will use will make it clear to an authority such as Sheffield, which embraces a fairly wide field, that the ratepayers of that authority will be able to see in the plan the amount of money which is likely to be expended. When the Attorney-General uses the words "large area" and "particular area" I am a little vague as to exactly what he means. When he thinks about this again, I hope he will bear in mind the fact that the ratepayers will want to look at the whole of one particular local area of that kind; they will not be able to take one particular area, then another particular area, and then a third particular area at different times; there will be an overall method of assessing this matter.
I think the House as a whole will be reassured by the statement of the learned Attorney-General as to the current practice in these matters. Of course, he and other hon. Members will appreciate that the Amendment we are now considering links on to Clause 5, which deals with surveys of planning areas and preparation of development plans. In Clause 88, which has been prayed in aid in this connection, we have the whole financial picture presented to us. The purpose of this Amendment is to present to the minds of the local planning authority and the Minister at the stage when the development plan is being approved—that is to say, an anterior stage to that which is reached in Clause 88— the financial consequences of what is proposed in the way of compulsory acquisition. Unless that is done, I foresee a lot of disappointment, and possibly a feeling of frustration.I do not want to expand this Debate into one on our general economic situation. However, it is perfectly clear that in these days we have to cut our coat, to some degree, according to our cloth. That does not mean that we ought to abandon desirable projects; but the time factor, the time in which they can be realised, must be suited to the reasonable resources of the community concerned. For that reason, I hope further consideration will be given to this question. All we desire is a global figure. We desire nothing in the way of particulars which would disclose embarrassing facts about the values put by various parties, which might embarrass negotiations in the future. That is not our desire. All we desire is a general all-round global figure of the cost involved in the development plan at the development plan stage. I think, too, that the learned Attorney-General need not be afraid of the effect of disclosure. We are asking for this all-round figure to be given to the Minister, not that it should be published, and that the Minister should be told roughly what he is asked to approve on the financial as well as on the planning ground.
Surely, that is done now?
It ought to be done. I am satisfied, and I think my hon. Friends are, with the assurance of the learned Attorney-General that it will continue to be done. It would be a tragedy it local authorities, regardless of cost, were to submit plans to the Minister, and then have them turned down at the Clause 88 stage; they would then feel a sense of frustration, and planning would be set back and not enhanced by it. If people have a clear view of what is proposed from the start, I am sure they would be reassured.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 16, to leave out from "aforesaid," to the end of line 23, and to insert:
This Amendment is introduced in the interests of the owners of land in development areas. As the Bill stands, land may be designated if it appears to the Minister that it is likely to be developed within 15 years from the date on which the plan is approved. That is a fairly long period, and it was represented in Standing Committee that some hardship might arise if, for that period, owners were under the shadow of the possibility of compulsory acquisition. This Amendment cuts the period down to 10 years. In our view, that provides a reasonable period. As hon. Members know, the Bill provides for a five-yearly review. It is evident that that review ought to take place before the existing programme has been completed altogether. That means that one cannot conveniently have too short a period. One always wants to be able to see ahead and, as the development proceeds, to have a sufficient margin of further land available. Ten years seems to be the ideal period, not causing any undue hardship to the owners of the land concerned and, at the same time, providing a reasonable period for proper planning."if it appears to him that the acquisition is not likely to take place within ten years from the date on which the plan is approved."
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has represented this as a concession in favour of the owners of the land affected, but in case his own supporters behind should revolt at such a monstrous suggestion, I hasten to make clear that the reality of this matter is rather different. The Bill originally proposed, as I recollect, 10 years, and in Committee upstairs we proposed that the 10 years should be reduced to five. However, it was in fact increased to 15, and now all that is happening by this Amendment is that the right hon. and learned Gentleman is proposing to the House that we should correct a mistake of exaggeration performed in the Committee and return to the original 10 which was in the Bill. So it cannot be represented by the right hon. and learned Gentleman as a concession of very great moment. Such as it is, however, this death-bed repentance is quite grateful to us.
I should like to ask the Minister what he means by this. I exercised all my persuasive powers upon him in Committee upstairs to demonstrate that the term of 15 years was quite reasonable where there is to be comprehensive planning over an area as a whole. We got five years taken out and 15 years put in. The Opposition oppose this like furies from the nether regions, and eventually the right hon. Gentleman decides to put in 15 years. Now, in the highness of his office and surrounded by his henchmen whom nobody can get at, he has been persuaded to go back again to 10 years. It seems to be a queer way of carrying on business, and particularly of encouraging one's own supporters. I said upstairs that it was not possible, within a period of five years, to plan as was required under this Clause of the Bill. No planning authority which has a wide area to plan as a result of enemy action can possibly plan it and say that within five years or 10 years it will carry out the work for which it has designated the land. Land may be designated in the centre of an area for a business or shopping centre, and it will take more than five years to get it put up.Also, in doing the planning and laying out the area as a whole, 'you are not only planning for business and shopping centres, but for civic and cultural centres too. With things as they are today it is perfectly ridiculous to expect that one can begin to erect either civic or cultural centres within the next ten years. There must be good planning where there is a wide devastated area, and where there are going to be shops, business centres, civic and cultural centres, banking centres and all the rest, you must indicate to the owners of property that you propose to carry out the plan in the course of 10, 15 or 20 years. That is not an unreasonable proposition to put up, and that is why 15 years was put in upstairs. I did not read the Clause to mean that the 15year provision had been taken out, but if the Attorney-General now states that it is to come out, then I say that a promise made to us upstairs has been broken, a promise made moreover to the Minister's own side and not to the other side.
May I assure the Attorney-General that I have no intention of having anything whatever to do with leading a mutiny against the Government Front Bench?Amendment agreed to.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 23, at the end, to insert:
The reason for the 'Amendment is that there already exists full statutory provision that where minerals are not being worked to the public advantage, the Mines (Working Facilities and Support) Act, can be invoked to ensure that the minerals are so worked. It would not be right to have two systems of compulsory working of minerals, particularly as the present Act dealing with the matter, has lasted a long time and has been working thoroughly smoothly and satisfactorily. It would be a mistake to have this Town and Country Planning Bill disturbed by the intrusion into it of compulsory powers of working minerals."(b) the Minister shall not approve a development plan which designates any land as subject to compulsory acquisition for the purpose of securing the winning and working of any minerals comprised therein."
The proper use of the mineral resources of the country is an essential element in any system of planning the use of land. No survey could possibly be complete until it indicated the mineral deposits in the area which was under survey. Any development plan in respect of such an area would not be complete unless it co-ordinated other developments within that area with the need for the working of minerals. If, as part of the process, certain land is reserved for mineral working, the whole plan might well be thrown out of gear. If the right to work and extract minerals could not be obtained, either the production of minerals would suffer, and result in detriment to the whole country, or other land might have to be found and the whole plan might require recasting. If the owner of land allotted by the plan is prepared to allow mineral working on reasonable terms, compulsory power to acquire his interest will not need to be exercised. If he will not, clearly compulsion is necessary. That principle has been ratified in previous Statutes. In our view it is essential that planning authorities should have power to deal with these matters in the preparation of their development plans.
This Amendment affects a large part of the area of my constituency, as Oxford clay lies in the greater part of the sub-soil, and bricks are produced from this clay. Moreover, in other parts of my constituency there are potential gravel pits, and it is important to know to what extent the people who may be working that sub-soil will be consulted. I am thinking not of local authorities but of large concerns such as brickworks and the various sand and gravel companies. I have not been able to study this Bill in sufficient detail to ascertain the answer—if the answer is in the Bill— to the question of whether or not there will be facilities for discussion with people working these various pieces of land.
There will be full opportunity for those who are interested in the working of minerals to make their representations at the designation stage, and there would be another opportunity if, at a later stage, the question of the compulsory acquisition of their interests arose.
I beg to move, in page 5, line 23, at the end, to insert:
It is clearly necessary that the development plan should indicate the areas to be developed. We proposed this Amendment in the Committee for the purpose of securing that there was some sort of limitation of time during which matters could be held in suspense. We say that if permission has been granted, and if the Minister is satisfied that the development will be carried out within five years, then that development so sanctioned and so promising in its speedy fulfilment, should not be interrupted by the designation of land for compulsory purchase. It is a simple proposition and one which, I think, will commend itself to the House. What we have always to watch in this Bill is its effect upon development, and we are anxious on this side of the House to secure that where planning permission has been granted, and where the Minister is satisfied development will be speedily carried out, the mere designation of land for compulsory purchase within the limits laid down in this Bill should not frustrate an intention which is in the public interest."(b) the Minister shall not approve a development plan which designates as subject to compulsory acquisition land for the development of which in accordance with the development plan permission under this Part of this Act has been granted and in respect of which he is satisfied that such development will be carried out within five years."
Nothing is certain in this mortal life—
Not even promise made upstairs.
—and although the Minister may have felt satisfied that development was going to be carried out in accordance with the plan, and within a period of five years, that might not occur, and then the opportunity for designation, at any rate for the moment, would have passed. Firms go bankrupt in the ordinary course of private enterprise, individuals die, managements change, and with changes in management, policies change. In the face of these contingencies it might be desirable to designate land as being subject to compulsory purchase, although it is possible that the desired development will take place under private hands. Designation will, at least, encourage that development being made within the ten years period even though it is not likely that powers of compulsory acquisition will be exercised. If, in fact, the owner does not carry out the plans, although perhaps he had them at the time the Minister had to consider the matter, then an attempt could be made to acquire the land compulsorily and carry out the development. If, on the other hand, the owner carries out the development as he said he was going to do, then if any attempt is made to acquire his interest, he can object that the compulsory acquisition is not necessary. That is his real and effective safeguard. If when the time comes for the exercise of the power of compulsory acquisition he can show that he has developed, or is in the course of developing, or that in the immediate future he is going to begin the development, he can satisfy the Minister that it is unnecessary, for he purpose of securing that development in accordance with the plan, that his particular land should be compulsorily acquired. If he does so satisfy the Minister, the Minister will not authorise this compulsory acquisition. There remains, of course, the possibility that where you are dealing with large areas as a whole it may be desirable, both as a matter of planning and of estate management, that the development should all be in the hands of a single undertaking. For those reasons,
Division No. 207
|Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.||Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir C||Peto, Brig. C. H. M|
|Amory, D. Heathcote||Hinchingbrooke, Viscount||Pickthorn, K.|
|Baldwin, A. E.||Hogg, Hon. Q.||Ponsonby, Col. C. E|
|Barlow, Sir J.||Hollis, M. C.||Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)|
|Beamish, Maj. T. V H||Howard, Hon. A.||Prescott, Stanley|
|Beechman, N. A.||Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)||Prior-Palmer, Brig. O|
|Bennett, Sir P.||Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.||Raikes, H. V.|
|Birch, Nigel||Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow. C.)||Rayner, Brig. R|
|Boyd-Carpenter, J. A||Jarvis, Sir J.||Reed, Sir S. (Aylesbury)|
|Braithwaite Lt.-Comdr. J. G.||Keeling, E. H.||Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W||Lambert, Hon. G.||Renton, D.|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T||Lindsay, M. (Solihull)||Roberts, Maj. P. G (Ecclesall)|
|Challen, C.||Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)||Ropner, Col. L.|
|Channon, H.||Low, Brig. A. R. W||Sanderson, Sir F|
|Clarke, Col. R. S.||Lucas, Major Sir J.||Scott, Lord W.|
|Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G||Lucas-Tooth, Sir H||Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W|
|Conant, Maj. R. J. E.||Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)||Spearman, A. C. M.|
|Corbett, Lieut.-Col. U. (Ludlow)||McKie, J. H. (Galloway)||Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)|
|Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.||Maclay, Hon. J. S.||Studholme, H. G.|
|Cuthbert, W. N.||Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)||Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)|
|Davidson, Viscountess||Maitland, Comdr. J. W.||Teeling, William|
|Digby, S. W.||Manningham-Buller, R. E||Thornton-Kemsley, C. N|
|Dodds-Parker, A. D||Marlowe, A. A. H.||Vane, W. M. F.|
|Drayson, G. B||Marshall, D. (Bodmin)||Walker-Smith, D|
|Drewe, C.||Maude, J. C.||Wheatley, Colonel M. J|
|Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)||Mellor, Sir J.||Williams, C. (Torquay)|
|Gage, C||Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)||Willoughby de Eresby, Lord|
|Gammons, L. D.||Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (C'nc'ster)||York, C.|
|Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)||Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E|
|Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)||Neven-Spence, Sir B.|
TELLERS FOR THE AYE:
|Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.||Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.||Major Ramsay and|
|Head, Brig. A. H,||Nutting, Anthony||Lieut. Colonel Thorp|
|Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)||Ayles, W. H.||Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F J|
|Alexander, Rt. Hon. A. V.||Bacon, Miss A||Benson, G.|
|Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)||Baird, J.||Berry, H.|
|Alpass, J. H.||Balfour, A.||Bing, G. H C|
|Anderson, A. (Motherwell)||Barstow, P. G||Binns, J.|
|Attewell, H. C.||Barton, C.||Blackburn, A. R|
|Austin, H. Lewis||Battley, J. R.||Blenkinsop, A|
|Awbery, S. S.||Bechervaise, A. E||Blyton, W. R|
we find ourselves unable to accept the Amendment.
I speak by leave of the House a second time. I am not impressed by the stress which the learned Attorney-General placed on the hazards of this life, because all these hazards affect the power of development, and the carrying out of the intention to develop. All development can be made by the powers, which the Minister in the next Amendment on the Paper is seeking to increase, whereby he can at any time designate land not previously designated. But I think there is a grave public disadvantage where a man is in a position to carry out development, and the Minister is satisfied therewith, and the time limit is a practical one. I think it would be a great mistake to allow this Clause to pass as it is and I am not convinced by the reply of the learned Attorney-General.
Question put. "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
The House divided: Ayes, 92; Noes, 248.
|Boardman, H.||Hewitson, Captain M.||Rankin, J.|
|Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.||Hobson, C. R.||Reid, T. (Swindon)|
|Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pl, Exch'ge)||Holman, P.||Ridealgh, Mrs. M|
|Braddock, T. (Mitcham)||Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)||Robens, A.|
|Brook, D. (Halifax)||House, G.||Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)|
|Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)||Hoy, J.||Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)|
|Brown, T. J. (Ines)||Hubbard, T.||Rogers, C. H. R.|
|Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.||Hudson, J. H, (Ealing, W.)||Ross, William (Kilmarnock)|
|Buchanan, G.||Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)||Sargood, R.|
|Burden, T. W.||Irving, W. J.||Scollan, T|
|Burke, W. A.||Janner, B.||Scott-Elliot, W.|
|Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)||Jeger, G. (Winchester)||Shackleton, E. A. A|
|Carmichael, James||Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)||Sharp, Granville|
|Castle, Mrs. B. A||Jones, O, T. (Hartlepools)||Shawcross, C. N. (Widnes)|
|Chamberlain, R. A||Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)||Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)|
|Champion, A. J.||Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)||Shurmer, P.|
|Clitherow, Dr. R.||Keenan, W||Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.|
|Cobb, F. A.||Kenyon, C.||Silverman, J. (Erdington)|
|Cocks, F. S.||Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E||Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)|
|Coldrick, W.||Lang, G.||Simmons, C. J.|
|Collindridge, F.||Lavers, S.||Skinnard, F. W.|
|Colman, Miss G. M.||Lee, F. (Hulme)||Smith, C. (Colchester)|
|Comyns, Dr. L.||Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)||Smith, Ellis (Stoke)|
|Cook, T. F.||Lewis, T. (Southampton)||Snow, Capt. J. W.|
|Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.||Lindgren, G. S.||Solley, L. J.|
|Corbel, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)||Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.||Sorensen, R. W.|
|Corlett, Dr. J.||Logan, D. G.||Soskice, Maj. Sir F|
|Corvedale, Viscount||Lyne, A. W.||Sparks, J. A.|
|Cove, W. G.||McAdam, W.||Stamford, W.|
|Crawley, A.||McEntee, V. La T.||Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)|
|Daggar, G.||Mack, J. D.||Stress, Dr. B.|
|Davies, Edward (Burslem)||McKay, J. (Wallsend)||Stubbs, A. E|
|Davies, Ernest (Enfield)||Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)||Swingler, S.|
|Davies, Harold (Leek)||McKinlay, A. S.||Sylvester, G. O.|
|Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)||Maclean, N. (Govan)||Symonds, A L.|
|Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)||McLeavy, F.||Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)|
|Deer, G.||Macpherson, T. (Romford)||Taylor, R. J (Morpeth)|
|Delargy, H. J.||Mallalieu, J. P. W.||Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)|
|Diamond, J.||Mann, Mrs. J||Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)|
|Dobbie, W.||Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)||Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)|
|Driberg, T. E. N.||Marshall, F. (Brightside)||Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)|
|Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)||Medland, H. M||Thurtle, Ernest|
|Dumpleton, C. W.||Middleton, Mrs. L||Tiffany, S.|
|Durbin, E. F. M.||Mitchison, G. R||Titterington, M. F|
|Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.||Monslow, W.||Tolley, L,|
|Evans, John (Ogmore)||Moody, A. S||Viant, S. P.|
|Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)||Morley, R.||Wadsworth, G|
|Ewart, R.||Morris, Lt.-Col. H (Sheffield, C.)||Walkden, E.|
|Fairhurst, F.||Moyle, A.||Walker, G. H.|
|Farthing, W. J.||Murray, J. D||Warbey W N|
|Field, Capt. W. J.||Nally, W.||Watson, W. M|
|Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)||Neal, H. (Claycross)||Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)|
|Foot, M. M.||Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)||Weitzman, D|
|Foster, W. (Wigan)||Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)||Wells, W. T. (Walsall)|
|Fraser, T. (Hamilton)||Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)||West, D. G.|
|Freeman, Peter (Newport)||Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J. (Derby)||White, C. F. (Derbyshire, W.)|
|Ganley, Mrs. C, S.||O'Brien, T.||While, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)|
|Gibbins, J.||Paget, R. T.||Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W|
|Gibson, C. W||Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)||Wigg, Col. G. E.|
|Gilzean, A.||Palmer, A. M. F.||Wilcock, Group-Capt C. A B|
|Glanville, J. E. (Consett)||Pargiter, G. A.||Wilkins, W. A|
|Gooch, E. G.||Parker, J.||Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)|
|Gordon-Walker, P. C.||Parkin, B. T.||Williams, D. J. (Neath)|
|Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)||Paton, Mrs. F. (Rushcliffe)||Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)|
|Grenfell, D. R.||Paton, J. (Norwich)||Williamson, T.|
|Grierson, E.||Pearson, A.||Wise, Major F J|
|Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)||Peart, Capt. T. F.||Woodburn, A.|
|Guy, W. H.||Piratin, P.||Woods. G S|
|Hale, Leslie||Platts-Mills, J. F. F.||Wyatt, W.|
|Hall, W. G.||Porter, E. (Warrington)||Yates, V. F.|
|Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.||Porter, G. (Leeds)||Young, Sir R. (Newton)|
|Hardy, E. A.||Price, M. Philips||Zilliacus, K.|
|Hastings, Dr. Somerville||Proctor, W. T.|
|Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)||Pryde, D. J.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES|
|Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)||Pursey, Cmdr. H||Mr. Hannan and Mr. Popplewell.|
|Herbison, Miss M.||Ranger, J.|