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Town And Country Planning Bill

Volume 437: debated on Wednesday 14 May 1947

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Order read for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question [13th May] on Consideration of Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee and on recommittal).

Clause 9—(Supplementary Provisions As To Development Plans)

Amendment proposed: In page 9, line 5, at the end, to insert:

"(3) If as the result of any objections or representations considered, or local inquiry or other hearing held, in connection with a development plan or proposals for amendment of such a plan submitted to or prepared by the Minister under this Part of this Act, the Minister is of opinion that the local planning authority or any other authority or person ought to be consulted before he decides whether to approve or make the plan either with or without modifications, or to amend the plan, as the case may be, he shall consult that authority or person, but shall not be under any obligation to consult any other authority or person, or to afford any opportunity for further objections or representations or to cause any further local inquiry or other hearing to be held."—[The Attorney-General.]

Question again proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

3.45 P.m.

This Amendment was moved by the right hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney-General at a late hour last night, and, in consequence, the report of what he said in moving it is not available for consideration by Members of the House. Therefore, in dealing with his arguments, I have to rely upon my recollection of what he said, without any opportunity of verifying it. As the Parliamentary Secretary said, in one of his rare utterances, in the Standing Committee when this matter was discussed:

"This matter is invested with some importance."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 1st April, 1947; c. 976.]
I think that, in fact, the hon. Gentleman understated the importance of the subject. The object of the Amendment, as I understand it, is to alter the existing law with regard to the holding of local inquiries.

I see the right hon. and learned Gentleman shakes his head, but not very long ago he sought to summarise the existing law on this subject—a law which, in my opinion, has not been altered materially by recent decisions. He said in the Standing Committee—and I think he is right:

"Under the law as it stands … there may be discussions before any objections have been lodged with any local authority or, indeed, with any other body or person whom the Minister may think it convenient to consult."
That is not challenged; that is not in issue. He went on to say:
"Then comes the stage when there is an objection. At that stage there must be no consultation by the Minister with one side in the absence of the other side; nor must there be any consultation between the Minister, after the inquiry and before a decision has been reached, with one side in the absence of the other side."—[OFFICIAL. REPORT, Standing Committee D; 1st April, 1947, c. 990.]
That was the statement of the right hon. and learned Gentleman in the Standing Committee when this question was considered. Now we have to consider an Amendment which provides that, after the holding of a local inquiry, and after the hearing of objections in public, the Minister shall have the right of consulting whom he likes, in secret, without being under any obligation to inform anyone affected of the nature of these decisions. I can well imagine what an uproar there would be in this House if the Government introduced a proposal that a judge, after hearing the evidence in a case, should have the right, by Statute, of consulting whom he liked upon the matter. I, of course, concede that the position of the Minister under this Bill is not exactly the same as the position of a judge, but the Minister has to exercise quasi-judicial functions, and he has to act impartially and fairly. I do not regard it as acting fairly or impartially if, with regard to a particular objection, after that objection is heard, the Minister is at liberty to consult whoever he pleases without any notice to the person making the objection.

Let me illustrate what might happen it this Amendment were carried. Suppose that the local planning authority wants to include within an area designated as subject to compulsory purchase, a farm on the fringe of the area, or a market garden on the edge of a town. Suppose that the owner of the market garden or farm objects to designation, as he may well do, in the interests of food production or for a variety of reasons. The next stage may be a local public inquiry where the objector can put forward his arguments and objections, and where those objections can be tested. The right hon. Gentleman is then seeking power to go behind the back of that farmer or market gardener. after an inquiry, and consult whom he likes before making his decision on the particular issue, in this hypothetical case as to whether this particular farm should be or should not be included in the designated area. In my view, that is entirely wrong.

I recognise that when a big area is the subject of a development plan it is too much to ask, where any inquiry takes place and where any consultation takes place after the inquiry, that all those who objected and all those interested in the plan as a whole should be informed about it. That may be asking too much, but at least it is reasonable and sensible that the person particularly' affected, the particular individual—the farmer in the case I have mentioned—should be informed of two things if the Minister wants to have further information about that particular objection after the inquiry is closed, and without reopening the inquiry, which it is always within his power to do. One thing is, that individual ought to be told who is being consulted, and he ought to be told the point on which that consultation is taking place, for this reason: it will then be open to that particular objector to submit to the Minister further observations dealing with that particular point. It that is not provided, it may well be that the decision of the Minister will be influenced one way by information obtained by him as a result of a consultation with an external body—information which may be inaccurate, to which the objector may have a complete answer, and without the Minister being informed at ail of what that answer is.

I suggest that this really is an astonishing proposal. We had a full discussion upon it in Standing Committee, and I rather anticipated from the course of that discussion that, although the right hon. Gentleman might seek to preserve for himself the right of consultation after holding a local inquiry, it would be subject to the express proviso that in the case where that consultation affected a particular interest, a particular objector, that objector should be informed of the nature of the persons being consulted, and the matter upon which they were being consulted. I hope this matter will be further considered. Unless we can receive a satisfactory assurance upon that point, I am afraid that the limited time of this Report stage will have to be further occupied by a Division upon this extremely important matter.

As my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham Buller) said said, this matter did receive a good deal of discussion in Standing Committee. Of course, that was discussion on a different form of words, and this is the first time that the particular form of words of the Amendment which the learned Attorney-General moved late last night has been under discussion. When this matter was discussed in Standing Committee we on this side of the House made our position clear; and I think I can say with confidence that we are all inexpressibly disappointed that the cogitations of the Minister and of his consultation with the Attorney-General upon these matters has led to so disappointing an Amendment as that which is now under discussion.

It is, I think, not without significance that the hon. Member for the Drake Division of Plymouth (Mr. Medland)—whom I am glad to see in his place today—said to the Attorney-General:
"Until I can be assured that the final word rests with the Minister, who is responsible to the House of Commons, I do not propose to accept the agreement, or whatever it may be, which has been come to this morning."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D, 1st April, 1947: c. 998.]
—talking, to the Minister if I may say so, very much in the way in which the hon. Member for East Coventry (Mr. Crossman) talks to the Minister of Defence. Indeed, the result runs true to form, because what the Attorney-General has now done is to import into the words of his Amendment precisely those words which will make clear that there is power to do the very thing that was doubtful before, and against which we expressed such strong objection.

What this Amendment will do is, expressly to enable consultation to take place with local authorities or persons behind closed doors, without publicity, after the holding of a local inquiry. That is the position with which we are faced on this Amendment if it is accepted. In Standing Committee the Attorney-General said that he did not like references to natural justice, and I will indulge him so far as to avoid reference to natural justice; however, I cannot but say that consultation with certain parties to an inquiry and not with others, after the inquiry is concluded, and in secret, is a gross violation of all the elementary decencies of judicial procedure. We made it clear in Committee that we did not object to the Minister having consultation before the inquiry, because we could see that there might be occasions on which that might be necessary; and we made it clear that we did not object so much to consultation during the inquiry, although we consider that that would normally be unnecessary and undesirable. But we made it clear that we do object, very strongly indeed, to consultation after inquiry, in the way that is now suggested.

The Attorney-General gave an undertaking that the whole matter would be considered in the light, amongst other things, of the representations that had been put forward by hon. Members in the course of the discussion in Committee. His method of taking our representations into account is, to say the least, an unhappy one, because his method is to introduce provisions expressly legislating for the very things to which we principally took objection. I think the right hon. and learned Gentleman must found his technique of conciliation on that practised by Rehoboam in the Book of Kings, who said to the unfortunate Israelites, when they asked for a slackening of the rigours of government:
"… my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions."
Whatever was the fate of the Israelites, the right hon. Gentleman cannot expect us in this democratic Assembly lightly to acquiesce in this stiffening of the burden. If fresh considerations do arise after the inquiry is closed—and I want to be quite fair about this; I can readily conceive that there may be occasions on which fresh considerations do arise—what is the right procedure to adopt? Quite patently, the right procedure must be to reopen the inquiry, so that if fresh considerations are advanced by some parties they are advanced in public, and other parties are given the elementary right of comment and rebuttal. That is the correct procedure which, I think, should follow from such a case—at any rate, as my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Daventry has said, in any case in which the interest of any other party is or may be affected by the further considerations which arise.

There is one last point I want to make on this, because I think it is of substantial importance, and that is in regard to the way in which the Minister must deal with these matters. We have had considerable discussion as to whether or not the Minister is acting judicially in these matters. I find that the position now is one of increasing confusion, and it is right that the country should know whether the Minister acts in a judicial capacity or not. Had this Bill, through its various stages, received a fairer measure of time for consideration, this is one of the things which would have been made clear. What is the position now? The Master of the Rolls, in giving a judicial interpretation in the Plymouth case, said this:
"The Minister is entitled to act on any information which may come to him in his administrative capacity, and he cannot be compelled to disclose the source of his information. It is erroneous to say that the Minister must act in a quasi-judicial capacity."
That is the interpretation of the Master of the Rolls of the law as it at present stands under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1944. The Minister, on the other hand, speaking in this House on Monday on the recommittal of this Bill said this:
"The last word does not rest with the local authority but with the Minister, who is bound to act judicially and in the light of the evidence that he gets at the local public inquiry."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, 12th May. 1947: Vol. 437, c. 1121.]
The Minister's interpretation of his functions does not seem to square with the interpretation made by the Master of the Rolls.

4.0 p.m.

I wonder if I may help my hon. Friend? The Minister, as I remember it, was correctly stating the law as it was understood on Monday. The hon. Gentleman is stating the law as it was subsequently clarified in the Court of Appeal.

I am obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman; because that, I think, actually reinforces the importance of this point. The Minister thought on Monday that he must act judicially; now that he has got the Plymouth judgment he knows he need not act judicially. Lawyers interpret the law; but our function here is to make the law. The first question we have to decide is, whether or not we want the Minister to act judicially, or whether we want him to be exempt from taking a judicial view in these matters. In my view, there is no doubt about this, that the people of this country do not understand the technicalities of the Town and Country Planning Act, but they have an instinctive and inexorable aversion from any procedure which seems to them to violate the decencies of judicial procedure. The fact that the Minister is not obliged to act in a judicial capacity reinforces our view that this Amendment should not go through as it stands, because it increases the possibility of a failure to do justice to people who have been heard in the local inquiry, but whose case may afterwards be disposed of behind closed doors, and without their even knowing about it. I add my most urgent representations to those made by my hon. and learned Friend that the Attorney-General should think again about this. He should ask himself whether it is really in the public interest that this Amendment should go through as it stands, and open the way to a sort of procedure which accords ill with the elementary decencies of judicial proceedings; and which is, in my view, a clear break with the traditions of this free country in these matters.

I think the Minister is aware that I am not unfriendly to his Department. As a member of a local planning committee I recognise that this Bill contains a great deal to help us. At the same time, I am opposed to this Amendment, because I believe it aggravates an already very unsatisfactory state of affairs regarding representations and local inquiries generally. From time to time the meanings of words change. It appears to me that, since this Government came into office, the meanings of two words, "consultation" and "agreement," have changed. One used to think that "consultation" meant mutual discussion, and willingness to carry out agreed policy. Now it means telling people what one means to do, and with no intention of changing one's decision, whatever they may say. I feel that the result of this Amendment will be to accentuate that difference in the meaning of the word. As regards "agreement," unless people show their disapproval by resigning, or taking some such drastic action, it is now assumed that they agree with what one says. That applies at all levels, and not only to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. It applies also to Cabinet decisions which affect the Dominions, and in a great number of other directions. That is a deplorable negation of democracy.

The Minister should remember that, in dealing with local bodies, he is in a position of immense strength, and he should try to avoid doing anything that is an abuse of that strength. The local representatives have a contribution to make, but they cannot make it, if they are in the position of not being allowed to say anything. I heard of an inquiry the other day which went on for over an hour and at which many representations were made; but nothing was said in answer by the Minister's representative, except that those present might smoke

I think that in these local inquiries, whether they are behind closed doors or open, more information should be given, and a real effort made to get real consultation and real agreement. I feel that this Amendment is retrogressive, particularly the latter part of it. It certainly is not helpful. It will increase the impression that exists very widely now that there is nothing in these inquiries, that there is nothing to be got out of them, that they are a waste of time, and that everything is decided beforehand. If these decisions are to be made behind closed doors, that fact will accentuate such opinions and make the position worse. Therefore, I am against this Amendment.

I also hope that the right hon. Gentleman and the Attorney-General will consider this matter very carefully again. I think that this Amendment, in the form in which they have put it on the Order Paper, is not only not in the public interest, but is not really in the interest of the right hon. Gentleman and his Department. Let me see how far I can carry all quarters of the House with me in the submission I am making. There are those who think that there should be a public local inquiry in every case. There are others who think there is no such need and that there are cases which can be determined without a public local inquiry. Both those views are perfectly arguable, and I can well understand the right non. Gentleman contending that he should not be bound to have a public local inquiry in every case. I am not going to dispute the justice of that view. The point on which, I suggest, every quarter of the House will agree with me is this—that in the cases where there is a public local inquiry, it should not be a sham, and that those taking part in it should not believe it to be a sham.

That proposition will command general assent. But what will be the position if, at a public local inquiry, proposals are brought forward which are believed to represent, let us say, proposals that the Minister is to be asked to approve, and those who wish to question those proposals cross-examine those who give evidence in their favour, and believe that their cross-examination has been so damaging that the proposals cannot survive? It is perfectly possible that subsequently facts are brought to the Minister's attention which may make him think that, notwithstanding that cross-examination, the proposals submitted to so much adverse criticism, nevertheless, ought to proceed on the new grounds which have been brought to his attention. The new proposal, or the new reason operating in the mind of the Minister, ought also to be subject to some public inquiry, and the persons who, before, had the opportunity of cross-examination should have that opportunity again.

I expect the right hon. Gentleman wants to avoid—and I sympathise with him in this—a great deal of delay that might be injurious to the public interest in some of these cases, which are of varying degrees of urgency. In this connection there is one matter not alluded to in the discussion so far, and that is the possibility of an adjournment of the inquiry. If, as a result of the inquiry so far as it had proceeded, the Minister thought that he would like to consult someone, it would not be impossible, and it might be for the convenience of all, that there should be an adjournment in order that the new factors which had come to the Minister's attention might be the subject of full public inquiry, with cross-examination and so on. I can imagine that occasionally the Minister might receive information, even after the closing of a public inquiry. If it dealt with a matter which had been the sub-pect of dispute, examination and cross-examination and the giving of evidence, surely it would be worth while reopening the inquiry, or having a fresh inquiry? If the Minister refuses this, how can he hope that the public and all the parties concerned will continue to place much confidence in these inquiries? They will be told by their legal advisers, "Oh, yes, we may have complete and absolute success at the public local inquiry, but the Minister may later hear of something from the local planning authority, which, in his view, gives an entirely different complexion to the whole case, and there will be no opportunity for you to test it, or make representations about it."

The Attorney-General intervened, very rightly, just now to explain the difference that had occurred in the position since the right hon. Gentleman spoke on Monday, on account of a subsequent decision of the Court of Appeal. Whatever the position of the right hon. Gentleman, whether he is now under no obligation to act judicially or not, I am perfectly certain that he, or whoever may occupy his office in future, will always wish to act fairly. I do not suggest that if this Amendment were on the Statute Book, the Minister would not attempt to act fairly. The trouble is that the parties who had gone to great trouble to put their case at a local inquiry would not feel that they had been fairly treated, if, notwithstanding anything that had taken place at the public inquiry, the whole result could be altered in view of subsequent representations about which they had no knowledge. Certain matters in town and country planning must obviously be decided by the Minister and not by any court, but then the check on the Minister, as he has said, and we all agree, must be a political check, that is to say, the check of the House of Commons; but the House of Commons would not have knowledge of what had operated in the Minister's mind in those cases where he had apparently completely disregarded the facts proved at a local inquiry. I do not think the proposed machinery is satis- factory to any of the main parties concerned. It is not satisfactory to those who are interested in the subject matter of the inquiry, and it is not satisfactory to the right hon. Gentleman, because he will find himself frequently suspected of acting unfairly; it will not be a satisfactory answer to say, "I have the statutory power to do what I am doing" if, in fact, he has asked for the powers in this Bill. It is unsatisfactory also to the House of Commons. For these reasons, I beg the Government to reconsider their Amendment.

4.15 p.m.

In view of the speeches made by hon. Members opposite, I hope the House will not think it inappropriate if I make two or three observations. It would be unfortunate if it were thought that any of us on these benches are less concerned with the interests of justice, and the ordinary decencies of justice, than hon. Members opposite represent themselves to be, and are. Apart from the merits of this Amendment, all will agree that it tends to clarify the law. It renders something clear which at present is obscure, namely, whether or not after there has been a local public inquiry, the Minister may consult with certain people without giving notice to other people of those consultations. Everyone will agree that clarification is a step in the right direction, whatever views we may have as to whether this Amendment is sound or not. It is certainly the responsibility of this House to see that the law is clarified, and that it is not left in that state of obscurity, which has resulted from the decisions in the cases now going through the courts. It is the duty of this House to decide what the law should be in future, so that the public shall know where responsibility lies.

The hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) went wrong, if I may say so, in trying to draw an unreal analogy between justice as administered in the courts. in disputes between two parties in a civil action, and that administrative justice—for want of a better word—which it is the function of the Minister to exercise in making decisions about matters of the kind we are now considering. We on these benches are no less concerned than hon. Members opposite with justice being done, and we all support what has been said by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for the Combined English Universities (Mr. H, Strauss), that it is important the public should know that these public inquiries are not a sham but a serious part of the proceedings leading to the Minister's decision. The public should also know that the final responsibility is that of the Minister, having heard the inquiry, and having weighed any other information coming from other sources, whether before the inquiry was held, or after. It is the responsibility of the Minister who in turn is responsible to this House to act fairly, properly and reasonably, in the interests of all parties, and of the locality, in the decisions that he has to take. For these reasons I support the Amendment.

As the hon. Member for East Islington (Mr. E. Fletcher) has made so clear, the fundamental error into which hon. Members opposite have fallen in this matter is in assuming that the Minister is here discharging a judicial function, and that these inquiries are in the nature of judicial proceedings. It has always been my contention, as I know it has been the contention of those who have preceded me, that that is not the law. It has now been held in the Court of Appeal that that is not the law, and the purpose of this Clause is to put it beyond all possible doubt that it is not the law. The hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) asked what the House would say if a judge, after trying a case, were entitled to consult whom he pleased behind the backs of the parties concerned. That is the whole point. That is the position in regard to a judge. A judge has to close his mind to any knowledge he may already have, to any information which he may have gathered from previous cases, or any policy which he may have formed in the light of previous experience. He has to decide the matter before him on the evidence, and on the evidence alone. That is the position of a judge. The duty of a judge is not to ascertain absolute truth, but to decide what is established by the evidence which the parties choose to put before him in a particular case. The Minister is not a judge, nor does he occupy a quasi-judicial position, as Members opposite have suggested. In Standing Committee I indicated a certain view about this matter—and I am coming back to it, because nothing I said then is inconsistent with what I am saying now. I was accepting, loyally, the recent decision given by Mr. Justice Henn Collins on these matters. The law has since been clarified, and in the sense which I and my predecessors have always contended. The learned Master of the Rolls said:

"To say that on the evidence given at the public inquiry it was impossible that the Minister should be satisfied, would be to make the Court, and not the Minister, the authority to decide what was requisite. The Minister was entitled to act on any information which might come to him in his administrative capacity, and he could not be compelled to disclose the source of his information. It was erroneous to say that the Minister must act in a quasi-judicial capacity. His power to make the order could not be controlled by the Court. If it had been shown that he had acted beyond the limits of his statutory powers or had acted in bad faith, the position would have been different. As it was the appeal would be allowed with costs."
Ministers, in dealing with matters of this kind, are acting as administrators. The Minister, in this case, is already under a statutory obligation, enacted by this House, in 1943, to secure consistency and continuity in planning as a matter of national policy. In our view—and this, I believe, to be the true legal position; it will not be altered by the Bill, but will be put beyond all doubt—the duty of a Minister is to consider, in good faith, any representation or any objection which may be put before him. In that matter he is, of course, subject to the control of the courts.

If he acts in bad faith, and does not consider objections as an honest Minister ought to do, then the person who is aggrieved by that can go to the court and question the conduct of the Minister. But, subject to his acting in good faith, he acts as a Minister responsible to Parliament. He is not a judicial officer, acting within some narrow lines of judicial procedure. He must be free—after holding an inquiry, if he decides so to do, before acting on what is an administrative, and not judicial basis—to consult with outside bodies and, not least, with those bodies which are expressly charged by Statute with responsibility for planning matters. These are questions which the Minister has to decide on broad grounds of public policy. That is his Ministerial function. A Minister does not suddenly adopt the cloak of a judge because he voluntarily decides, in order to inform himself the more fully of the matters in issue, and to investigate the strength of the objections which may have been raised, to hold a public inquiry. He is the Minister who is availing himself of the machinery of a public inquiry in order that he may be better informed in carrying out his duties. In the exercise and discharge of those duties, he is responsible to Parliament, and it is to Parliament, and not the courts, and still less to individual objectors, that he must answer if, in good faith he consults outside persons or bodies, or avails himself of sources of information.

I ask Members opposite to bear in mind that we have just as great a regard for judicial functions, and the administration of law and justice in this country, as they have. To attempt to assimilate judicial and administrative functions not only exposes the administrator to forms and procedures which are incompatible with efficient and expeditious administration—I point to the Stevenage case, in which no final result will be achieved for nine or ten months after the making of the Order, and to the Plymouth case—but also exposes him to embarrassments and ideas which are quite foreign to the practice of justice in this country. For instance, a Minister may act as a judge in what is, in effect, his own cause. It is completely artificial to talk of Ministers who are under a statutory obligation to make or confirm these orders as acting in a quasi-judicial capacity. To confuse the two functions, judicial and administrative, does not enhance the prestige of the judicial ideal, or promote the success of administration.

It has been suggested that there has been some inconsistency in the attitude we are taking up as compared with the attitude I took up in Standing Committee. I should like to make it clear that that is not so. I said, in Standing Committee:
"The Government will reconsider the Clause.… but I add this, that we shall adhere to the final principle that, at the end, the Minister must be left free to arrive at his decision after having regard not only to the evidence which may have been adduced at the inquiry, but to overriding considerations of public policy, for the administration of which he will be responsible, not to the courts, but to Parliament. We take the view that it is quite impossible to put the Minister, who is administering an Act of Parliament of this kind, into a position of a judge who must decide on the evidence before him, completely closing his mind to considerations of public policy and matters of that kind, and deciding simply on the evidence before him."
Then I made a reference to natural justice, not that I objected to the use of that expression, but because Lord Shaw entertained the strongest objection to it being used in connection with administrative matters of this kind. I said:
"I hope … that all these matters will be considered, having regard to the decisions which will be ultimately arrived at by the Court of Appeal."
We intelligently anticipated what the decision there would be likely to be. In my view, supported by the decision of the Court of Appeal, this Clause does nothing except put beyond doubt the existing law. It is for the House to decide whether it wants to alter the existing law.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman also said in the Standing Committee:

"I made it quite clear that if we did accept the Amendment we would not commit ourselves in any way to the provisions which we should put down on Report stage for consultation, … or as to the necessity of communicating such consultation to the objector."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee D; c. 993–995.]
I particularly stressed the desirability of informing the objector affected, of any consultation, and of the substance of the consultation that had taken place with the local authority. The right hon. and learned Gentleman, in the course of his interesting speech, did not say one word about informing any particular objector.

4.30 p.m.

I do not want to leave the matter in any doubt at all. In the Committee I made it clear, after the hon. and learned Gentleman had made the point about informing objectors of subsequent consultations, that we could not accept any commitment as to the need of communicating such consultation to the objectors. I said that we would consider the whole situation, in the light of whatever decision was eventually given by the Court of Appeal in regard to it. Having considered the decision of the Court of Appeal, we were confirmed and fortified in the view which we originally took that it is not consistent with good administration to reopen these matters.

These inquiries are for the purpose of enabling Ministers to inform themselves of the facts—to enable Ministers to ascer- tain and canvass the weight of any particular objection or criticism. Having held the inquiry and informed themselves as fully as Ministers think necessary by that means, they must be entitled to go to other sources of information. If it appears then to a Minister, from fresh information subsequent to the public inquiries, that it would be desirable in the public interest to hold a further inquiry in order to get still more information, he is, of course, at perfect liberty to do so. We cannot agree to the Minister being put under an obligation to go on re-opening inquiries—going back to the objectors perhaps time after time, because subsequent to considering some particular—point, he receives some information from some outside body that has some bearing upon it. There must be some finality about these matters, and the Minister must be left free to obtain such information as he thinks expedient in the public interest, whether by another inquiry or not, but without being under any obligation to disclose to anyone, except to this House, what that information is or from whom he has obtained it.

We are Obliged to the learned Attorney-General for the exposition which he has given of the existing law. I do not dispute what he has said on this strictly legal point. What he has told us is that this Amendment, which is now being moved by the Government, is not really an Amendment to the existing body of the law, but is merely declaratory of the legal position as the right hon. and learned Gentleman and the Government see it. I do not pretend to deal with this matter from the strictly legal point of view, but I think that the Government have acted very unwisely and maladroitly to introduce something which the ordinary man may regard as different from the statute law as it stands. The procedure of public inquiries has been embodied in Statutes for a long time, and has been "run in" during many years of operation, and there is in the mind of the ordinary citizen a certain conception of how it works. The ordinary man regards a public inquiry as something in the nature of an arbitration. The niceties of what is judicial and what is not are not for him, but although he may be ignorant about the law, he has an acute sense of what is fair and what is unfair. Whatever the law may be, it is thoroughly bad politics to introduce an Amendment at this stage into a respected form of procedure, which gives the ordinary man the opinion that there will be some work behind the scenes to which he is not permitted to be a party.

I think that it is unwise to do that. Nothing can prevent a Minister in the exercise of his administrative task from obtaining all the information that he requires, nor would we seek to do so. He has many channels of communication. If his Department is only half efficient, there is nothing about a particular matter of this sort that he cannot ascertain. To suggest, as this Amendment does, that he shall have power not only to obtain information, but to consult one of the parties to the case after the case is over is, I think, extremely unwise. We use the word "consultation" in Statutes when we want to make sure that one Minister is brought in on a question that concerns him. I remember in another Bill my agricultural friends saying that the Minister of Agriculture should be consulted. That does not mean that the Minister who is asked to consult with a person has to obtain information from that person. It means that the person is to be taken into consultation. That is a very different thing from merely obtaining additional information after an inquiry.

As I see it, public local inquiries, as hitherto understood in this country, serve two useful functions. If there is a dispute between two parties, one may be a local authority and the other a citizen, the Minister orders a public local inquiry. What are the functions of that public local inquiry? As I understand it they are twofold. One is that the Minister shall have an opportunity of ascertaining the truth of the matter complained about, in the only way that truth can be ascertained, or its approximation ascertained, and that is by the two parties who are contending in the matter being confronted with each other, so that a statement of one can be challenged by the other. The evidence given is not merely ex parte but is subject to the cross-testimony and cross-examination of the party who disagrees with it. It is by that process that the issues between the parties are narrowed down, and finally, when the inquiry has gone the requisite amount of time, the issues are presented to the Minister, who has to make a decision in a narrowed form, supported by the evidence on each side of the question, and with this body of evidence, checked and tested by cross-examination from the hostile party, he is in a superior position to arrive at a wise and just decision.

That is one but only one object of a public inquiry. The other object is in my judgment equally important. Our people, as a rule, have a great respect for the law and the observance of ceremonial proceedings. They are frequently aggrieved by actions of a Government Department, but if they have the sense that they can appear in the open against their adversaries, before an impartial person, and be given a full chance of stating their case before their friends and neighbours, and of cross-examining what is said against their case by the other side, then, although the ultimate decision may be adverse to their desires, they have at least the feeling that all has been done in the open, and that they have had a fair deal. That is the second most important object of a public inquiry. It not only enables the truth to be ascertained, but it spreads through the ramifications of administration an atmosphere of impartiality and equality. I think myself that it would have been worth a great deal to have maintained that.

I think that these new proceedings, stating that the Minister may, after an inquiry is over, consult with one of the parties but is to be under no obligation to test what the other party says by referring to the party against him, whose testimony is uttered in secret, not only will muddy the wells of truth, but will certainly give the person adversely affected by the ultimate decision, a suspicion as to the equity with which he has been treated in the matter. Whatever the strict law may be, speaking not as a lawyer but as a politician, I say that the Amendment which the Government are now asking the House to adopt is extremely maladroit.

I am not going to take part in this quasi-judicial dispute but I think it important to point out what the Amendment seeks to do, because there is some misunderstanding about it, and I believe some innocent misrepresentation of the extent of what it proposes. It does not deal primarily with the relationship between the local authority and an individual. In all the ordinary forms of inquiry, the machinery which the right hon. Gentleman says has been "run in" will remain, for this Amendment does not seek to deal with that. It seeks to deal with an entirely new situation, the making of a development plan or the modification of that plan, and with nothing else. The Amendment says that the object of the public inquiry is to enable the Minister to approve of the best possible plan. He is not adjudicating on individuals nor on the relations of individuals to the local authorities, but is concerning himself with the development plan or any modification of it.

I agree instantly that the plan may affect individuals but that is not his concern at the public inquiry. He is concerned to see what is the best plan and how it will possibly affect the community as a whole. As a result of an Amendment, which was discussed yesterday, the Minister has to be informed of the estimated cost of carrying out a development plan or any modification, but he is not, at this inquiry, concerned with the relations with individuals. That comes on at some other stage of the public acquisition and the contention is—and I think it is right—that in considering what kind of development plan the Minister has to approve, every source of information should be available to him. It is conceded that the Minister can get information from any party before the inquiry. I do not know what any hon. or right hon. Gentleman opposite would think if a judge on the eve of a hearing had dinner with one of the parties to a dispute, but apparently it is considered that a Minister may do it, and do it quite properly as long as it is before the inquiry. I see no difference in getting the information from any of the parties either before or after the inquiry.

Yes, consulting to get information. In the carrying out of the machinery of this Amendment any Minister will act fairly. Of course, if he feels, as the result of any information which he gets, that he ought to communicate with the other side and with one of the objectors, I take it that the Minister, whether he comes from this side of the House or from the other, will have a sufficiently high sense of his public duties not to act improperly or unfairly. The mere fact of getting the further information, would not necessarily involve reopening the inquiry as was suggested, or even communicating with the other side.

I am not raising the question of fairness or unfairness but the question of wisdom. I will give an example to get the right hon. Gentleman's reaction. Suppose one of the disputed matters were whether or not it was possible to get an adequate water supply where the development was to take place. and the right hon. Gentleman decided that it would be wise to approach one of the parties for their views after the inquiry had been closed, when that view could not be tested by cross-examination by those who had taken an opposite view Would that be a correct step?

4.45 p.m.

The actual example given by the hon. and learned Member is impossible under this Amendment. It could not possibly arise in determining the nature of a development plan. Why would the hon. and learned Gentleman allow the Minister to go to one of the parties and get all the information before the inquiry but not after?

The right hon. Gentleman asks why, and the answer is that if the right hon. Gentleman went before the inquiry then somebody would put forward at the inquiry what was told to the right hon. Gentleman and there would be an opportunity for cross-examination.

Not at all. The person conducting the inquiry is not under an obligation to put forward views. He is there to hear objections. He is not a party to the dispute. This development plan is put forward by a local authority, but it would be quite right for the Minister to go and make all sorts of investigations and inquiries about the proposed development plan immediately before the inquiry but not after it. That seems to me to make nonsense of it. The parties behind the making of a development plan should be in a position to offer information and the Minister should be able to get it where he can, but he is bound to act fairly. I am satisfied that any Minister would act fairly and would not merely arrive at a biased point of view or one set view without taking the precaution to find out what any other view is if it had not already emerged at the inquiry. The real point which I want to make is that. this Amendment is restricted to the making of the development plans or the modifications of them, and does not relate to the much wider field of local inquiries arising out of the relationship between the local authority and the individual.

This Bill, of course, appears to the ordinary man in the street as an appalling Measure with all its technical and legal implications. I listened with great respect to the statement made by the Attorney-General, and, although it was prima facie a learned exposition of the state of the law, it does not remove the feeling in the minds of many of us, that if a local inquiry took place in relation to a development plan, some further conversations and negotiations would take place with the Minister before he decided. An essential quality of the people of this country has always been respect for the law, but if people feel that something takes place between the Minister who is finally responsible for the determination of a plan, and the people who produce it,

Division No. 209.]


[4.52 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Balham)Chater, D.Gooch, E. G.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Chetwynd, G. R.Goodrich, H. E.
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Cocks, F. S.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Collindridge, F.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)
Allighan, GarryColman, Miss G. M.Grenfell, D. R.
Alpass, J. H.Comyns, Dr. L.Grey, C. F.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Corbet, Mrs. F. K (Camb'well, N.W.)Grierson, E.
Attewell, H. C.Cove, W. G.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)
Austin, H. LewisCrossman, R. H. S.Guy, W. H.
Awbery, S. S.Davies, Edward (Burslem)Haire, John E. (Wycombe)
Ayles, W. H.Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)
Bacon, Miss A.Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Hardy, E. A.
Balfour, A.Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Harrison, J.
Barstow, P. G.Deer, G.Hastings, Dr. Somerville
Barton, C.Dobbie, W.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)
Battley, J. R.Dodds, N. N.Herbison, Miss M.
Bechervaise, A EDriberg, T. E. N.Hewitson, Captain M.
Benson, G.Dumpleton, C. W.Hicks, G.
Beswick, F.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. CHobson, C. R.
Bing, G. H. C.Edelman, M.Holman, P.
Binns, J.Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)
Blenkinsop, A.Edwards, John (Blackburn)House, G.
Blyton, W. R.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Evans, John (Ogmore)Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Irving, W. J.
Bramall, E. A.Fairhurst, F.Janner, B.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Fernyhough, E.Jay, D. P. T.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Jeger, G. (Winchester)
Brown, George (Belper)Forman, J. C.Jager, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Foster, W. (Wigan)John, W.
Buchanan, G.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)
Burke, W. A.Gallacher, W,Jones, J. H. (Bolton)
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Gibson, C. W.Keenan, W.
Chamberlain, R. A.Gilzean, A.Kenyon, C.
Champion, A. J.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)King, E. M.

that removes respect for the law and the people also lose respect for the administration for what that Minister is responsible. If the inquiry takes place in open court and cross-examination is possible, that makes a difference, but by the system suggested in this Amendment disturbance would be created in the minds of the people. In a Measure of this kind there ought to be no feeling of anything unfair taking place, after a public inquiry had examined all the points and the various aspects. I felt, when this point was raised upstairs, that the Minister would make a concession to meet the representations which had been put to him there. I find, however, that he is as adamant on the subject as ever. He knows my personal regard for him, and for a Minister, whose duty it is to confiscate the property of the people of this country, I think he is an amiable person. In these particular circumstances, however, he is not acting, in his Ministerial capacity, in such a manner as to maintain confidence in the law of this country.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 246; Noes, 122.

Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. ENoel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brantford)Stephen, C.
Kinley, J.Noel-Buxton, LadyStrauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Kirkwood, DOldfield, W. H.Stubbs, A. E.
Lang, G.Paling, Will T, (Dewsbury)Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Lavers, S.Palmer, A. M. F.Sylvester, G. O.
Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Parker, J.Symonds, A. L.
Lee, F. (Hulme)Parkin, B. T.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Leslie, J. R.Paton, J. (Norwich)Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Levy, B. W.Peart, Capt. T. F.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Lewis, T. (Southampton)Piratin, P.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Popplewell, E.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Lyne, A. W.Porter, E. (Warrington)Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
McAdam, W.Porter, G. (Leeds)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
McAllister, G.Proctor, W. T.Thurtle, Ernest
McEntee, V. La T.Pryde, D. J.Tiffany, S.
McGhee, H GPursey, Cmdr. H.Titterington, M. F.
Mack, J. D.Ranger, J.Tolley, L,
McKay, J. (Wallsend)Rees-Williams, D. R.Vernon, Maj. W. F
McKinley, A. S.Reeves, J.Viant, S. P.
Maclean, N. (Govan)Reid, T. (Swindon)Walkden, E.
McLeavy, F.Rhodes, H.Walker, G. H.
Macpherson, T. (Romford)Ridealgh, Mrs. MWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Mainwaring, W. H.Robens, A.Warbey W. N
Mallalieu, J. P. W.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Watson, W. M.
Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Sargood, R.Weitzman, D.
Marshall, F. (Brightside)Scollen, T.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Medland, H. MShackleton, E. A. A.Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Mellish, R. J.Sharp, GranvilleWhiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Messer, F.Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)Wigg, Col. G. E
Middleton, Mrs. LShinwell, Rt. Hon. E.Wilkes, L.
Mikardo, IanShurmer, P.Wilkins, W. A.
Mitchison, G RSilkin, Rt. Hon. L.Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Monslow, W.Silverman, J. (Erdington)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Montague, F.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Moody, A. SSkeffington, A. M.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Morley, R.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.Wise, Major F. J
Mort, D. L.Smith, C. (Colchester)Woodburn, A.
Moyle, A.Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Woods, G. S
Murray, J- D.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Wyatt, W.
Nally, W.Snow, Capt. J. W.Yates, V. F.
Naylor, T. E.Sorensen, R. W.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Neal, H. (Claycross)Soskice, Maj. Sir F
Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Sparks, J. A.TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Stamford, W.Mr. Pearson and Mr. Simmons.

Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W. (Armagh)Fletcher, W. (Bury)Mellor, Sir J.
Amory, D. HeathcoteFraser, H. C. P. (Stone)Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
Assheton, Rt. Hon. R.Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Morrison, Rt Hon. W. S. (C'nc'ster)
Baldwin, A. E.Gage, C.Mott-Radclyffe, Maj. C. E
Beamish, Maj. T. V. HGalbraith, Cmdr. T. D.Neven-Spence, Sir B
Bennett, Sir P.Gammans, L. D.Nicholson, G.
Birch, NigelGeorge, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nield, B. (Chester)
Boothby, RGruffydd, Prof. W. J.Nutting, Anthony
Boyd-Carpenter, J. A.Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Orr-Ewing, I. L
Braithwaite Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Harvey, Air-Comdre, A. V.Peake, Rt. Hon. O
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col, W.Head, Brig A. H,Pickthorn, K.
Brown, W. J. (Rugby)Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CPonsonby, Col. C. E
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPoole, O. B- S. (Oswestry)
Butcher, H. W.Hogg, Hon. Q.Prior-Palmer, Brig. O
Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (S'ffr'n W'la'r)Hollis, M. C.Raikes, H. V.
Byers, FrankHolmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Ramsay, Maj. S.
Carson, E.Hope, Lord J.Rayner, Brig. R.
Challen, C.Howard, Hon. A.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Clarke, Col, R. S.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Ropner, Col. L.
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Jarvis, Sir J.Sanderson, Sir F.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Jeffreys, General Sir G.Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. ELambert, Hon. G.Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Crowder, Capt. John E.Linstead, H. N.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lipson, D. L.Smithers, Sir W
Davidson, ViscountessLloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Spearman, A. C. M.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Low, Brig. A. R. W.Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Digby, S. W.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Dodds-Parker, A. DMackeson, Brig. H. RStoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Drayson, G. B.Maclay, Hon. J. S.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Drewe, C.MacLeod, J.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T, (Richmond)Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Studholme, H. G.
Duthie, W. S.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Sutcliffe, H.
Eccles, D. M.Manningham-Buller, R. E.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Marlowe, A. A. H.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMarsden, Capt, A.Teeling, William
Erroll, F. J.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Thorneycroft, G E. P. (Monmouth)

Thornton-Kemsley, C.N.Wheatley, Colonel M. J.York, C.
Vane, W. M. F.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Walker-Smith, D.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Ward, Hon. G. R.Willoughby de Eresby, LordCommander Agnew and
Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)Winterton, Rt. Hon. EarlLieut.-Colonel Thorp.

5.0 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 9, line 14, at the end, to insert:

"(4) In the application of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act, 1945. to any Order made in pursuance of paragraph (c) of the proviso to Subsection (3) of Section five of this Act, any requirements imposed by regulations under this Section with respect to the publication of notices and the consideration of objections in relation to the development plan shall be deemed for the purposes of Section two of that Act to be requirements with respect to proceedings preliminary to the making of the Order."
This is really a drafting matter. Under Section 2 and the First Schedule of the Statutory Orders (Special Procedure) Act of 1945, where it is proposed to make an Order which is subject to special Parliamentary procedure, certain preliminary steps have to be gone through first unless the Statute under which the Order is made prescribes preliminary proceedings of a similar kind. Under Clause 9 of the present Bill, certain preliminary proceedings will be prescribed before the approval of a development plan, and it will not he until all these have been complied with that any question of making a special procedure Order—for instance, an Order in the case of the land of a local authority, or land belonging to the National Trust under Clause 5 (3) (c)—will arise. Unless the provisions which are the subject of the present Amendment are included, it might consequently be necessary to go through the preliminary procedure all over again. The Amendment is intended to make it clear that where the necessity for a special procedure Order arises under Clause 5 (3) (c), the preliminary requirements under Clause 5 generally shall be deemed to be preliminary requirements for the purpose of the 1945 Act.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 9, line 30, to leave out from "Minister," to the end of line 31.

After the Crown Proceedings Bill which is at present before Parliament has been passed into law, as we expect with some confidence it will be, there will exist no special rights or preferences in regard to Crown debts, and this reference will consequently serve no useful purpose. Such expenses as are recoverable will be recoverable by the ordinary methods open to all persons for the recovery of debts in the courts.

I merely wish to say that we raised this point in the Standing Committee, and I am very glad the Government have come round to this point of view. We support the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 10—(Obligation To Obtain Permission For Development)

Amendment made: In page 9, line 42, leave out "and," and insert "or."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

I beg to move, in page 10, line 4, at the end, to insert:

"(c) the carrying out by any local authority or statutory undertakers of any works for the purpose of inspecting, repairing or renewing any sewers, mains, pipes, cables or other apparatus, including the breaking open of any street or other land for that purpose."
This new paragraph (c) sets out the operations which will not rank as development.

I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in line 2, after "of," to insert "laying down."

There is an important omission from this Amendment. As the Minister has moved it, without the Amendment in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling)—which I have just moved—it would exclude from the definition of "development," the maintenance or repair of any pipes or works on the roads by any local authority or statutory undertaker, but it would not exclude the laying down of pipes by such a local authority or statutory undertaker. This is an omission on the part of the right hon. Gentleman. When this matter was discussed in Standing Committee, my hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham moved an Amendment of this nature, and on that occasion the right hon. Gentleman said that he was willing to accept the principle. The matter with which my hon. Friend was then concerned covered a statutory undertaker who not only wanted to inspect, repair or maintain pipes in a road, but wanted to lay them down. The right hon. Gentleman knows that there are cases where undertakers are under an obligation to lay down pipes. For instance, I understand that gas companies are under an obligation to lay down connecting pipes from the main to consumers' premises, and it would seem quite wrong, and would put them in an impossible position, if work of that kind was classed as a development for which permission had to be obtained. It would involve delays which would be very unfortunate for the community. The whole House knows the desirability of securing piped water supplies all over the countryside, and it would appear that if the proposed Amendment were accepted as it stands, any statutory undertaker who desires to put down a pipe will have to seek permission under Clause 10. It is because I think there is an omission that I hope the right hon. Gentleman will accept this Amendment to the Amendment.

Before the Amendment to the Amendment can be discussed, it must be seconded.

The omission of the words "laying down" was deliberate. The intention is that until the whole question of the breaking open of streets has been dealt with—and it is the intention of the Ministry of Transport to deal with it—there should be a measure of control. I do not think it will involve any hardship or difficulty. Complete freedom to go into any street and break it open to carry out works without any question at all ought not to be tolerated, or at any rate it ought to be dealt with comprehensively, and it is because there is an intention to deal with the breaking open of streets separately that those words were omitted.

The right hon. Gentleman says it is the intention of the Ministry of Transport to deal with this matter, but not, I take it, under this Bill. That raises a very awkward position, because here is an example of piecemeal legislation. Anyone who has travelled about the country must know that there is hopeless confusion between Government Departments in these matters. Here we are postponing this very important question to be dealt with on some other occasion. This way of approaching the position seems unsatisfactory. After what my hon. Friend has said in moving his Amendment to the proposed Amendment I should have thought that at some time during the passage of the Bill this point could be made clear so that the processes referred to will not be held up. If the Ministry of Transport say there is some difficulty about it, it is a pity the Minister of Transport is not here to give us information on the matter.

The effect of the deliberate omission to which the Minister referred will be a liability upon anyone laying cables and things of that sort to pay a development charge. If the Amendment to the Amendment were accepted, there would be no such liability. Is that not the position?

I cannot imagine the value of land being enhanced by breaking open a street.

Amendment to the proposed Amendment negatived.

Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

5.15 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 15, at the end, to insert:

"The temporary use of land and the erection of moveable structures thereon by a person who is the proprietor of a travelling circus, roundabout, amusement fair, stall or store (not being a pedlar, hawker or costermonger) for the purpose of his business."
I move this Amendment on behalf of a large and important body of people, who are of great value to the community, and who are anxious about their position under the Bill. They are the showmen with temporary and movable structures which they take round and, from time to time, put on land where fairs have not previously been held. When they go to a regular ground they are already protected. Under the Bill they will have to obtain permission, and the owner of the land will be liable to pay development charges under Part V. That will mean that the owner will be unlikely to allow the use of his land. This is a serious matter for a very large number of these tradespeople. Under the law, showmen do not have to obtain permission from the local authority for a stay of less than 20 days, but it appears that under the Bill that principle will go. Although the planning authority will not take action under Clause 21 in respect of a period up to 21 days, the owner will still be liable for development charges, and will therefore be unwilling to allow the use of his land.

Without an Amendment of this nature showmen will be in a very serious position under the Bill. Many of them are subject to sudden changes of plan, by reason of bad weather, local epidemics, diseases, and things of that sort. I need not stress the great value of their work to the community. They give a great deal of innocent and necessary fun and recreation. Just now, when young men are returning from the Forces and entering the business, it is desirable that they should have as much encouragement and as little impediment as possible. I have the honour to be honorary chaplain to the Showmen's Guild, and I know that they do splendid work. I might be permitted to say that in some respects their business is not altogether divorced from that of this ancient Court of Parliament. Exhibitions of tightrope-walking and even of acrobatics are familiar in this business as in that. I hope that my Amendment will receive sympathy from the Minister.

I beg to second the Amendment.

I shall not use any additional argument. except to say that if the Minister can see his way to accept the Amendment, or can find some other way of covering the point therein suggested, it will be a great tribute to a group of people who have rendered signal service to the cause of town and country planning. I say that deliberately. The showmen's organisation and their newspaper "World's Fair" have time and again, in the past 50 years, fought the battle for the preservation of our commons and ancient rights of way. It would be a fully merited tribute to them if the Minister accepted the Amendment.

The mover and seconder of the Amendment have asked me to regard it with sympathy. I do regard it sympathetically, but they are asking too much. They are asking that there should be no control whatever over the temporary use of any land in the future, in respect of travelling circuses, roundabouts and so on. In spite of the great services to the cause of planning given in the past by the showmen, to accept the Amendment would not be rendering a service to future planning. The use of land for this purpose is a very definite use. I would be the last to say that it is unnecessarily, in all cases, an undesirable use, but even the honorary chaplain to the guild must admit that there might be cases of undesirable use of certain sites. The purpose of the Bill is to control such use. The Bill provides protection for sites which have been in use in the past. It will he possible to safeguard future sites by means of a development scheme. I believe that the organisations for which the hon. Members have spoken, will be satisfied with the assurance that those sites will be covered as far as possible by the development schemes—that is to say, development schemes made by local authorities and approved by the Minister to give exemption to the particular sites, in respect of which it will not be necessary for approval to be sought. As regards other sites it will be necessary. I should not be discharging my duty if I gave carte blanche to showmen to go anywhere they liked in the future, without any control whatever. I hope that my hon. Friends will be satisfied with this assurance.

I am not quite sure that the Minister made out his case. I do not think he was justified in saying that the Amendment asked for carte blanche. I do not think it does. It is obvious that such matters can be controlled, and ought to be controlled by regulations made for the purpose, just as markets can be controlled by by-laws and other regulations. I seriously question whether it is appropriate to control this use of sites by machinery under Part III. Those provisions are to control the development of land. That is their title and their purpose. I seriously question whether it is appropriate to describe the temporary use of land for an amusement park and for erecting roundabouts, for periods of less than 28 days, as a development of the land. It seems to me that it is rather going outside the ordinary use of language, and that whilst good administration would obviously demand that these matters should not be without regulation, it might equally demand that such administrative arrangements as were desirable, should be made under some other Section of some other Act. I cannot help feeling that there is substance in the complaint that this type of machinery is not appropriate to temporary erections for periods of for much less than 28 days. I feel that the right hon. Gentleman might reconsider his attitude towards this Amendment, which has not been put forward in unreasonable terms, and was not, I believe, replied to by him in any hostile spirit. I ask the right hon. Gentleman to consider whether other machinery might not be more appropriate.

I support this Amendment. I think that it is a human and natural Amendment and that these words ought to be inserted somewhere in this Bill. Both the mover and the seconder of the Amendment put forward their case, not from a high Ministerial point of view, but from the natural, human point of view which appeals to hon. Members such as myself. After all, these fairs have gone on in this country for a long time and are amusements which are looked forward to by children and a lot of innocent people. Nobody could possibly accuse either of the two Ministers concerned with this Bill of being entirely innocent, and they are not the kind of persons whom one would see at a fun fair. They certainly want something grimmer than that. The Minister intimated that, at some time in the future, this matter might possibly be dealt with, but anybody watching the right hon. Gentleman and listening to him would realise that there was a complete and utter lack of sympathy on his part with this kind of amusement. Although he did not say so, he obviously regards fun fairs as nasty, noisy, ugly and crude, and as things which are dotted about the country appearing here today and there tomorrow, and without any of that order and planning which so delight his heart. It is quite obvious that the idea of fun fairs was a thousand miles away from his pedantic heart. As hon. Members of all parties may be in favour of such an Amendment, why not take this matter to a Division, and thus show that, on this point, at any rate a very strong case has been made out? On the other hand, there is, I think, one slight defect in the Amendment. I am not sure whether the words "stall or store" are not rather too wide. Why should pedlars, hawkers or costermongers be ruled out? After all, those people perform a very useful service and, to my mind, the costermonger should certainly not have been excluded. I hope that we shall have a chance of dividing on this Amendment, and of showing that there is a great deal of humanity in this House.

I always thought from the appearance and manner of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams) that he had never known what it was to be young. I am certain that very few people will agree with him that the travelling fair is a general nuisance. [HON. MEMBERS: "He did not say so."] In the days of my boyhood there was nothing so welcome as a travelling fair. I think right hon. Gentlemen on the Government Front Bench should try to remember their boyhood days, and should' give this Amendment sympathetic. consideration. I suggest, however, that travelling fairs should not and would not come under these development charges. I would like to see this Amendment inserted elsewhere in the Bill. Subsection (2) says:

"In this Act, except where the context otherwise requires, the expression 'development' means the carrying out of building, engineering, mining or other operations in, on, Over or under land, and the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land."
The question of material change always comes into the matter, and I am certain that no one would suggest that a material change would be made in the land if a travelling fair or a roundabout or two were on it for a w eek at, say, Whitsun, and then went somewhere else. Nobody could suggest that that would be a material change, so far as the development of the land was concerned. In normal circumstances, these travelling fairs would not come under the terms of this Bill, but, as hon. Members know, when one gets official persons knocking around, one never knows what they are going to do. The trouble is that some of our Ministers, forgetful of their responsibilities, do not always choose Labour men and women as official persons. They sometimes choose from the ranks of the Tories, and when a hard-faced Tory becomes an official person, one never knows who will suffer in consequence. In order to avoid any suffering which might be caused by the wrong choice on the part of the Minister, it would be very good—

I cannot allow the hon. Gentleman to proceed any further with that argument, which is not in Order.

I was going to say, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that the Minister would help himself and those who, as the mover of the Amendment said, have given good service to the community in times past, if he would accept this Amendment. It would not in any way alter the character of his Bill, or the development charges he is going to make.

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment was satisfied with the answer he received from the Minister. It seemed to me that the Minister did not really deal with the main point put forward. The hon. Gentleman did not suggest—nor do I—that fun fairs and circuses should be allowed to set up all over the place. My hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) pointed out that under other Acts, in fact, they could be controlled. The hon. Gentleman said there seemed to be a danger that fairs and circuses would be prevented from going on to land which they did not normally occupy, if owing to floods or some other occurrences they had to make a change because owners of land, who would normally raise no objection to them, might now have some hesitation in allowing them for fear of attracting a development charge. That seemed to be the relevant point put forward by the hon. Gentleman, but it was not answered by the Minister. I hope that the Government are not going to be unsympathetic to this Amendment, and I sugest that, even if we have not enough bread, we should have sufficient circuses.

5.30 p.m.

I hesitate to intervene on a Bill which deals only with England and Wales as I am a Scottish Member, but as the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) has made several speeches on the recommittal stage and on the Report stage, I feel that my intervention may not be unappreciated by my hon. Friends on this side. I should like to associate myself, for once in a while, with nearly every word the hon. Member for West Fife said, but I totally dissent from his interpretation of the speech of the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), because if the hon. Gentleman had listened to or been able to hear the speech—I do not say that offensively—he would have realised that the hon. Member for Torquay was not exhibiting himself to the House as a killjoy. Far from it. He was urging the Minister to soften his hard heart and to realise that by refusing to accept this Amendment he was merely carrying on the worst spirit of the Cromwellian period in this country. By refusing to accept this Amendment, he is refusing to grant travelling showmen or circus men and others the certainty of knowing where they stand under this great Town and Country Planning Bill, this Socialistic regimentation by His Majesty's present Ministers.

I sincerely hope that, on reflection, the right hon. Gentleman will realise that this Amendment is in his own best interests. He has been urged by two hon. Gentlemen sitting behind him to allow this to circus proprietors and travelling showmen—I do not use the phrase in any invidious sense—and he is refusing, by his obduracy, to give them the certainty of knowing where they stand. I agree with the hon. Member for Torquay that the Amendment is perhaps too widely phrased. It might be somewhat out of place to include pedlars, hawkers and costermongers, but it is desirable to include circus proprietors and travelling showmen, who provide a very great deal of innocent amusement for members of the public generally whether they belong to any political party or none. I very much hope that the Minister will reconsider his decision, and, if he does not, it will give me very great pleasure to go into the Lobby in support of the Amendment. I hope that the mover and seconder of the Amendment will act as Tellers. The only reason why I have risen is to safeguard the interests of Scottish people, for whom I hope similar provision will be made.

I support this Amendment. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will think again about it. He has had no support from his own side of the House, and, of course, no support from this side of the House. We have had the astounding position of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), no doubt largely because he did not hear, or if he heard, did not understand, the hon. Member for Torquay (Mr. C. Williams), speaking in the same vein as the hon. Member for Torquay and agreeing with everything that the hon. Member for Torquay said. What does it mean if we do not have these words inserted? It means that when one of these fun fairs passes from one county to another, application will have to be made to the county council planning committee before it can use land which has not been used before, in the same way as I imagine anyone who wants to have a fete or horse show on land which has not previously been used for that purpose, will have to apply for permission.

Is this not going too far? Are not the present powers of control adequate? I ask the right hon. Gentleman to look at the matter again. We do not find these fairs suddenly starting up in places where they are obnoxious to the people in the neighbourhood.

I do not know whether the National Eisteddfod of Wales could be correctly described as a "travelling circus" or whether it comes into this question, but it certainly moves from one part of the country into another in different years. I should like to be assured by the Minister that permission will not have to be sought in such cases.

There is a little misunderstanding about the effect of the Bill in this respect and a grave misunderstanding about the attitude of Members of the Government towards functions of this kind. For my own part I never miss an occasion of attending a fun fair and—

I am afraid I will not. We have had a little too much fun about this. I always look forward with, I confess, diminishing confidence to the occasion when I shall meet the hon. and learned Member for Daventry (Mr. Manningham-Buller) in a "dodgem" car or see how he repeats, on the swings, his evolutions in the political roundabout. We are most anxious to do anything we can to promote the facilities available to the ordinary people of this country of having fun on suitable occasions. The hon. and learned Member for Daventry has misunderstood the effect of the Bill. There is nothing in this Bill which will prevent the travelling circus from going from county to county and town to town and returning to its old accustomed sites just as it has done year after year in the past. Under Clause 10 (5) (b) nothing will apply to the use of land which has been used for this kind of purpose—

I am sure the right hon. and learned Gentleman does not wish to misinterpret me. I never suggested that that was prevented. I said that if they wanted to use a new site, they would have to get permission.

I had not appreciated what the hon. and learned Gentleman had stressed. If it is a question of going to a new site, I agree that, in some circumstances, if their user of the new site amounted to a development of that site, that is a question of fact which would have to be considered on the merits of each case, and they would have to obtain permission. Hon. Gentlemen opposite will appreciate that the new site might be next to a hospital, or in some other position where it was manifestly undesirable that a fair should be established. Hon Gentlemen opposite have not suggested any adequate existing means by which the use of land for this kind of purpose can be controlled. We think it right that while existing sites which in the past have been consecrated to this most important and desirable use, should continue to be used there should exist some power which can be exercised in the case of necessity, to control the development of new sites for this purpose.

May I have an answer to my question, because it is a matter of some consequence?

Before the Attorney-General replies, would he agree that this Amendment has nothing whatever to do with fun fairs which are a degenerate and bastard—

The hon. Gentleman is now making a second speech, which he is not entitled to do

If the people of Cornwall could have heard the speech of the Attorney-General, they would have been rather disturbed. Cornwall is full of joy and colour, but it has a serious purpose. Travelling circuses and fairs play a very prominent part in the life of various towns and villages in Cornwall on what are called feast days. I am rather disturbed to hear that if such a circus or fair is established on a new site it may be in trouble. The learned Attorney-General asked what was to be done if such a fair sought to establish itself next to a hospital but, under the existing law, that could be restrained as a nuisance and it would be quite impossible for a fair to be established on such a site. Therefore, on behalf of the children of Cornwall—and I hope I may be accounted one—who so enjoy these fairs and circuses, I rise to protest, and I hope that the matter will yet be reconsidered,

Division No. 210.]


[5.44 p.m

Agnew, Cmdr. P. GGranville, E. (Eye)Nutting, Anthony
Aitken, Hon. MaxGruffydd, Prof. W. JOrr-Ewing, I. L
Allen, Lt.-Col. Sir W (Armagh)Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Peake, Rt. Hon. O
Amory, D. HeathcoteHarvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Pickthorn, K.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RHead, Brig. A. H.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Balfour, A.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CPoole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)
Barlow, Sir JHerbert, Sir A. P.Prior-Palmer, Brig O
Baxter, A. B.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountRaikes, H. V.
Beamish, Maj. T. V. HHogg, Hon. QRayner, Brig. R.
Beechman, N. A.Hollis, M. C.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S C. (Hillhead)
Bennett, Sir PHolmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Renton, D.
Birch, NigelHoward, Hon, A.Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)
Boothby, R.Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Ropner, Col. L.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. GHulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Sanderson, Sir F.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow. C.)Shepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Brown, W. J. (Rugby)Jarvis, Sir JSmiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G TJeffreys, General Sir G.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Butcher, H. WLambert, Hon. G.Smithers, Sir W
Byers, FrankLegge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HSpearman, A. C. M.
Carson, E.Linstead, H. N.Stanley, Rt. Hon. O.
Challen, CLipson, D. L.Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GLloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Conant, Maj. R. J. ELow, Brig. A. R. W.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Cooper-Key, E. M.Lucas, Major Sir J.Stuart, Rt. Hon. J. (Moray)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. ELucas-Tooth, Sir H.Sutcliffe, H.
Crowder, Capt. John ELyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Cuthbert, W. N.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Taylor, Vice-Adm E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Davidson, ViscountessMackeson, Brig. H. R.Teeling, William
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)McKie, J. H. (Galloway)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Digby, S. W.MacLeod, J.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Drayson, G BMacmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Thorp, Lt.-Col. R. A. F
Drewe, CMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Vane, W. M. F.
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond)Manningham-Buller, R. EWadsworth, G
Duthie, W. S.Marsden, Capt. A.Walker-Smith, D.
Eccles, D. M.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Ward, Hon. G. R
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMellor, Sir J.Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Erroll, F. J.Morris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Morrison, Maj. J. C. (Salisbury)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Morrison, Rt. Hon W. S. (Cirencester)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Gage, C.Mott-Radclyffe, Maj C EYork, C.
Gammans, L. D.Neven-Spence, Sir BTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Nicholson, G.Major Ramsey and
Glyn, Sir RNield, B. (Chester)Mr. Studholme.


Adams, Richard (Balham)Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Attewell, H. C.
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Alpass, J. HAustin, H. Lewis
Allen, A. C (Bosworth)Anderson, A (Motherwell)Awbery, S. S

On behalf of the children of Devonshire I would like to say a word. In these grim and very grey days, these circuses and fairs are amongst the few things that cheer us up. I suggest that any new powers are utterly unnecessary. Next week in Dawlish, which is my home town, a fair is arriving. The owners applied to use the green on the sea front. The council discussed the application at last week's meeting; they decided that this fair might cut up the green too much, and that it should go to the playing fields a mile away. So the present powers are ample to deal with everything of that kind. This is just another bit of completely unnecessary legislation.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 129. Noes, 259.

Ayles, W. H.Herbison, Miss M.Pryde, D. J.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. B.Hicks, G.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Bacon, Miss A.Hobson, C. R.Ranger, J.
Barstow, P. G.Holman, P.Rees-Williams, D. R.
Barton, C.Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Reeves, J.
Battley, J. R.House, G.Reid, T. (Swindon)
Bechervaise, A. EHoy, J.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.
Benson, G.Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)Robens, A.
Beswick, F.Hutchinson, H. L. (Rusholme)Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Royle, C.
Bing, G. H. C.Irving, W. J.Sargood, R.
Binns, J.Janner, B.Scollan, T.
Blenkinsop, A.Jay, D. P. T.Scott-Elliot, W.
Blyton, W. R.Jeger, G. (Winchester)Segal, Dr. S.
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Shackleton, E. A. A
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)John, W.Sharp, Granville
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Jones, D, T. (Hartlepools)Shawcross, Rt. Hn. Sir H. (St. Helens)
Bramall, E. A.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Keenan, W.Shurmer, P.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Kenyon, C.Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Silverman, J. (Erdington)
Buchanan, G.Kinley, J.Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)
Burke, W. A.Kirby, B. V.Simmons, C. J.
Butler, H W. (Hackney, S.)Kirkwood, DSkeffington, A. M.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Lavers, S.Skeffington-Lodge, T. C.
Chamberlain, R. A.Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Smith, C. (Colchester)
Champion, A. J.Lee, F. (Hulme)Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Chetwynd, G. R.Leslie, J. R.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Clitherow, Dr. R.Levy, B. W.Snow, Capt. J. W.
Collindridge, F.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Sorensen, R. W.
Colman, Miss G. M.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Soskice, Maj. Sir P
Comyns, Dr. L.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Sparks, J. A.
Cook, T. F.Logan, D. G.Stamford, W.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Lyne, A. W.Steele, T.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)McAdam, W.Stephen, C.
Corvedale, ViscountMcEntee, V. La T.Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Crossman, R. H. S.McGhee, H. G.Strauss, G. R. (Lambeth, N.)
Daggar, G.Mack, J. D.Stubbs, A. E.
Daines, P.McKay, J. (Wallsend)Summerskill, Dr. Edith
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Mackay, R. W. G (Hull, N.W.)Swingler, S.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)McKinlay, A. S.Symonds, A. L.
Davies, Harold (Leek)Maclean, N. (Govan)Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)McLeavy, F.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Macpherson, T. (Romford)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Mainwaring, W. H.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Deer, G.Mallalieu, J. P. W.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
Diamond, J.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Dobbie, W.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Dodds, N. N.Marshall, F. (Brightside)Thurtle, Ernest
Driberg, T. E. N.Medland, H. M.Tiffany, S.
Dumpleton, C. W.Mellish, R. JTitterington, M. F
Dye, S.Messer, F.Tolley, L.
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Middleton, Mrs. L.Ungoed-Thomas, L.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Mikardo, IanVernon, Maj. W. F
Edwards, John (Blackburn)Mitchison, G R.Viant, S. P.
Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Monslow, W.Walkden, E.
Evans, John (Ogmore)Montague, F.Walker, G. H.
Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Moody, A. S.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Ewart, R.Morley, RWarbey, W. N.
Fairhurst, F.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (L'wish'm, E.)Watson, W. M
Fernyhough, E.Mort, D. LWebb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Moyle, A.Weitzman, D.
Forman, J. C.Murray, J. DWells, P L. (Faversham)
Foster, W. (Wigan)Nally, W.Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Freeman, Peter (Newport)Naylor, T. E.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E..
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Neal, H. (Claycross)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
Gibson, C. W.Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)Wigg, Col. G. E.
Gilzean, A.Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Wilkes, L.
Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Wilkins, W. A.
Gooch, E. G.Noel-Buxton, LadyWilley, F. T. (Sunderland)
Goodrich, H. E.Oldfield, W. H.Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Gordon-Walker, P. C.Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Williamson, T.
Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Palmer, A. M F.Wills, Mrs. E. A
Grey, C. F.Parker, J.Wise, Major F. J
Grierson, E.Parkin, B. T.Woodburn, A.
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Paton, J. (Norwich)Woods, G. S
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Pearson, A.Wyatt, W.
Guy, W. H.Peart, Capt. T. F.Yates, V. F.
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Piratin, P.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Hall, W. G.Popplewell, E.
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Porter, E. (Warrington)TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Hardy, E. A.Porter, G. (Leeds)Mr. Joseph Henderson and
Harrison, J.Price, M. PhilipsMr. Hannan.
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleProctor, W. T.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 20, to leave out "a," and to insert "no."

With your permission, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I should like the next Amendment—in line 21, to leave out "and of each," and to insert "or of any"—to be considered with this Amendment. Clause 10 describes what is and what is not development and in Subsection (3) there is the curious phrase

"For the avoidance of doubt it is hereby declared"
that any man who converts one house into two or more separate dwellings is undertaking development. The phrase "for the avoidance of doubt" reminds me of Macaulay's phrase "every schoolboy knows." Of course every schoolboy did not know, and this phrase raises more doubts than it allays. One doubt is what really is the intention of the Government in regard to the levying of development charges. Do they intend to levy development charges upon buildings, or upon sites? Listening to the Second Reading speeches one heard hon. Member after hon. Member opposite rejoicing in the fact that values which had been created by the community were now to be taxed for the benefit of the community. The whole argument seemed based on the fact that development charges were to be levied on sites, yet, "for the avoidance of doubt," it is here stated that development charges are to be levied on buildings. I ask the Government to allay that doubt, and to make clear their intention in regard to the levying of development charges. Is it on sites, or also on buildings on those sites?

The second doubt which this raises in my mind is whether the Government are really in earnest about the housing of the people of this country. Here we have the clearly laid down intention of the Government that where a man performs the beneficial act of turning a house into two, three, or more, separate dwellings, he renders himself liable to all the rigmarole of applying to the Central Land Board to be told what the development charge is, and to waiting until the property has been inspected and the amount assessed, before he can get planning permission or licences. One can imagine the owner of a building which already houses two, three, or more, families, and which has not been modernised, looking at all the things which have to be done under the terms of this Bill, and saying in despair, "Dash it all, I would rather leave the property as it is. I am not going to all the trouble of finding out what the development charge is to be, and then converting the building." Every hon. Member must know from his daily correspondence, as well as from his own observation, that there are not sufficient houses provided for the people, and that people are living in single rooms, or sometimes in two rooms and sharing a kitchen or bathroom. It should be the intention of the Government that as quickly as possible plans should be made for the conversion of those buildings, and their modernisation, so that they can be made into decent separate dwellings.

The first thing the Clause will do, if carried into effect, will be to delay modernisation, and to hold up conversion of such buildings. Already people are living in these conditions; this does not mean that they will be prevented from living in them in the future. We want to see that these conditions shall be alleviated to the greatest possible extent as quickly as possible. Many of these houses were once very fine houses, but they are now outmoded. Often they have pleasing Georgian or Regency exteriors, which should be retained. It would be a great shame if many of them were swept away, or torn down and replaced by modern streamlined buildings quite out of keeping with the character of the neighbourhood. Can it be said that because a man is laying out money by turning the interiors of such buildings into decent modern separate dwellings, he is doing something which ought to incur penalties, and make him liable to pay development charge? It used to be considered a virtue to make two blades of grass grow where one grew before. Here the Government are seeking to place a penalty upon a man who seeks to turn one dwelling into two or more. That may be good planning, but it is bad policy.

6.0 p.m.

I beg to second the Amendment.

This Amendment, which was proposed in such forceful and felicitous terms by my hon. Friend the Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley), relates to a Clause which proposes to do away with certain doubts. I feel that my hon. Friend rather flattered the Government when he asked them what the effect of this Clause was on the levying of development charges in respect of the process of conversion. It seems to me, from a study of the Clause, that the answer must be that with the Clause as at present drafted, a development charge must clearly be levied on those processes of conversion. Under Clause 10 of the Bill, which we are at present discussing, planning permission is required in respect of development to he carried out, and development includes
"the making of any material change in the use of any buildings or other land."
The process of conversion is, by this part of the Clause, defined as being "a material change" of use. That being so, it seems to me that, as the Clause stands, it must follow that the process of conversion is liable, under Clause 62, to the levy of a development charge.

I note that the right hon. Gentleman expresses agreement that that is, in fact, the position arising under this Clause as it stands. It is because that is the position, and because we think that is a wrong position, that we wish to have this Clause amended in the sense expressed in the words on the Order Paper. My hon. Friend rightly stressed the importance of this particular matter in relation to the great question of housing the people of this country. The business of town planning is not solely concerned with amenity; it is not solely concerned with trying to restrict bad or inaesthetic development. At least an equally important part of any right concept of town planning is an insistence on its positive aspect of promoting good development. If that is true in normal times, how much more is it true today, when we have this enormous shortage of housing accommodation, and when we can see, from the lamentable failure of the housing policy, and from the retreat of the Minister of Health even from the modest target for 1947, that we shall have a very small contribution towards the solution of this problem by way of erection of new houses.

Because that is so, it makes it doubly important that we should try to stimulate the provision of additional housing accommodation by getting appropriate conversion, and that we should not try to fetter and restrict it, as would be done by the Clause as it stands, which imposes an obligation of a development charge on people who try to expand housing accommodation by the processes of conversion. What is the argument against it? The right hon. Gentleman insisted, in Committee upstairs, that it was necessary that we should retain the obligation to get town planning permission for these processes of conversion. He put that forward primarily on aesthetic grounds. I said then, and I repeat, that no one attaches more importance than I do to these aesthetic questions. I wholly associate myself with what my hon. Friend has said. We naturally desire as much as anybody to retain, for example, the pleasing Georgian elevations to which he has referred. Many of these processes of conversion are, in fact, internal processes; the structural alterations are internal and the pleasing facades remain undestroyed and unimpaired. Those are the processes of conversion which we have in mind; to the outer view the appearance is the same, but inside, instead of housing one person uncomfortably, the houses are housing several people in a way which is reasonably appropriate to the social and economic realities of our day. That is the sort of conversion we have in mind.

Is it necessary to subject that sort of conversion to the necessity of obtaining town planning permission in order to prevent the possibilities of deterioration of amenity? It is not, because, of course, these internal processes of structural alteration are governed by the necessity of obtaining by-law permission. Town planning permission under this Bill will have to be sought from the more remote planning authority, that is to say, the county council, but by-law permission is the concern of the local authority, the borough council or the county district council. Therefore, it imposes a closer supervision upon these processes than anything that can be exercised by a town planning body. The case is clear that the processes of conversion are valuable as an addition to housing accommodation. It is also clear that they can be carried out, even if exempted from the necessity of obtaining permission, and therefore incurring a liability for development charge, without undue fear of deterioration of amenity or standard.

As my hon. Friend so persuasively pointed out, the alternatives, if we do not take this course, are two. One is that large houses will continue unconverted, housing one or two people, uncomfortably and unsuitably, in a way in which I am sure the hon. Member for Rutherglen (Mr. McAllister) and the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), both from different points of view, would agree in condemning as undesirable. The second possibility is that these large houses will become the homes of a great many families without the necessary structural alterations being carried out. They will be large houses housing many families without the necessary alterations and amenities which are desirable. That is the quickest way in which the right hon. Gentleman can promote the growth of slums in this country. We do him the credit of believing that that is not his intention. Therefore, I most strongly urge that we should assist in the solution of the problem of housing the people of this country by trying to stimulate this process of house conversion, and that we do so by incorporating this Amendment in the Clause.

More and more am I amazed at the language which is used on the other side of the House, when hon. Members want to serve some particular purpose. I listened to the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith) telling us that there are houses in this country in which one family lives uncomfortably because the houses are too big.

The hon. Member is making a very jejune point. Surely it is within his knowledge, and the knowledge of the House, that in bygone spacious days there were large houses which could only be lived in with certain social amenities and ancillaries, in particular a large domestic staff. Those conditions have passed away, and I do not regret it, but it makes any attempt to perpetuate them quite unsuitable.

I would advise the hon. Member, when he is talking to me, that if he is not prepared to use English he might try Scottish. I am not sure that I am sufficiently well acquainted with languages to get the full meaning of the word "jejune." Perhaps he will explain it to me later. In spite of what he says about the changed conditions of today, there are in this country many houses which I should like to see converted. I Think the Minister also would like to see them converted. The hon. Member for Hertford and his friends would not like to see them converted. The occupants of these houses may live uncomfortably, but they would live much more uncomfortably if the accommodation were taken away and given to other people.

I have in mind houses that have been vacated, not because they were too big for the occupants, but because the area in which the houses were built gradually began to be used by the local authorities for housing, and the proletariat began to encroach The owners of the houses wanted to get far far away from such associations, so the houses were vacated. Some of the houses which I have in mind which were formerly occupied by one family are now occupied by six families. There are a common kitchen, a common bathroom and lavatory accommodation on the ground floor and the same facilities upstairs. That does not alter the fact that there are six separate dwellings. Some hon. Members appear to think that if everyone has not got a bathroom, lavatory accommodation, and a kitchen of their own, they are not living in separate dwellings, but I assure them that they are separate dwellings. If hon. Members had lived as I have lived in a tenement, they would know that there may be three separate dwellings on each landing. We had no bathrooms at all in most of those houses. There was a common lavatory at. the stair head, but they were separate dwellings. In the same way in the converted houses which I have in mind there are six separate dwellings, three below and three above.

No one can say that no notice should be taken of that and that no development charge should be made. Naturally, this must be taken into account in connection with planning. The planning authority must take account of all the large houses that can be converted, and when they see that conversion is taking place, development charges should be made. Of course, the system must be controlled and regulated in a way which will avoid the horrible system existing in many parts of Glasgow, where there are places which are not separate dwellings. There are places where three families live together in one big room. They may hang a sheet across the room to get a measure of privacy. We must get rid of that sort of thing. Surely, we should ensure that these large houses are converted.

6.15 p.m.

The suggestion has been made that if there is a development charge, the person who owns the property will allow the house to stand empty. Anyone who can get hold of one of these large houses will be ready to convert it into a dwelling for two, three or more families. The mere fact that there is to be a development charge will not he any handicap. If I were interested in property—I am not— I could get hold of quite a number of houses which, at present, are only partially in use. I would do my best to get the tenants taken out and put into more comfortable conditions, and would make use of these houses for reconversion purposes. I would turn them into two, three or four separate dwellings and I would gladly face any development charge. It would make a very useful contribution to the development plans of local authorities, and it would also be a profitable business for the individual who had control of the property. I do not think that the Minister should give any consideration to the Amendment. He should keep the Clause as it stands.

I had a little difficulty in following the argument of the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) but I concluded that, true to his Communist principles, he was advocating community kitchens and saying that every housewife required at least five other women to share her kitchen with her. If that was his argument, I am afraid I do not agree—

I did not argue for any such thing. Although there happens to be a common kitchen, there are six separate distinct and private dwellings in some of these houses.

Hon. Members on this side of the House believe that it is far better to have six separate kitchens, and that is why we put forward this Amendment. We believe, for reasons which have been made absolutely clear, that there will be a great deterrent to people who would wish to convert houses into flats. In a constituency such as mine, which is largely rural, there are in the countryside and in the larger towns a number of houses which are large by modern standards and which might well be converted into two or more flats. That work has been in progress, but unless this Amendment is carried, there is a grave danger that it will not continue. It is in the interests of the housing drive that more accommodation should be made available. We should also remember the amenity aspect of the matter. Many of these houses have considerable architectural merits, and it would be a misfortune if they were allowed to deteriorate and perhaps eventually fall down.

I think perhaps the Minister does not appreciate, in regard to the development charge, what a very indefinite position exists from the point of view of an owner who wishes to convert. He knows very little indeed, about the nature of the development charge, and he can do nothing but make the wildest guess at what it will be. In other words, he is entering into a complete gamble. In most cases, the conversion of a house into three or six flats, whatever it may be, is not likely to bring in much more rent. It is a pity that the Minister should go out of his way to discourage owners from doing this. I hope he will consider the Amendment most seriously.

The hon. Gentleman who moved this Amendment said that we were confronted here with a conflict between politics and policy. I think we are confronted with a conflict between one policy and another, both legitimate in their own way, but requiring to be balanced one against the other. The policy with which the Minister is very properly concerned is the policy, first, of preserving the amenities of our countryside and towns, and, secondly, of acquiring for the State the development benefit which comes from the aggregation of people together in a given area. These are the two main purposes in this Bill, and they are legitimate and worthy purposes. As against that, we have to consider the point which has been made here that there is an overriding, catastrophic and calamitous shortage of housing accommodation in Britain, and that anything we can do to stimulate a solution, even an unorthodox solution, of that problem, is something that we ought to do.

I had my daughter to lunch today, and I rejoice to say that, after two years of effort, with considerable priority—because she is a war widow with a child—she has, at last, achieved an ambition of several years' standing to have a home of her own. She is now accommodated in a Nissen hut, and there are 5.000 people on the list of the local authority in whose area she lives, who have not even got a Nissen hut. When housing conditions are in that catastrophic state, I argue that the very proper ambitions which the Minister has in this Bill may require to be qualified by reference to the practical urgencies of the situation. In the light of that, I invite the House to look at the effect of the Clause.

First of all, there is no doubt that the Clause implies that the owner who wants to convert a house into a series of smaller messuages—I think that is what they are called—has to get permission, not the ordinary approval under the by-laws of the local authority, but a special development permission. This country is rapidly becoming strangled by the necessity to get permission. We have not quite got to the stage when we require permission to sneeze, but we are not far off it, and the cumulative effect of all these permissions, in slowing down the mechanism of life in Britain and the rate of production is, in my view, incalculable, and we ought not to do anything to make any obligation to get an additional permission unless it is overridingly important that we should do so.

I submit that, in what the Minister is concerned about, that is, amenity exteriors, he can get all he wants under the present by-law permission from the local authority, and that he does not need this special development permission in order to secure the perfectly legitimate object, which is one of the legitimate objects with which he is concerned. With regard to the second object with which the Minister is concerned, there is no doubt that, under Clause 10, the change in the character of a building by converting it from one dwelling-place into a number, would attract to the owner the necessity of paying development rights. Here, again, we have to balance theoretical desirability with practical needs. In every other sphere of life, when we want to get extra effort, we offer an inducement for it. If we want overtime, we offer a higher rate of pay. If we want larger families, we offer higher rebates of Income Tax, with children's allowances. The one field in which we offer no induce- ment, but every deterrent and penalty, is in housing the people. The whole of our rating system in this country is a positive and active deterrent to the improvement of property. If a man has a house and wants to make an improvement to it, and he puts plans before the local authority, the first thing that happens is that the rates assessment is increased.

On a point of Order. Is the hon. Gentleman in Order on this Amendment in discussing the matters which he is now raising?

I was just about to rise to point out that the hon. Member is now very wide of the Amendment.

With very great respect, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, I am entitled to argue, in my submission, that, if there are already too many deterrents to the improvement of property, we ought not to have another. That is all I am trying to do.

It is in Order for the hon. Gentleman to use that as an illustration, but not to develop it.

I do not propose to develop it. I know I am in Order in mentioning it, but not in developing it, and all I have done is to mention it. The fact is that our present rating system is already a big deterrent.

What the hon. Gentleman has said is perfectly right, up to a point. That point is that the Chair determines the line of demarcation.

Certainly, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, and that is why we look to you for guidance in these matters. We ought not to add to existing deterrents, but, on the contrary, to give a positive inducement in order to transform large houses into smaller ones and make one contribution to the solution of the housing problem. The hon. Member who speaks for Moscow—

On a point of Order. Is it permissible for the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown), in a cheap and "fun fair" sort of manner, to take the phrase of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Woodford (Mr. Churchill), and would it not be desirable that he should get some crack of his own?

It is not for me to correct any inaccuracy of the hon. Member for Rugby, but I would point out that Moscow has no representative in this House.

That is one aspect of international politics and social philosophy which I will not pursue.

I do not know whether the hon. Member for Rugby desires to continue his speech.

In Scotland. there are many cases where there are houses which have six separate dwelling places within them, but where the people share a common kitchen, common lavatories, and a common bathroom. It is within the recollection of this House that that is what the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher) said, but, instead of deploring that situation, as I imagine a normal person would, instead of saying that it is intolerable that these families should share one kitchen or bathroom or lavatory, the hon. Member seems to regard that as the apex of social progress. That is the height of the hon. Member s ideal.

6.30 p.m.

Under this Clause, the use of such houses can be controlled and directed in such a way that that will not be possible.

I now gather that the hon. Member does not want it to happen, and if so, he is at one with me, and ought not to describe me as a mountebank. I submit that is not what we want in England or in Scotland. If we do not want it, instead of leaving large houses gradually to deteriorate into that situation—which will certainly happen unless the property owner has some incentive to get on with the job on his own account—instead of allowing those large houses to deteriorate into a series of tenements, we ought to do everything we can to facilitate their con-version into proper, separate, self-contained apartments for people to live in. That is why one element of policy has to balance against another. Granted that the Minister's objectives in the Bill are right, granted that we have to preserve the amenities of the town and countryside, granted that society is entitled to share in the development rights which it creates itself—granted all that—one has still to balance that situation against a housing situation in Britain which, in my view, constitutes the gravest single social problem that this country has to face. The Amendment is an attempt to provide some incentive in that direction, and I hope we shall get something more in response to it than a mere negative from the Minister.

I wish to reinforce some of the arguments that have been used and to add a plea about the rural side of the matter. It is very difficult to begin to visualise, as the Bill is at present, the sort of odds that might be weighted against converting larger houses in the country. I know of many cases where the owners are only too anxious to hand over their big houses and to live in very much smaller ones—in many cases they are already living in cottages—and to convert the larger houses into accommodation that could be used by those who are actively engaged on work on the land. That would be a very sensible arrangement. As the Bill is at present, however, what can an owner do? What does he know about his position? How does he know what he will be charged or surcharged, or what permissions he will have to get? It is asking a great deal to expect owners of such property, which could be made of very great use to the local community as a whole, to indulge in that sort of undertaking when they feel that they might be penalised for doing so.

There is another aspect of the matter. We have heard from my hon. Friends and from hon. Members opposite about the single houses. This matter goes a great deal further than that. In London and the great cities—in most of them, although not in all of them—there are long terraces of larger houses; there are whole streets, circuses, and squares of them. What the position. if this Amendment is not inserted in the Bill? Let hon. Members take the case of the two cities nearest to my constituency, Bath and Bristol, and imagine what could be done if owners were encouraged to do it instead of being debarred and discouraged from doing it. Let hon. Members imagine what could be done in converting those houses, which are rapidly becoming more and more unsuit- able for those who occupy them, under sound conditions and, obviously, always under the authority of the local authority as regard details. The local authority seems to have been forgotten by all those who oppose the Amendment. It would be of tremendous value to the community if those terraces could be retained, and it would be of value not only from the housing point of view, but because they would add to the aesthetic standard of any other buildings that would be erected in their immediate neighbourhood. In the older towns and cities, where intelligent local authorities have been guided by intelligent architects, the whole feeling of some of the better buildings in a town— it may be only a half dozen of them—has been carried through into the more modern structures of the town. If we deliberately discourage the conversion of those houses, we shall encourage their destruction, and we shall encourage the omission of all that is finest in our architectural history.

Is it not clear to the hon. Member that, if this Amendment were accepted, these houses which he wants to see retained as an attraction would be turned into rabbit warrens?

I am a Scotsman like the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher), and I thought that, as I was talking in words of one syllable, he could not hold against me the objection that he held against my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith). I do not think there is anything in this Amendment that would cause these houses to be converted into rabbit warrens. It would do exactly the opposite. Under the Bill there is every encouragement, if there is a low fellow who wants to develop rabbit warrens, for these houses to be turned into rabbit warrens rather than for the owners to go through all the rigmarole, with the risk that is held against them, under the Bill. Those of us who support the Amendment are trying to eradicate that provision from the Bill in order that proper conversion shall be carried out in a proper way and people be decently housed.

I know some of the housing conditions in Glasgow which the hon. Member for Wes; Fife has in mind. Does he want to see those conditions perpetuated and encouraged? There are terraces in Glasgow now which might very easily become rabbit warrens, unless this Amendment is accepted. I agree with the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown) that the deterrents against those who want to try to help the country and local communities in housing matters are very strong. Things are very difficult, partly because people do not know where they are, and partly because the present Government have removed from the statute book, certainly as regards local areas, the one Act which might have been of assistance. I ask the Minister to consider the Amendment seriously, because I am certain that, unless some Amendment of this sort is accepted, people will not act as quickly and as well as they might act in the interests of the people as a whole.

I want to put a rather different point to the Minister before he replies. Those hon. Members who have spoken hitherto have spoken in terms of the effect which this Amendment may have on the policy of converting houses, and I do not wish to controvert that in any way because I take a somewhat different line, but I am concerned about whether, if this Amendment or an equivalent Amendment is not inserted, the Mininster will not, in fact, confuse the purpose of the Bill and insert certain provisions in it which will prove in practice to be wholly unworkable. The first consideration which obviously applies to this Amendment is the general purpose of the Clause to which it refers. The purpose of the Clause is to define the meaning of the word "development" for the purpose of setting out the circumstances in which the development permission is required and the purposes for which it is desired to institute a development charge. The first part of the Clause contains a definition of development which seems to me to be eminently reasonable and satisfactory. It provides that development consists of a material change in the use to which the land or buildings are put. That seems to be thoroughly satisfactory and absolutely proper. It lays down what each one of us using common sense, would say development was.

In the Subsection which is under consideration and which it is proposed to amend, I submit that that eminently wise definition is receiving a gloss or interpretation which will lead to infinite confusion. I can well understand that there may be cases—we can all imagine them—in which the conversion of a dwelling house into one or more separate dwellings within it might constitute development within the general definition, and I am sure that if we studied the cases in detail there would not be a great deal of difference between the two sides of the House in concrete instances.

But I can equally imagine cases where the change from one dwelling house to one or more dwellings within it would not constitute development within the meaning of the general definition. propose to give one or two instances. Suppose I am right in thinking that there will be such cases. I am equally right, surely, in suggesting that it is totally inappropriate in such cases to impose either the necessity for a permission, or the institution of a development charge. If it so happens that there are cases in which the change of structure does not, in fact, constitute a material change in the use of the building or the land, it must be totally inappropriate to demand either an additional permission or a development charge. I only refer in passing, because it was so well stated by my hon. Friend the Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith), to the argument which he put forward, namely, that, at any rate, in such cases the existing by-law permissions which are necessary in order to effect structural changes are amply adequate to safeguard the needs of the community.

This leads me to the second stage of the argument in which I hope to show the learned Attorney-General, who is not in agreement with the point which I have just made, that, in point of fact, he has not fully appreciated the meaning of this Subsection which it is proposed to amend. If he will look at paragraph (a) of Subsection (3), he will see that the criterion of what constitutes development that is not structural change; it is user. Let me pose this question to the learned Attorney-General which, I think, he will recognise as illustrating a reasonable difficulty I suppose that in his earlier days he, like me, practised in the county courts, and he must have been familiar with the constant difficulties which occur in the use of dwelling houses which are subject to the Rent Restriction Acts. One of the most frequent difficulties which occurs is when a tenant of a small artisan dwelling house sub- lets part of that house without any structural alteration whatever, to somebody who occupies two or three of the rooms and shares the kitchen and sanitary accommodation. That is one of the commonest practices in this country, and, although in many cases the lease demands that the landlord's permission should be obtained before such use is made, it is relatively rare for that formality to be observed, and if there is a permission it is an implied permission arising out of the acceptance of rent.

6.45 p.m.

What is the position under this Subsection? A tenant of a small dwelling house, of which there are hundreds of thousands in the Kingdom, may take in a lodger who rents as sub-tenant. There may be some argument as to whether he is a lodger or a sub-tenant. He, in fact, rents a room or two rooms for his exclusive use, together with the share of the sanitary accommodation and the kitchen. Under this Subsection, that will be the use of two separate dwellings in a building previously used as a dwelling house. I defy the right hon. and learned Gentleman to dispute that. That would be the use of a conversion of a single small artisan's dwelling house into two or more separate dwellings.

I entirely agree. That has been the law since the Conservatives so enacted in 1932. Since the Interim Development Order was passed, any such change in user would have required a development permission. We are not altering the law in that respect. We are adopting the law as passed by a Conservative Parliament.

I am delighted to find that the learned Attorney-General should think that a law passed by a Conservative Parliament is one which he would wish to perpetuate. I suggest for his consideration that although, admittedly, Conservative laws are all good, they are not all perfect. We are not discussing a Measure which will perpetuate a state of law which, I submit in all seriousness, is in practice unworkable and has not, in fact, worked. It is fantastic to suggest that when a tenant of a small dwelling house sublets one or more of the rooms in that house to a sub-tenant or lodger and thereby, as the Attorney-General agrees, converts it into two or more dwelling houses, the whole appara- tus of the Town and Country Planning Act should come into existence, as the learned Attorney-General agrees to be the case. A permission has to be sought from the town planning authority; a development charge will, I suppose, become applicable, and elaborate sums will have to be worked out because a single room in a working class dwelling house has been altered. I see the force of some part of what the Minister may have in mind. I concede at once that a change of structure might, within the meaning of the general definition, constitute a material change in the user of the land or building. But I submit that the kind of criterion that he here proposes, puts a gloss or interpretation on the general definition which is not satisfactory at all, and will only tend to lead the law into confusion and even contempt.

The House will probably agree that we have spent far too long on this and the previous Amendment in relation to the available time. We have spent nearly two hours on them, and if hereafter hon. Members find that a great part of the Bill has not been discussed they will have themselves to blame. In matters of this kind the whole House must co-operate.

Does the Minister suggest that two hours is too long a time for the discussion of a couple of points which affect literally thousands of cases?

Yes, I do. I say there has been a great deal of unnecessary repetition in the discussions on the last two Amendments. I do not say every speech was unnecessary. For instance, the speech of the hon. Member for Oxford (Mr. Hogg) was a perfectly proper intervention; but there has been a great deal of unnecessary repetition. Moreover, this Amendment was dealt with at considerable length in Committee. What is the case that has been put up? I understand the case of the hon. Member for Oxford. He adopted a very familiar device in Debate. He took the extreme case and proved that the extreme case, if pressed to its logical conclusion, may be rather hard or difficult, or even absurd, and then he attempted to establish that, therefore, the whole case that is put up is equally absurd. I agree with him, it is absurd. I say straight away, it would be absurd so to operate this provision as to require everybody who lets a couple of rooms in an ordinary small tenement to apply for planning consent.

The Bill has foreseen that by enabling the Minister to make development orders under which special classes of cases could be exempted from the provisions of the Bill. No doubt, any sensible Minister would consider which were trivial or unimportant cases which would inflict hardship, and which should be exempted from the operation of the requirement to get permission.

Equally, we recognise that there will be a large number of borderline or marginal cases where, perhaps, theoretically a development charge might be appropriate, but which no sensible person would bother to attempt to collect, possibly even because it would cost more to collect these small charges than would be got out of them. Then again, I have given an undertaking, which will be carried out, that the de minimis cases of development charges will be taken care of, so that there is no attempt to chase after these tiny development charges.

Before the Minister leaves the question of making regulations, would he say clearly whether a development charge is to be levied on the site alone, or whether it is the site plus the bricks and mortar?

If the hon. Member will allow me to make my own speech, I propose to deal with the points that have been raised. I say to the hon. Member for Oxford, that it is unfair to argue the merits of this Amendment on the basis of these marginal cases. They will be taken care of.

Let us discuss it on the basis of the normal case. Ought there or ought there not to be an application for consent in the case of a house becoming converted into a number of separate dwellings? The actual provision we are discussing says that it is
"For the avoidance of doubt …"
I think possibly that has been put in out of an abundance of caution, because in my view there really is not any doubt at all. Today, planning permission has to be obtained for the conversion of houses into separate tenements. I speak with some practical experience of this. I was chairman of a town planning committee for many years, and I personally had to deal with a great many applications of this kind. It was the normal thing for persons wishing to convert to apply for consent. I submit to the House that that was a very wholesome thing, because in that way one was able to secure that the conversion was carried out in the best possible manner, so as to provide the best possible kind of accommodation for the people who were to live in it.

I would remind hon. Members that local authorities are not always the bogeys they are made out to be in discussions in this House. They have a great deal of experience, and certainly the authority of which I was a member was able to give prospective converters of houses a good deal of valuable advice as to the best way to carry out the development, and developers were very grateful for it. Therefore, I say there is considerable advantage, both to the prospective developers and to the community, in applying for this consent, and in getting the benefit of the experience of the authority in ensuring that the best possible type of conversion is obtained.

There is another aspect to it. One can well conceive that if in certain areas which are possibly zoned for single family residences—and that is a zoning which the 1932 Act and subsequent town planning Measures have always recognised; it has always been recognised as quite a proper thing that certain parts of a town should be reserved for single family residences—it were open to owners of houses in such areas freely to convert these single family residences, without having to get consent, it might very well involve a serious change in the character of a neighbourhood. I am not arguing whether that change would be for the better or for the worse, but it would be a very serious change, which could be brought about without any control whatever. If town planning is to be a reality, changes of that kind ought not to be fortuitous; they ought not to be capable of being carried out at the whim of a particular owner. There ought to be some kind of control over changes in the character of a neighbourhood of that kind.

Surely, the Minister would agree that in the case which he has just cited the change would be covered by the general definition at the beginning of the Clause? For that purpose the Subsection we are now discussing would not be necessary.

I do not agree, because it might be that in each particular case of conversion we could put up the same sort of case as the hon. Member put up himself. It would be the cumulative effect on the neighbourhood with which I am concerned.

It might not be a material change. The kind of conversion which could be made in respect of each separate house might not necessarily be a material change. If these words were not here it would be possible to create a drastic change in the character of a neighbourhood which would not only be a change in itself, but would have considerable repercussions. For instance, it might create a demand for additional schools, and other public facilities of that sort. Surely, the local authority ought to have some voice and some control over the possibility of changes of that kind? At the Ministry we are constantly having representations made to us against the conversion of houses into flats because of the effect it would have on the character of the neighbourhood. I have no particular sympathy with that kind of representation. I recognise the need for additional dwellings, but I do say that an individual has a right to make representations of that kind, and to have them considered. It would be quite wrong if people could, quite freely and without getting any consent whatever, be able to change the character of a neighbourhood. That is what this Amendment is intended to do. We have seen what has happened in a great many parts of London and other large areas. Through this freedom to make changes in the character of houses we have seen the creation of slums from areas which, in the past, have been areas occupied by people of comfortable means; gradually the houses have deteriorated through being occupied by a number of families, without control.

7.0 p.m.

That is exactly what this Amendment seeks to perpetuate, and what hon. Members opposite are trying to do. It will have slums created. This is really an Amendment creating the possibility of making new slums. Hon. Members who have spoken in support of it have suggested that the paragraph to which they object in Clause 10 would have the effect of discouraging an owner from carrying out conversion. I really fail to understand that argument. All that an owner is asked to do is to apply for consent, in the same way as he is required to apply today. There is no deterrent—no new deterrent—imposed by this Bill. [HON. MEMBERS: "Clause 62."] I am going to deal with that. As to the possibility that he may have to pay a development charge, as I understand some of the argument, it was not even the amount of the development charge that was the deterrent, but the possibility of having to pay an uncertain amount. It will be quite easy, at the time when the application for town planning consent is made, to ascertain what will be the amount of the development charge, if any. There is no additional trouble involved in ascertaining the amount of the development charge; and that, therefore, need not be a deterrent. I cannot understand the mentality of people—obviously, hon. Gentlemen opposite speak for them and do understand them—who would rather keep their places empty than ascertain what is the amount of a development charge.

That was exactly what was suggested by an hon. Member who spoke—that people would rather keep their places empty. [HON. MEMBERS "Who?"] It was the hon. Gentleman whose constituency I cannot remember offhand, who said people would rather keep their places empty than go to the trouble of finding out the amount of the development charge.

I think I am in the re collection of most hon. Members in the House at the time when I say that I never suggested they would rather keep their places empty. I did say, most certainly. that the uncertainty of the owner's position did deter him and would deter him unless the position was made clear. I certainly said that. Obviously he would not keep his place empty.

I am much obliged to the hon. Gentleman, but I presume that when he says "deter" he means he would not carry out the development he otherwise would do.

Surely, the alternative is this; Either he will take people into his house, living there in insanitary and bad conditions, without any conversion carried out; or he will carry out the conversion. If he does not carry out the conversion, because of the development charge, he will not keep the house empty. he will fill it in a way that creates slums That is the point.

I really cannot have my speech completely distorted. I used exactly those words—that unless he did convert, the place would be turned into a rabbit warren and a slum; and that unless this Amendment- is put in, that is exactly what will happen. I do not think the Minister should so completely distort the words I used.

That is the last thing I wish to do. I still fail to understand the meaning the hon. Gentleman put on "deter." However, I shall not press that point.

To summarise, I say that these provisions are necessary in order to prevent the creation of slums and to exercise better control over the development of a neighbourhood; I say further, that the marginal, the small, trivial case, that the hon. Member for Oxford referred to, can be dealt with under Clause II and that it would be the sensible thing to exempt cases of that kind. For what it is worth, I am prepared even to give an assurance that such classes of cases will be dealt with in a development order. In other cases, I submit to the House, it is important to keep this control. As regards the small development charge, on that again, I have given the assurance that it will not be levied. I submit, further, there need be no feeling whatever on the part of an owner that he is being deterred from carrying out this kind of conversion.

I really do not think it lies in the mouth of the right hon. Gentleman to complain that too much time has been taken over the discussion of this Amendment. I say that for two reasons. In the first place, the Amendment is an extremely important one There are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people who are affected by the terms of this Clause. In the second place, if the right hon. Gentleman seeks to divert the criticism which has been made from this side of the House by saying that in 90 per cent. of the cases the Clause will not be used, then I should have thought it was not beyond the wit of man to devise a suitable Amendment to his own Clause to make that clear on the face of the Bill, or, at least, to intimate to the House what the main lines of his exemptions are to be. We really cannot allow a Clause to go forward on the footing that the Minister will, in some way or another not clear to him, I think, and certainly not to us, exempt 90 per cent. of those whom it affects. That is the acme of bad legislation.

What is the gist of the case? I do not wish to repeat what has been so well argued, if I may say so, from the benches behind me. But the whole question is, that this Clause seeks to prevent the creation of separate dwellings within an existing large house. I very much doubt whether it does effectively cover the case where there are no separate dwellings in the structural sense created. Perhaps the right hon. and learned Attorney-General, who made an interjection which I did not quite follow a little time ago, will tell me if I am wrong about this. Are there not numerous cases where we have two families living within the same structure, but not living in separate dwellings within the meaning of the Rent Restriction Acts? I think he will agree that that is so. There has been a good deal of litigation on that. We often find that we have two or more families living in the same house, and the court says they are not living in separate dwellings because they are sharing a great deal of accommodation. That is the kind of thing that leads to the rabbit warren. I am afraid that the rabbit warren will escape control as the Clause stands, and I hope that the Minister will look at that again. I raised this question, with much more particularity than I can now, in Committee on the Scottish Town and Country Planning Bill, and could not get an adequate answer.

Is the right hon. and learned Gentleman seeking greater control, so as to cover those cases as well?

What I am saying is that I think this Clause has got it completely wrong. This Clause is controlling the desirable form of development, the splitting of a big house into several structurally complete flats. That is a desirable form of development which ought to be encouraged, but I gravely doubt whether this Clause will control people going into a big house in large numbers and sharing accommodation, because they will not then be in separate dwellings within the meaning of the law. My criticism is that it is preventing the creation of separate dwellings, which are desirable, and permitting the association of large numbers of people in one structure, without having separate dwellings, which is highly undesirable. I see no objection to control being taken to prevent people associating in one house where there are no separate dwellings, but the creation of separate dwellings ought to be exempt from control. I do not want to repeat the arguments put forward on that point, which are particularly well founded at this time when accommodation is so short.

Is this being introduced to scrape together development charges which will never be very much, but will nevertheless be hampering or is the basis of this something different? If it is fiscal, the right hon. Gentleman would be well advised to give up any small gain he might derive so as to encourage good development. The right hon. Gentleman says that this sort of thing will not hamper conversion, but surely it is common knowledge that the balance between converting, on the one hand, and continuing to use a house for a single family, on the other, is often very small. Very often people convert partly because they see their way to make a small profit, or partly because they think it is in the public interest to make accommodation available for more families. In a case in balance like that, an owner is not going to the trouble, or chance the insecurity, involved in making this additional application for permits. The right hon. Gentleman spoke as if only one application were necessary but there are two: the person has first to go to the planning control for permission to make an alteration, and worse than that, he then has to go to the Central Land Board to assess the development charge. It may be all right to go to the planning control, although in many cases they may be some distance away, but to go to the Central Land Board and lay yourself open to pay a development charge which may be far more than it ought to be, is not what a great many people will do. I have no hesitation in saying that the effect will be to prevent a large number of desirable conversions. On the other hand, it will encourage a large number of undesirable conversions, because if property

Division No. 211.]


[7.15 p.m

Adams, Richard (Balham)Edwards, John (Blackburn)Levy, B. W.
Adams, W T. (Hammersmith, South)Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Lewis, T. (Southampton)
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Lipson, D. L.
Alpass, J. H.Evans, John (Ogmore)Lipton, Lt.-Col. M
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Evans, S. N (Wednesbury)Logan, D. G.
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Ewart, R.Lyne, A. W.
Attewell, H. C.Fairhurst, F.McAdam, W.
Austin, H. LewisFernyhough, E.McAllister, G.
Awbery, S. S.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)McEntee, V. La T.
Ayles, W. H.Forman, J. C.McGhee, H. G.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs. BFoster, W. (Wigan)Mackay, R W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Bacon, Miss A.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McKinlay, A. S.
Balfour, A.Freeman, Peter (Newport)Maclean, N. (Govan)
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JGallacher, W.McLeavy, F.
Barstow, P. G.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Macpherson, T. (Romford)
Barton, C.Gibson, C. W.Mainwaring, W. H.
Battley, J. R.Gilzean, A.Mallalieu, J. P. W
Bechervaise, A. E.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mann, Mrs. J.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. JGooch, E. G.Manning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Benson, G.Gordon-Walker, P. C.Marquand, H. A.
Berry, H.Greenwood, Rt. Hon. A. (Wakefield)Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Beswick, F.Grenfell, D. R.Martin, J. H.
Bevan, Rt. Hon A. (Ebbw Vale)Grierson, E.Medland, H. M
Bing, G. H. C.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Mellish, R. J
Blyton, W. R.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Middleton, Mrs.
Bottomley, A. G.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Mikardo, Ian
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Guy, W. H.Monslow, W.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Haire, John E (Wycombe)Montague, F.
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Hale, LeslieMoody, A. S.
Brown, George (Belper)Hall, W. G.Morley, R.
Buchanan, G.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. RMorrison, Rt. Hon H. (L'wish'm, E.)
Burke, W. A.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Mort, D. L.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Hardman, D. RMoyle, A.
Byers, FrankHardy, E. A.Murray, J D.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Harrison, J.Naylor, T. E.
Chamberlain, R. AHastings, Dr. SomervilleNeal, H. (Claycross)
Champion, A. J.Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Chetwynd, G. RHenderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Clitherow, Dr. R.Herbison, Miss M.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Cobb, F. A.Hobson, C. RNoel-Buxton, Lady
Cocks, F. S.Holman, P.O'Brien, T.
Colman, Miss G. M.House, G.Oldfield, W. H
Comyns, Dr. L.Hoy, J.Oliver, G. H.
Cook, T. F.Hudson, J. H, (Ealing, W.)Paget, R. T.
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camb'well, N.W.)Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Corvedale, ViscountHynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Crawley, A.Irving, W. J.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Daggar, G.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. APalmer, A. M. F.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Jay, D. P. T.Parker, J.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Jeger, G. (Winchester)Paton, J. (Norwich)
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Jeger, Dr. S W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Pearson, A.
Davies, Harold (Leek)John, W.Peart, Capt. T. F
Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Piratin, P.
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Popplewell, E.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Keenan, W.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Deer, G.Kendall, W. D.Porter, G. (Leeds)
Delargy, H. J.Kenyon, C.Price, M. Philips
Diamond, J.Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. EProctor, W. T.
Dobbie, W.Kinley, J.Pryde, D. J
Dodds, N. N.Kirby, B. V.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Lavers, S.Ranger, J.
Dumpleton, C. W.Lawson, Rt. Hon. J. J.Rees-Williams, D. R
Durbin, E. F. M.Lee, F. (Hulme)Reeves, J.
Dye, S.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)Reid, T. (Swindon)
Ede, Rt. Hon J. C.Leslie, J. R.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.

is not converted, it will result in many places becoming rabbit warrens. I want want to see good conversions encouraged, and rabbit warrens prevented, and I believe that the exact opposite is now being done.

Question put, "That 'a' stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes 269; Noes, 102.

Robens, A.Stubbs, A. E.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)Summerskill, Dr. EdithWestwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Swingler, S.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Royle, C.Symonds, A. L.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Sargood, R.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Wigg, Col. G. E.
Scollan, T.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Wilcock, Group-Capt. C. A. B.
Scott-Elliot, W.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Wilkes, L.
Segal, Dr. S.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wilkins, W. A.
Shackleton, E. A. AThomas, George (Cardiff)Willey, F. T. (Sunderland)
Sharp, GranvilleThomson, Rt. Hn. G R. (Ed'b'gh, E.)Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Shurmer, P.Thurtle, ErnestWilliams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.Tiffany, S.Williams, Rt. Hon T (Don Valley)
Silverman, J. (Erdington)Titterington, M FWilliamson, T.
Silverman, S. S. (Nelson)Tolley, L.Wills, Mrs. E. A.
Simmons, C. J.Turner-Samuels, M.Wilmot, Rt. Hon. J
Skeffington, A. M.Ungoed-Thomas, L.Woodburn, A
Smith, C. (Colchester)Vernon, Maj. W. FWoods, G. S
Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Viant, S. P.Wyatt, W.
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Wadsworth, GYates, V. F.
Sorensen, R. W.Walker, G. H.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Stamford, WWallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Steele, T.Warbey W. NZilliacus, K
Stephen, C.Watson, W. M
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Stokes, R. R.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Mr. Collindridge and
Mr. Davies


Agnew, Cmdr. P. G.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Orr-Ewing, I. L
Amory, D. HeathcoteHarvey, Air-Comdre, A. V.Peake, Rt. Hon. O
Baldwin, A. E.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CPonsonby, Col. C. E.
Barlow, Sir J.Hogg, Hon. Q.Poole, O. B S. (Oswestry)
Beamish, Maj. T. V HHollis, M. C.Prescott, Stanley
Beechman, N. A.Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Prior-Palmer, Brig O.
Bennett, Sir P.Hope, Lord J.Rayner, Brig. R.
Birch, NigelHoward, Hon, A.Reid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Bower, N.Hurd, A.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Braithwaite Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)Sanderson, Sir F.
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Jarvis, Sir J.Shephard, S. (Newark)
Brown, W. J. (Rugby)Jeffreys, General Sir GShepherd, W. S. (Bucklow)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. TJennings, R.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Carson, E.Lambert, Hon. G.Spearman, A. C. M.
Challen, C.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HStoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Clarke, Col, R. S.Linstead, H. N.Strauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. G.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Studholme, H. G.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Low, Brig. A. R. W.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Cuthbert, W. N.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Davidson, ViscountessLyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.Teeling, William
Digby, S. W.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Thorneycroft G. E. P (Monmouth)
Drayson, G B.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Drewe, C.Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Thorp, Ly.-Col. R. A. F
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Manningham-Buller, R. EVane, W. M. F.
Eden, Rt. Hon. A.Marlowe, A. A. HWalker-Smith, D.
Elliot, Rt. Hon. WalterMarples, A. E.Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Erroll, F. J.Marshall, D. (Bodmin)Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Medlicott, F.Williams, C. (Torquay)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Mellor, Sir J.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Gage, C.Morrison, Maj. J. C. (Salisbury)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Gammans, L. D.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)York, C.
Glyn, Sir R.Neven-Spence, Sir B.
Gridley, Sir A.Nield, B. (Chester)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Major Conant and
Major Ramsey.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 22, to leave out paragraph (b).

I think it may be convenient to the House, Sir, if I take, with this Amendment, the Amendment in line 25, as they run together. The House will see that paragraph (b) of Subsection (3) is quite as curious as the Subsection which has recently been the subject of such hot debate. For the avoidance of doubt we are told by Subsection (3, b) that
"the deposit of refuse or waste materials on land may involve a material change in the use thereof, notwithstanding that the land is comprised in a site already used for that purpose, if the superficial area of the deposit is thereby extended."
That means that if a man takes a cartload of ash, and tips it where ashes have been tipped for years, he will not have to apply for permission from the county council, provided that the ash falls where ashes have fallen before. But if, by any chance, some of the ash falls where ash has not fallen before, then, by this Sub- section, that may involve a material change in use. I understand that the Minister will suggest that it must involve a change in use, in view of an Amendment he has on the Order Paper. Is it not carrying control beyond all reasonable limits to say that the use of existing areas shall be subject to planning permission merely on account of extending an area, which is now used for tipping, by a matter of a yard, or a few yards?

I suggest that it is carrying legislation to farcical limits, and that it may have a serious effect on various industries. As the right hon. Gentleman knows, in my part of the world one of the problems. is iron ore extraction, and what happens afterwards. Part of that process involves depositing large quantities of waste on the land from which the iron ore has been extracted. The right hon. Gentleman has seen the great ridges which have been caused by that extraction, and he knows that we on this side of the House have been pressing for some time for action to be taken in that matter. We do not want to see that industry hampered, or extraction prevented in proper cases. But if we apply this Subsection to that industry, every new cut of iron ore will mean that waste which has to be tipped into a fresh part of the same area will involve obtaining planning permission. I agree that if iron ore extraction is taking place in one field planning permission is not needed for every bit of the superficial area covered by the waste, but that if an extension of extraction is required in another field planning permission has to be obtained. But this Subsection goes to farcical limits, and I suggest that the right hon. Gentleman should put something more reasonable into the Bill. I hope he will give an assurance on this point, although assurances are not so satisfactory as words in an Act.

Apparently, a person can build up an ash-heap as high as it will go until it becomes a complete eyesore, without any control over it, provided he does not extend the superficial area by a foot. One of the best ways of using this waste is to fill up disused quarries, and places of that sort. That could be an extension of the superficial area without impinging on the skyline, or disfiguring the countryside. An extension of that sort would be subject to planning permission. This point was discussed in Standing Committee, and I had hoped that the right hon. Gentleman would have put down an Amendment to limit the extensive operation of this Subsection.

7.30 p.m.

I beg to second the Amendment.

I thought that, in spite of what my hon. and learned Friend has said, this Amendment was not discussed in Standing Committee upstairs, although some discussion arose on the Question that the Clause stand part. It may well be that we could have disposed of this matter satisfactorily up there, and then it would not have been necessary to take up the time of the House. This appears to be a small Amendment, but in fact it will affect a large number of people. There is a corner of my garden where the refuse and rubbish is dumped which comes out of my house. The dump when created was a small one, but day by day it encroaches upon the area of the land. In strict accordance with this Clause, it would be necessary for me to get development permission to continue to do this, and I might be subject to a development charge. That is the extent of the power which the Government are seeking to take.

I know that when the right hon. Gentleman comes to reply he will say that it is not his intention to use powers in that way, and that he is proposing to make exemptions by regulation. It is a curious way of avoiding doubt to say exactly the opposite of what one intends to do, and then to take away from oneself the powers by regulation. The fact remains that this Clause gives power to prevent me, and, indeed, a large number of people from dumping house refuse on wasteland in the garden. The right hon. Gentleman may say that he is not proposing to require development permission to be granted in the case of the creation of minor private dumps. It is true that the rubbish from my house only covers an inch or two more of ground in the course of each week, but all dumps grow in that way. Whether he can find words which are adequate to describe the nature of the rubbish dump which he intends to bring within the provision of this Clause is exceedingly doubtful. I think that he will have to take account of the dump which he seeks to avoid, and his regulation will still be extremely confusing if he seeks to define the kind of dumping arrangement which is to be exempt, while leaving some arrangements to be included within the provisions of this Clause. It seems, therefore, that the words in the Clause are not apt for the purpose which I think we all desire to see carried out. In other words, there should be some control of the creation of vast unsightly heaps of ash, rubbish and tin cans which have disfigured the countryside.

All that this paragraph does is to bring within the category of development an extension of the superficial area to be covered by the deposit of refuse. Many deposits of rubbish already cover a large superficial area, and, as I read this paragraph, it would be open to those who deposit refuse on such dumps to continue to do so, provided that instead of spreading it outwards, they spread it upwards. The Clause would enable a huge mountain of tin cans and ash to be reared up so as to dominate the countryside, without any fear of town planning control, whilst preventing what might be a useful expansion of the same heap over a low-lying piece of country, and enabling derelict marsh land to be built up and used for some proper purpose.

I do not believe that that is the right hon. Gentleman's intention, but the words which are used clearly exempt a growing mountain from the provisions of the Clause. If we avoid doubt by stating clearly that the deposit of refuse is a development if the superficial area of the deposit is extended the implication is that it is not a development if we do not extend the superficial area. So long as we merely make a mountain grow upwards, we can keep on dumping and be outside the purview of the Bill. For those reasons, I think that this paragraph is wholly objectionable.

I do not think that hon. Members have directed their minds to the merits of the particular paragraph which they want to delete. The mover of the Amendment did not say a word about being in favour or not of controlling land used for the deposit of refuse.

This is the second time in a short period in which the right hon. Gentleman has misquoted me. I said that the right thing was to give planning permission, if it meant permission for the opening up of a fresh area. If one went into another field to make a fresh deposit or one wanted to raise the height of it, my argument was that that should require permission.

The hon. and learned Gentleman did not say whether or not he was in favour of this particular method of controlling refuse deposit. All he did was to rather ridicule the idea by saying that an extension of an inch or so of the area of development would involve an application. Surely, the purpose of this paragraph is clear, and it seems to me unobjectionable. We cannot attempt by planning legislation to deal with existing refuse dumps, although that may be possible by other means. It may be possible under another Clause for them to be removed by Order, but this Clause deals with their extension. We say that existing refuse dumps cannot be dealt with at all, or can be dealt with under some other Clause. We can prevent their extension without consent.

Yes, outwards but not upwards. We are going to control the use of additional land for these purposes. I know one can always argue about another inch. Supposing we concede that a person can use 10 per cent., what happens if, when that 10 per cent. has been used, more is wanted? We have to draw a line somewhere and we must draw that line firmly and say—"If you want to go beyond that, you have to apply for further consent." It does not follow that that consent will be refused. The rule in these cases is the amount of land that is at present used for these purposes, and it seems to me that, if we are to plan at all, we must regard the use of land for this possibly obnoxious purpose, as something which is subject to control. I have still to learn whether the mover and seconder of this proposal are in favour of that control or not. They really rested their case on the de minimis consideration and a good deal of the speech of the seconder was taken up with his particular garden. As far as his garden is concerned, we have taken great care to cover him. We had in mind his garden when we drafted Clause 10(1, c), and if he will examine that he will see that he can do what he likes with his garden and no one will interfere with him. It is when land is used other than that within the compass of a dwelling house and its confines that this Bill regards it as appropriate that there should be control.

The right Gentleman dealt with the point of the garden, I hope to the satisfaction of my hon. Friend the Member for South Hendon (Sir H. Lucas-Tooth), but he has not dealt with industries like the iron and ore industry where land is used for tipping. Under this Clause every time there is a tip, a fresh application has to be made for permission. The right. hon. Gentle- man has excluded areas where dumping has taken place already, but in his reply he said that for any addition to that area there must be planning permission, so that, if there is a new extract of iron ore, to tip the waste will mean a new application.

Only a person devoid of sense would imagine that he had to apply for permission every time he covered an additional inch of ground. Presumably, the owners of the industry will acquire land for the express purpose of tipping, and they will presumably apply for consent for that land to be used for that purpose, but they will not have to go to the county council for permission every time there is an extra cover of earth on to the land.

7.45 p.m.

The right hon. Gentleman has apparently thought of the private garden, but I do not think that he has thought at all of the ordinary industrial tipping operation. Surely he knows very well what will happen. A light railway will be constructed along the top of the dump, and the waste will be put into trucks, which would be run to the edge and tipped over. Every time a truck is tipped, the land occupied is extended. The right hon. Gentleman says that an undertaking will acquire authority to use a certain area of land, and it will not be only that land for which they will apply, but what is to happen on the appointed day, when no one has any authority and no one has received any permission? They have not made an application because the Bill did not exist. To comply with the law, every one of these trucks will have to be stopped at a certain point, until a new application is made. I think the right hon. Gentleman is well meaning, as always. I think he is probably trying to do something good, but the Clause, as it stands, is a perfectly lunatic way of trying to do it.

Amendment negatived.

Amendment made: In page 10, line 22, leave out "may involve," and insert "involves."—[ Mr. Silkin.j

I beg to move, in page 11, line 1, after "that," to insert:

"(i) in determining for the purposes of paragraph (a) of this subsection the purposes for which land was normally used, no account shall be taken of any use of the land begun in contravention of previous planning control within the meaning of Section sixty-nine of this Act;
This part of the Clause deals with resumption of a normal use where land is being used on the appointed day for a use which is not its normal use. The effect of this Amendment is to secure that the paragraph does not permit resumption without planning permission if that use was originally instituted in contravention of the planning control.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page II, line 2, to leave out from "which," to the end of line 3, and to insert:

"was unoccupied on the seventh day of January nineteen hundred and thirty-seven and has not been occupied since that date."
The purpose of this Amendment is to extend backwards the period in respect of which planning permission does not need to be obtained, in order to secure the use of the premises. It is in accordance with an undertaking which I gave.

This is a point which was raised in Standing Committee. The Minister undertook to consider it, and he has fulfilled his undertaking, for which we are grateful.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause 11—(Development Orders)

I beg to move, in page 11, line 9, at the end, to insert:

"(b) In any county or part of a county in respect of which a development plan has for the time being not been made and approved under the foregoing provisions of this Act the authority which if this Act had not been passed would have been the Interim Development Authority."
This Amendment goes with the following one—on page line 14, at end, to insert:
"(2) Before determining any application for permission to develop land, the authority referred to in paragraph (b) of the foregoing subsection shall consult with the local planning authority."
With permission I will deal with both together as they involve the same point, which is shortly this: This Bill makes a change in the local planning authorities. Up to now they have been identical with the housing authorities that is to say, in the counties they have been county districts, but now the local planning authority is to be the county council. It will be some time before these new authorities have found their feet, and before they have carried out what the Bill enjoins on them—the preparation of a survey, and the subsequent development plan. Therefore, it is certain that a considerable period of time must elapse before these new local authorities are in a position to deal with applications which will come before them. The purpose of the Amendments which we are now considering is to ensure that in that interim period before the new authorities are under way, the old planning authorities who have hitherto dealt with applications for consent should continue to function, but that in doing so they should consult the new planning authority, namely, the county council, so as to ensure that in giving or refusing consent they are, to the best of their ability, acting in conformity with the desire of the new planning authority.

It is really a machinery provision designed to ease over this difficult transition period from the old system to the new. It is, of course, of great public importance because we are all very anxious to see the work of development proceeding unchecked. Housing is a great necessity and in passing this legislation and agreeing, as we are, to the change of authorities, we wish to ensure that the change shall not be allowed to hamper the provision of necessary development. There is a further advantage in this proposal. Anyone wishing to build a house today has to go to the housing authority and obtain by-law consents. While they are scarce he has also to obtain from the local authorities permits for the necessary building materials. Although planning is taken out of the hands of the county district housing authorities by this Bill, the other functions to which I have alluded still remain with them. The county districts will still be the authorities for by-law purposes and will continue to handle the permits for materials. The developer who proposes to proceed will have to obtain one set of consents from the district council and, under this Bill, another from the county council for the planning consents.

I earnestly impress upon the Government and upon the House that at this time it would be very unwise to change horses too suddenly in the middle of the stream. These existing housing authorities are well accustomed to handling planning consents, and there will he a great advantage if the man who wishes to develop can go to one authority and obtain all his consents from the same person for the project he has in hand. I think the provision in the second Amendment to ensure consultation with the planning authority will obviate any risk of a clash or conflict between the consents given and the ultimate design of the plan. In general, as a matter of administration, the way the proposal would work would be that the interim development authorities, on whom we are proposing to confer the power of giving development consent in the interim period, would have a consultation with the new authority, the county council, and determine the lines on which they should proceed. They would have a general sailing direction from the new authority as to how far they should go in giving these consents. If that were done I apprehend that the time of everybody would be saved, and I am sure that it would obviate the risk of undue delay in granting these permissions.

There is another consideration which applies particularly to our rural districts. I will refer, by way of example, to the county of which I have the honour to represent part—namely, Gloucestershire. It is a very long and straggling county with, on the whole, difficult communications. It is split up into a number of rural districts such as, for example, the North Cotswold rural district and the Northleach rural district. These remote villages are a long way from Gloucester, and there is no habitual travelling between them and Gloucester. Apart from its geo- graphical connections Gloucester might be in another county as far as the inhabitants of these remote areas are concerned. This Bill makes it necessary for the developer to obtain a planning consent before any development can proceed. I think it is asking too much of people in these isolated parts to require them to journey all the way to a county town which is very difficult and expensive to get at unless one has a motor-car. Time will be lost by the mere physical difficulty of travelling to and fro. I do not deny that when the new county authority get into their stride it will be possible to arrange for them to delegate some of their authority outwards, or to arrange some postal system of application for these permits. But at the present time, until they have got into their stride, it will be quite impossible for them, having taken on these new functions, suddenly to have the necessary knowledge at their disposal to say whether the permission should or should not be given.

What will happen if this Amendment is not accepted is this. When the county authority receive a request for permission to develop they will, in fact, consult the rural district council and be guided by them as the only source of knowledge that is possessed. A man will be put to all the difficulty and possible delay of having to apply to the county council. and I think it is very important that these local authorities who have in the past discharged these planning functions with great success on the whole, should continue to do so until the new authorities are well established. For these reasons, we have put down these Amendments which are in no sense hostile to the Bill but are designed to produce a workable device for the interim period and provide a greater facility to the builder in that he could obtain all his consents in one place instead of dealing with widely dispersed rural authorities. I earnestly commend this suggestion to the House and to the Government.

8.0 p.m.

As one who has for a considerable number of years served on one of these planning authorities comprising representatives of a number of rural district councils, I am rather alarmed that there is any question about there being a gap between the old procedure and the new. Many of the applications which come before an authority of that kind—although some may seem somewhat trivial and deal with such things as tool sheds and alterations to cow stalls concern alterations which are in some degree urgent, and which it would not be possible to hold up even for a short time without the greatest inconvenience. If there is any break at all, any period during which it is difficult for these applications to be submitted, I am quite sure from my experience that there will be a tendency to evade the regulations, a tendency which up to now has fortunately not been very widespread. It would be a great pity if any encouragement were given to it the present time.

These applications will have to be considered from two points of view, first with regard to siting and second with regard to what is called, in Clause II (3) (a), "design or external appearance." With regard to siting, I agree that there is some difficulty as the plan, if there is one already in existence, is being revised under this Bill. Nevertheless, I believe it will be quite possible to meet this difficulty because, although I do not know what the practice is in other counties, in Dorset where we have always been well ahead with our planning provisions, the consultant to the joint committee is the same as the consultant who is in touch with the county council. In fact, therefore, there will be perfect co-ordination, and any change in view with regard to the plan will be fully provided for. With regard to the question of design and external appearance, it seems important that these matters should be seen to. We have been at great pains in our area, which includes many villages built of stone, to maintain design and I can see no reason at all why the interim authorities should not go on laying down their ideas on this matter. Finally. I would like to say again how important it is that there should be no break between the old system and the new. As far as the area which I represent is concerned, I can see no difficulty at all in going on without any break

May I briefly support my right hon. Friend's Amendment? I have here the figures of the average monthly applications made to my own planning authority, and in the whole district there are 15o applications, large and small, a month. Forty, as a matter of fact, come from the town of Harrogate itself. That is only one district out of a considerable number in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and during this interim period, when the officials of the new authority are not well aware of the general layout of the whole district, there is bound to be a good deal of time-wasting research, made by other officials if the interim development authority is not allowed to continue with these applications. There is a further point which I should like to put before the Parliamentary Secretary. The county district councils are to be consulted about the development plan. That is all to the good, but it seems to be quite unnecessary for them to transfer to the county councils the work of considering these development applications during the transitional period in order to transfer them back again at a later date. It is an extravagant waste of time and manpower, and I think that is a very strong argument for the acceptance by the Minister of my right hon. Friend's Amendment.

I associate myself with this Amendment. As the Parliamentary Secretary will appreciate, it has not been moved in any controversial or polemical spirit; it is indeed an Amendment which has the backing of what one might, perhaps, call the local government world, that is to say, local government people who, without distinction of party, are interested in good administration and government. This Amendment was tabled for discussion in the Standing Committee, but like so many other good things it fell under the guillotine, and is therefore brought within the ambit of Parliamentary discussion this afternoon for the first time. The case for it has been made fully and strongly by my right hon. Friend. He stressed the rural side, but of course this matter has its importance also from the urban aspect. What is vital, as has been so well pointed out by my hon. Friend the Member for West Dorset (Mr. Digby), what we must have in these matters, is continuity.

My hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. York) gave some statistics to show the size of this problem of applications for development from his own experience in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Perhaps I may be allowed to reinforce that illustration on a more general basis. The number of applications for development in 1946, which, for many causes—not least the personality and policy of the present Minister of Health—was not what one might call a good year, was extremely large, as can be seen from the following figures. In the administrative county of Leicestershire it was 2,450, in that of Durham 2,10o, in Somerset no fewer than 3,500, and in the administrative county of West Sussex —administratively a county, but geographically only part of a county-—it was the same large figure of 3,500. Unless this delegation is permitted, unless the terms of this Amendment t are accepted, I can see that we are likely to have a very considerable hold-up indeed in considering and dealing with these applications. We want to see the 'principle of continuity established, and we want to see to it that good and reasonable development is not frozen for reasons of administrative bottlenecks. If we are to avoid that I think this Amendment should be incorporated in the Bill. We on this side of the House, though as I have explained we are not putting it forward in any party spirit—it is a matter which carries the good will of local government circles generally—urge that the Minister should agree to this Amendment.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning
(Mr. Fred Marshall)

I appreciate that this Amendment has not been put forward in any hostile or party spirit. We are dealing with a matter about which there can be honest differences of opinion. We are dealing with the period which will elapse between the passing of the Bill, or the appointed day, and the time the development plan is out, which will be three years forward. Those three years will undoubtedly be a difficult period for the planning authorities and for any one who has to do with planning generally, until the new planning authorities get thoroughly into their stride. What we have done, with the unanimous consent of those who have given the matter thought, has been to place planning functions squarely upon the shoulders of the county councils. It will be their responsibility, after consultation with the district councils, to prepare a development plan. We have to remember that that development plan is going to cover areas considerably wider than those covered by the ordinary planning schemes. Therefore, the only people who will know what is likely to be in that plan, will be the planning authority, that is, the county council. If we now allow the district councils to retain the interim develop- ment decisions, we may find that they will give decisions arid permissions which will be altogether contrary to what is likely to be in the big plan.

The right hon. Gentleman knows that one of the effects of planning up to now, has been that local planning authorities have been covering too small an area. There has not necessarily been any coordination between them and their next-door neighbours. That is the reason why we are basing these planning units on much wider areas. I think it likely that district councils, if they are to retain the power to grant interim development permissions, will act in accordance with the manner in which they have always acted. They will give those interim development permissions—unless, of course, they consult with the county councils, as is proposed by the right hon. Gentleman in the next Amendment—in accordance with their conception of planning up to the introduction of this Bill.

As I say, there can be two opinions about this. My own belief, and it is the belief of my right hon. Friend, is that, on balance, this responsibility for granting interim development permissions should be placed squarely upon the shoulders of the county councils, that is, the new planning authorities. It is inconceivable that, being responsible for carrying out that function, they will not consult with the district councils. Obviously, they will get to know what is in the minds of the district councils, and give the permissions in accordance with that knowledge. The right hon. Gentleman puts it the other way. He would have the district councils operating those interim development per' missions, and would place upon them the obligation to consult the county councils before they grant those permissions. As I have already said, my own feeling and that of my right hon. Friend is that it is far better to place the responsibility for granting such permissions on the shoulders of the new planning authority, because they will naturally be the people who, after the co-ordination of all the plans, will know what is likely to be in the new development plan.

There is one further point. If the district councils were to retain the power to give these interim development permissions, it would mean that they would have to retain their present planning staffs. We all know, of course, that there is a grave shortage of planning staffs in the country. It would mean that for three years, at any rate, the district councils would have to continue to employ those staffs. I believe that, with good will and co-operation on all sides, we shall get over this rather difficult period. I am sure that the county councils, in shouldering this new and heavy responsibility, will not fail to consult with the district councils, in order to make the right decisions during the interim period. For these reasons, I sincerely hope that the right hon. Gentleman will not press the Amendment.

8.15 p.m.

Could the hon. Gentleman say how it will be physically possible for the county councils to deal with the number of applications which will be made to them?

The county councils will, of course, have the opportunity of sending people into the districts, and no doubt they will take advantage of that. The hon. Member knows that, after the three years have elapsed, the county councils will have to delegate many of their functions to the district councils. I have no doubt, however, that, in the meantime, the county councils will get over that difficulty by nominating someone to an area to whom would-be developers can apply. I am sure that, with goodwill on all sides, they will get over these difficulties.

I am very disappointed with what the Parliamentary Secretary has said because, as has been pointed out, no party issue is involved in this matter. The real issue is, which is the more practical way of dealing with this interim period? I must say that it is not very satisfactory to be told that the county councils will be able, somehow or other, to get over the impossible burden placed upon them. I am sure that my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary, who has had a very great experience in local government, does not really think that a very satisfactory solution for a difficulty of this kind. As a matter of fact, what will happen if the Government resist this Amendment is that there will be an administrative breakdown, so far as the county councils are concerned, and I think the hon. Gentleman had better face that fact. After all, he has reminded us that a great responsibility is being placed upon the county councils. Does he now propose to add to that responsibility, at a time when their attention should be given to their major responsibilities, the difficult task of dealing with countless development permissions, about which they will know nothing and for which, in point of fact, he knows that they will have insufficient staff? He has suggested that he is going to filch the staffs of the county districts to carry out this work, and, at the same time, has reminded the House that the county districts will have a great deal of work to do because of the powers delegated to them. The Parliamentary Secretary ought to look at this matter again with a view to reversing his decision. It is a matter of what is practical. What the Amendment proposes is the practical way of dealing with the matter, which is the reverse of what the Parliamentary Secretary has said.

; Speaking as a representative of a non-county borough in Essex, I must say that I have a good deal of sympathy with this Amendment. It is my opinion, and the opinion of my people, that there will be an administrative breakdown and inevitable chaos if every individual application for permission to alter a house or a shed has to be sent to the county council at Chelmsford. The thing is fantastic, and they have not the staff to deal with it Everyone who has had anything to do with housing for the last few years will know that one of our greatest obstacles has been the shortage of experienced, trained, technical staffs. In our local borough councils, the town clerk and his assistants have a personal knowledge of the applications; they do not need to look up a file on every occasion. My own borough has to deal with over 1,000 applications a year. What will happen when all applications from every borough and urban district of Essex have to go to Chelmsford, I do not know. I sincerely hope that the Parliamentary Secretary will provide some better solution to the problem than the one he has just suggested.

I ask the Parliamentary Secretary to reconsider the view which he has put forward. A county that goes forward with a development plan will not be affected; the Amendment deals only with the case where the county does not go forward with a development plan. There will be a hiatus and an administrative breakdown, and a lack of a development plan by the county while power will not have been given to the county districts to go forward. The Parliamentary Secretary has not answered the question of what is to happen in the interim period. I would illustrate the situation by supposing that one had three brigades to do a job of work, and decided to put the divisional headquarters on top of them. One would hardly say that the brigades were not to do anything until the head quarters had been established. From the point of view of actual planning, I ask that the Parliamentary Secretary should look into this matter again, in a much more favourable light.

I would reinforce the point that there will be administrative chaos, if some arrangement is not made for the interval between the county taking over and the districts giving up their job. We in our districts have had hundreds of applications for development for housing. We think they will be greatly increased in the near future. All this cannot possibly be turned over to the county council. I have been a member of a county planning committee, and of a borough planning committee. A number of hon. Members have directed the Parliamentary Secretary's attention to the absolute certainty of an administrative breakdown if some very simple machinery is not set up to get over the break in the planning arrangements. I hope the Parliamentary Secretary will think over the matter again.

I also ask the Parliamentary Secretary to remember that Members on this side of the House will be in difficulties if this matter is forced to a Division. Nothing in the Amendment raises any question of development principle at all. If it is accepted, it will not interfere with the working of the Bill, and there is nothing to make the Parliamentary Secretary dig his heels in and resist it. Members who have had a great deal of experience in local authority work are uneasy about the effect that will follow if the Amendment, or something like it, is not accepted. I add my appeal that the Parliamentary Secretary should consult his right hon. Friend. If the form of words proposed is not acceptable, another form of words should be evolved and introduced at a later stage to cover the essential points. All that is involved is a matter of practical expediency and there is a necessity for some provision of the kind.

After the appeals that have been made to him from all sides of the House the Parliamentary Secretary should reconsider this matter. In the case of the planning authority with which I am acquainted, the machinery indicated by the Government will mean that case after case, already fully considered and fully understood by that committee, will have to go miles away to a new committee which cannot be properly equipped to deal with those matters. People will have to travel after their cases, and thus great delay will be involved in cases which are on the verge of going forward.

The Parliamentary Secretary is being pressed on all sides to give way on the Amendment. I should like to say a word or two in his support and to express the hope that he will remain firm in resisting the Amendment. I completely disagree with my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich (Mr. Paton) that there is no question of principle. The question of principle is: Who, during the interim period of three years, is the responsible authority for making the survey and preparing the plan? Where is that responsibility to lie? I also claim, with other hon. Members, to have had experience of prac-

Division No. 212.


[8.31 p.m

Agnew, Cmdr. P. GDugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Lambert, Hon. G.
Aitken, Hon. MaxElliot, Rt. Hon. WalterLancaster, Col. C. G
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RFleming, Sqn,-Ldr. E. L.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H
Baldwin, A. E.Fletcher, W. (Bury)Linstead, H. N.
Barlow, Sir J.Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Lipson, D. L.
Beechman, N. AGage, C.Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)
Bennett, Sir P.Galbraith, Cmdr. T D.Lucas, Major Sir J.
Bower, N.Gates, Maj. E. E.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.
Braithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.George, Lady M, Lloyd (Anglesey)Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W.Glyn, Sir R.Mackeson, Brig. H. R.
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Gridley, Sir A.Maitland, Comdr. J. W
Byers, FrankHannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Manningham-Buller, R E
Carson, E.Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Marlowe, A. A. H
Challen, C.Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Marples, A. E.
Clarke, Col. R. S.Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon Sir CMarshall, D. (Bodmin)
Clifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GHogg, Hon. Q.Marshall, S. H. (Sutton)
Conant, Maj. R. J. EHollis, M. CMaude, J. C.
Cooper-Key, E. M.Holmes, Sit J. Stanley (Harwich)Medlicott, F
Cuthbert, W. N.Howard, Hon. A.Mellor, Sir J.
Davies, Clement (Montgomery)Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)
De la Bère, R.Hurd, A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)
Digby, S. W.Jarvis, Sir JNeven-Spence, Sir B
Drayson, G. B.Jennings, RNield, B (Chester)
Drewe, C.Kendall, W. DO'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir H

tical planning, and to me there is no question that the body responsible for making the development plan, and carrying out the survey, should also be the body completely responsible for giving the decision during the interim period. It is fantastic to suggest that the body could not make organisational arrangements in order to meet all the objections that have been raised about the numbers of applications coming in to the county. I am amazed at the suggestions that have been made by hon. Members. Hon. Members have spoken of their own local authorities. My own experience is that a competent local authority or county council can have consultations with the district councils and make adequate organisational arrangements for dealing with the situation.

Only one speech has been made in support of the Parliamentary Secretary. Neither the hon. Member who made the speech nor the Parliamentary Secretary himself has given the House any guidance on how the practical difficulties can be overcome. Those difficulties are largely geographical. Reference has been made to good will and co-operation as the only hope upon which reliance can be placed. I am sure there will be good will and co-operation in plenty, but no amount of these can overcome the results of this most unsatisfactory provision. I warmly support the Amendment and hope that it will be pressed to a Division.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 101; Noes, 260.

Orr-Ewing, I. LSmiles, Lt.-Col. Sir WWebbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Smith, E. P (Ashford)Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Pensonby, Col. C. EStoddart-Scott, Col. M.White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Prescott, StanleyStrauss, H. G. (English Universities)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Rayner, Brig. R.Studholme, H. G.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge,
Roberts, H. (Handsworth)Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)Winterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Roberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)Teeling, WilliamYork, C.
Ropner, Col. L.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Sanderson, Sir F.Vane, W. M. FTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Shephard, S. (Newark)Wadsworth, G.Lieut.-Colonel Thorp and
Shepherd, W S. (Bucklow)Walker-Smith, D.Major Ramsey.


Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Edwards, John (Blackburn)McAllister, G.
Allen, A. C, (Bosworth)Edwards, N. (Caerphilly)McEntee, V. La T.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)McGhee, H. G.
Alpass, J. H.Evans, John (Ogmore)Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)McKinlay, A. S.
Anderson, F. (Whilehaven)Ewart, R.Maclean, N. (Govan)
Attewell, H. C.Fairhurst, F.McLeavy, F.
Austin, H. LewisFernyhough, EMainwaring, W. H.
Awbery, S. S.Forman, J. C.Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Ayles, W. H.Fraser, T. (Hamilton)Mann, Mrs. J.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs BFreeman, Peter (Newport)Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)
Bacon, Miss A.Gaitskell, H T. N.Maninng, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Balfour, A.Ganley, Mrs. C. SMarquand, H. A.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Gibson, C. W.Marshall, F. (Brightside)
Barstow, P G.Gilzean, AMedland, H M.
Barton, C.Glanville, J. E. (Consett)Mellish, R. J.
Battley, J. R.Gooch, E. GMiddleton, Mrs. L
Bechervaise, A. E.Gordan-Walker, P. CMitchison, G. R.
Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Greenwood, A. W. J (Heywood)Monslow, W
Benson, G.Grenfell, D. R.Moody, A. S.
Berry, H.Grierson, E.Morley, R.
Beswick, F.Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Morrison, Rt. Hon H. (Lewisham, E.)
Bing, G. H. C.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Mort, D. L
Binns, J.Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Moyle, A.
Blyton, W. R.Guest, Dr, L. HadenNaylor, T. E.
Bottomley, A. G.Guy, W. H.Neal, H (Claycross)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Haire, John E (Wycombe)Nichol, Mrs. M. E. (Bradford, N.)
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Hale, LeslieNicholls, H. R. (Stratford)
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Hall, W. G.Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)
Brook, D. (Halifax)Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. RNoel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P J (Derby)
Brooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Noel-Buxton, Lady
Brown, George (Belper)Hardman, D. R.O'Brien, T.
Buchanan, G.Hardy, E. A.Oldfield, W. H
Burke, W. A.Harrison, J.Oliver, G. H.
Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Paget, R. T.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)
Chamberlain, R. AHerbison, Miss M.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)
Champion, A. J.Hobson, C. R.Palmer, A M. F.
Chetwynd, G. R.Holman, PPargiter, G. A.
Clitherow, Dr R.House, G.Parker, J
Cobb, F. A.Hoy, J.Parkin, B. T.
Cocks, F. S.Hubbard, T.Paton, J. (Norwich)
Colman, Miss G. MHudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Pearson, A.
Comyns, Dr. L.Hughes, H. D. (W'Iverh'pton, W.)Pearl, Capt. T. F
Cook, T. F.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Platts-Mills, J. F. F.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Irving, W. J.Porter, E. (Warrington)
Corbet, Mrs. F. K. (Camberwell, N.W.)Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Porter, G. (Leeds)
Corlett, Dr. J.Jay, D. P. T.Price, M. Philips
Corvedale, ViscountJeger, G. (Winchester)Proctor, W. T.
Dagger, G.Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Pryde, D. J.
Daines, P.John, W.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
Davies, Edward (Burslem)Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Ranger, J.
Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Rees-Williams, D. R
Davies, Harold (Leek)Keenan, W.Reeves, J.
Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)Kenyon, CReid, T. (Swindon)
Davies, R. J. (Westhoughton)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. ERidealgh, Mrs. M.
Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)Kinley, J.Robens, A.
Deer, G.Kirby, B. VRoberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)
Delargy, H. J.Lavers, S.Ross, William (Kilmarnock)
Diamond, J.Lawson, Rt. Hon J. JRoyle, C.
Dobbie, W.Lee, F. (Hulme)Sargood, R
Dodds, N. N.Leonard, WScollan, T.
Donovan, T.Leslie, J. RShackleton, E. A A
Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Levy, B. W.Sharp, Granville
Dumpleton, C. W.Lewis, A. W. J. (Upton)Shurmer, P
Durbin, E. F. M.Lewis, T. (Southampton)Silkin, Rt. Hon. L.
Dye, S.Lipton, Lt.-Col. MSilverman, J. (Erdington)
Ede, Rt. Hon. J. CLogan, D. G.Silverman, S S. (Nelson)
Edelman, M.Lyne, A. W.Simmons, C J.
Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)McAdam, WSmith, C (Colchester)

Smith, Ellis (Stoke)Thurtle, ErnestWilkes, L.
Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Titterington, M. FWilkins, W. A.
Snow, Capt. J. WTolley, L.Williams, D. J. (Neath)
Sorensen, R. WTurner-Samuels, M.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Stamford, W.Ungoed-Thomas, L.Williams, Rt. Hon. T (Don Valley)
Steele, T.Vernon, Maj. W. F.Williamson, T.
Stephen, C.Viant, S. P.Wills, Mrs. E. A
Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Walkden, E.Woodburn, A.
Stubbs, A. E.Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)Woods, G. S.
Summerskill, Dr. EdithWarbey, W. N.Wyatt, W.
Swingler, S.Watson, W. M.Yates, V. F.
Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Webb, M. (Bradford, C.)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Weitzman, D.Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Wells, P. L. (Faversham)Zilliacus, K.
Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)West, D. G.TELLERS FOR THE NOES
Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)Mr Collindridge and
Thomas, George (Cardiff)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.Mr. Popplewell.

I beg to move, in page 11, line 27, after "buildings." to insert:

"other than agricultural buildings, defined in Section two of the Rating and Valuation (Apportionment) Act, 1928."
Subsection (3, a) of this Clause provides that where permission is granted for the extension, alteration or erection of a building, the approval of the local planning authority may be required with respect to the design or external appearance. The purpose of the Amendment is to ensure that the approval of the local authority to the design and external appearance of buildings shall not be extended to agricultural buildings other than farm dwelling houses. We grant that the design of a farmhouse which is being erected might reasonably be subjected to the aesthetic control of the planning authority, but we say that the planning authority ought not to have power to regard the aesthetic appearance of farm buildings and to say, for instance, that a Dutch barn on a farm or a silo ought not to be allowed because its appearance is utilitarian and not in accordance with the aesthetic standards of the local planning authority concerned. The words in the Amendment are taken from the Rating and Valuation Apportionment Act, 1928, and they are imported because they specifically exclude farm dwelling houses.

I am sorry this Amendment has been moved. I think we all agree that farm buildings can be a very beautiful feature of the rural landscape. I, and many other hon. Members, no doubt, have enjoyed their beautiful lines and colour, and the way in which they fall into the general tone of the landscape. That effect may have been achieved not by conscious effort but by development. It certainly exists, and it is one of the grandest features of the English countryside. What the Amendment seeks to do is to remove from all control the design of farm buildings. It means that any farmer can erect any kind of an old shack, corrugated iron and wooden places, and all sorts of things, irrespective of their effect on the landscape. I should have thought that anyone interested in farming would have been rather eager to preserve a fine old tradition in farm buildings, and would have wished the design of those farm buildings to be submitted to control. We believe that control of design should be exerted. The designs of course, will be submitted to the agricultural committees concerned, and not to the local authorities. That should satisfy the hon. Member for West Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley), and induce him to withdraw the Amendment. We believe that in the intersts of the rural landscape, the design of farm buildings should be controlled in order to preserve and increase the beauty of future buildings, and, for that reason, we cannot agree to the Amendment.

8.45 p.m.

I very much hope that my hon. Friend will not withdraw this Amendment. Speaking as an owner-occupier in a small way, I am not averse to control, as control, but I am very keen on keeping planners' noses out of the farmyard as much as possible. [Laughter.] I daresay hon. Members opposite are laughing at the thought of instances of crass ignorance on the part of inspectors and officials who are sent out to deal with questions that arise on farms. At the present time a neighbour of mine is trying to build a new bull house. First, he was sent a questionnaire containing 52 questions, one of which asked how many w.c.'s he proposed to provide. In addition to that, a young inspector came down and asked him what the arrangements for milking would be. I anticipate, Mr. Deputy-Speaker, that you are about to rule me out of Order, so I will not continue with that. I feel, however, that my point that inspectors who just do not know their jobs so often come down to afflict farmers is an important one. For that reason, it would be a very good thing for agriculture if the Minister, in his courteous way, would accept this Amendment.

I quite realise the difficulty in which the Minister finds himself. The Parliamentary Secretary mentioned the difficulty in passing, namely, that he wishes to prevent the erection of the unsuitable and non-utilitarian hovels into which animals are sometimes put. I think my hon. Friends are thoroughly in agreement with him there. Our fear—and it is a fear which is shared by practically everybody who has anything to do with the erection of farm buildings—is that the planning authority will be influenced against what I might describe as a new idea in farm buildings. Today there are lines of thought on the subject of farm buildings which diverge completely from the old-fashioned idea of how farm buildings should be built. For example, there is a completely new trend of thought, that so far as possible the entire farm should be put under one roof. That means a vast expansion and a large span, and it may well be that certain members of the planning authority would consider it to be unsightly, and would consider that too small a span would be very much more beautiful. There we have the aesthetic man and the practical man at variance. We want to avoid the amenity man winning the day over the man who holds the new ideas which are coming into the agricultural industry. If the Bill remains without this Amendment there is every possibility of the town planner winning the day. Although I have admitted that there are difficulties in our Amendment, I cannot feel that there are any safeguards in the Bill to stop the town planner preventing experiment and development along the best lines in providing new farm buildings, and in experimenting along the lines which we desire.

I, too, realise that the Minister has to face certain difficulties in accepting this Amendment. The House should appreciate, however that the arguments which the Parliament ary Secretary used are contradictory. At the outset of his speech he claimed, I think rightly, that a considerable measure of beauty is the general rule for the farm buildings of this country. In the vase majority of cases those farm building have been designed and constructed without any measure of control. His argument went to show that it could be left to the common sense of farmers to ensure that their buildings are not unsightly. I hope, in view of what has been said, and particularly in view of the remarks just made by my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. York)—who quite rightly pointed out the trend of thought which is being concentrated on the design of farm buildings—that we shall have another word from the Minister before we leave this Amendment.

I much appreciate the spirit in which this particular Amendment is being discussed. As several hon. Gentlemen have said, there is a conflict of view here. On the one hand, we are anxious to safeguard the beauty of the countryside. That is one of our most precious possessions, and it is something which every hon. Member of this House is anxious to see preserved to the fullest possible extent. That can only be done by a measure of control. [HON. MEMBERS: "Why?"] If we allow people to build freely, without any control at all, we know what we may expect in certain quarters. We may expect shacks, and tin roofs, and all kinds of monstrosities perpetrated in some of the most beautiful parts of the country.

The right hon. Gentleman has just made a most dangerous statement. He has just said we may expect tin roofs. That is the very point we were making. We are frightened that the planners will put up tin roofs, and that half of the new buildings will have them.

I think that my broad statement is true, and that everyone who has given consideration to the matter would agree that, without some form of control, there is a danger that the beauty of the countryside will be spoiled. It has to be controlled. I think that most speakers have recognised that. Even the hon. and gallant Member for Totnes (Brigadier Rayner) has recognised that there has to be some control, only he does not want inspectors in his farmyard. Is it possible to draw a line as between certain farm buildings and others? It seems to me that there is a possible line of demarcation that can be made by regulation or by development order—a purely temporary structure, for instance. Obviously, if it were only a temporary structure one would not want to impose planning control on it; although I recognise that it could have a very serious effect on the amenities. But if it should be a temporary building, and is licensed as such there would be no need to exercise planning control. Possibly there are other types of buildings which may be exempted from control similarly. But, as I say, that can be done by regulation.

I agree with the hon. Member for Ripon (Mr. York) that there should not be any arbitrary censorship of taste. I wholly agree with him that, if a building serves its purpose, it should not be rejected merely because it does not conform to the aesthetic views of the planning authority. One has safeguards against that. One safeguard is the appeal to the Ministry. There is an appeal, and at the Ministry one has a uniform code and, I hope, a reasonable code. The Minister is answerable to Parliament, and if he adopted the policy of refusing permission to put up a building because that happened to be of a particular design which he did not like, he would soon hear about it in this House—quite rightly. That is one form of restriction on the activities of the members of the planning authorities.

Another suggestion is that we might ask that the planning authorities should be required to consult the agricultural executive committees, which are composed of practical people who realise the needs of the farming industry. I should be prepared to consider safeguards of that kind. I suggest that there must be some form of general control to prevent the worst abuses of building in rural areas. The House will agree that almost more harm can be done by bad building in a rural area than in an urban area. For those reasons, I hope that the Amendment will not be pressed. I give the House the assurance that the safeguards put forward will be seriously considered and provided for in the regulations, and that the farming community need have no fear of any im- proper interference with their legitimate activities on the score of planning.

I am sure that every Member in the House is anxious to preserve the amenities and attractions of the countryside—this green and pleasant land of England. I hope that after the depredations of the Minister it will still remain a green and pleasant land. I have much sympathy with the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman in regard to the local agricultural committees and the National Farmers' Union, and I hope that by these means we can get rid of the difficulty of spoiling agricultural buildings. Anyone who is familiar with the Cotswolds will know how important it is to preserve those beautiful buildings, which go back in the ages and have survived the difficulties of the times. Those buildings and the traditions they represent ought to be preserved in the days in which we live. I hope that the Minister will accept the Amendment, and that he will do everything he possibly can in his capacity as Minister responsible for the Act when this horrible, atrocious and detestable Bill is passed, to preserve all the amenities of the countryside. He will have the sympathy of the House in giving effect to the principles he has just enunciated in his speech.

I was not very convinced by the Minister's speech, because it largely amounted to a contradiction. In the first place, he praised the traditional building in the countryside, and then went on to say that in order to preserve that tradition it was necessary to have some control, without showing any reason why it was likely to fall by the wayside without control. He made no complaint at all that the standard of building was falling. What his control will mean is simply further obstacles being put in the way of getting permission from the many authorities before one can build. It means further obstacles and further delay. I was not very convinced when he said he was going to call in aid the agricultural executive committees. We all hope that they are composed of practical farmers, but farming is a very different thing from reading plans. As every architect knows, a client can easily be taken in by putting the right colour on a plan. It is not easy for amateur architects to read plans. I do not think this is at all a suitable task to give to members of the agricultural executive committees. The Minister says that he wants this control, but he has already got the control under the by-laws, and the local surveyors and staff are, surely the best people to assess whether agricultural buildings are suitable or not for their purpose. It is surely unnecessary to put on a further control above what is already there and necessary.

9.0 p.m.

I believe there is considerable agreement in the House that we want to preserve the amenities of the countryside. As a general rule, the countryman has a much better aesthetic taste than a townsman. A great handicap today to one wishing to put up a building is not only getting the required materials, but the number of plans which have to be passed. That is holding up the production of food as never before. If officials are required to look at the buildings further development of the countryside will be held up, and although I welcome the Minister's statement I think we had better leave the countrymen to look after these matters, and allow them to get on. Whether we divide or not on this Amendment, I hope that we shall be able to prevent this further imposition on the farmers.

We have had a useful, though short, discussion on this Amendment, and as the Minister has gone a long way to allay our fears, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Amendment made: In page 11, line 37, leave out from the beginning, to "for," in line 38.—[ Mr. Silkin.]

I beg to move, in page 11. line 42, at the end, to insert:

"a development order may direct that any enactment passed before the passing of this Act, or any regulations, orders or bye-laws made (whether before or after the passing of this Act) under any such enactment, shall not apply to any development specified in the order, or shall apply thereto subject to such modifications as may be so specified."
These words provide that a development order may suspend an enactment or modify an enactment, regulations, orders, or by-laws for the purpose of improving development. The words largely follow the form which is common to other Measures, although there is a slight extension so that there may be modifications of an enactment.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 12, line 6, leave out "suspending," and insert "excluding or modifying."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

I beg to move, in page 13, line 2, to leave out from "prescribing," to the second "the."

I suppose as time goes on one's capacity for surprise at what the Socialist Government and the Socialist Party might do becomes reduced. But I confess that I find it surprising, in a matter of this sort; that the right hon. Gentleman should be seeking to introduce nothing more and nothing less than degrees of class distinction. I suppose it is really in conformity with recent utterances of the Minister of Fuel and Power. If hon. Members look at this Clause they will see that, by it, provision may be made by a development order for prescribing the classes of persons by whom" application may be made to the local planning authority for permission to develop land. Who is to be excluded from this? Are the Communist Party to be excluded?

Is the Communist Party to be one of the classes of persons by whom no application can be made for permission to develop land?

The hon. and learned Gentleman has referred to my party. As a great landowner, I will fight to the last ditch to preserve my rights.

The hon. Member has used the right words in referring to a ditch and he might find himself in it. It is right that we should have an answer on the question of why we are to have class distinctions in a Bill of this sort. What classes are to be excluded? Why is this power sought to differentiate between different categories of persons? It is right that, in different areas, permission should be granted on different principles. In one area you may grant permission more readily for the building of factories, than for the building of houses. But why should the classes of persons who apply for permission be prescribed? I do not know why the right hon. Gentleman inserted these words. But I do pray in aid in support of this Amendment, to leave out the words "classes of persons by whom," the attitude adopted by the Joint Under-Secretary for Scotland who, when the same Amendment was moved before a Committee, accepted it. I hope the right hon. Gentleman, adhering to the principle of collective responsibility, will follow the precedent set by his Scottish colleagues, and even at this late hour, in spite of the imminent operation of the Guillotine, will announce that he intends to accept the Amendment and follow the example so well set to him across the Border. If he does so, I am sure he will receive the approval of the Scottish Members even though some belong to the Communist Party.

These words were put in for a purpose, but not for the purpose which the hon. and learned Member, suggests. There is no suggestion here of class differentiation. It is necessary to ensure that people who make applications for development should have some interest in the proposed land, or should have the possibility of carrying out development. It is reasonable that the time of local planning authorities should not be taken up in dealing with applications for development, in respect of land which the person who is making the application has no interest in, or is not likely to have any interest in.

Does the right hon. Gentleman really contemplate that in these days people are so fond of filling in forms that persons who have no interest in development will fill in applications and send them to local authorities in order to obtain permission to develop land which does not belong to them?

The hon. and learned Gentleman would be surprised at the number of people who seem to enjoy doing so, and who have possibly a remote hope or flimsy expectation that somehow they will assume an interest in the property or that they may he able to dispose of a consent. It may well be that a person having a valid consent may think that he has something which is negotiable, and may then proceed to carry on business on the basis that he has consent to carry out development in respect of land in which he has no interest. These words are inserted in order to enable the Minister to lay down that in order that an application may be made a person should have some kind of interest. If the hon. and learned Gentleman says that the persons who have no interest will never apply, then these words do no harm, but in fact experience has shown that there is a certain kind of speculative interest in what a local authority may be prepared to do, and I think the words are worth having in the Bill.

The right hon. Gentleman has not, I think, really given an answer to my hon. and learned Friend. While I do not suspect the Minister of any sinister intention I think he has inserted words which would enable a Minister in his place who had a sinister intention to work great mischief. Although all the right hon. Gentleman wishes to do is to ensure that an applicant has a sufficient interest in the land, the words he has put in the Bill would enable him to exclude classes of persons even if they had a sufficient interest in the land. Although I fully accept that that is not in the least the Minister's intention, it is a possibility tinder the words of the Bill as they stand, and in that respect they are very much too wide. I think also that the Minister slightly misled the House—I am quite sure inadvertently—in suggesting that somebody with no sufficient interest might obtain a consent in which he could then trade. The ability to apply for something is not equivalent to the ability to obtain it, and it would be a perfectly proper question to ask any applicant to state what his interest in the land was. If a person had no interest, then, even though he could make an application, there would be no chance of his application succeeding.

My main point is that although the right hon. Gentleman's intention is the perfectly innocent one he says it is—which, of course, I accept—he will nevertheless see that the actual words of the Bill as they stand are hopelessly too wide because they would enable him, or anybody in his position, to exclude people who had an interest in the land and who could very properly claim to make an application. Therefore, though he has no intention himself of making a wrong use of this provision, I hope he will reconsider the words and introduce more appropriate ones.

9.15 p.m.

I think hon. Members on the other side are entirely exaggerating the character of this proposal. It should be made clear that the classes of persons here mentioned bear no relation to the classes of society described by hon. Members opposite. Classes of persons means particular individuals, and if the Minister had used the word "person" in describing the classes there would have been no difficulty.

There would have been exactly the same trouble, because there is no reason why the Minister should be able to exclude any one from making an application except for a good reason. If he wants to exclude people who have no interest in the land, that would be a good reason, but under the words in the Clause he would be able to exclude anybody.

If the hon. and learned Gentleman stretches a point in that manner, he could stretch it until the whole thing became ridiculous. No Bill passes through the House into which legal men cannot introduce arguments of that kind. The obvious thing is that, at a particular moment, it may be necessary to exclude certain persons who have no direct interest in the particular development, but the reason why the hon. and learned Gentleman has raised this matter, is because at the mention of the word "class" the Tory Party get themselves into difficulties. I say that they are exaggerating the whole thing. I hope that only persons of value to a development plan will be allowed to participate. May I in conclusion express the hope that hon. Members on the other side will have a plan for tonight, and that we will not have the awful debacle which we had a couple of weeks ago?

This is a point to which we drew attention in Standing Committee, and I confess that when I moved the Amendment at the time, I was not sufficiently class conscious to understand what was meant by the various classes described in this Bill. I understand that, in my absence, the Minister has defended the proposals in the Bill and has given his reason for desiring a retention of these words. If is a very remarkable thing— and perhaps this will interest the hon. Member for West Fife (Mr. Gallacher)—that in a similar Bill going through the Scottish Grand Committee the Government have accepted this Amendment which we are now moving. Whether it is that Scotland is infinitely less class-conscious than England or whether the logic which has grown up and endured in that fertile and lovely country compels people to see the justice of this argument, I do not know, but I cannot conceive if it is proper in Scotland to adopt this it would not be equally proper for England to follow such an example.

I do not like the Bill describing classes and saying that according to the class to which a person belongs, he shall be allowed this or that opportunity of making an application or exercising his democratic rights. As an example I wholly dissent from the view, which is apparently held by His Majesty's Government, that we on this side of the House, because we belong to a certain class politically, are not to be allowed adequate opportunity to express ourselves on this Bill. When 9.30 comes we will be denied by the action of those who sit opposite us, any further participation in the discussion of this matter at this stage.

That shows quite clearly the dangers of the legislation we are now considering, because if the Government can impose this Guillotine procedure on an institution as old and as famous as Parliament, there is no saying what the Minister might do when he has the power to distinguish between classes who make an application. We have clearly been rushed into the totalitarian age, and it is with the greatest suspicion that we view this step by the Minister to get the population divided into two sections, those who are allowed freedom to make application for planning consent and those who must have the Guillotine procedure applied to them. There may be two opinions about this matter. Although the right hon. Gentleman regards us on this side of the House, according to the statements of his colleagues, as not being capable of discussing the Bill at proper length, he has, nevertheless, attempted to meet us on many points. I am grateful for that consideration.

The right hon. Gentleman appears to be discussing something other than the Amendment which is before the House.

I may perhaps be going a little wide of the subject matter, but I am dealing with the attempt to differentiate among sections of the population called classes, in their right to freedom of speech and to make application for planning. I was using that as an illustration of the action of His Majesty's Government at the present time in truncating our discussions to this deplorable extent. As I have levelled that criticism against the Government I humbly suggest that my remarks were not perhaps so much out of Order. It might be of interest to the House to know that many of the succeeding Government Amendments will be concessions to our point of view.

The point we have to decide is whether to permit the Bill to go forward with the invidious segregation of people who apply for development into different classes. I am all against that. If the Minister has further opportunity to consider the matter I hope he will come to the conclusion that in the planning world, if not in Parliament, all people are equal and that planning ought to achieve the greatest good of the greatest number irrespective of the class of the community to which they belong. One of the objects of good planning should be to ensure that someone in a favoured position of ownership or possession of land should not use his

Division No. 213.]


[9.27 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Balham)Blyton, W. RCorlett, Dr. J.
Adams, W T. (Hammersmith South) Bottomley, A. G.Corvedale, Viscount
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Bowden, Fig.-Off, H. W.Daggar, G.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Bowen, R.Daines, P.
Alpass, J H.Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Davies, Clement (Montgomery)
Anderson, A. (Motherwell)Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Davies, Edward (Burslem)
Anderson, F. (Whitehaven)Braman, E. A.Davies, Ernest (Enfield)
Attewell, H. C.Brook, D. (Halifax)Davies, Harold (Leek)
Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. RBrooks, T. J. (Rothwell)Davies, Hadyn (St. Pancras, S.W.)
Austin, H. LewisBrown, George (Belper)Davies, S. O. (Merthyr)
Awbery, S. S.Bruce, Maj. D. W TDeer, G.
Ayles, W. H.Buchanan, G.Delargy, H. J.
Ayrton Gould, Mrs BBurke, W. A.Diamond, J.
Bacon, Miss A.Butler, H. W. (Hackney, S.)Dobbie, W.
Baird J.Byers, FrankDodds, N. N
Balfour, A.Castle, Mrs. B. A.Donovan, T.
Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. JChamberlain, R. A.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)
Barstow, P. GChampion, A. J.Dumpleton, C. W
Barton, C.Chetwynd, G. R.Durbin, E. F. M.
Battley, J. R.Clitherow, Dr. R.Dye, S.
Bechervaise, A. ECobb, F. A.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C
Bellenger, Rt Hon. F. J.Cocks, F. S.Edelman, M.
Benson, G.Collindridge, F.Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Berry, H.Colman, Miss G. M.Edwards, John (Blackburn)
Beswick, F.Comyns, Dr. L.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)
Bing, G. H. CCook, T. F.Evans, John (Ogmore)
Binns, J.Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)
Blackburn, A. RCorbel, Mrs. F. K. (Camberwell, N.W.)Ewart, R.

temporary position to oppress people less numerically strong than himself and less favourably situated. Only by allowing all sections of the people to make proper application to the Minister will the planning authorities ultimately secure that equality of consideration which will yield the total result of planning for the nation as a whole.

If there were a continuation in the planning world of this invidious distinction between those who are given an opportunity to express themselves and those who are not, such as has been evidenced in our proceedings here, I should deplore it. I hope that the House will come to the conclusion that it is dealing with a matter which lies very close to the roots of our planning responsibilities. Hon. Members opposite exult for the moment because their numbers are temporarily large. It may not always be so. They ought to use their last endeavours on this procedure to support us in moving this Amendment, and in securing for the future that all classes of people will have an equal chance to make applications for planning permissions, and that, equally, all persons who are elected to this Parliament will have a proper chance of expressing their opinion on all matters of public importance.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 297; Noes, 114.

Fairhurst, F.Lipson, D. L.Shackleton, E. A. A
Fernyhough, E.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Sharp, Granville
Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Logan, D. G. Shurmer, P
Forman, J. C.Lyne, A. W.Silkin, Rt. Hon. L
Foster, W. (Wigan)McAdam, WSilverman, J. (Erdington)
Fraser, T. (Hamilton)McAllister, G.Silverman, S S. (Nelson)
Freeman, Peter (Newport)McEntee, V. La TSimmons, C. J.
Gaitskell, H. T. NMcGhee, H. GSkeffington, A. M
Gallacher, W.Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)Skinnard, F. W.
Ganley, Mrs. C. S.McKinlay, A. S.Smith, C (Colchester)
George, Lady M. Lloyd (Anglesey)Maclean, N. (Govan)Smith, Ellis (Stoke)
Gibbins, J.McLeavy, F.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)
Gibson, C. W.Macpherson, T. (Romford)Solley, L. J.
Gilzean, A.Mainwaring, W. H.Sorensen, R. W
Glanville, J. E (Consett)Mallalieu, J. P. W.Soskice, Maj. Sir F
Gooch, E. G.Mann, Mrs. J.Sparks, J. A.
Goodrich, H. E.Manning, C. (Camberwell, N.)Stamford, W.
Gordon-Walker, P. CManning, Mrs. L, (Epping)Steele, T.
Greenwood, A. W. J (Heywood)Marquand, H. A.Stephen, C.
Grenfell, D. RMarshall, F. (Brightside)Stewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)
Grey, C. F.Martin, J. H.Stubbs, A. E.
Grierson, E.Medland, H. MSummerskill, Dr. Edith
Griffiths, D. (Rother Valley)Mellish, R. J.Swingler, S.
Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Middleton, Mrs. L.Symonds, A. L.
Griffiths, W. D. (Moss Side)Mitchison, G. R.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)
Guest, Dr. L. HadenMonslow, W.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)
Guy, W. H.Moody, A. S.Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)
Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Morley, R.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)
Hale, LeslieMorris, Hopkin (Carmarthen)Thomas, Ivor (Keighley)
Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. RMoyle, A.Thomas, I. O (Wrekin)
Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Murray, J. DThomas, George (Cardiff)
Hardman, D. R.Naylor, T. E.Thomson, Rt. Hn. G R (Ed'b'gh, E.)
Hardy, E. A.Neal, H. (Claycross)Thurtle, Ernest
Harrison, J.Nichol, Mrs M. E. (Bradford, N.)Titterington, M. F.
Hastings, Dr. SomervilleNicholls, H R. (Stratford)Tolley, L.
Henderson, A. (Kingswinford)Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Turner-Samuels, M
Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J (Derby)Ungoed-Thomas, L
Herbison, Miss M.Noel-Buxton, LadyVernon, Maj. W. F
Hobson, C. R.O'Brien, T.Viant, S. P.
Holman, P.Oldfield, W. HWadsworth, G.
Holmes, H. E. (Hemsworth)Oliver, G. HWalkden, E.
House, G.Paget, R. TWalker, G. H.
Hoy, J.Paling, Rt. Hon. Wilfred (Wentworth)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Hubbard, T.Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Warbey, W. N.
Hudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Palmer, A. M. F.Watson, W. M.
Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Pargiter, G. AWebb, M. (Bradford, C.)
Hughes, H. D. (W'lverh'pton, W.)Parker, JWeitzman, D.
Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)Parkin, B. T.Wells, P. L. (Faversham)
Irving, W. J.Paton, J. (Norwich)Wells, W. T (Walsall)
Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Pearson, A.West, D. G.
Jay, D. P. T.Peart, Capt. T. F.Westwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Jeger, G. (Winchester)Piratin, P.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Jeger, Dr. S. W. (St. Pancras, S.E.)Platts-Mills, J. F. F.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W
John, W.Porter, E. (Warrington)Wilkes, L.
Jones, D. T. (Hartlepools)Porter, G. (Leeds)Wilkins, W. A.
Jones, J. H. (Bolton)Price, M. PhilipsWilley, F. T (Sonderland)
Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)Proctor, W. T.Williams, D J. (Neath)
Keenan, W.Pryde, D. J.Williams, J. L. (Kelvingrove)
Kendall, W. DPursey, Cmdr. H.Williams, Rt. Hon. T (Don Valley)
Kenyon, CRanger, J.Williamson, T.
King, E. M.Rees-Williams, D. RWills, Mrs. E. A
Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E.Reeves, J. Woodburn, A
Kinley, J.Reid, T. (Swindon)Woods, G. S
Kirby, B. V.Rhodes, H.Wyatt, W.
Lavers, S.Ridealgh, Mrs. M.Yates, V. F
Lee, F. (Hulme)Robens, A.Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Leonard, W.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Leslie, J. RRoberts, W. (Cumberland, N.)Zilliacus, K.
Lever, N. HRoss, William (Kilmarnock)
Lewis, A W. J. (Upton)Sargood, RMr. Snow and Mr. Popplewell.
Lewis, T. (Southampton)Scollan, T.


Agnew, Cmdr. P. GBraithwaite, Lt.-Comdr. J. G.Davidson, Viscountess
Aitken, Hon. MaxBromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. WDe la Bère, R.
Amory, D. HeathcoatBuchan-Hepburn, P. G T.Digby, S. W.
Assheton, Rt. Hon. RCarson, EDrayson, G. B
Baldwin, A. E.Challen, C.Drewe, C.
Barlow, Sir J.Clarke, Col. R. SDugdale, Maj. Sir T (Richmond)
Bennett, Sir PClifton-Brown, Lt.-Col. GEccles, D. M.
Birch, NigelConant, Maj. R. J. EEden, Rt. Hon. A.
Bower, N.Cooper-Key, E. MElliot, Rt. Hon. Walter
Boyd-Carpenter, J. ACuthbert, W. NErroll, F. J.

Fleming, Sqn.-Ldr. E. L.Law, Rt Hon. R. K.Ramsay, Maj. S.
Fletcher, W. (Bury)Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. HRayner, Brig. R.
Foster, J. G. (Northwich)Linstead, H. N.Roberts, H. (Handsworth)
Fraser, Sir I. (Lonsdale)Lloyd, Selwyn (Wirral)Roberts, Maj. P. G. (Ecclesall)
Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir D. P. MLow, Brig. A. R. W.Ropner, Col. L.
Gage, C.Lucas, Major Sir J.Sanderson, Sir F.
Galbraith, Cmdr. T D.Lucas-Tooth, Sir H.Shephard, S. (Newark)
Gates, Maj. E. EMacDonald, Sir M. (Inverness)Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W
Glyn, Sir R.Macdonald, Sir P. (I. of Wight)Smith, E. P (Ashford)
Gridley, Sir AMackeson, Brig. H. R.Spearman, A. C. M.
Hannon, Sir P. (Moseley)Maitland, Comdr. J. W.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
Hare, Hon. J. H. (Woodbridge)Manningham-Buller, R. EStrauss, H. G. (English Universities)
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. V.Marlowe, A. A. H.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CMarples, A. E.Taylor, Vice-Adm. F. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Hinchingbrooke, ViscountMarshall, D. (Bodmin)Teeling, William
Hogg, Hon. QMarshall, S. H. (Sutton)Thorneycroft, G. E. P. (Monmouth)
Hollis, M. CMedlicott, F.Thornton-Kemsley, C. N
Holmes, Sir J. Stanley (Harwich)Mellor, Sir J.Vane, W. M. F.
Hope, Lord J.Morrison, Maj. J. G. (Salisbury)Walker-Smith, D.
Howard, Hon A.Morrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Webbe, Sir H. (Abbey)
Hudson, Rt. Hon. R. S. (Southport)Neven-Spence, Sir B.Wheatley, Colonel M. J
Hulbert, Wing-Cdr. N. J.Nield, B (Chester)White, Sir D. (Fareham)
Hurd, ANoble, Comdr. A. H. PWilliams, C. (Torquay)
Hutchison, Col. J. R. (Glasgow, C.)O'Neill, Rt. Hon. Sir HWilliams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
Jarvis, Sir J.Orr-Ewing, I. L.Willoughby de Eresby, Lord
Jennings, R.Peto, Brig. C. H. M.York, C.
Lambert, Hon G.Ponsonby, Col. C. E.
Lancaster, Col. C G.Poole, O. B. S. (Oswestry)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Langford-Holt, JPrescott, StanleyMr. Studholme and
Lieut.-Colonel Thorp.

It being after half-past Nine o'Clock, Mr. SPEAKER proceeded, pursuant to the Order made upon 3rd March, successively to put forthwith the Questions on Amendments moved by the Government of which notice had been given.

Clause 15—(Applications To Determine Whether Permission Required)

Amendments made: In page 16, line 6, after "Act," insert:

"and, it so, whether such an application is required having regard to the provisions of the development order."

In line 19, after "land," insert:

"or that an application for permission is required as aforesaid in respect thereof."—[Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 16—(Supplementary Provisions As To Grant Of Permission)

Amendments made: In page 17, line 19, at end, insert:

"within the meaning of Section sixty-nine of this Act."—[Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 18—(Compensation For Refusal Of Permission In Certain Cases)

Amendments made: In page 19, line 28, leave out from "the," to "the," in line 30, and insert:

"value of the interest of any person in the land is less than it would have been if the permission had been granted, or had been granted unconditionally, as the case may be."

In line 32, leave out "in respect of that depreciation," and insert" equal to the difference."

In page 20, line 28, after "do," insert "having regard to the local circumstances."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 21—(Enforcement Of Planning Control)

Amendments made: In page 23, line 28, after "permission," insert" required."

In page 24, line 10, after "that," insert "( a)."

In line 17, at end, insert:

"(b) if within the period aforesaid an appeal is made to the court under the following provisions of this section by a person on whom the enforcement notice was served, the notice shall be of no effect pending the final determination or withdrawal of the appeal."

In line 38, leave out "any such," and insert:

"the enforcement notice is varied or the."

In line 39, after "of," insert" paragraph (a) "of."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 22—(Supplementary Provisions As To Enforcement)

Amendments made: In page 25, line 13, at end, insert:

"upon any ground which could have been raised by such an appeal."

In page 26, line 3 at end, insert:

"(a) Section two hundred and seventy-six (which empowers local authorities to sell materials removed in executing works under that Act, subject to accounting for the proceeds of sale); "—[Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 23—(Powers Relating To Con-Forming Uses)

Amendments made: In page 27, line 29, at end, insert:

"and Section two hundred and seventy-six of the Public Health Act, 1936 (which empowers local authorities to sell materials removed in executing works under that Act, subject to accounting for the proceeds of sale) shall apply in relation to any works executed by a local planning authority under this Section as it applies in relation to works executed by a local authority under that Act."

In line 36, at end, insert:

"(7) Where the requirements of any order under this Section will involve the displacement of persons residing in any premises, it shall be the duty of the local planning authority, in so far as there is not other residential accommodation suitable to the reasonable requirements of those persons available on reasonable terms, to secure the provision of such accommodation in advance of the displacement."—[Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 26—(Orders For Preservation Of Buildings Of Special Architectural Or Historic Interest)

Amendments made: In page 31, line at end, insert:

"(b) for enabling that authority, where any such works have been executed in contravention of the order, to require the restoration of the building to its former state, and for that purpose for applying any of the provisions of this Part of this Act with respect to enforcement notices, subject to such adaptations and modifications as may be specified in the order."

Page 32, line 1, at beginning, insert:

"Without prejudice to any provisions included in the building preservation order by virtue of paragraph (b) of Subsection (2) of this Section."

Line 8, leave out from "pounds," to end of line 11.

Line 12, leave out from beginning, to "shall," and insert;

"(6) Nothing in this Section or in any order made thereunder."

Line 13, leave out "such works as aforesaid," and insert "works."

Line 16, leave out "of the," and insert "in writing of the proposed."—

Line 18, at end, insert:

"to the authority by whom the order was made."—[Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 27—(Lists Of Buildings Of Special Architectural Or Historic Interest)

Amendments made: In page 33. line 44, at beginning, insert:

"If any works are carried out in contra, vention of the provisions of Subsection (6) of this Section, the local planning authority may serve on the owner and occupier of the building a notice requiring such steps for restoring the building to its former state as may be specified in the notice to be taken within such period as may be so specified; and in relation to any notice served under this Subsection, the provisions of Subsections (3) to (5) of Section twenty-one of this Act and of Section twenty-two of this Act shall, subject to such exceptions and modifications as may be prescribed by regulations under this Act, apply as those provisions apply in relation to an enforcement notice served under the said Section twenty-one.
(9) Without prejudice to the provisions of the last foregoing Subsection."

Page 34, line 1, leave out from "pounds," to end of Clause.—[ Mr. Silkin.]

Clause 29—(Provisions Supplementary To S 28)

Amendments made: In page 36, tine 17, leave out "advertisement is displayed," and insert "person displays an advertisement."

Line 19, leave out "the owner of that advertisement," and insert "he."

Line 25, leave out from "subsection," to end of Clause, and add:

"and without prejudice to the generality thereof a person shall be deemed to display an advertisement if—
  • (a) the advertisement is displayed on land of which he is the owner or occupier; or
  • (b) the advertisement gives publicity to his goods, trade, business or other concerns:
  • Provided that a person shall not be guilty of an offence under the said subsection by reason only that an advertisement is displayed on land of which he is the owner or occupier, or that his goods, trade, business or other concerns are given publicity by the advertisement, if he proves that it was displayed without his knowledge or consent."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 31—(Delegation Of Functions To Councils Of County Districts)

    Amendments made: In page 37, line 7, leave out from "Act," to "and," in line 9.

    Line i6, at end, insert "counties and."

    Line 29, leave out "or," and insert "and."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 34—(Temporary Provisions Pending Approval Of Plans)

    Amendment made: In page 39), line 23, leave out "been approved or made." and insert "become operative."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 35—(Compulsory Acquisition By Ministers, Kcal Authorities And Statutory Undertakers)

    Amendments made: In page 39, line 34, leave out "for the purposes of the functions of," and insert "by."

    Line 40, leave out "been approved or made," and insert "become operative."

    Page 40, line 10, leave out from "acquisition," to "a," in line and insert "by."

    Line 13, leave out from "acquisition," to "a," and insert "by."

    Line 17, leave out from "acquisition," to "any," and insert "by."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 36—(Compulsory Acquisition Of Land For Development)

    Amendments made: In page 40, line 42, leave out from "acquisition," to end of line 10, page 41, and insert:

    "by the appropriate local authority, then if the Minister is satisfied—
  • (a) in the case of land comprised in an area defined by the plan as an area of comprehensive development, or of land contiguous or adjacent to any such area, that the land is required in order to secure the development or re-development of the said area or that it is expedient in the public interest that the land should be held together with land so required;
  • (b) in any other case, that it is necessary that the land should be acquired under this Section for the purpose of securing its use in the manner proposed by the plan."
  • Page 41, line 14, leave out "been approved or made," and insert "become operative."

    Line 28, leave out "he thinks fit," and insert:

    "after consultation with that council and, in the case of land in a county, with the council of that county, he thinks it expedient so to do."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 38—(Acquisition Of Land By Agreement For Development)

    Amendments made; In page 42, line 46, leave out from "land," to "compulsorily," in line 47, and insert:

    "(whether or not being land designated by a development plan as subject to compulsory acquisition) which they require for any purpose for which a local authority may be authorised to acquire land."

    Line 47, leave out from "Act," to end of Subsection.—[ Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 41—(Acquisition Of Land By Central Land Board)

    Amendments made: In page 45, line ii, leave out from first "development," to second "development," and insert "on terms inclusive of any."

    Line 14, leave out from beginning to "he," in line 18, and insert:

    "If the Minister is satisfied that it is expedient in the public interest that the Board should acquire any land for any such purpose as aforesaid, and that the Board are unable to acquire the land by agreement on reasonable terms."

    Line 20, leave out "the said Section thirty-six," and insert "this Section."

    Line 21, leave out "the said."—[ Mr. Silkin.]

    ; On a point of Order. In view of the fact that we cannot vote against this perfectly ridiculous procedure, could not we take all the Amendments as read? There is no opportunity of opposing them, and no opportunity of discussing them. Therefore, would not it be possible to take them all as read?

    I should like to do so, but after all, hon. Members have the right, if they so wish, to divide against particular Amendments. That is their right, and I cannot forgo that. I will try to put the Amendments en bloc as far as I possibly can.

    Clause 43—(Amendment Of 9 & 10 Geo 6 C 49 In Relation To Acquisition Of Land Under Part Iv)

    Amendments made: In page 47, line 23, leave out "its confirmation," and insert "the consideration of the order."

    In line 43, leave out "and except where," and insert "or."

    In page 48, line 9, at end, insert:

    "(6) Regulations made under this Act, may provide for securing that any proceeding's required by the said First Schedule to be taken for the purposes of the compulsory acquisition of any land under this Act may be taken concurrently with any proceedings required by or under this Act to be taken in connection with the approval, making or amendment of a development plan designating that land as subject to compulsory acquisition."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 46—(Power To Stop Up And Divert Highways, Etc)

    Amendment made: In page 51, line 38, leave out from "with," to "by," in line 39, and insert;

    "planning permission granted under Part III of this Act."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 50—(Application Of 9 & 10 Geo 5 C 57 To Purchases By Statutory Undertakers)

    Amendments made: In page 56, line 6, after "by," insert "the Central Land Board or any."

    In line 8, leave out from "by," to "accordingly," in line 9, and insert;

    "a Government Department or a local or public authority, and references in this Act to any such Department or authority shall be construed."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 54—(Ascertainment Of Development Values Of Land)

    Amendments made: In page 6o, line 11, leave out "Provided that," and insert "(3)."

    In line 16, at end, insert:

    "(3) Where any permission to develop land granted on an application made in that behalf under an interim development order has been revoked or modified before the appointed day under Section four of the Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Act, 5943, the unrestricted value of any interest in that land shall be calculated without regard to the revocation or modification of that permission.
    Provided that—
  • (a) in calculating the unrestricted value of the interest no account shall be taken of any works in respect of which any compensation has been paid under Subsection (2) of Section seven of the said Act; and
  • (b) if any contribution has been paid under Subsection (4) of the said Section four to the owner of the interest or his predecessor in title, the amount of that contribution shall be deducted from the unrestricted value of the interest."
  • In line 47, leave out lines 47 to 49.— [ Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 56—(Exclusion Of Small Claims)

    Amendment made: In page 6i, line 40, leave out Subsection (2), and insert:

    "(2) In determining for the purposes of paragraph (b) of the foregoing Subsection whether the development value of an interest in land exceeds one tenth of its restricted value, those values shall be calculated—
  • (a) in the case of a leasehold interest, as if the rent payable under the lease were a rent of a peppercorn;
  • (b) in the case of an interest which is subject to a rentcharge, as if the interest were not subject thereto."—[Mr. Silkin.]
  • Clause 57—(Vesting And Assignment Of Right To Payments Under Part V)

    Amendments made: In page 62, line 6, leave out Subsection (2).

    In line 30, at end, insert;

    "(4) Subject to the following provisions of this Section the reference in this Section to the owner of an interest in land shall be construed as a reference to the person in whom the legal estate in respect of the interest is vested or, if the interest is a tenancy under an agreement for a lease, to the person entitled to have vested in him the legal term agreed to be created.
    (5) Where the legal estate or the title thereto, as the case may be, in respect of an interest in land is vested in the official trustee of charity lands or other trustee on or for charitable, ecclesiastical or public trusts or purposes not entitled to act in the trust, or in the Public Trustee holding in circumstances in which he is not entitled to act in the trust then—
  • (a) in the case of a trustee on or fox charitable, ecclesiastical or public trusts or purposes, the managing trustees or committee of management shall be deemed for the purposes of this section to be the owner of the interest;
  • (b) in the case of the Public Trustee, the person in receipt of the rent incident to the Public Trustee's estate, or, if there is no rent incident thereto, the person in occupation of the land, shall be deemed for those purposes to be the owner of the interest.
  • (6) Where under Section nine of the Administration of Estates Act, 1925, or Section fifteen of the Court of Probate (Ireland), 1859. the estate of a person who died intestate is vested in the Probate Judge, that judge shall not be deemed for the purposes of this Section to be the owner of any interest in land comprised in the estate, but upon administration being granted the administrator shall be deemed for those purposes to have been the owner thereof as from the date of the death.
    (7) In relation to requisitioned land the reference in paragraph (b) of Subsection (5) of this Section to rent shall be construed as including a reference to compensation payable under the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. or under any such agreement as is mentioned in Section fifteen of that Act, and the reference in the said paragraph (b) to the person in receipt of rent shall be construed as a reference to the person who is, or, if a claim therefor had been duly made under that Act, would have been, in receipt of such compensation as aforesaid."—[Mr. Silkin.]

    Clause 62—(Levy Of Development Charge In Respect Of Certain Development)

    Amendments made: In page 66, line 3, at end, insert "or continuance."