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Clause 9—(Obligation To Obtain Permission For Development)

Volume 439: debated on Monday 7 July 1947

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8.30 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 8, to leave out "mining."

If I might, I will also take the Amendment in page 10, line 10, at the end, to insert:
"other than operations or the making use of land for the extraction of minerals."
The purpose of these two Amendments can be stated quite simply. It is to exclude minerals from the operation of this Bill. There is no doubt that the value of minerals in the soil is very high indeed, This value is one upon which Death Duties have been assessed in the past and very large sums paid, and in certain cases it is a large element in valuation. If the House had not so much work before it tonight it would be possible to go in detail into the value of mineral deposits in Scotland. Various estimates have been given at different stages both of the English and the Scottish Bills to show that the value of mineral rights is somewhere between £50 million and £100 million. I am not prepared to say at this stage where the right figure should lie, but it is certainly above £50 million. If any right hon. Gentleman opposite challenges that statement I am prepared to produce figures here and now which will justify a value of £50 million at least on the basis of the values of 1938, which are very different from those obtaining today.

The value of iron, limestone, sand and gravel, which are very much in demand for building of every kind, of igneous rocks and shale, and of such things as fullers' earth can all be assessed fairly accurately. If it is true that all these minerals are worth not less than £50 million and not more than £100 million, it becomes clear that if the owners are to be properly and justly compensated for the withdrawal of mineral development rights they will take up a very large proportion of the £300 million which is the global sum set aside for the compensation of owners who lose development rights in Scotland on the one hand and England and Wales on the other. That reduces the £300 million by a very large amount. I am aware that it would not be appropriate on this occasion to go into details as to how that figure might have been arrived at, but I would remind the House of the assessment of value of development rights, excluding mineral rights and redevelopment rights in urban areas. The assessment of that value made by the Chief Valuer of the Inland Revenue Department in 1938 was £400 million as against the £300 million under the English Bill, and, as I say, that figure did not include redevelopment rights, in land or mineral development rights.

For these reasons we say, first, that if the £300 million is to be anything like adequate to compensate for loss of development rights, we must exclude the value of mineral rights. The second thing we say is that a Bill of this kind is not a proper medium for introducing nationalisation of mineral rights. That question is quite apart from town and country planning, and should properly be dealt with by a Measure of its own for the acquisition of those rights. We say that if it is the Government's policy to acquire development rights in minerals, the Government should have the courage of their convictions and come forward with a Bill specifically directed to that end. They should not try to introduce it as it were by a side wind, in a town and country planning Measure. We have much to do before we go home tonight, and in view of that fact, I think I need not labour the point any further. I am sure it is one of which we are all fully seized.

I beg to second the Amendment.

My hon. Friend the Member for West: Aberdeen (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) has already put the case succinctly so that nothing more is needed from me. The Government have said that they are prepared to give fair compensation to mineral owners. We might differ as to the meaning of the word "fair." If the figure of £50 million to £100 million mentioned by my hon. Friend is correct, then it is clear that the proposed £300 million will not cover that fair compensation. I second the Amendment in the sincere hope that the Secretary of State will reconsider the matter, which at present is far from justly dealt with.

If the Amendment were accepted, it would take mining operations out of the definition of development. The effect would be to remove mining operation from planning control—and this is a planning Bill. It would also exclude minerals from participation in the £300 million. I think that sums up the points which have been made and admitted by the sponsors of the Amendment The mover indicated that this matter was fairly fully debated in Committee. I should never say "fully" on a problem of this kind. An exactly similar Amendment was moved, and was negatived. The point made, quite correctly, in Committee was that mining operations covered quarrying and the extraction of all minerals, including sand and gravel. It was urged that the necessity to obtain permission for the extraction of sand and gravel would delay house building. It was also stated that £300 million would not be adequate to compensate the local authorities. I mention these matters to prove that the matter was fully debated in Committee

Power to control mining operations was conferred by the 1932 Act, although the control has been modified by the Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) (Scotland) Order, 1946, made by the Secretary of State. It is essential to retain the right of control over mining. Otherwise, planning control by local authorities may be stultified by mining operations leading to subsidence and flooding. The Bill recognises that special arrangements may have to be made, as in the case of the present Interim Development Order, in relation to mineral workings, and Clause 76 provides that regulations may be made applying the provisions of the Bill to such workings, subject to such adaptations and modifications as may be prescribed. I trust that this Amendment will not be pressed to a Division. I cannot possibly accept it.

I am very sorry to hear the last words spoken by the Secretary of State, because I am afraid that we shall feel it our duty to press this Amendment to a Division. The White Paper, Command 6537, dealing with the control of land use, pointed out that special considerations must arise in the case of mineral workings. It also laid down that that type of development should not be included in the proposals made in regard to compensation and betterment. Here we have happening the very thing that the White Paper said should not happen. The compensation fund, which we already know is much too low to be fair all round, will be reduced by a very large proportion due to the fact that these minerals are being taken into account. We are firmly of the opinion that this is unjust and unfair, and that is not doing what the Government promised to do—that is, to pay fair compensation. For those reasons, we must press the Amendment.

The outstanding reason why the word "mining" should be left out of the Clause is that the Central Land Board is unlikely primarily to be capable of dealing with under-surface workings. That is not its job. It will add enormously to the complications of the work of the Board if this has to be undertaken. That is essentially a matter for the Ministry of Fuel and Power and it is wrong to overburden the Central Land Board with matters of this kind. Apart from that, as my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Pollok (Commander Galbraith) said, special considerations are involved. There is the very wide consideration of what is actually being taken out of the mines, which cannot be dealt with simply by the Board.

In Committee two separate aspects were referred to. There is the aspect of those concerns and enterprises which have already acquired their own mining rights. It is quite wrong that they should be deprived of the development rights they have already acquired and should then have to pay again. It is true that there will be a certain compensation or hardship allowance, but they will have to pay again in order to have the minerals they have themselves acquired. That is not paralleled in any other aspect of development, and it should be dealt with entirely separately. For those reasons, I feel strongly that the word "mining" should be left out of the Bill.

8.45 p.m.

I speak for a number of business people who have been at some pains to approach me on the matter of mineral rights. What they allege is that if this provision remains in the Clause, as is proposed by the Government, it will hinder seriously the development of mineral rights in Scotland. Hon. Members will be aware that they have not been developed to anything like the extent they have been in other parts of the country, and this Clause will hinder rather than encourage their future exploitation. Some surveys made by the Scottish Council of Industry have discovered during the war a number of valuable minerals which have not been exploited commercially in Scotland. I have a list here. They include silica, fluorspar, china clay, gypsum, sandstone, slate and a number of others. The development of these substances is at best a speculative enterprise, and the addition of the development charge to their already somewhat speculative character will be, in the opinion of my correspondents, inimical to the interests of Scotland.

If the Minister can assure me that these views are ill-founded and that, on the contrary, the retention of these words will make for the more effective exploitation of this mineral wealth of Scotland in the future than has been the case in the past, I should be inclined to value his views against those put before me. However, he must be aware that these minerals are in a very undeveloped condition. I am not blaming anyone for their lack of development—that feature is a feature of the past and we are looking encouragingly into the future—but these substances, of a varied and unusual character, are waiting for exploitation, and that, it is alleged, will be hindered.

There is another substance which is important, and here I agree with my hon.

Division No. 300.]

AYES

8.48 p.m.

Adams, Richard (Batham)Grossman, R. H. S.Hughes, H. D. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Adams, W. T. (Hammersmith, South)Daggar, G.Hynd, H. (Hackney, C.)
Allen, A. C. (Bosworth)Davies, Edward (Burslem)Irving, W. J.
Allen, Scholefield (Crewe)Davies, Ernest (Enfield)Isaacs, Rt Hon. G. A
Alpass, J. H.Davies, R J. (Westhoughton)Janner, B
Attewell, H. CDeer, G.Jay, D. P. T.
Austin, H. LewisDiamond, J.Jones, Elwyn (Plaistow)
Awbery, S. SDonovan, -T.Jones, P. Asterley (Hitchin)
Ayles, W. HDriberg, T. E. N.Keenan, W.
Baird, J.Dugdale, J. (W. Bromwich)Kendall, W. D
Balfour A.Dumpleton, C. W.Kenyon, C.
Barnes, Rt. Hon A JEdelman, M.Key, C. W
Barstow, P. G.Edwards, A. (Middlesbrough, E.)Kinghorn, Sqn.-Ldr. E
Barton, C.Edwards, W. J. (Whitechapel)Kinley, J
Battley, J. R.Evans, E. (Lowestoft)Kirby, B. V
Bechervaise, A E.Evans, John (Ogmore)Lang, G.
Benson, G.Evans, S. N. (Wednesbury)Lavers, S.
Berry, H.Fairhurst, F.Lee, F. (Hulme)
Beswick, F.Farthing, W. J.Lee, Miss J. (Cannock)
Bing, G. H. C.Fletcher, E. G. M. (Islington, E.)Leonard, W.
Blackburn, A. RFollick, MLeslie, J. R.
Blenkinsop, AFraser, T. (Hamilton)Levy, B. W.
Blyton, W. R.Gaitskell, H. T. N.Lewis, A. W. J (Upton)
Bowden, Flg.-Offr. H. W.Ganley, Mrs. C. S.Lipton, Lt-Col M
Bowles, F. G. (Nuneaton)Gibbins, J.McAdam, W.
Braddock, Mrs. E. M. (L'pt, Exch'ge)Gilzean, A.McAllister, G.
Braddock, T. (Mitcham)Glanville, J. E. (Consett)McEntee, V. La T.
Brook, D. (Halifax)Gooch, E. G.McGhee, H. G.
Brown, T. J. (Ince)Gordon-Walker, P. C.Mack, J. D.
Bruce, Maj. D. W. T.Greenwood, A. W. J. (Heywood)Mackay, R. W. G. (Hull, N.W.)
Buchanan, G.Grenfell, D. R.McKie, J. H. (Galloway)
Burke, W. A.Grey, C. FMacpherson, T. (Romford)
Butler, H W. (Hackney, S.)Grierson, EMainwaring, W. H.
Castle, Mrs. B. A.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. J. (Llanelly)Mallalieu, J. P. W.
Chamberlain, R. AGuest, Dr. L. HadenManning, Mrs. L. (Epping)
Champion, A. J.Gunter, R. J.Marshall F. (Brightside)
Chater, D.Haire, John E. (Wycombe)Martin, J. H
Chetwynd, G. R.Hale, LeslieMathers, G.
Cobb, F. A.Hall, W. G.Mayhew, C. P.
Cocks, F. S.Hamilton, Lieut.-Col. R.Medland, H. M
Coldrick, W.Hannan, W. (Maryhill)Mellish, R. J.
Collindridge, F.Hardy, E. A.Messer, F.
Collins, V. J.Harrison, J.Middleton, Mrs. L.
Colman, Miss G. M.Henderson, Joseph (Ardwick)Millington, Wing-Comdr. E. R
Comyns, Dr. L.Holman, P.Mitchison, G. R.
Cooper, Wing-Comdr. G.Holmes, H. E (Hemsworth)Monslow, W.
Corbet, Mrs. F K. (Camb'well, N. W.)House, GMoody, A. S.
Corlett, Dr. J.Hoy, J.Morgan, Dr. H. B.
Corvedale, ViscountHubbard, T.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, E.)
Cove, W. GHudson, J. H. (Ealing, W.)Mort, D. L.
Crawley, AHughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Moyle, A.

Friend the Member for Dumfries (Mr. N. Macpherson) that it is a matter for the Minister of Fuel and Power. The Minister of Fuel and Power has the mining development of Scotland in hand under his special jurisdiction, but there is an important and valuable fuel in Scotland in the form of many thousands of acres of peat. Peat will be included under this development charge and it would seem to be unfortunate, when the Minister of Fuel and Power is engaged just now in an investigation of the character of peat for its calorific qualities, if it were so included. I hope the Minister will be able to satisfy the public, if not myself, that this Clause will make for a development of Scotland and not a retardation.

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

The House divided: Ayes. 241; Noes, 63.

Nicholls, H. R. (Stratford)Shackleton, E. A. A.Tiffany, S.
Noel-Baker, Capt. F. E. (Brentford)Sharp, GranvilleTomlinson, Rt. Hon. G
O'Brien, T.Shurmer, PUngoed-Thomas, L
Oldfield, W. H.Silverman, J. (Erdington)Usborne, Henry
Paget, R. T.Simmons, C. J.Vernon, Maj. W. F.
Paling, Rt Hon. Wilfred (Wen.worth)Skeffington-Lodge, T. CViant, S. P.
Palmer, A. M. FSkinnard, F. W.Walkden, E.
Pargiter, G. A.Smith, C. (Colchester)Walker, G. H
Parker, J.Smith, H. N. (Nottingham, S.)Wallace, G. D. (Chislehurst)
Parkin, B. T.Smith, S. H. (Hull, S.W.)Wallace, H. W. (Walthamstow, E.)
Paton, J. (Norwich)Solley, L. J.Weitzman, D.
Pearson, A.Sorensen, R. WWells, P. L. (Faversham)
Peart, T. F.Sparks, J. A.Wells, W. T. (Walsall)
Porter E. (Warrington)Stamford, WWestwood, Rt. Hon. J.
Porter, G. (Leeds)Steele, T.White, H. (Derbyshire, N.E.)
Proctor, W. TStephen, C.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
Randall, H EStewart, Michael (Fulham, E.)Wilkins, W. A.
Ranger, J.Strauss, G. R (Lambeth, N.)Willey, O. G. (Cleveland)
Rankin, J.Stross, Dr. BWilliams, J. L (Kelvingrove)
Rees-Williams, D. RStubbs, A. E.Williams, W. R. (Heston)
Reeves, J.Sylvester, G. O.Williamson, T
Reid, T. (Swindon)Symonds, A. L.Willis, E.
Ridealgh, Mrs. M.Taylor, H. B. (Mansfield)Wills, Mrs. E. A
Robens, A.Taylor, R. J. (Morpeth)Wyatt, W.
Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvonshire)Taylor, Dr. S. (Barnet)Yates, V. F.
Rogers, G. H. R.Thomas, D. E. (Aberdare)Young, Sir R. (Newton)
Ross, William (Kilmarnock)Thomas, I. O. (Wrekin)Younger, Hon. Kenneth
Royle, G.Thomson, Rt. Hn. G. R. (Ed'b'gh. E.)Zilliacus, K
Scollan, T.Thorneycroft, Harry (Clayton)
Segal, Dr. SThurtle, ErnestTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
Mr. Snow and Mr. Popplewell.

NOES.

Anderson, Rt. Hon Sir J (Scot Univ.)Hutchison, Lt.-Cm. Clark (E'b'rgh W.)Ramsay, Maj. S
Astor, Hon. M.Hutchison, Col. J. R (Glasgow, C.)Rayner, Brig. R.
Baldwin, A. EKerr, Sir J. GrahamReid, Rt. Hon. J. S. C. (Hillhead)
Beamish, Maj T V. HLangford-Holt, J.Robinson, Wing-Comdr. Roland
Boles, Lt.-Col D C. (Wells)Lindsay, M (Solihull)Shepherd, W S. (Bucklow)
Boothby, RLucas-Tooth Sir H.Smiles, Lt.-Col. Sir W.
Bower, NMacAndrew, Col. Sir C.Smith, E. P. (Ashford)
Bromley-Davenport, Lt.- WMacmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Stewart, J. Henderson (Fife, E.)
Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.Macpherson, N. (Dumfries)Strauss, H. G (English Universities)
Clifton-Browne, Lt.-Col. GMaitland, Comdr. J. W.Sutcliffe, H
Conant, Maj. R. J. E.Marples, A. E.Taylor, C. S. (Eastbourne)
Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col O EMarshall, D. (Bodmin)Taylor, Vice-Adm. E. A. (P'dd't'n, S.)
Darling, Sir W. Y.Maude, J. CTeeling, William
Drewe, C.Medlicott, FThornton-Kemsley, C. N
Dugdale, Maj. Sir T. (Richmond)Mellor, Sir JVane, W. M. F.
Fyfe, Rt. Hon Sir D. P. MMoore, Lt.-Col. Sir T.Wheatley, Colonel M. J.
Gage, C.Morris-Jones, Sir H.White, J. B. (Canterbury)
Galbraith, Cmdr. T. DMorrison, Rt. Hon. W. S. (Cirencester)Williams, C. (Torquay)
Gomme-Duncan, Col. A.Neven-Spence, Sir BWilloughby de Eresby, Lord
Hunnon, Sir P. (Moseley)Nutting, AnthonyWinterton, Rt. Hon. Earl
Harvey, Air-Comdre. A. VOrr-Ewing, I. L
Haughton, S. G.Osborne, C.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
Headlam, Lieut.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir CPickthorn, KMr. Studholme and
Hurd, A.Raikes, H. VLieut.-Colonel Thorp.

I beg to move, in page 10, line 14, after "maintenance," to insert "improvement or other alteration."

We also deal with this matter in Clause 109, which we shall seek to amend later. The effect of the Amendment is to make it clear that improvements such as internal decorations, etc., are outwith the scope of the Bill, and that the only things covered are external works which would be in conflict in any sense with planning administration. The ordinary work of maintaining and pointing a building, etc., will be excluded from the scope of the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 10, line 15, leave out. from "building," to "external," in line 16, and insert:

"being works which affect only the interior of the building or which do not materially affect the."—[Mr. Buchanan.]

I beg to move, in page 10, line 20, 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."
The Amendment provides that operations by a local authority or a statutory undertaking necessary for maintaining, for example, sewers, gas and electricity mains, are not development for the purposes of Clause 9, and that they will, therefore, be outside planning control, and will not be liable to any development charge. There is no need to keep these operations within the scope of the Bill because no development charge will be payable in any case. The Amendment has been limited to the maintenance of authorised apparatus, but the whole question of the breaking open of streets is under consideration by the Minister of Transport, and special legislation will be required for that. Until that is done, a measure of control should be maintained over new apparatus, at least until new legislation comes into force.

9.0 p.m.

I am sure that this is a good Amendment, though I wonder whether it goes far enough. So far as I can see, it applies only if existing cables, pipes, or the like are replaced. In a developing district it is obvious that an extra cable or pipe may be required, and in that case an extra piece of apparatus is laid in the same street. It would be a great pity if the authority were limited to the exact number of pieces of apparatus which it had in the past, and had to pay if it put in an extra one, though there was no real development at all. I wonder whether the Amendment is wide enough or whether it should be extended to cover reasonable amplification of existing resources.

The right hon. and learned Gentleman has made a point and I will consider the matter.

I did not have the advantage of being present when this matter was considered in Committee. If I am dealing with something with which the hon. Gentleman has already dealt, I hope he will tell me. The Amendment mentions:

"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.…"
What is the situation of the owner of a private estate who renews or repairs pipes within his estate, which may be of considerable extent? Does he come within this exemption?

As I see it, I would say say that according to the wording of this Amendment the answer would be "No."

Would the Joint Under-Secretary reconsider this? I can think of several cases where pipes have been relaid in the interests of the occupants of a large number of cottages, and so on.

I think that nearly all those are laid by a statutory undertaker or a local authority. I confess that the hon. and gallant Gentleman may have a case in regard to the large hotels in the Highlands. I understand that sometimes they develop their own power, for which purpose they lay certain cables. That may be a case which he has in mind. I think that in almost every other case the work is carried out by a statutory undertaking or by a local authority. If the hon. and gallant Gentleman thinks that there is something in the point. I will look at the matter again.

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move in page 10, line 38, to leave out "may involve." and to insert "involves."

It has been suggested to us that the words "may involve" do not conduce to the avoidance of doubt. The present Amendment, therefore, substitutes the word "involves." We think that this makes the position more clear.

I ask hon. Members to consider the extraordinary situation which has developed as a result of this very small point. The Clause says:

"The deposit of refuse of waste materials on land …"
and there it is proposed to insert the word "involves"—
"… 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."
I may be very dense, but I simply fail to see how one can deposit any refuse, or, indeed, anything else, without extending the superficial area where that is done.

We are not discussing that now. All I was discussing was whether the words "may involve" or the word "involves" should be used.

I appreciate that, but it seems to me that the Amendment is quite unnecessary and redundant, because no deposit can possibly take place anywhere, without the superficial area each time being increased.

I think that question does not arise. The House is dealing with the Amendment on the Order Paper, and nothing more or less.

I am glad to drop the matter, which is quite unimportant, though it is really making nonsense of the Clause as it stands. It is self-evident.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: in page 10, line 43, leave out "Subject," and insert "Without prejudice."—[ Mr. Buchanan.]

I beg to move, in page 11, line 20, after "that," to insert:

  • (i) in determining for the purposes of paragraph (a) of this Subsection the purposes for which land was normally used and in determining for the purposes of paragraph (c) of this Subsection the purposes for which land was last used, no account shall be taken of any use of the land begun in contravention of previous planning control within the meaning of Section seventy of this Act;
  • (ii)."
  • Clause 9 (5) provides that, in the case of land which, on the appointed day, is being used temporarily for a purpose which is not its normal use, planning permission is not required for the resumption of the normal use. The effect of the Amendment is that, in deciding what was the normal use of the land, any use which was instituted in contravention of planning control shall be ignored.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 11, line 21, to leave out from "which," to end of line 22, and to insert:

    "was unoccupied on the seventh day of January, nineteen hundred and thirty-seven, and has not been occupied since that date."
    Clause 9 (5, c) provides that land which is unoccupied on the appointed day may revert to its last known use without any planning permission, provided that it has been unoccupied for a period of at least 10 years before the appointed day. The effect of this Amendment is to permit reversion to the last known use provided that the land has been unoccupied since 7th January, 1937—during the 10-year period before the date of publication of the English Bill. A similar Amendment to this one was made in Committee upstairs to the First Schedule to the Bill.

    Amendment agreed to.