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Building Licences, Chiswick

Volume 466: debated on Monday 27 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Works for what purpose his Department forwards each month to local authorities a list of building licences granted during the previous four weeks within the area of these authorities; what steps are taken to study the comments made by the local authorities upon these lists; and why his regional licensing officer, in letters dated 27th April and 23rd May, reference, CL5/A3/214715/1, refused to furnish the Plans and Town Planning Sub-Committee of the Borough Council of Brentford and Chiswick with information regarding licences for work at 90, Turnham Green Terrace and 250, Chiswick High Road.

Copies of licences issued by my Department are forwarded to local authorities to assist them in their work of detecting breaches of the licensing regulations and not for the purpose of inviting comments on the decisions. In accordance with these arrangements, copies of the licences mentioned in the Question were forwarded to the local authority, but it was unnecessary to communicate any further detail since they were outside the classes of cases in which the officers of the local authority have any responsibility for the decisions.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that very often local authorities have special knowledge of and very relevant comments to bring to bear on these questions; is he further aware that the local regional licensing officer for Brentford and Chiswick was lately neither helpful nor courteous and will he look into the matter?

I have a good knowledge of local government, and I know that local authorities have valuable information, and we do avail ourselves of the opportunity of consulting them where it is found or thought to be necessary.

Does the Minister's reply mean that as the work goes on he really expects local authorities to watch the licences, from the snooping point of view, to see that it is carried out? Surely he does not mean that.

No, Sir, I do not mean that. What I mean is that the local authorities are given information about the licences issued, so that if any matters come before them they may know whether or not we have issued a licence and the value of the licence issued.

Perhaps my right hon. Friend would find an opportunity of ascertaining the views of the borough of Brentford and Chiswick on the number of licences which have recently been granted by his Department, and which have caused a very great deal of feeling locally?

I will look into this matter, but I have no reason to think that there is any more reason for looking into this case than into that of any other local authority.