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Clause 17—(Scope Of Part Ii)

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 13 July 1954

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I beg to move, in page 22, line 20, at the end, to insert:

"and for the purposes of this Act, new development shall be taken to be initiated—
  • (a) if the development consists of the carrying out of operations, at the time when those operations are begun;
  • (b) if the development consists of a change in use, at the time when the new use is instituted;
  • (c) if the development consists both of the carrying out of operations and of a change in use, at the earlier of the times aforesaid."
  • This Amendment fulfils an undertaking which I gave during the Committee stage to my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, South-West (Mr. Powell). My hon. Friend had expressed doubts about the meaning of the phrase,
    "development of land is initiated"
    and the Amendment attempts to give effect to the undertaking given.

    I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in paragraph (a), after "time," to insert:

    "after the commencement of this Act."

    I should point out that this Amendment to the proposed Amendment can be taken with the other Amendment to the proposed Amendment, in paragraph (b), after "time," to insert:

    "after the commencement of this Act."

    The Clause deals with planning decisions made after the commencement of the Act, and the occasions when new development—as defined by the Bill—comes up for consideration as a result of planning decisions made after the commencement of the Act can presumably only cover cases of the revocation of an earlier permission. I should have thought that the case of an earlier decision which has been affected by a planning decision taken after the commencement of the Act was sufficiently looked after by the provisions of Clause 41, and that a certain advantage might be derived if the term "new development," which is a term of art, were confined to development occurring, in point of time, after the commencement of the Act. I venture to recommend that view of the matter to the House unless there is any objection which can be pointed out.

    When this question was considered during the Committee stage the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) drew attention to the fact that the term "new development" had no time significance. If that is so there must be some objection to the use of the phrase. As the case of new development occurring before the commencement of the Act is confined to Clause 19 (3), I should have thought that it might be better to change the design of this part of the Bill and to leave development occurring before the commencement of the Act to be treated under Clause 41 and henceforward, as a result of this Amendment, to confine the term "new development" to that development which is initiated after the commencement of the Act.

    The hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. Irvine) is quite correct in saying that this point was raised by him during the Committee stage. We have considered the matter in view of what he then said, and we are very happy to consider it again with a view to making an Amendment, if necessary, in another place. But we feel that new development, in this sense and connotation, is development outside the Third Schedule to the 1947 Act. We think that this is made clear in Clause 17 (4).

    The term "new development" has no connotation as to time; it is simply a term used to describe the character of the development. It is clear from the wording of Clause 19 (3) that it embraces development carried out both before and after the coming into force of the Bill. I appreciate what the hon. Member has said, and if we feel we ought to find some new term, so that a difference may be expressed as between development in point of time and in point of substance, we shall introduce the necessary Amendment. But there would have to be considerable changes throughout the Bill, and there might be rather awkward results in that respect. I do not think that there is any great danger of confusion, but we shall certainly take account of what the hon. Member has said.

    I do hope my right hon. Friend will again be cautious. "New development," though, perhaps, it does not mean what people outside would think it means, is a term that is well known by long experience. If we were to start playing about with it I think we should make endless difficulties and cause more confusion than we should clear up.

    Notice taken that 40 Members were not present;

    House counted, and, 40 Members being present—

    In view of the undertaking given by the Minister that he will be good enough to look once more into this matter, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment to the proposed Amendment.

    Amendment to the proposed Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.