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Town And Country Planning Bill

Volume 530: debated on Tuesday 13 July 1954

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

Order read for consideration, as amended (in the Standing Committee).

Bill re-committed to a Committee of the whole House in respect of the Amendments to Clause 6, page 8. lines 14 and 18, and page 9, line 15; Clause 8, page 11, line 44; Clause 10, page 13, line 25; Clause 18, page 22, line 33; Clause 23, page 27, line 5; and the new Clause (Associated companies) standing on the Notice Paper in the name of Mr. Harold Macmillan.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

Bill immediately considered in Committee.

[Sir CHARLES MACANDREW in the Chair]

Clause 6—(Payment Where Land Compulsorily Acquired Or Sold At A Price Wholly Or Partly Excluding Development Value (Case B))

3.59 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 8, line 14, to leave out from "the," to the second "and," in line 15, and to insert "said sixth day of August."

The purpose of this and the following Amendment is to permit payment to be claimed under Clause 6 by persons who contracted to sell land privately at artificially low prices before the 1947 Act came into force but in anticipation of the financial provisions of that Act. As the Bill is drawn, no payment can be claimed unless the contract was made between 1st July, 1948, and 18th November, 1952. The Amendment is designed to deal with cases where the parties knew when making the contract that the right to claim on the £300 million fund would remain with the vendor because completion would not take place before the Act came into force, and arranged the terms accordingly. This is to cover that point which is in conformity with the general intention of the Clause as drawn.

We accept the general outline as given by the Minister, but really what this Amendment does is to bring the private landowner into general line with the local authority under compulsory purchase, in the words as set out in lines 9 and 10 of paragraph (a). The date in the Bill originally was given as the sixth day of August, 1947, in paragraph (a), for local authorities. When we came to the exclusion of purchase by local authorities, a different date was deliberately given, and the Minister has not explained why there has been this change between the introduction of the Bill and this stage. This was a point considered in Committee on the Bill.

Those of us who were not present in the Committee but who want to take part in this debate are very surprised at the apparent neglect by the Minister to conform to Parliamentary procedure. These things which we are debating are the remnants of things which should have been dealt with in Committee. Already the Parliamentary time-table is very crowded, and important matters have to be debated late at night, which is a most unsatisfactory state of affairs. I think that it would be wrong to allow any one of these Amendments to go by without demanding from the Minister some explanation. He ought to defend himself at least as a Parliamentarian, if he cannot defend himself in any other way, and explain why these things were not dealt with in Committee. Why has the House to be burdened with a series of Committee points? Will the Minister answer that, please?

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 8, line 18, to leave out "said first day of July," and to insert "first day of July, nineteen hundred and forty-eight."

This Amendment is consequential.

It may be consequential, but it gives the Minister an opportunity to reply to me, which he has not yet had the courtesy to do. Will he not reply this time and explain why this consequential Amendment, as well as the other, had to be made at this stage?

Amendment agreed to.

I beg to move, in page 9, line 15, at the end, to insert:

(7) Where two or more persons are jointly entitled to a claim holding, then, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not those persons are entitled to a payment in respect of the holding by virtue of this section, any act or event by virtue of which the interest of any one or more of those persons in any of the area of the claim holding passed to any other one or more of those persons shall be deemed not to have occurred.
(8) The provisions of this and the next following section shall apply in relation to any interest in land vested in the British Transport Commission by subsection (2) of section forty-five of the Transport Act, 1947 (which relates to the acquisition of road haulage undertakings by the Commission) as if that vesting were a compulsory acquisition of that interest and as if the notice of acquisition served under Part III of that Act by virtue of which the interest was so vested were a notice to treat.
I should like to take this opportunity to say what I intended to say on the first Amendment, and that is how much I regret that it has not been possible to arrange the Parliamentary time-table to meet the convenience of the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) who led for the Opposition during the Committee stage. He gave the greatest possible assistance, in the true Parliamentary sense of the word, in trying to help the Committee with his great knowledge. Many of these Amendments, as I think those who were on the Committee will agree, are the results of points which he raised or brought to our attention. I wish that it had been possible to postpone this stage until next week, when he could have been present himself.

This Amendment deals with two points which arise on Clause 6. The proposed subsection (7) is an attempt to deal with a point which was raised by the hon. Member for Crosby (Mr. Page) in Committee. He instanced a case where two or more persons jointly owned a piece of land on the appointed day and, after duly establishing a Part VI claim, entered into a deed of partition as respects the land, leaving the claim in joint ownership. He pointed out that if subsequently the land was compulsorily acquired or sold privately at a low price, no payment could be claimed under Part I of the Bill because the vendor was not at the time of the sale the holder of the claim holding. The same disqualification would exist in the case of payments under other Clauses.

That seemed a point with which we ought to deal. If the Amendment is accepted, then for the purpose of entitlement to a payment the deed of physical partition will be ignored. Thus, in the sort of case already described, the joint tenants as holders of the claim holding would be entitled to claim as if they jointly had sold the land, and not the individual who became the owner under the deed of partition. I think that this is a point that should be met, although I do not think that it is one which will affect many cases.

The other subsection is concerned with cases where the property of a road haulage undertaking vested in the British Transport Commission by reason of a notice of acquisition under Part III of the Transport Act, 1947. Under Section 47 (2) of that Act, compensation was payable on the basis of market value at the date of transfer. Where the property included land which was not fully developed, the price obtained may have been depressed because of liability to pay development charge. In such a case, the previous owners, if they had retained the claim on the £300 million fund, should be entitled to any payment under Clause 6 which they could have claimed if the land had been compulsorily acquired at the same figure in pursuance of a notice to treat. This puts right a number of cases brought to our notice.

May I take the opportunity of thanking the right hon. Gentleman for the reference he made to my hon. and learned Friend? I feel that my regret at his absence is even greater than that of the Minister. I would ask the Minister, in view of his words of appreciation of my hon. and learned Friend's work during the Committee stage, to be a little lenient with me during the Report stage of the Bill, because my legal knowledge may not be even as great as that of the Minister, who has the learned Attorney-General at his side to jog his memory.

I should like also, on behalf of my hon. Friends, to express our thanks to the right hon. Gentleman for his sympathy to us in our fortunately rather temporary bereavement. It would not be proper to say that we are playing Hamlet without the Prince of Denmark, but we are playing without the grave digger. I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will avoid interment in the muddle and obscurity of his own Bill through the absence of my hon. and learned Friend.

There is one point which is indicative of the many which we raised during the Committee stage, and the justification for which I should like the right hon. Gentleman to explain. It is one of those excursions into metaphysics of which the right hon. Gentleman is so fond and of which we have had so much. The Amendment states:
"…any Act or event by virtue of which the interest of any one or more of those person's…passed to any other one or more of those persons shall be deemed not to have occurred."
That is a bad beginning to an afternoon's work. I know that Parliament is sovereign, and that if it wishes to amend the Bill it can do so; but it seems a bad beginning to say that an act or event which has in fact occurred should be deemed not to have occurred. A statement like that shakes the average person's confidence in the sanity of Parliament and the clarity of our law. Therefore, is it really necessary that we should have such an obviously untrue statement made in this form? Is there no other way of getting round it?

The other question I wish to ask is whether this may in some way alter the charge on public funds. I am not conversant with the rules of order, and why we suddenly go into Committee on these matters; but if the effect of the Amendment is a change in the charge on public funds, why should that be so? It is not clear from the explanation which has been given by the right hon. Gentleman. If this means that more money is to be paid out, I think it important that that should be considered.

I wish to express my gratitude to the Minister for solving the problem which I raised in Committee. In the wording of the Bill, as drafted, there was undoubtedly great difficulty in the case of the dissolution of a partnership or of partition. This Amendment vindicates the Minister against the charge made by the hon. and learned Member for Hornchurch (Mr. Bing) who, I notice, has now left the Chamber. In Committee I put forward an Amendment, but after discussion it was found that my form of words was not entirely satisfactory. Now, after consideration, the Minister has found a completely satisfactory solution.

Before the Minister replies to the questions which have been put to him by my hon. Friend the Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl), I wish to raise an additional point which perhaps the right hon. Gentleman will deal with at the same time. The reference to the British Transport Commission will have a somewhat isolated appearance, because there is no reference anywhere else in the Clause to any other public corporation or body; although there must be many in whom land has been vested since the appointed day in a fashion similar to that contemplated in this Amendment.

May we have an assurance that that aspect of the matter has been investigated, and if so, may we be told why, of the many public bodies and corporations which one would expect to be affected by this matter, the British Transport Commission is the only one deserving of mention in the Bill?

With regard to the last point raised by the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine), I asked that question of my advisers, because it struck me in exactly the same way as it has struck the hon. Member. I am informed that, so far as is known, no similar provision is called for in connection with any other nationalisation Acts. I am grateful to my hon. Friend the Member for Crosby (Mr. Page), who feels that we have done our best to meet the point which he raised.

Two main points were raised by the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl). He asked, first, why it is necessary to recommit the Bill in order to discuss this Amendment. After a long period in this House I am bound to say that I sometimes find it difficult to understand exactly why it is necessary to re-commit a Bill in regard to particular Amendments. The line is often a very fine one; very delicate and refined calculations have to be made. But I think it is clear in this case, because under the existing Bill a man might be kept out of a right to claim merely because of the chance of the breaking up of a partnership, and that obviously would be unfair. By this Amendment he will be brought into the field of claim and, pro tanto, it must increase the charge if such a case should occur.

I do not think that the hon. Member for Widnes was quite right in his reference to the language. He stands very high as a metaphysician and a scholar—much higher than I do and nearer to his studies in point of time. But I do not think that he was right in saying that an untruth is stated. What is said is that something that has happened should be deemed not to have happened; in other words, that the effect which would normally flow from something shall not flow in this particular case. That is all there is to it. I have seen words of that kind included in Acts of Parliament over many years. Although I admit that it is rather legalistic, it would seem to me a not unreasonable way of stating exactly what is intended.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 8—(Payment Where Land Dis- Posed Of By Gift (Case C))

4.15 p.m.

I beg to move, in page 11, line 44. to leave out from "he," to the end of line 45, and to insert:

"made a disposition otherwise than for valuable consideration, being a disposition by virtue of which he parted absolutely with the whole of his beneficial interest in that land."
This is a drafting Amendment, designed to define the scope of the Clause more closely than does the present wording.

I agree that this defines the scope of the Clause more clearly, and I would advise my hon. Friends to accept what is, after all, a better form of words.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clause 10—(Payment Under Case A, B Or C To Person Deriving Title From Original Claim-Holder)

I beg to move, in page 13, line 25, to leave out from the second "he," to the end of line 38, and to insert:

  • (a) derives title to the claim holding from a person who would have been entitled to such a payment as aforesaid if that person had continued to be the holder of the claim holding; and
  • (b) became entitled to the claim holding—
  • (i) otherwise than for valuable consideration; or
  • (ii)as mortgagee; or
  • (iii) as assignee under an assignment made on or after the eighteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and fifty-two, which has been approved by the Central Land Board under subsection (2) of section two of the Act of 1953; and
  • (c) has not at any time been entitled in the same capacity both to the claim holding and to the interest in land to which the holding related; and
  • (d) is not entitled to a payment in respect of the holding under Case D.
  • The purpose of this Amendment is to clarify the drafting of Clause 10, which was criticised in Committee, and at the same time to confine payments under the Clause to persons who have not at any time been entitled both to the claim holding and to the land. The new wording brings the Clause into line with Clause 9. Paragraph (d) removes the possibility of overlapping, which was the point raised on Committee.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 18—(Unexpended Balance Of Established Development Value)

    I beg to move, in page 22, to leave out lines 33 to 43, and to insert:

    "and
    (b) such fraction of the value of any claim holding whose area includes that land as attaches to that land; and the unexpended balance of established development value of that land immediately after the commencement of this Act (hereafter in this Act referred to in relation to that land 'as its 'original unexpended balance of established development value') shall be taken to have been an amount equal to eight-sevenths of the amount or aggregate amount so attributed."
    This Amendment refers to the "supplement" which of itself automatically arouses objection from hon. Members opposite, and which we discussed in some detail in Committee.

    I would assure the Committee that all that is done by this Amendment is to put into more correct arithmetical form the proposition which, although it may be ideologically unwelcome to hon. Members opposite, ought—and I am sure they will agree—to be properly expressed. The hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) first drew my attention to the absurdity which might result in making a deduction if we left the formula as it was. It is necessary to redraft the subsection so as to start with the whole eight-sevenths and then to make a deduction, rather than to wait until the end, and then add one-seventh. That would lead to a ridiculous mathematical result, and I am grateful that my attention was drawn to the point. I do not wish to raise the broad issues, but I think it right that this should be calculated in proper language and on a proper system.

    We accept the expression of gratitude voiced by the right hon. Gentleman to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas). This Amendment eliminates also the situation which might have arisen regarding those two words "appropriate fraction." I thought that the Minister was a little naive because, if I understood correctly, this means that the one-seventh supplement has gone and is now added to the capital value of the land. My hon. and learned Friend and other hon. Members called attention in Committee to the fact that this supplement was an addition to the capital value of the land. It is, as I rather graphically described it, a gift to the landlords. Inspite of the fact that it is an added capital value, I agree that it is far better we should say so, rather than call it an interest payment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    Clause 23—(Compensation Excluded In Certain Cases)

    I beg to move, in page 27, line 5, to leave out from "operations," to the end of line 7.

    This is really the first of a series of Amendments, to which we shall come in due course, put forward in order to meet points raised in Committee on Clauses 23, 24, 29 and 30. We shall come to a more detailed discussion of the matters under consideration on some of the later Amendments, some put forward by the Government and others in the names of hon. Gentlemen opposite.

    What this Amendment does is to remove the automatic exclusion from compensation in the Bill where permission is refused
    "for the formation or laying-out of any means of access to a highway."
    This extension was criticised in Committee because it appeared to be a provision which could be used unreasonably, and a genuine fear was expressed that a planning authority, or even the Minister, might wish to prevent some building development, and could contrive to do so without liability to compensation, taking the strict letter of the law, merely by refusing permission for any access.

    Whatever may be one's view on compensation, that is an abuse of the provision, which was directed only to cases where the development for which permission was sought was the formation of a means of access. Everybody felt that that was wrong. We have made some inquiries, and we have found that such cases are very infrequent. We have not found it possible to devise a form of words which would make the intended limitations of this provision clear, and since it is difficult to deny that the provision is capable of abuse as it stands, and since the danger which we originally sought to meet is very little, it seems that the simplest thing is to delete it altogether.

    The Amendment has the additional advantage that it will remove doubt about the precise meaning of "highway" and "service road," and I therefore think the Committee would be well advised to leave this small problem to common sense.

    I am already beginning to feel the lack of the assistance of my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), because the Minister has made for this Amendment a case which is different from that which I made in our earlier discussions. First of all, as I see it, and subject to legal correction, if we withdraw paragraph (b) from subsection (1) of this Clause, dealing with the formation or laying out of any means of access to a highway, it will mean that the Bill, as it will then stand, will provide that if access is refused there will be compensation.

    In the majority of cases, access will be given, and that, to my mind, is the negation of planning, particularly on main roads, because if we give direct access to such roads a danger will arise to the main road traffic from other vehicles having unnecessary access to it. In addition, if this provision is withdrawn, it will encourage what many of us who have been associated with planning and with local government have been trying to do away with for years, and what I thought the Government were attempting to stop—ribbon development. The withdrawal of this paragraph will give an emphasis and encouragement to all ribbon developers.

    Another point that worries me—and I have seen this sort of thing happen so often—is that a local authority spends a great deal of the nation's money and money from its own local rates in the cutting of a highway, or even on the making of a by-pass, which immediately creates a considerable addition to the value of the land on both sides of that by-pass, and, of course, the landlord picks up that value. What are we going to do now? Quite rightly, a large number of county councils, as the planning authorities—because these new highways are often intended for fast-moving traffic—refuse access to it. The removal of paragraph (b) will mean that, in all these cases in which the county council refuses access to a newly-constructed by-pass, the owner of the adjacent land, who has done nothing to create the extra value of the land through which the by-pass runs, will be entitled to compensation because the county council refuses access to it.

    Without some clearer definition of this Amendment, I am afraid that I could not advise my hon. Friends to accept it. If there is a clearer and more precise legal definition which might suggest that what I have said is completely wrong, we shall be ready to revise our opinion.

    I can assure the hon. Gentleman the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) that perhaps, in the absence of his hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas), he has misunderstood the purpose of the Amendment. This was one of the points which I myself raised in Committee on the general issue and also on the allied complication of service roads, and I should like to thank the Minister for meeting the points which I then made.

    The fears expressed by the hon. Gentleman opposite are not well founded. It is not the case that, by omitting this paragraph, everybody who is in fact refused access in any circumstances will automatically get compensation. All we are doing is to remove a situation in which automatically they never could get compensation. If, as I hope will happen in the normal case, the refusal is held to be good planning, the owner will not get compensation, but under the Bill he could get compensation only if the refusal were unreasonable.

    I think that, with that explanation, the hon. Gentleman opposite need not fear that we are doing anything terrible. It is just avoiding a possibility, and no more than a possibility, of abuse. If the planning decision is that refusal of access is reasonable, and it is so held, that type of case is certainly left in the Bill as it is now proposed to be amended. There is no automatic compensation—

    Could the hon. Gentleman indicate which are these provisions in the Bill?

    There is no automatic compensation in this Bill at all for being refused means of access or anything else.

    What the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) has just said is not what the right hon. Gentleman said. I understood that the hon. Gentleman's case for this Amendment was on somewhat different grounds. If in fact there is refusal of permission to lay out an access road to a highway, and if the person concerned is now entitled to compensation for it, I suggest to the Minister that the person would be entitled to it in the normal case, and I do not see why the right hon. Gentleman should wish to delete this particular paragraph from the Clause.

    4.30 p.m.

    Normally the land involved in such an access way being provided to a highway would be land on which the owner did not intend to put any building. Therefore, although he may have been refused permission to construct an access way to the highway, nevertheless there could not be any depreciation in the value of that part of the land concerned, because he never intended to develop it. In fact, if it were a highway, probably at some time he might make it over to the local authority, which would take it, and it would then become public property. Unless the Minister can explain more clearly what his hon. Friend said in relation to this paragraph, I cannot see why in any circumstances compensation should be paid.

    If permission were given it would mean that the strip of land concerned would not anyhow have been built upon; it would have provided a facility and a service, we know, but sooner or later the chances are that the local authority would take it over and therefore no compensation would be involved. If, however, refusal on grounds of better planning is given to such a proposal to construct an access way to the highway, it does not depreciate the value of that piece of land anyhow from the point of view of the intentions of the owner.

    In fact, he might well make better use of that piece of land: not now having permission to construct a by-way, he may decide to put a structure upon it or upon part of it. That would appreciate the value of the land concerned, and although it would have been appreciated as a result, the right hon. Gentleman proposes to pay him compensation in addition. We ought to be very clear about this and we ought to know in precisely which cases compensation would be paid before we accept this Amendment.

    Surely the intention is right that compensation should be claimable for refusal of means of access if that refusal is for nothing else than in connection with means of access. Such refusal might completely nullify the entire use of the land. There is plenty of protection in the following subsection (2, e) over such matters, as for instance, road safety. If a condition is applied relating either to location or design of any means of access—and I stress the word "location"—that does not make compensation claimable. In fact, subsection (2) excludes such a condition from one which draws compensation claim, so there must be plenty of protection there.

    The Minister is discussing this Amendment on the basis that the matter is not of substantial importance, but it is of very substantial importance. The hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr Horobin) expressed regret that my hon. Friend had not the advantage of the assistance of my right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) and suggested that my hon. Friend's view of the matter was, therefore, wrong.

    This Amendment also alters in a very material way a Clause which, in the opinion of many of us, was already insufficiently comprehensive. Until this Amendment appeared there were only two forms of development specifically stated in the Bill of the many which could have been stated, in respect of which, if permission was refused, no compensation would be payable, and this skating approach of the Minister proposes one of the two approaches.

    This matter goes to the very heart of planning because, if we release proper and adequate control of access to the highway, we lose the very kernel of planning policy. We release the risk of ribbon development, of uncontrolled development taking place, and the whole of it aggravated and made more dangerous because compensation may be paid if permission for the development is refused.

    But do we release control when we have subsection (2, e), under which conditions can be applied?

    Up to a point, because when we asked on what grounds can it be said that this point is already covered, there were replies from the other side of the Committee that it was sufficiently covered by the second subsection of the Clause. However, one finds there that the only relevant provision is that in subsection (2, e) where, admittedly, it is said that no compensation will be paid if permission is granted only on a condition relating to the location or design of any means of access to a highway.

    If, however, we refuse permission for the construction or provision of an access altogether, that is not properly described as the imposition of a condition upon the location of the access, nor would any court of law so hold in my view. I do not regard the provisions of subsection (2) as stopping any gap left by the proposed deletion of paragraph (b) from subsection (1) of the Clause. I suggest, therefore, that this is a matter not to be taken lightly, but rather one which diminishes seriously the value of the provisions in Clause 23 (1), and in an important field from the planning point of view of controlling access to highways and of preventing ribbon development and the other social disadvantages which ensue from it.

    I hope we shall be able to reach a conclusion on this point, which I think, has been a little exaggerated. It seemed wrong to us that something should be done by a subterfuge. What this Amendment does is to remove from the area of things automatically excluded from compensation this decision of an authority. What does that mean? Surely it means, to take the case of ribbon development, that if we want to stop a house being built, we ought to say honestly, "Stop the house." What I think is undesirable is, first, not to be willing to refuse planning permission for the house in case there might be compensation, and then to try to do it by the devious method of refusing access.

    As I ventured to move an Amendment in Committee on this point, and we had a long argument on the effect of this subsection, I should like to make one or two comments. If the right hon. Gentleman thought that it was disreputable to allow a house to be built, and then stop the access to the highway the answer is that he would not do it, because he would not do something which was disreputable, and as the ultimate decision rests with the Ministry one can rest assured that it would be looked at in the proper manner.

    Some of my hon. Friends who are listening to the debate attentively may find a little difficulty in deciding the rights and wrongs of this issue, but there is the good rule that they can follow that if the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) asks for a thing, and the right hon. Gentleman grants it, it is wise to oppose it. They would not slip up with that rule very often. I recommend it to them if they find it difficult to follow some of the intricacies of this discussion.

    The principle which is trumpeted in the Bill and in the White Paper is that one does not give compensation in cases where to allow development would be a breach of good neighbourliness and the public interest. I attempted to have inserted in the Clause in Committee that there should be taken out of compensation any development that would be a nuisance or a substantial annoyance to persons living in the neighbourhood. That was rejected on the grounds that we already had in the subsection a quite wide enough definition to cover any problems that might arise.

    Therefore, having successfully rejected the suggestion that we should have a general, broad category of good neighbourliness excluded, we have precisely the same argument produced by the hon. Member for Oldham, East that if it was bad planning it would be excluded from compensation under provisions in the rest of the Bill. It was difficult to discover what precise terms in the Bill were meant and the hon. Member was not able to allay the doubts raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine).

    This is a retreat from the great principle which was laid down by the Minister, that there should be no compensation for refusal of planning permission for a development which would be a breach of good neighbourliness and the public interest, because a man had no inherent, fundamental right to compensation and was not allowed to use his land against the interests of his neighbour. I

    Division No. 198.]

    AYES

    [4.45 p.m.

    Acland, Sir RichardDeer, G.Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
    Albu, A. H.Delargy, H. J.Hughes, Clodwyn (Anglesey)
    Allen, Arthur (Botworth)Donnelly, D. L.Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
    Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)Driberg, T. E. N.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
    Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)Hynd, H. (Accrington)
    Awbery, S. S.Ede, Rt. Hon. J. C.Irvine, A, J. (Edge Hill)
    Bacon, Miss AliceEdelman, M.Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
    Ballour, A.Edwards, Rt. Hon. John (Brighouse)Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
    Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Janner, B.
    Bellenger, Rt. Hon. F. J.Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)Jeger, George (Goole)
    Bence, C. R.Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Jeger, Mrs. Lena
    Benn, Hon. WedgwoodEvans, Edward (Lowestoft)Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)
    Benson, G.Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)Johnson, James (Rugby)
    Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Fernyhough, E.Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
    Bing, G. H. C.Fienburgh, W.Jones, David (Hartlepool)
    Blackburn, F.Finch, H. J.Jones, Jack (Rotherham)
    Blenkinsop, A.Follick, M.Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
    Blyton, W. R.Foot, M. M.Keenan, W.
    Boardman, H.Forman, J. C.Kenyon, C.
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
    Bowden, H. W.Freeman, Peter (Newport)King, Dr. H. M.
    Bowles, F. G.Gaitskell, Rt. Hon. H. T. N.Lawson, G. M.
    Brockway, A. F.Gibson, C. W.Lee, Frederick (Newton)
    Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Glanville, JamesLever, Leslie (Ardwick)
    Broughton, Dr. A. D. D.Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Lewis, Arthur
    Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Greenwood, AnthonyLindgren, G. S.
    Brown, Thomas (Ince)Grey, C. F.Logan, D. G.
    Burke, W. A.Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)MacColl, J. E.
    Burton, Miss F. E.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)McGovern, J.
    Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Griffiths, William (Exchange)McInnes, J.
    Callaghan, L. J.Hale, LeslieMcKay, John (Wallsend)
    Castle, Mrs. B. A.Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)McLeavy, F.
    Champion, A. J.Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)
    Chapman, W. D.Hannan, W.Mainwaring, W. H.
    Chetwynd, G. R.Hardy, E. A.Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)
    Clunie, J.Hargreaves, A.Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)
    Coldrick, W.Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)Mann, Mrs. Jean
    Collick, P. H.Hastings, S.Manuel, A. C.
    Corbet, Mrs. FredaHayman, F. H.Mason, Roy
    Cove, W. G.Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)Mayhew, C. P.
    Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Healy, Cahir (Fermanagh)Mellish, R. J.
    Crosland, C. A. R.Henderson, Rt. Hon. A. (Rowley Regis)Messer, Sir F.
    Crossman, R. H. S.Herbison, Miss M.Mikardo, Ian
    Daines, P.Hewitson, Capt. M.Mitchison, G. R.
    Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Hobson, C. R.Monslow, W.
    Darling, George. (Hillsborough)Holman, P.Moody, A. S.
    Davies, Ernest (Enfield, E.)Holmes, HoraceMorgan, Dr. H. B.W.
    Davies, Harold (Leek)Hoy, J. H.Morley, R.
    de Freitas, GeoffreyHubbard, T. F.Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)

    agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) that if one has a development which means the passing of a service road into a main highway, which would interfere with the flow of traffic and cause danger to life and limb and lead to unsightly ribbon development, then if it is the view of the planning authority and the Minister that such a development is a bad development the landlord has no case whatsoever for compensation.

    Therefore, this part of the Clause is to some extent a step in that direction. To remove it at this stage would be a deplorable retreat from the principle which was laid down early in the debate.

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

    The Committee divided: Ayes, 240; Noes, 268.

    Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Thornton, E.
    Mort, D. L.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Timmons, J.
    Moyle, A.Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)Tommy, F.
    Mulley, F. W.Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)Turner-Samuels, M
    Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.Ross, WilliamUsborne, H. C.
    Oldfield, W. H.Royle, C.Wallace, H. W.
    Oliver, G. H.Shackleton, E. A. A.Warbey, W. N.
    Orbach, M.Shinwell, Rt. Hon. EWatkins, T. E.
    Oswald, T.Short, E. W.Weitzman, D.
    Padley, W. E.Shurmer, P. L. E.Wells, Percy (Faversham)
    Paget, R. T.Silverman, Sydney (Nelson)Wells, William (Walsall)
    Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)West, D. G.
    Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Skeffington, A. M.Wheeldon, W. E.
    Palmer, A. M. FSlater, Mrs. A. (Stoke-on-Trent)White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
    Pannell, CharlesSlater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Parker, J.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)Wigg, George
    Paton, J.Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B
    Pearson, A.Snow, J. W.Willey, F. T.
    Peart, T. F.Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankWilliams, David (Neath)
    Plummer, Sir LeslieSparks, J. A.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
    Popplewell, E.Steele, T.Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
    Porter, G.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
    Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Strachey, Rt. Hon. J.Willis, E. G.
    Proctor, W. T.Strauss, Rt. Hon. George (Vauxhall)Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Pryde, D. J.Stross, Dr. BarnellWinterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
    Pursey, Cmdr. H.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
    Rankin, JohnSwingler, S. T.Wyatt, W. L.
    Reeves, J.Sylvester, G. O.Yates, V. F.
    Reid, Thomas (Swindon)Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)Younger, Rt. Hon. K
    Reid, William (Camlachie)Thomas, George (Cardiff)
    Rhodes, H.Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Robens, Rt. Hon. A.Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)Mr. Wilkins and Mr. John Taylor

    NOES

    Aitken, W. T.Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CHarvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
    Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
    Alport, C. J. M.Crouch, R. F.Heald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
    Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)Heath, Edward
    Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)Higgs, J. M. C.
    Arbuthnot, JohnDarling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Davidson, ViscountessHinchingbrooke, Viscount
    Astor, Hon. J. J.Deedes, W. F.Hirst, Geoffrey
    Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.Digby, S. WingfieldHolland-Martin, C. J
    Baldwin, A. E.Dodds-Parker, A. D.Hollis, M. C.
    Banks, Col. C.Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McAHope, Lord John
    Barlow, Sir JohnDonner, Sir P. W.Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. Henry
    Beach, Maj. HicksDoughty, C. J. A.Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.
    Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Drayton, G. B.Horobin, I. M.
    Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)Drewe, Sir C.Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
    Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
    Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.
    Birch, NigelDuthie, W. S.Hurd, A. R.
    Bishop, F. P.Eccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)
    Black, C. W.Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)Hutchison, James (Scotstoun)
    Boothby, Sir R. J. GErroll, F. J.Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M
    Bossom, Sir A. C.Fell, A.Iremonger, T. L.
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. AFinlay, GraemeJenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
    Boyle, Sir EdwardFisher, NigelJennings, Sir Roland
    Braine, B. R.Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. F.Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
    Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)Fletcher, Sir Walter (Bury)Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
    Braithwaite, Sir GurneyFletcher-Cooke, C.Jones, A. (Hall Green)
    Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. HFord, Mrs. PatriciaJoynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W
    Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Fort, R.Kerby, Capt. H. B.
    Brooman-White, R. C.Foster, JohnKerr, H. W.
    Browne, Jack (Govan)Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)Lambert, Hon. G.
    Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. TFyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David MaxwellLancaster, Col. C. G.
    Bullard, D. G.Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)
    Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.Gammans, L. D.Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.
    Burden, F. F. A.Garner-Evans, E. H.Lindsay, Martin
    Butcher, Sir HerbertGeorge, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. LloydLinstead, Sir H. N.
    Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)Glover, D.Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)
    Campbell, Sir DavidGodber, J. B.Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)
    Carr, RobertGomme-Duncan, Col. A.Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.
    Cary, Sir RobertGough, C. F. H.Longden, Gilbert
    Channon, H.Gower, H. R.Low, A. R. W.
    Churchill, Rt. Hon. Sir WinstonGraham, Sir FergusLucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)
    Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)Grimond, J.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)
    Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh
    Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. O.
    Cole, NormanHall, John (Wycombe)Macdonald, Sir Peter
    Conant, Maj. Sir RogerHare, Hon. J. H.Mackeson, Brig Sir Harry
    Cooper, Sqn. Ldr. AlbertHarris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)
    Cooper-Key, E. M.Harris, Reader (Heston)Maclay, Rt. Hon. John
    Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Maclean, Fitzroy

    Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Pitt, Miss E. M.Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
    MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)Powell, J. EnochStuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
    Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)Studholme, H. G.
    Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.Summers, G. S.
    Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)Profumo, J. D.Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
    Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir ReginaldRaikes, Sir VictorTaylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
    Marlowe, A. A. H.Ramsden, J. E.Taylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Marples, A. E.Rayner, Brig. R.Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
    Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)Redmayne, M.Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
    Maude, AngusRees-Davies, W. RThompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
    Maudling, R.Remnant, Hon. P.Thorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
    Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. CRenton, D. L. M.Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.
    Medlicott, Brig. F.Ridsdale, J. E.Tilney, John
    Mellor, Sir JohnRobertson, Sir DavidTouche, Sir Gordon
    Molson, A. H. E.Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)Turner, H. F. L.
    Moore, Sir ThomasRobson-Brown, W.Turton, R. H.
    Morrison, John (Salisbury)Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)Tweedsmuir, Lady
    Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.Roper, Sir HaroldVane, W. M. F.
    Nabarro, G. D. N.Ropner, Col. Sir LeonardVaughan-Morgan, J. K.
    Neave, AireyRussell, R. S.Vosper, D. F.
    Nicholls, HarmarRyder, Capt. R. E. D.Wade, D. W.
    Nield, Basil (Chester)Sandys, Rt. Hon. D.Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Savory, Prof. Sir DouglasWakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
    Nugent, G. R. H.Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.Wall, Major Patrick
    Nutting, AnthonyScott, R. DonaldWard, Hon. George (Worcester)
    Oakshott, H. D.Scott-Milter, Cmdr. R.Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
    Odey, G. W.Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
    O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)Smithers, Peter (Winchester)Watkinson, H. A.
    Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)Wellwood, W.
    Orr, Capt. L. P. S.Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)Williams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
    Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)Snadden, W. McN.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
    Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)Soames, Capt. C.Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
    Osborne, C.Spearman, A. C. M.Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
    Page, R. G.Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)Wills, G.
    Partridge, E.Spans, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
    Peake, Rt. Hon. O.Stanley, Capt. Hon. RichardWood, Hon. R.
    Perkins, Sir RobertStevens, Geoffrey
    Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Peyton, J. W. W.Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith
    Pickthorn, K. W. M.Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.and Mr. Kaberry.
    Pitman, I. J.Storey, S.

    Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.

    New Clause—(Associated Companies)

    (1) Notwithstanding anything in Part I of this Act, no person shall be entitled to a payment under section six, eight, nine, eleven or twelve of this Act by virtue of a disposition between companies which at the time of the disposition were associated companies.

    (2) Where a company is the holder of a claim holding, then, for the purpose of ascertaining whether or not that company is entitled to a payment in respect of the holding under Part I or Part V of this Act, any act or event which occurred in relation to another company which at the time of that act or event was, or after that time but before the twenty-sixth day of February, nineteen hundred and fifty-four, became, associated with the company which holds the claim holding shall be treated as having occurred in relation to the company which holds the claim holding, and an interest in land held by any other company for the time being associated with the company which holds the claim holding shall be treated as being held by the company which holds the claim holding,

    (3) For the purposes of this section, a company shall be treated as associated with another company if, and only if, within the meaning of section one hundred and fifty-four of the Companies Act, 1948, one of those companies is a subsidiary of the other, or both those companies are subsidiaries of the same holding company.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

    The principle underlying this new Clause is that for the purposes of entitlement to a payment under Part I a group of associated companies should be treated as one person. There are two aspects of the Clause, one might call it the swings and the roundabouts, and they are dealt with in subsections (1) and (2) respectively.

    On the one hand, on the negative side, no payment shall be made by virtue of a transaction between two associated companies; since the property remains within the group there is no real loss. On the other hand, a right to a payment should not be lost merely because the claim holding is held by one member of a group of companies rather than another.

    This matter has been drawn to our attention by the acquisition of the Welwyn Garden City Estate from Welwyn Garden City, Limited, which will be recalled by the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren). That estate was acquired from the Welwyn Garden City, Limited, on terms leaving the company with a very large claim on the £300 million fund. Since the acquisition removed the main—indeed, the only—purpose of the Garden City company, it went into voluntary liquidation and the claim was assigned for substantially less than its face value to a wholly owned subsidiary. The operating company went into liquidation and transferred the claim to the other company, but at considerably less than face value.

    As the Bill stands, the result would have been that this purely artificial transaction—not "artificial" in the bad sense—would have had the result of limiting the payment made in respect of the claim to the consideration nominally given for it. That seems to us to be wrong. For the purpose of this Clause, whether it works in one direction or another, companies are to be treated as associated if one is a subsidiary of the other or both are subsidiaries of the same holding company. These terms have the same meaning as in Section 154 of the Companies Act, 1948.

    We feel this Clause is a distinct improvement to the Bill. I have to declare an interest—not a financial interest, as I have never had one in the Garden City company, but an interest in that development. I am glad that the Minister has paid attention to the point which was put to him.

    I do not in the least quarrel with what my hon. Friend the Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) has said. I recognise his deep human interest in Welwyn Garden City. But I wish to ask about the limitations of this new Clause. The principle behind the Bill was that where there had been an assignment for less than the value of the claim the assignees were not to get the profit of their speculation if they speculated on getting more out of the claim than was originally paid. Broadly speaking, that seems an extremely wise and statesmanlike provision.

    As I understand, this new Clause seeks to meet the problem of the wholly owned subsidiary company. Is that the only exception to the broad, general principle in the Bill? What is the position, for example, of a family transaction? I seem to remember a discussion on this in Committee. Where a man assigns his claim to his son with the idea that the son will in future inherit the property he may con sider that it would be so much better if he assigns at less than its true value. Morally, that case seems to be one to which we should be as sympathetic as the case of the subsidiary company. Would there be a feeling of injustice between the two cases?

    I am nervous about this new Clause. I know that the Minister accepts it, but if we lay down an extraordinarily simple and sensible provision that one may only get the value of what one pays for the claim—less than the full value of the claim—that is an essential justice which everybody accepts. Once we begin making exceptions to it people begin thinking about possible exceptions, and the line, instead of being clear, becomes somewhat obscure. Before we agree to the Clause, it would be helpful if the Minister gave us some advice as to whether there are comparable cases which have not been considered or any other comparable cases which have been considered.

    5.0 p.m.

    The point which has been raised about inter-family transactions is not covered by the Clause, which deals with associated companies and nothing else. There are parts of the Bill, and Amendments which come later, in which the question of the separation of land and claim is dealt with. I can say with perfect truth that this point was brought to our attention very much in connection with this particular case.

    It would have been a strange result if the pioneers of planning in Welwyn Garden City—I think everyone will agree that they have done a fine piece of work—had by what was purely a rearrangement among themselves—it was not a question of a man getting what he paid, the consideration was merely an inter-company arrangement—been wholly or largely deprived of the claim they had. The general principle remains that there must be a genuine purchase, not a speculative purchase, but this was a genuine arrangement for convenience between associated companies.

    The point about father and son does not arise on this Clause. It may be raised, and, I think, is raised by an Amendment at a later stage. I hope that the Committee will feel that the Clause does justice. I do not know of any other case. The new Clause was made necessary by the facts of this case, which I am sure would appeal to any Minister, whatever his political complexion.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

    Bill reported, with Amendments; as amended (in the Standing Committee and on Recommittal), considered.

    New Clause—(Provision Of Information As To Unexpended Balance, Etc)

    (1) Subject to the provisions of this section, the Central Land Board shall, upon application therefor being made to them at any time by any person, and may at any time, if they think fit, without any application being made therefor, issue a certificate in the prescribed form with respect to any land stating whether or not any of that land has an original unexpended balance of established development value and, if it has such a balance—

  • (a) giving a general statement of what was taken by the Board for the purposes of Part VI of the principal Act to be the state of that land on the first day of July, nineteen hundred and forty-eight; and
  • (b) specifying (subject to any outstanding claims under Part I or Part V of this Act) the amount of that original balance; and any such certificate may. if the Board think fit, contain additional information with respect to acts or events in consequence of which, by virtue of any provision of this Act, a deduction falls to be made from that original balance in determining the unexpended balance, if any, of established development value of any of that land at any time thereafter.
  • (2) Where, after the commencement of this Act, a notice to treat has been served with a view to the compulsory acquisition of an interest in any land by any public authority possessing compulsory purchase powers, being such a department, authority, person or body of persons as is mentioned in subsection (1) of section thirty-four of this Act, that authority may apply to the Central Land Board for, and shall be entitled to the issue of, a certificate showing the unexpended balance of established development value, if any, of any of that land immediately before the service of that notice.

    (3) Where the issue of a certificate under this section with respect to any land involves a new apportionment, then—

  • (a) except in the case of a certificate under the last preceding subsection or of a certificate which the Board propose to issue without any application being made therefor, the certificate shall not be issued otherwise than on the application of a person for the time being entitled to an interest in the land;
  • (b) before issuing the certificate, the Board shall give notice in writing to any person entitled to an interest in land which it appears to the Board will be substantially affected by the apportionment, giving particulars of the proposed apportionment and stating that objections or other representation with respect thereto may be made to the Board within thirty days from the date of the notice; and
  • (c) the certificate shall not be issued before the date of expiration of the said thirty days, and, if at that date an objection to the proposed apportionment has been made by any person to whom notice has been given under the last preceding paragraph, or by any other person who establishes that he is entitled to an interest in land which is substantially affected by the apportionment, and that objection has not been withdrawn, the next following subsection shall have effect.
  • (4) Where by virtue of paragraph ( c) of the last preceding subsection this subsection is to have effect, then—

  • (a) if within a further period of thirty days the person by whom any such objection was made requires the dispute to be referred to the Lands Tribunal the dispute shall be so referred and the certificate shall not be issued until either the Tribunal has decided the matter or the reference to the Tribunal has been withdrawn;
  • (b) the certificate may be issued before the expiration of the said further period if every such objection has been withdrawn; and
  • (c) the certificate shall be issued at the date of expiration of the said further period, notwithstanding that every such objection has not been withdrawn, if no requirement has by that date been made under paragraph (a) of this subsection.
  • (5) Where, on a reference to the Lands Tribunal under this section, it is shown that a new apportionment relates partly to the same matters as any previous apportionment and is consistent with that previous apportionment in so far as it relates to those matters, the Tribunal shall not vary the new apportionment in such a way as to be inconsistent with the previous apportionment in so far as it relates to those matters.

    (6) An application for a certificate under this section shall be made in such form and manner as may be prescribed, and shall be accompanied by sufficient particulars, including a map if necessary, to enable the land to be identified and, where a new apportionment will be involved, particulars of the nature of the applicant's interest and such information as to the nature of any other interest in the land and as to the name and address of the person entitled to that other interest as may be known to the applicant.

    (7) On any application under subsection (1) of this section the applicant shall pay in the prescribed manner a fee of five shillings and, if the application involves a new apportionment, the certificate shall not be issued until the applicant has paid in the prescribed manner a further fee of fifteen shillings.

    (8) In this section, the expression "new apportionment" means an apportionment which relates wholly or partly to any matters relating to which there has not been a previous apportionment.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

    The Clause is introduced in pursuance of an undertaking which I gave in Committee during the long discussions which we had on Clause 19. I think it was the hon. Members for Pontypool (Mr. West) and Clapham (Mr. Gibson) who raised the question of how, by what machinery, the necessary information about unexpended balances can be made available. If I recollect the matter aright, the hon. Member for Pontypool was concerned that information should be available to private people who were interested in transactions in land; whereas the hon. Member for Clapham was speaking rather more from the point of view of public authorities as purchasers.

    The new Clause provides for public authorities in subsection (2), which requires the Central Land Board to supply, on request, a certificate showing the unexpended balance of any land in respect of which notice to treat has been served That information will be up-to-date, or as up-to-date as it is possible to make it. It will be complete, and it will deal with the authority's liability for compensation under the Bill; it will include the result of any necessary apportionment and take into account the value of development already carried out on the land or any other item which has to be "debited" against the balance. Therefore, when the notice to treat has been served, this special, highly detailed information will be supplied to the local authority. I think that was the chief anxiety of the hon. Member for Clapham.

    Now comes the problem raised by the hon. Member for Pontypool about the case of private people. I say rather regretfully that we cannot supply everyone with the up-to-date information which we shall do, under subsection (2), in the case of local authorities. The information is to be given to the local authorities only when notice to treat is served. That is an important distinction. It was at one time thought that a register of unexpended balances could be established, which would be open to search by those interested.

    That would obviously be ideal, but we found, on closer examination, that an up-to-date register would involve a volume of work out of all proportion to the benefit to be derived. After all, a great deal of the land in respect of which a claim on the £300 million was established has already been developed, and there is, therefore, no purpose in all this detail; and a great deal more will be developed.

    The balance attaching to such land is largely a matter of academic interest, because there is no risk of compensation ever becoming payable. Yet if a register were set up the value of each development carried out would have to be carefully assessed and recorded. All to no purpose, because even if a question of compensation did arise the amount to be debited against the balance because of development already carried out might be a different amount from the amount assessed at the outset.

    Therefore, so far as private people are concerned, the new Clause provides for information of a rather more modest order to be provided on request. We believe that from this information anyone concerned with buying or selling land will be able to make a quite sound assessment of the price which he ought to ask or to offer, having regard to the compensation likely to be payable in the event of a planning restriction or a compulsory acquisition.

    People buying or selling land, with planning permission, for immediate development will not necessarily feel a very close interest in the precise state of the balance. There will be some cases where the information may be material, but, in general, that will not be so.

    So we are trying to meet the point, as I have indicated, by providing full information for local authorities where notice to treat has been served; and to provide for everybody, including the local authorities, if they choose to use it, rather less than full information over the whole field.

    Much of the Clause is concerned with the special machinery which is required in the event of apportionment. As so often throughout this Bill, that represents a good deal of the problem for which we have to provide. A very heavy volume of work will fall during the first months after the Bill comes into operation, both on the Valuation Office and on the Central Land Board. I am very anxious, as the House knows, to try to secure that the Bill should become law before the end of this Parliamentary Session—I mean in the late autumn.

    There will be a very large volume of work. Nevertheless, we feel that that work can be done, if, as I hope, the House will be content with the giving, to the local authorities, of what they really need—up-to-date information when notice to treat is served—and the making available to the general body of the public of information which will give them sufficient knowledge to fix what should be the right price to offer or take in a deal. I hope that meets what hon. Members were anxious about, both in regard to the public authority and on private account.

    I am grateful to the Minister for having gone as far as he has with the new Clause. It meets, by a slightly different method to that which was suggested in Committee, the claims made on behalf of local authorities to obtain sight of documents. The Amendment meets fairly reasonably the claim made by local authorities that when they have served a notice to treat they should be able to get the information that is available so that they know exactly the unexpended balance, and so on, in connection with the land with which they are concerned. I thank the Minister for having taken this action.

    I understand that the Amendments to the new Clause in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) and myself are not likely to be called. I should like, therefore, to refer to subsection (7) of the new Clause, which lays down the fees to be charged when information is requested and given. I am not sure whether the fee applies only to the private individual who requests the information, or to the local authority also.

    To a large authority, such as the London County Council, it could be an expensive business during the year to pay out 5s. whenever it asks for information which everybody agrees it should have in order to do its job efficiently and well. I am not clear from the Clause whether this fee of 5s., and the charge of 15s. when a new apportionment is involved, applies only to individuals and not to local authorities, and I shall be glad to have an answer from the Government.

    The hon. Member asked about the Amendments to the new Clause. The position is that none of them has been selected by Mr. Speaker, but that if a Division is wanted he is agreeable that one should be taken on the last Amendment but one, in the name of the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. UngoedThomas), after the first "apportionment," to insert:

    "decided upon by the Lands Tribunal."

    I, too, express my thanks for the new Clause, which goes some way to meeting the defect in Clause 35 which we pointed out to the Minister in Committee. As far as local authorities are concerned, however, the Clause does not go far enough. It certainly does not go as far as the Amendment which we moved in Committee and which the Attorney-General promised to consider.

    In Committee, we moved an Amendment to add:
    "In any case of compulsory acquisition of land to which this part of this Act applies an acquiring authority shall be entitled to inspect and take copies of any documents or other information which may be in the possession of the Central Land Board or other authority or person to whom such documents, etc., may have been transferred on the dissolution of that Board.…"
    The reason for our Amendment, which we made very clear, was that the local authority should know the basis on which it had had to pay compensation, and on what facts the Central Land Board determined the established claim.

    Unfortunately, subsection (2) of the new Clause limits considerably the information which a local authority may obtain. It may obtain a certificate, but the information is limited only to facts about the unexpended balance and would not include information as to what the Board considered to be the state of the land on 1st July, 1948, for the purpose of determining its Part VI claim. This seems to me and to many local authorities an important point. It is necessary for them to know the facts about all the elements taken for compensation and not merely the amount of the unexpended balance.

    5.15 p.m.

    It may well be that an original claim submitted in 1948, was for residential use under the 1947 Act for loss of development value use, but that a more expensive claim has been put in later for loss of, for example, development value as a commercial user. That might be the case in which a shop and a residence had been combined on a site now cleared. The owner might have claimed originally on a basis of loss of residential use, but now claims for existing use value of a shop. It seems only right that if a local authority is required to pay compensation, it should know the conclusion reached by the Central Land Board at the time of the Board's determination. It is precisely this additional vital information that a local authority must have if it is to arrive at a just figure of compensation. One of our Amendments, which, unfortunately, is not being called, was designed to deal with this defect.

    It is surprising to find, from subsection (7) of the new Clause, that a charge of 5s. is to be made to local authorities and, I presume, to people who apply for a certificate. In the case of many large authorities a great number of cases will arise, and it seems peculiar and unfair that an acquiring authority must pay a fee to ascertain the proper compensation which it has to pay. That is not the kind of treatment that is meted out when the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) moves Amendments. I am quite sure that if Amendments of his were accepted, fees would not be attached in this way. I should have thought it was too trivial an item for the Minister to include in the Clause.

    Subsection (2) deals with the case in which a notice to treat has been served but not with the case where a notice has been deemed to be served. This was a point that we raised in Committee. There are a number of cases under Section 19 of the 1947 Act in which everything has taken place except the concluding stage. To all intents and purposes they are cases in a similar category to that which I have described, but no information will be available. Subsection (2) does not cover the case of a local authority which, although possessing compulsory powers, is able to come to satisfactory terms with an owner and purchases his land by agreement. It is strange that there should be the right to inspect documents in cases of compulsory purchase, but not when agreement is reached.

    For these reasons, although the new Clause is an improvement on the original omission of Clause 35, it falls far short of what it should be. It would have been easy for the Minister to satisfy local authorities, to ease their task, and to provide a proper safeguard that they should not pay out money in excess of the proper compensation. If in a large number of cases they are denied the right to know on what basis the value of the land was originally determined by the Board, the local authorities and other acquiring authorities will be put in a very serious position. Unless there is a technical reason, which does not seem obvious to me, I cannot help regarding this weakness of the new Clause as being somewhat sinister.

    I hope that I can disabuse the mind of the hon. Member for Clapham (Mr. Gibson) about any sinister purpose. Although the Amendments have not been called it might be convenient if I deal with the points which they concern. The hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) asked a question about subsection (2) and the case where notice to treat is deemed to have been served. As emerged from our earlier discussion when the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) was here—I am sorry that he is not here now—the expression is one with which we are familiar.

    The purpose of putting the word in one place in an Act is to ensure that in other places we treat the situation as if that which is deemed to have taken place had taken place. I assure the hon. Member that, as I understand it, the case where the authority is deemed to have served notice to treat is included.

    There was also the question about the general purpose of subsection (2). It might be convenient to say something about that. The object of the subsection is to provide for the case where a local authority is about to acquire land. It is recognised that it ought to be put into a position to ascertain just what is the unexpended balance which attaches to the land in question at the date of the service of notice to treat. That is the date which determines the amount of compensation payable.

    That information cannot be supplied in advance because the unexpended balance at any particular date is affected by the value of development which has been carried out up to that date, and any earlier assessment would be incomplete if not misleading. For that reason, the information which is to be given to private individuals is not to be up-to-date information. It can only be information about the balance as it stood at the commencement of the Act—that is what one might call the original balance—coupled with information about the state of the land at 1st July, 1948. With information on these two points, the private individual will probably be able to make a fairly good assessment of his own of the effect of development already carried out. He would also be able to know from the register of local land charges what compensation if any has already been paid in respect of planning restrictions.

    He will be, or should be, in a position to calculate for himself the likely amount of the unexpended balance at any date in the future. Where a public authority is merely considering whether it should acquire a piece of land, it will be in no different position from a private individual, and the Clause leaves it open to the local authority to proceed in precisely the same way, by making application under subsection (1).

    The hon. Members for Clapham and Hayes and Harlington raised the question of payment. Again, perhaps it might be convenient to state the principle. As I understand, the suggestion was that there should be no charge for the provision of information, certainly in the case of local authorities.

    As hon. Members will see, the proposed charges are not exorbitant. Indeed, it might be said that they are not really calculated with reference to the cost of the work, which will be considerable. Clearly, it would also be reasonable that frivolous or unnecessary applications should not be encouraged; but when we come to the suggestion that there should be no charge at all that is a different matter. It may be argued—and this may be what is behind some of the thought on the subject—that the State should provide information of this kind, but the service is really in the equivalent of a form of search such as purchasers commonly undertake before committing themselves to land transactions, and the cost has to be paid by someone. There are normal charges. The Law Society have been consulted and they regarded this as being on all-fours with the existing charges which arise in the ordinary course of business.

    I ask the House to consider the matter from that point of view. In the end, we come down to the same point, whether the local authorities or somebody else have to pay. The information that the Clause provides for will not be of much significance to a great many purchasers, who know that they at once intend to consume the whole of any unexpended balance the land may have by developing it, by building on it. Therefore, this is not a matter of much concern to them. Many purchasers may very well see no advantage in having the information.

    The justification for the charge is to ensure that the prospective applicant and his advisers should not merely ask for information, but that they should have to consider whether it is of any value to them, just as they would in any other transaction in their own affairs. That is the basis on which the charge has been decided and I hope that the House will agree with it.

    I cannot allow this discussion to close without expressing the gratitude of solicitors to the Minister for this new Clause, and especially for subsection (1). Most solicitors, when they first read the Bill, resigned themselves to an endless sort of cross-examination between prospective vendor and prospective purchaser with interminable time passing between the date those two were brought together by an agent and the time when they signed the vital contract.

    Now, under subsection (1), the purchaser, or his solicitor, has merely to inquire of the Central Land Board, and, gradually, a complete register of original Part VI claims will be built up. Further, the certificate which the Board is to issue will form a very useful document of title. It will undoubtedly cut down the time required for getting the parties together to sign a vital contract.

    I am a little disappointed that it has not been possible to include in the certificate some information about assignments. Assignments had to be registered with the Board, and I should have thought that the Board would have had information about them. Perhaps the Board will stretch the wording of the latter part of subsection (1), which gives it power to include certain additional information in the certificate, and perhaps it may be able to include information on assignments of the Part VI claim.

    I do not ask for an answer now to this question, but it will be recalled that provision is made in the Bill for the ultimate winding up of the Central Land Board. The need under this Clause will continue for ever. I do not know whether any provision is necessary now, but the position should be considered so that we may ensure that when this is all that is left, at some other time, we do not have to have another amending Bill in order to give these powers to somebody else.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

    New Clause—(Amendment Of S 19 Of Principal Act)

    (1) In section nineteen of the principal Act (which imposes on a local authority an obligation to purchase land in certain circumstances) after subsection (2) there shall be inserted the following new subsection, that is to say—

    "(2A) In considering, for the purposes of the last foregoing subsection, whether or not the use of land in any particular state is or would be reasonably beneficial, the Minister shall not take account of the possibility of any development, whether of that or any other land, of any class not specified in the Third Schedule to this Act."
    (2) The preceding subsection shall be deemed to have come into operation on the eighteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and fifty-two:
    Provided that nothing in this section shall affect the validity of anything done in consequence of a purchase notice served before the commencement of this Act.—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Brought up, and read the First time.

    5.30 p.m.

    I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."

    I move the Second Reading of the Clause with some emotion because I see the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) in his place and in my Department this Clause has long been regarded as Acton's benefit. I was sorry that he has so far looked a gift horse in the mouth as to put down an Amendment and I hope that he will not think it necessary to press it.

    What we have tried to do, and what I am advised that we have succeeded in doing, is to put beyond doubt that the owner who serves a purchase notice must make his case on one ground and one ground only—the uselessness of the land in its existing state. He must be able to point to the land and, quite apart from any potential value for development, show that it has become incapable of reasonably beneficial use in its existing state.

    I think this new Clause meets the fears of local authorities, expressed by the hon. Member for Acton and others, that the machinery of the Bill and our intentions under the Bill would be frustrated by an extended use of Section 19 of the existing Act. I hope that the House feels that this Clause preserves the position and makes it clear that there is no such danger.

    I had hoped that the Minister would say a little more about the new Clause. I welcome it as far as it goes, but it is by no means clear whether it overcomes the problems which we discussed at some length in Committee.

    It seems to me that two courses are open to any person in relation to compensation for planning refusal—either a course under the Bill or a course under the principal Act. There is this exception—that in the 1947 Act it must be a condition that planning refusal leaves the land incapable of reasonably beneficial use. It is possible in the Bill, of course, to refuse planning permission and to leave the land precisely in that condition.

    If the owner seeks planning permission, if that permission is refused and the land is left incapable of reasonably beneficial use, then the owner has two choices; he can either claim compensation under the Bill—although he is not forced to do so—or he can serve a purchase notice under Section 19 of the principal Act. If the planning refusal were on account of development of a low value, then the compensation which he would receive under the Bill would be very small and the amount which he would receive if he proceeded under Section 19 would be much greater, for it would be the use value and the development value plus one-seventh.

    I had hoped that the Minister would explain to us precisely what are the uses defined in the Third Schedule of the principal Act. I have read it several times and I am not at all clear as to its meaning. It seems to me from some specific instances which I have obtained that the difficulty which the right hon. Gentleman seeks to remove is not being removed.

    I have several examples, but this is a case where the individual could have two choices, choosing either to take compensation or to serve a purchase notice. It is where land with a substantial Part VI claim was the subject of planning application for use as a caravan site. The planning application was refused and the county district council has been served with a purchase notice. In this case the situation and nature of the land is such that apparently the requirements of Section 19 are met. If the owner had chosen merely to take his compensation, the Government would have paid, but because the owner served the purchase notice, the county district council will have to carry the burden of compensation.

    The case arises particularly in Middlesex but also in other counties concerned with London's green belt. There are green belts in other big towns and cities which will to some extent be similarly affected. I am informed that there is a high development value on practically all the green belt land, which, at the moment, is open land used for agricultural purposes. Its value for agricultural purposes—its existing use value—is low.

    Supposing the owners apply for planning permission to develop it and supposing that, rightly, in the interests of good planning and of the preservation of the green belt, planning permission is refused, the owners are entitled either to serve a purchase notice upon the county council to take over that land and to pay at the rate of the existing use value and the development value, plus one-seventh, or, alternatively, they are permitted to claim the compensation which the Minister pays.

    Generally, the amount which he would pay in compensation would be much less than the owner would receive if he served a purchase notice under Section 19. A situation may well arise in which the owner wants to get rid of the land. This Bill does not provide that the land shall be purchased; it provides only that compensation shall be paid, leaving the ownership of the land in its present hands. But, planning permission having been refused, the land may be of no further use to the owner. He may be interested in no other form of development. It would naturally be to his advantage to say, "I will not take the compensation for planning refusal, but will serve a purchase notice." Therefore, in cases like that the county council will become burdened with the financial responsibility, whereas if the individual had elected to take compensation under this Bill then the Treasury would take the financial responsibility.

    That leads me to one further point. It seems rather inconsistent that where planning refusal is given compensation is not paid from one source and one source only. At some time the right hon. Gentleman ought to make an amendment in this respect that in all cases of planning refusal the amount to be paid shall be from Treasury sources. That does not apply at present, and we have this duality of approach. Theoretically, it would be possible for all those owners of green belt land to unload their land on to the county councils. I agree that that is an event which is not likely to take place, although just now we do not know to what extent it might take place. If it did happen it would have a serious effect on the finances of the county councils concerned.

    What we want and what the right hon. Gentleman has not dealt with during his short speech, but which I hope he will do before we finish with this new Clause, or if not he then the Attorney-General—he looks more hopeful on this point—is to establish that where planning permission is refused under the terms of this Bill, the procedure of Section 19 of the principal Act shall not apply in such cases. If we can establish that principle this danger of local authorities having unloaded upon them land which they do not want and having to pay for it out of their own resources would to some extent be reduced to the absolute minimum.

    That is all I want to say by way of principle, but the right hon. Gentleman was not at all clear about one point. He kept on saying that the refusal of planning permission must lead to land being incapable of reasonable use. That can operate under this Bill and that is my point. The refusal of planning permission can leave land incapable of proper use, and if that condition is serious the owner is entitled to take action under Section 19. That is what I want to avoid, so I will appeal once again to the right hon. Gentleman to look into this matter. It is one of some difficulty. If he can restrict the procedure under Section 19 purely and absolutely to those conditions in the 1947 Act which invoke that procedure, he will go a long way to solve this problem. If he cannot isolate the danger in the way I have endeavoured to put before the House then it still exists and is a very real one which may well develop in the course of time.

    5.45 p.m.

    I must refer for a few moments to this matter because this is an important point which was raised in Committee, when I ventured to warn my right hon. Friend that in his desire to meet the point put by hon. Members opposite he was in danger of altering the long-established procedure under the principal Act much more than he intended to do. There was a considerable discussion on 27th May on this topic, but I do not propose to go into that now.

    There are two points here. First, there is the question of who should pay as between two alternative possibilities for the owner. On that I have very little to say. On the whole, I should have thought that the new Clause which we are now discussing does, in fact, guard against the difficulty mentioned by the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks). Let us take his case of the green belt owners. It will be quite impossible for an owner to argue a Clause 19 case based on the fact that it was a farm, had always been a farm, but was no longer capable of reasonable beneficial use. It has always been a farm and, therefore, I think we are excluding specifically the Third Schedule use, which is the existing use, and that meets the point of the hon. Member.

    Unless I have misunderstood this Clause, it goes much further than that, because there are certain very important owners who have not that alternative choice. All Part VIII owners and a body for whom we have sympathy, the trustees of charitable lands, cannot make use of one of the alternatives, because they never were allowed to make a claim and have no unexpended balance. Therefore, if they cannot get relief under Clause 19 they can get it from nobody at all. It is vital to ensure that the Clause 19 procedure is not altered to their detriment.

    When I raised this I understood the Minister to say that he did not intend to alter the existing position. As I read the new Clause, it does alter the position and for this reason. Let us take the case of a Part VIII owner who has land in a development area, which, in fact, has never been developed at all. It grows thistles and is part of a frontage which has never been developed. In the ordinary way the owner would have a substantial Part VI claim and he would be able to insist in appropriate circumstances that he comes under the provisions of this Bill. But being a Part VIII owner he cannot because he has no Part VI claim, and, therefore, cannot have an unexpended balance.

    But suppose that upon that land an arterial road is laid, leaving portions of that frontage completely useless. Under the law as it has been since 1947 he could go through the procedure of Clause 19. All he has to show to the satisfaction of the Minister is that the piece of frontage left would be incapable of being reasonably beneficially developed and, in effect he would get his compensation because the local authority took it over. He cannot do anything else under this Bill because he has no unexpended balance not through any fault of his own but by the provisions of Section 85 of the principal Act.

    This particular piece of land has grown thistles and has never grown anything else but thistles. It has never been, for example, land used for houses which were blitzed, and which, under the Third Schedule, could be restored to its former use with houses erected on it. Its only use has been growing thistles, and if the owner is to be dealt with under Clause 19 on the basis that this is thistle land and nothing else but thistle land, then under this new Clause the owner would lose all. Instead of getting compensation for frontage land at a frontage value which would be paid for quite properly by the acquiring authority, it seems to me, unless I have misunderstood the effect of these not very clear words, that Clause 19 will not apply. This land has simply got a thistle value and the owner cannot get anything from anybody else because he has no unexpended balance.

    I hope it will be explained to us in detail that this is not an alteration of the existing law and that it will not do what I suggest, but it seems to me that is what it will do. If it does so then I say it is something that nobody would wish to carry out, and I ask the Minister to be very careful in another place in making sure that in meeting the reasonable case put forward by hon. Members opposite to prevent the Minister, as it were, shovelling off his financial responsibilities on to the local authorities, he does not leave Part VIII owners in the position that they cannot get anything on the swings or on the roundabouts.

    I have one very short comment to make on the very lucid exposition of the Part VIII owners' position, as presented by my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin). I do not think that the hypothetical owner he described would be quite so badly off as he suggested. When the local authority puts the arterial road across the land it would have to acquire a portion of the land for that purpose and the owner would get his compensation, including development value for the rest of the land. This would be a bit less, by reason of the severance of the other bit, but he would get it under Section 51.

    I have only taken the case that my hon. Friend gave although his actual instance was capable of a different solution.

    Let me come back to the point put by the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks). Section 19 of the principal Act was used to start with in the large majority of cases in regard to blitzed sites in cities on which the rebuilding of war-damaged property was not permitted development because there was a direction that it should not be. In such cases, if planning permission was refused, a remedy was open to the owner under Section 19. There have been cases of late in Middlesex, as the hon. Member said, in which it has been sought to expand the doctrine to cover Green Belt land.

    This raises a simple but fundamental point under Section 19. We must have regard to land in its existing state. What would be argued in relation to the green belt, and what was, in fact, argued, is that although we look at the land in its existing state when we adjudge its reasonably beneficial use, if it is land ripe for development its reasonably beneficial use must be related to that development use. In other words, land in the green belt area could be in reasonably beneficial use as agricultural land, but not for the purposes of the Section, because it is also ripe for development, and, therefore, should be adjudged as potentially residential land.

    What the hon. Member for Acton wants is to cut out that argument. The proposed new Clause does precisely that. It will be very difficult to advance that argument if the Clause is added to the Bill. Whether, in all cases, it will be fair to the owner is a little doubtful. I can envisage cases where it may operate with hardship if a person is not able to have the development value taken into account in an area ripe for development. The law will be clearer to that extent, as the result of the proposed new Clause, although I should have thought occasion might have been taken to have something more definite, some practical definition of what one has to have regard to in assessing what is reasonably beneficial use. It is a very broad phrase. In each case it will be a question of fact, and it is difficult to evolve a code for the guidance of people in authority.

    I find myself in a difficulty in discovering the meaning of the proposed new Clause. If an owner desires to build a factory and applies for permission, and if it is refused, an order under Section 19 is served. He may be told that the land can be reasonably beneficially used for dwelling-houses.

    Is that specified in the Third Schedule to the 1947 Act? I think the relevant paragraph in that Schedule is paragraph 6, which says:
    "In the case of a building or other land which … was used for a purpose falling within any general class specified in an order made by the Minister for the purposes of this paragraph …"
    To discover whether it is within such a class, one passes from the Third Schedule to an order made under it. In that "Use Classes Order," dwelling-houses, in the example which I have taken, are not mentioned. One assumes that they must be disregarded in ascertaining whether the land can be reasonably beneficially used. Such things as shops are mentioned in that order but in respect of a different part of the land. Do they come within the phrase used in the proposed new Clause:
    "… any class not specified in the Third Schedule to this Act"?
    It is an extraordinarily difficult matter, because one has to go from an Act to an order and back again, to ascertain what is meant by "reasonably beneficial use," or "class not specified in the Third Schedule." I make a plea for simplification of the proposed new Clause.

    I can only speak again with the leave of the House, in order to reply to some of the points which have been raised. I do not think that the Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) is necessary. The proposed new Clause seeks to make what we already have in the Act doubly sure. Like many peacemakers, I am accused on one side of the House of not going far enough and on the other side of going too far. This only confirms me in my view that I am right in taking a middle course.

    Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that one very clear solution to all his problems is to make the Treasury responsible?

    That is a very clear solution to all our problems, both public and private.

    Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that that would indeed be aurea mediocritas?

    We are not on the Gold Standard yet.

    I will look again at the proposed new Clause with my advisers to see whether we can make a further attempt at clarity in another place. The Bill does not in any way alter the terms upon which a person may serve a purchase notice if the conditions are satisfied and he is not getting reasonably beneficial use from the land in its existing state. The Section 19 system will work in the future as it has done in the past. The proposed new Clause makes no change. Its purpose is to make doubly sure that the Bill shall make no change.

    6.0 p.m.

    As for the fear which he had that the need of the nation to secure the green belt might be satisfied at the expense of the local authority under Section 19, I think that was impossible without this new Clause, and doubly impossible with it. Clearly, there is no fear of that at all. I hope that, on consideration, the hon. Gentleman will see that his fears if they had any foundation, ought not now to exist because this Clause is specially designed to meet them.

    The problem of whether in some ways we have gone too far in another direction has been raised by two of my hon. Friends below the Gangway. I can only say that, as I am informed, the Part VIII owners are left precisely where they were under the 1947 Act. This Bill does not make it any more difficult for a charity than it was under Section 19. After all, the hon. Gentleman talks about thistle value, but the real value of the piece of land is its prevailing use value.

    Of course, a great deal of this land is of ultimate use to the local authority which purchases it, and it is a mistake to regard it as useless in that sense. It is useless in its existing state. I will certainly have the most careful consideration undertaken to see whether there is any legal flaw. I am sure that it does what the hon. Gentleman wants to do, and I want to make sure that it does not do something which we do not want it to do. I hope with that assurance that the House will feel it right to pass this Clause.

    Question put, and agreed to.

    Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.

    Clause 1—(Payments By Reference To Established Claims)

    I beg to move, in page 3, line 14, at the end, to insert:

    (6) References in this Act to the amount of an established, claim are references to the amount determined, whether before or after the commencement of this Act, under Part VI of the principal Act as being the development value of the interest in land to which the claim related:
    Provided that the provisions of the First Schedule to this Act shall have effect for the purpose of determining that amount; and where that amount was determined at a time before the commencement of this Act as an amount less or greater than it would have been apart from the provisions of the said First Schedule, that determination shall be deemed not to have been made.
    This is a minor Amendment of a drafting character, and I ask the House to accept it.

    Surely this is more than a minor drafting Amendment. It does away with Clause 2 as it now stands, and is in substitution of that Clause. I would say that it is to be preferred to the existing words, but whether it is correct to call it a drafting Amendment, I do not know.

    It is a drafting Amendment because subsection (6) which it proposes to add to the Clause replaces subsections (1) and (2) of Clause 2. Subsection (3) of Clause 2 is embodied in the lastsix lines of the proposed new subsection (4) of Clause 3. Perhaps it is rather difficult to explain, but it has to come here because if the Amendments to Clause 3 are passed by the House, then Clause 2 must disappear as some of it goes into Clause 1 and some into Clause 3. It is consequential on something at which we have not yet arrived. It is logically right to pass it here, because if we pass Clause 3 it is necessary to have this Amendment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 2—(Amounts Of Established Claims, And General Principle Of Apportionment)

    Amendment made: In page 3, line 15, leave out Clause 2.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 3—(Claim Holdings And Their Areas And Values)

    I beg to move, in page 3, line 41, to leave out "section, in this Act references," and to insert "Act, references therein."

    This is a drafting Amendment. The value of claim holdings is affected by provisions other than those included in Clause 3; for example, by subsections (3) and (4) of Clause 7. Therefore we have to make this change.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 4, line 4, to leave out subsection (2).

    I think that hon. Members who were on the Committee will remember that we had a considerable discussion on Clause 3, and this Amendment and a number of others which follow represent a genuine attempt to meet the points raised. Perhaps I should explain quite briefly what they try to do. Clause 3, as hon. Members know very well, deals with the conception of the claim holding and with its area and value. During the proceedings in Committee, it was pointed out that there was a great deal of complication in the matter, and also that provision was made for regulations and Schedules which brought in a great deal of arguable matter. There was a considerable amount of criticism of the drafting of the Bill on that ground.

    During the second sitting of the Committee, my right hon. Friend said:
    "The original intention was to put everything into the Schedules, but on consideration we were alarmed at the weight and length of the Schedules which would result, and which the Committee would be asked to examine in detail. We therefore thought that it would be better to take out some of the complications and to operate by regulation. It may be, as a result of the valuable discussions which have taken place in the Committee, that we shall be able to simplify the regulations which we have in mind. In that case, we should be willing to consider inserting on Report stage a simplified Schedule, which would include the points proposed to be dealt with by regulation, and it would be satisfactory if we could do so."—[OFFICIAL REPORT, Standing Committee C, 13th April, 1954; c. 88–9.]
    I am glad to tell the House that we have succeeded in producing something which goes even further than that, and which, I hope, will commend itself to the House, because it involves the slaughter of a Schedule which was something that a number of hon. Members were anxious to see take place.

    If I may just summarise it, the purpose of this Amendment and of that to page 4, line 41, which may be confused with it, is to provide in the Bill for the creation of separate claim holdings, each having its own area and value where there has been a disposition of part of the benefit of an established claim. Previously, that was left to be dealt with by regulations made under subsection (2), and that came under fire in Committee. I will describe what we are trying to do.

    First with regard to subsection (4). That subsection does not indicate precisely how the value and area of the various derivative claim holdings are to be arrived at. Instead, it leaves the value and area of each holding to be determined by the Central Land Board or the Minister as occasion arises, and lays down certain principles by which the Central Land Board or the Minister are to be guided. As those principles may conflict, it also lays down the priority between them. Any dispute arising can he referred to the Lands Tribunal as part of the Board's or the Minister's findings on the application for compensation.

    I do not want to occupy too much of the time of the House in explaining this, but, in view of the importance of the matter, I think I ought to say that there are really two main principles involved which are contained in paragraphs (c) and (d) respectively.

    The first is that in the case of a claim holding which is not associated with the ownership of the relevant interest in any part of the area of the claim, the value of the holding is to be that part of the amount of the established claim which was conveyed in the assignment. Where there was no associated transaction in land the assignment has to define, in one way or another, the part of the claim which is being conveyed. There is no difficulty about it. The area of the claim holding will normally be that part of the original claim area not allocated to any other claim holding.

    In those cases where the claim holding and the land have been associated the second principle then comes into operation. That principle proceeds on the assumption that the parties intended that the part of the claim which was assigned should be what was appropriate to the area of land in which the assignee held or was to hold an interest. In those cases the area of the holding is to be the area in which the interest was held and its value is to be the part of the claim appropriate to that area. In the majority of cases there is no doubt that this will represent the intention of the parties, because the assignment was in some such terms as "so much of the benefit of the claim as was appropriate" to the land being sold or leased. That will probably also be found to be so in the great majority of cases where the amount assigned was specified.

    I do not think I need to go into further detail on that aspect of the matter, but I should point out that subsection (5) carries out the other part of this operation—the replacement of the Fourth Schedule which will, I think, be received with pleasure by those who had troubles with it. It follows an undertaking given by my right hon. Friend, reported in column 115 of the Committee Report. I think that there is no difference between what we now propose and what the Minister then offered.

    The subsection lays down how those concerned are to determine what fraction of the value of a claim holding attaches to any part of the area of that holding. Hon. Members will remember—and I am afraid rather painfully—the provisions of the Fourth Schedule, and will agree that what is now here is very much simpler. It will be operative, of course, not only in connection with payments under Part I, but also for the purpose of ascertaining the unexpended balance attaching to any piece of land, for whatever purpose required.

    What has to be done is essentially quite simple; sometimes there are two stages in the calculation, at other times only one. Lines 56 to 60 of the Amendment deal with the straightforward case where the value of the claim holding which has to be divided up is equal to the amount of the original claim, or that part of it which was properly attributable to the area of the holding. That is the case where one might say that the value of the claim holding is at par. That is quite simple, but there are other instances where the value of the claim holding may be above or below par, in which case it will be either greater or less than the value of the established claim which is attributable to the area of the holding. One has then to scale up or down in the same proportion.

    I think that this is a more attractive approach—at any rate to those who have had to deal with it in Committee—than that with which we were then dealing and I hope that it may commend itself to the House. There are several consequential Amendments with which I can deal in due course. For the moment, I ask the blessing of the House on what is quite a genuine attempt made as a result of my right hon. Friend's promise when the matter was raised by the hon. and learned Gentleman the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) and the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren).

    6.15 p.m.

    The learned Attorney-General has followed the easy ways of our Committee upstairs, and the discussion has gone, I think quite rightly, outside the general terms of the Amendment under discussion. He having done that, I should like to say that we on this side do appreciate not only the genuine attempt which has been made by the draftsmen, the Attorney-General and the Minister to clear up the obviously valid points to which my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) drew attention, but the effective way in which it has been done.

    I have only one point to raise. In the second line of the Amendment in page 4, line 41, it says:
    "… mortgage made otherwise than by way of assignment.…"
    I am just wondering why the words
    "… otherwise than by way of assignment …"
    have been brought in. Apart from that we not only accept this, but express our appreciation for the attempt made to meet the points which we raised.

    As one who called attention in Committee to the intricacies of the Fourth Schedule, I should like to take the opportunity of saying farewell to it, and of congratulating the Minister and the Attorney-General on the action which they have taken. This solution is much better than the suggestion made in Committee that an explanatory memorandum should be produced for the Fourth Schedule. Obviously, in Committee, I wrought much more successfully than I realised. I moved an Amendment that subsection (4) in page 4 should be omitted, but I must, in all modesty, admit that that Amendment was merely exploratory to find out exactly what the Fourth Schedule meant.

    It does not matter particularly that a layman like myself should have difficulty in understanding this Bill, but I think it very important that the lawyers, at any rate, should have a little inkling as to what it means. I was afraid that, as it stood, lawyers not mathematically inclined might be in some difficulty with the Fourth Schedule. I am very pleased that the Minister and the Attorney-General have been able to meet the wishes of the Committee. In conclusion may I just express the hope that means may be found of preserving the Fourth Schedule in the archives of Parliament in order that future draftsmen of Parliamentary Bills may have before them a dread warning of exactly what can be done with the English language when one is really trying.

    I, too, wish to thank the right hon. Gentleman for his Amendment. By general concensus, it is a wise way of tackling the problem and comparatively—I emphasise the word "comparatively"—simple to understand. I think that all that has been said about it is quite satisfactory to those who were members of the "club" upstairs, because they know what the Fourth Schedule is. They have lived with it. They have taken it to bed with them at night. They have walked the long hours and weekends in the mountains when we were there trying to understand the Fourth Schedule. As this is the Report stage, with which the whole House is concerned, it should be explained to the House that this proposed Amendment is a complete recasting of a vital and important part of the Bill.

    I think that it calls for this comment. The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) made his eloquent and clear speech to the Committee on, I think, 13th April. We are now well into the middle of July. For those long months the practitioners who contemplated that they would have to administer this Bill and were already receiving requests from clients to explain their position under the Bill have been trying to wrestle with the Fourth Schedule. They now find that all their labours were in vain. They have to start again, though admittedly along much pleasanter paths—if one can use the word "pleasant" about any part of the Bill, but I really think it should be emphasised that the Government should not have introduced such things into the Bill. It was clear on the Second Reading that, as it was then drafted, this Bill was quite incomprehensible and that no one could be expected to administer it. The only two persons who ventured to disagree with that point of view were the Attorney-General and the hon. Member for Hertford (Mr. Walker-Smith).

    If I may intervene, what the hon. Gentleman said on Second Reading was that the whole of the Bill was incomprehensible, and that is what I ventured to disagree with. I do not say that every sentence was perfect as the Bill was then drafted.

    I have always—I will not say exaggerated the abilities of the hon. Member for Hertford, but I have paid them full tribute. I thought he said that he had understood the Bill. I am glad to know that it is only the Attorney-General who understood the Bill. It is true that at a later stage revelation came to my hon. Friend the Member for Cardiff, West (Mr. G. Thomas) who had the honour of presiding over the Committee, but that was much later, and it was an uncovenanted mercy. I do not think that he would claim any great credit for it himself.

    I am very grateful to have the opportunity of saying that my understanding was confined to the proceedings upstairs.

    The debate at the moment is hardly on the Amendment.

    We have the lonely figure of the Attorney-General who is the only person who understood the Bill. One ought to pause to reflect that it is an odd thing that a Bill can get a Second Reading, can go upstairs, can be debated, and then when people really face it they have to admit that not one of them understands what it is about. I think that is a little irresponsible on the part of the Government, because when a Bill is published, people whose job it is to understand these things have got to try to grasp them. The fact that three months later common sense comes to the Government and they produce a comparatively simple way of doing the job is not really playing fair with the public. Those of us sitting here may expect to be bewildered by the pyrotechnics and gyrations of the Government—that is one of the risks of our job—but the unfortunate public ought reasonably to expect a Government which produces a major Bill of this sort—

    I welcome this Amendment. I do not pretend to understand all of it, but I think that with a little care and patience, I may begin to understand it. This Amendment is a great improvement, and I hope the House will accept it.

    The hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr. Lindgren) is entitled to an answer to the serious question that he put. The point about the phrase

    "otherwise than by way of assignment"
    is purely a technical one. The wording is to make sure that a mortgage which takes the form of a charge does not give rise to the creation of new claim holding. Mortgages are looked after by regulations under Clause 68 simply for the purpose of ensuring that there is no complication created.

    As to the rest of the debate on this Amendment, which perhaps went rather beyond the Amendment at times, I ought to say a word or two. I personally regard the difficult point of the Fourth Schedule with some regret, because I burned some little midnight oil on it and I achieved a result for which I do not think the hon. Member for Widnes (Mr. MacColl) gave me credit. The hon. Member for Stalybridge and Hyde (Mr. Blackburn) said that he had understood my explanation and I wrongly attributed that statement to the hon. Member for Widnes.

    The matter was crowned by the clear statement of the Chairman of the Standing Committee that to him, at any rate, the thing was crystal clear. Therefore, I hope that the House will now accept this Amendment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 4, line 28, leave out from "holding," to "was," in line 29.

    In line 41, leave out 'from the beginning, to the end of line 45, and insert:

    "value and an area.

    (4) Where by virtue of any disposition of part of the benefit of an established claim, not being a mortgage made otherwise than by way of assignment, different persons became entitled to different parts of that benefit, then, as from the date of that disposition (in this subsection referred to as "the relevant disposition"), each of those different parts shall be treated as having constituted a separate claim holding, and the area and value of each of those separate holdings at any material time after the relevant disposition shall be taken to have been such as may, on the occasion of an apportionment affecting that holding falling to be made for any of the purposes of this Act, be determined by the authority making the apportionment or, where that authority's findings are referred to the Lands Tribunal under any provision of this Act, by that Tribunal to be just and appropriate in all the circumstances; and in making their determination the authority or Tribunal shall in particular have regard to the following principles, that is to say—

    ( a) that the aggregate of the values of all claims holdings representing parts of the benefit of the same established claim shall not exceed the amount of that established claim:

    ( b) that, subject to the preceding paragraph, where a claim holding representing part only of the benefit of an established claim has been pledged to the Central Land Board within the meaning of the Second Schedule to this Act, otherwise than as is mentioned in paragraph 2 of that Schedule, and by virtue of that Schedule any deduction falls to be made from the value of that claim holding by reference to an amount due by way of development charge, the value of that holding at the time of the pledge shall not be taken to have been less than the lesser of the two following amounts, that is to say—

  • (i) the value attributed to the holding for the purposes of the pledge; or
  • (ii) the amount due as aforesaid;
  • ( c) that, in the case of the claim holding representing the part of the benefit of an established claim which was the subject of the relevant disposition, not being a claim holding to which paragraph ( d) of this subsection applies—

  • (i) the area of the claim holding should be taken to be the claim area of that established claim less the area of any claim holding to which the said paragraph (d) applies which represents part of the benefit of the same established claim; and
  • (ii) the value of the claim holding immediately after the relevant disposition should, subject to paragraphs (a) and (b) of this subsection, be taken to have been that part of the amount of the established claim to which he holder purported to become entitled under the terms of that disposition;
  • ( d) that where any person who has been entitled to a claim holding representing part only of the benefit of an established claim—

  • (i) at any time while so entitled has also been entitled to the interest in land to which the established claim related in so far as that interest subsisted in part only of the claim area; and
  • (ii) became entitled to both that holding and that interest in such circumstances that the authority aforesaid or, as the case may be, the Lands Tribunal are satisfied that the holding and the interest were intended to relate to one another, the area of that claim holding should be taken to be that part of the claim area, and the value of that holding immediately after the relevant disposition should, however that or any other disposition affecting the holding was expressed but subject to paragraphs (a) to (c) of this subsection, be taken to have been an amount equal to so much of the amount of the established claim as might reasonably be expected to have been attributed to that part of the claim area if the authority determining the amount of that established claim had been required to apportion it, in accordance with the same principles as applied to its determination, between that part and the residue of the claim area.
  • (5) References in this Act to the fraction of the value of a claim holding which attaches to a part of the area of the holding are references to so much of the amount of the established claim of which that holding represents the benefit or part of the benefit (in this subsection referred to as "the relevant established claim") as was properly attributable to that part of the area of the holding:

    Provided that where, by virtue of any provision of this Act, the value of the claim holding at the time in question is to be treated as less or greater—

  • (a) in a case where the area of the holding and the claim area of the relevant established claim are the same, than the amount of that established claim; or
  • (b) in a case where the area of the holding consists of part only of the said claim area, than so much of the amount of the relevant established claim as was properly attributable to the area of the holding, the amount of the fraction aforesaid shall be treated as reduced or, as the case may be, increased proportionately.
  • For the purposes of this subsection, the part of the amount of the relevant established claim which was properly attributable to any land forming part of the claim area shall be deemed to be so much of the amount of that claim as might reasonably be expected to have been attributed to that land if the authority determining that amount had been required to apportion it, in accordance with the same principles as applied to its determination, between that land and the residue of the claim area."

    In page 5, line 18, leave out from "holding," to "means," in line 19.—[ The Attorney-General.]

    I beg to move, in page 5, line 20, at the end, to insert:

    "or, where the holding is subject to a mortgage made otherwise than by way of assignment, means the person who would be so entitled if the holding had not been mortgaged."
    The purpose of this Amendment is to make it clear that, where a claim holding is subject to a charge, the person entitled to the benefit of that charge is not to be regarded as the holder of the claim holding. The position of mortgagees is dealt with and safeguarded by Clause 68, which provides for the diverting of payments to them. If the mortgagee has taken an assignment of the claim, he is not affected by this Amendment and is entitled to claim in his own right under Clause 10.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 6—(Payment Where Land Com Pulsorily Acquired Or Sold At Price Wholly Or Partly Excluding Development Value (Case B))

    I beg to move, in page 7, line 23, to leave out from the first "was" to "to," and to insert:

    "entitled in the same capacity both to the claim holding and."
    This is the first of a series of Amendments designed to prevent the confusion which would otherwise arise where one person was acting in more than one capacity. For instance, he might be an executor or a trustee. These Amendments make it clear that when the Bill speaks of the holder of the claim holding being entitled to the relevant interest in land, it means entitled in the same capacity, in the sense in which that term is defined in an Amendment which we hope to make to Clause 71 when we reach it.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 7—(Supplementary Provisions Relating To Compulsory Acquisi Tions And To Sales)

    I beg to move, in page 11, line 11, to leave out from "section," to the first "the," in line 14.

    The words in brackets, and the similar words in subsection (4) of the Clause and subsection (5) of the next Clause, are superfluous in view of the changes in Clause 3 and the dropping of the Fourth Schedule.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: In page 11, line 29, leave out from "section," to first "the," in line 31.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 8—(Payment Where Land Dis Posed Of By Gift (Case C))

    Amendments made: In page 11, line 43, leave out from first "was," to "to." and insert:

    "entitled in the same capacity both to the claim holding and."

    In page 12, line 19, leave out from first "section," to first "the," in line 21.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 9—(Payment Where Claim Holding Purchased (Case D))

    I beg to move, in page 12, line 34, after "entitled," to insert "in the same capacity."

    This Amendment and the next one substitute for the present subsection (3) the form of words which we have already adopted for Clauses 6 and 8. The meaning of "in the same capacity" is to be defined in Clause 71.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: In page 13, line 1, leave out subsection (3).—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 11—(Payments In Cases Analogous To Case B)

    6.30 p.m.

    I beg to move, in page 14, line 3, to leave out from "B." to "if," in line 5.

    The words proposed to be left out are really unnecessary. It is clear from the wording of Clause 10 (1) that payments made by reason of that Clause are made under Cases A, B, or C.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 14—(Applications For Payments Under Part I)

    I beg to move, in page 18, line 17, to leave out from "requiring," to "and," in line 20, and to insert:

    "the Board, in a case where the determination of such an application involves an apportionment, to give notice of the proposed apportionment to any person entitled to an interest in land which it appears to the Board will be substantially affected by the apportionment."
    This and the following Amendment, in line 35, go together. They are little more than drafting Amendments. The Bill as at present drafted refers to persons whose interests—in the plural—are affected. The Amendment substitutes a more precise definition of persons entitled to an interest in land which is affected. It is only the ownership of an interest in land which entitles a person to dispute an apportionment. "Interest in land" will be defined later on, in Clause 71.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 18, line 35, leave out "his interests are," and insert:

    "he is entitled to an interest in land which is."

    In page 19, line 3, leave out "to which this subsection applies."

    In line 9, leave out subsection (5).—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 16—(Effect Of Payments On Claim Holdings)

    Amendment made: In page 21, line 3, leave out from "treated," to "into," in line 4, and insert:

    "as having been divided immediately before the commencement of this Act."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 17—(Scope Of Part Ii)

    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.

    Clause 19—(Reduction Or Extinguish Ment Of Balance)

    I beg to move, in page 22, line 45, to leave out from "an," to the end of line 18, on page 23, and to insert:

    "original unexpended balance of established development value, then, subject to the next following subsection, the land shall be taken to have that balance at any time after the commencement of this Act except in so far as that balance is by virtue of any provision of this Act to be treated as having been reduced or extinguished immediately before that time.
    (2) Where any land taken as a whole has an original unexpended balance of established development value, but at any time after the commencement of this Act an act is done or an event occurs in relation to any area consisting of, or including, part only of that land in consequence of which, by virtue of any provision of this Act, an amount would fall to be deducted from the original unexpended balance of that part of that land for the purpose of determining the unexpended balance thereof at any subsequent time, then, without prejudice to the operation of the preceding subsection with respect to any part of the land taken separately, the land taken as a whole shall be treated as not having any such balance at that subsequent time.
    (3) Where compensation under this Part of this Act becomes payable in respect of the depreciation of the value of an interest in land by a planning decision, then, for the purpose of determining whether that land or any part thereof has an unexpended balance of established development value at any subsequent time, the amount of the compensation shall be deducted from the original unexpended balance of established development value of that land and the original balance of that land or that part thereof shall be treated as having been reduced or extinguished accordingly Immediately before that subsequent time."
    This is the first of the series of Amendments to Clause 19, and I should like to give as brief an explanation as I can of the general purposes of the series, for I am afraid that in explaining this Amendment I may trespass slightly on the others. I hope the House will agree that that will save time. This series of Amendments is another attempt to meet the wishes of the Standing Committee in the direction of reducing the complication of the Bill. Hon. Members will find that although there is a large number of words in the Amendments the result of making them will be materially to shorten the Bill and, I hope, to clarify it.

    The general purpose is to make a change in the conditions in which land may be spoken of as having an unexpended balance of established development value—one of the artificial conceptions which is essential to the Bill, and which, I think, hon. Members in the Committee agreed was a convenient vehicle for carrying out the particular purposes required. Under the Bill as drafted any piece of land can be described as having an unexpended balance when the Bill comes into operation if it falls wholly within the area of any claim holding which affects it. That is provided by Clause 18. The balance is useful in setting the limit of the payments that may be made under Parts II and III of the Bill either for compensation or on compulsory acquisition. The land continues to have that balance except in so far as the balance is reduced under the provisions of the Bill as the result of some compensation payment or the carrying out of some development.

    As Clause 19 stands, any act or event which gives rise to a debit against the balance affects the unexpended balance of the land concerned and of any part of it, but not of any wider area. That is to say, if a field, for example, has an unexpended balance taken as a whole, and compensation is paid because permission to build on half of it was refused, the unexpended balance of that half of the field and of each of the plots in it will be suitably reduced, but the unexpended balance of the field taken as a whole will not be affected.

    6.45 p.m.

    It has been found that might have the effect of creating a danger of overpayment, and the first thing that has to be done is, obviously, to avoid that. So far as Part II of the Bill is concerned no difficulty arises. If the claim for compensation is made for such damage as is caused by a planning decision and different parts of the land have a different history so far as the unexpended balance is concerned, then Clause 22 requires the land to be broken down into areas each of which has a uniform history as regards the balance and the compensation is assessed piecemeal. So far as that part of the matter is concerned this point was of no importance, but there is no similar provision in Clause 35, under which payments are to be made from the balance on compulsory acquisition, and as the Bill stood, there was a danger of overpayment.

    One way of dealing with the matter would be by the introduction into Clause 35 of something like the fractionalisation process we discussed on Clause 22. As a result of our experience of this fractionalisation that certainly would not be a course any Members would undertake likely. I am glad that is agreed. A better remedy, and the one that has been adopted, as hon. Members will see, in these Amendments, is to make this provision, that as soon as part of an area which has an unexpended balance is affected by any act or event which results in a debit against the balance which does not affect the whole of the area, then that area taken as a whole cannot be spoken of as having an unexpended balance. It goes out of the picture from that point of view altogether. In other words, to have an unexpended balance an area must have a uniform balance history. Or to put it yet another way, the process of Clause 22 is now introduced into Clause 19.

    That is the effect of the proposed new subsection (2). The remaining Amendments we shall ask the House to make to Clause 19 are for the most part consequential or drafting, following out this line of thought. The proposed new subsection (4) provides for the apportionment of amounts of compensation and other deductions from the unexpended balance as between the different parts of the land which is affected.

    By reorganising Clause 19 in this way it has been found possible to shorten Part II substantially, because it will be found that Clause 22 becomes entirely unnecessary, and Clause 27, which deals with cases where two or more interests in the same piece of land are depreciated by the same decision can be combined in Clause 21.

    We are grateful to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the explanation of this Amendment. It is in substance a rearrangement and largely a drafting Amendment which deals with matters which were in doubt. We regard it as an improvement upon the original Clause 19. Our main doubt about Clause 19, as amended, was on subsection (3), to which I referred in connection with a matter I raised on a previous Amendment. We are greatly obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the explanation he has given.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 23, line 22, leave out from "forty-eight," to the end of line 26, and insert:

    "being land which has an original unexpended balance of established development value, then, for the purpose of determining whether that land or any part thereof has an unexpended balance of established development value at any subsequent time."

    In line 34, leave out from "the," to the end of line 37, and insert:

    "original unexpended balance of established development value of that land and the original balance of that land or that part thereof shall be treated as having been reduced or extinguished accordingly immediately before that subsequent time."—[The Attorney-General.]

    I beg to move, in page 24, line 10, to leave out from the beginning, to "unexpended," in line 19, and to insert:

    (4) Where an act or event has occurred in relation to any land in consequence of which any of the provisions of this Act requires an amount to be deducted from the original unexpended balance of established development value of that land or any part thereof, there shall be attributed to the various parts of that land so much of that amount as might reasonably be expected to have been attributed thereto if the authority determining the amount had been required to apportion it between those parts in accordance with the same principles as applied to its determination; and where two or more such acts or events have occurred in relation to the same land, those provisions shall apply cumulatively, and the requisite deduction from the original.
    This ie the substantive subsection (4) which is necessary for the purposes which I have already explained.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 20—(Right To Compensation In Respect Of Planning Decisions)

    I beg to move, in page 24, line 26, to leave out from the beginning, to second "that," in line 32, and to insert:

    "at the time of that decision he is entitled to an interest in any land to which the decision relates which has an unexpended balance of established development value, and the value of that interest or, in the case of an interest extending to other land, the value of that interest in so far as it subsists in."
    This is rather more than a drafting Amendment. The need for it arises from the fact that no compensation is payable unless the land has an unexpended balance. It is desirable to make it clear under Clause 20 that the title to compensation is dependent on the existence of such a balance. That is ensured by these words. The insertion of the words "at the time of that decision" is considered desirable in order to prevent any possibility of a claim being made by a person who has acquired the land only since the decision was made.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 21—(General Provisions As To Amount Of Compensation)

    I beg to move, in page 25, line 36 to leave out from "following," to the end of line 46, on page 26, and to insert:

    "subsection, where a person is entitled to compensation under this Part of this Act in respect of the depreciation by a planning decision of the value of an interest in land to which the planning decision relates which at the time of that decision has an unexpended balance of established development value (in this section referred to as 'qualified land') the amount of the compensation shall be whichever is the less of the following amounts, that is to say—
  • (a) the amount by which the value of the interest, or in the case of an interest extending to other land, the amount by which the value of the interest in so far as it subsists in qualified land, is depreciated by the decision; or
  • (b) the amount of the unexpended balance of established development value immediately before the decision of the qualified land in which the interest subsists:
  • Provided that if compensation is payable under this Part of this Act in respect of two or more interests in the came qualified land by reason of the same planning decision and the aggregate amount of compensation payable apart from this proviso in respect of those interests exceeds the amount mentioned in paragraph (b) of this subsection, the amount so mentioned shall be allocated between those interests in proportion to the depreciation of the value of each of them respectively, and the amount of the compensation payable in respect of any of those interests shall be the sum so allocated to that interest.
    (2) Where the land to which the planning decision relates, taken as a whole, does not satisfy the following conditions, that is to say—
  • (a) that the land is qualified land; and
  • (b) that every interest subsisting therein the value of which is depreciated by the decision subsists in the whole thereof,
  • then, for the purposes of assessing the compensation payable under this Part of this Act in respect of any interest subsisting in that land or any part thereof—
  • (i) the depreciation of the value of the interest by the planning decision shall first be ascertained with reference to the whole of the land to which the planning decision relates in which that interest subsists;
  • (ii) the land to which the planning decision relates in which that interest subsists shall then be treated as divided into as many parts as may be requisite to ensure that each such part consists of land which either satisfies the conditions aforesaid or is not qualified land; and
  • (iii) the depreciation of the value of the interest ascertained as aforesaid shall then be apportioned between the said parts according to the nature of those parts and the effect of the planning decision in relation to each of them,
  • and the amount of the compensation shall be the aggregate of the amounts which would he payable by virtue of the preceding subsection if the planning decision had been made separately with respect to each such part."
    I am afraid this is rather a complicated matter but I think it can be explained fairly briefly in view of what I have already said. This Amendment introduces a new Clause 21 which combines the functions of the present Clauses 21 and 27 and of subsection (4) of Clause 26. Clause 22 is abolished. In a reasonably small compass we are achieving a good deal and I hope we are making matters clearer than they were before.

    The first part of the Amendment embodies the substance of the present Clause 21 with some very slight drafting improvements. The reference to the supplement of one-seventh now disappears because it is embodied in the unexpended balance.

    The remainder of the Amendment deals with cases where two or more interests exist in the whole or part of the land which are depreciated by the planning decision. In that respect it replaces Clause 27. Lines 13 to 21 do the job previously done by subsection (2) of that Clause. They deal with the simple case where there are two or more interests in the same land. If the aggregate depreciation exceeds the unexpended balance, the balance is to be shared out proportionately.

    The remainder of the Amendment deals with the more complicated cases where the areas in which the competing interests exist do not coincide. These are at present dealt with in separate subsections of Clause 27—subsections (3) and (4)—with the assistance of subsection (4) of Clause 26. These have all been combined here.

    There is no change in the process. The land is to be broken down into areas, each of which has an unexpended balance and a uniform interest structure. The depreciation which is suffered by each of those interests is first to be assessed as a whole and then to be apportioned among these areas of uniform structure. The compensation payable will then be the total of the sums which would have been payable if each area had been the subject of a separate planning decision attracting the apportioned amount of compensation.

    I hope that this will commend itself to the House as a simpler and more convenient arrangement, but I can assure hon. Members that there is no substantial change in the operation of the machinery.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 23—(Compensation Excluded In Certain Cases)

    I beg to move, in page 27, line 7, at the end, to insert:

    (c) for any development on land adjacent to or contiguous with land on which is situate any building listed under section thirty of the principal Act or any ancient monument or any building or land in the ownership or in the trust of the National Trust;
    (d) for any development in a National Park designated under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act, 1949;
    (e) for any development on land shown on a development plan as an area of natural beauty or scientific interest.
    We attach some importance to this Amendment. It raises the question of the application in the Bill of the principle of good neighbourliness, which the Government have insisted is an acceptable and good principle and is the basis of their policy in this respect. The White Paper stated that the Government
    "consider it reasonable to exclude compensation in respect of restrictions based on the principle of good neighbourliness,".
    We on this side of the House feel that applying the principle of good neighbourliness may sometimes mean that an application for permission to develop must be met by an unqualified refusal—not by any condition attached to a permission but by an unqualified refusal. The Amendment seeks to put that provision into the Bill, confined, as it will be in the words of the Amendment, to very distinct and particular cases.

    Our objection to the Bill without the Amendment is that it does not provide for the instance where the correct course is to refuse to allow any development at all and, at the same time, to exclude compensation. The Minister will remember the discussion which we had in Committee arising out of this circumstance, when the Christchurch Meadows were taken as an example and were the object of a discussion which continued for a considerable time. When I then attempted to pursue the argument, I was met by the objection that I was trying to go further than was tenable.

    It was put to me that if the owner of an interest in land in the green belt were met with an unqualified refusal of permission to develop that land, as he would be met and should be met, then it was quite wrong that he should be entitled to no compensation at all. My hon. Friends made a concession in Committee. We thought it a right concession to make that in the case of an owner of green belt land the proposition which we had put forward was not tenable.

    7.0 p.m.

    In this Amendment we have been to great pains to eliminate the possible danger to which the Minister drew attention of going too far and affecting adversely and unfairly owners of land where it would be wrong to do so. We set down in the Amendment a series of instances which can be easily defined and which are clearly specified where we say that if any proposal for development of any kind is made, the answer must be in the national and public interest, immediately an unqualified negative. We say that if an unqualified negative is given in these cases—as it ought to be—it should be accompanied by the exclusion of any compensation payment.

    I put it strongly to the Minister that he should consider with care whether this proposal would not strengthen the provisions of the Bill. In the absence of a provision of this kind is there not real danger that we may have a site of great national beauty or historic importance—ancient monuments and the rest—coming into the hands, temporarily, of a speculative owner who wants the ownership of the land for no other purpose than that of putting in an application for permission to develop and, when it is turned down, as it is bound to be turned down in respect of land of community value of the kind described in the Amendment, he would claim compensation, and would have a ground for claiming compensation, unless an Amendment such as we have put forward is accepted by the House?

    We believe that, not in all cases, but in particular cases and important cases of the kind that we have specified in the Amendment, it ought to be possible for refusal to be given to an application for permission to develop—an absolute blank refusal with no qualification attached—and if that is done, it should be possible, at the same time, expressly as a provision of the Bill, to exclude the payment of compensation.

    I think that the purpose which the hon. Gentleman has in view arouses sympathy. I think that that was made clear in Committee and the same applies now, on Report. The purpose is, I think, not so much to refuse compensation to this or that man, but to make it easy to secure that the countryside is preserved from destruction and that places of great amenity value are not interfered with. I think that is the real purpose of the Amendment.

    I will not weary the House with the technical difficulties of the Amendment. I am well aware that it is the right of a private Member to put forward an Amendment in the terms he proposes, and it is the duty of the Government, if they accept it in principle, to offer an alternative in their own drafting. This is, however, rather more than drafting.

    I cannot imagine anything that would not come under paragraphs (c), (d) and (e). Almost anything is near an ancient monument or "land adjacent to or contiguous with." One cannot go to Salisbury Plain without bumping up against Stonehenge, or go to almost any part of England where there is not a piece of Roman wall or a piece of earlier Saxon drain, or something of that kind. I do not think that this would work under this definition. Apart from that, I think that the Amendment really misconceives what is our picture of a National Park. Our National Parks are not like the American or Canadian parks, such as Jasper Park, which I know so well. They are places where life goes on and where industry goes on.

    Take, for instance, the High Peak where one of the greatest industrial areas is in the National Park—quarrying, lime-making and the rest. Therefore, I would say that what we ought to do is to enforce the planning law sufficiently and rigidly, but not to use the method proposed, which, I think, may have almost the opposite effect to that intended. What would be the result? I have tried to demonstrate it. We had the question of the Malvern Hills and the hon. Gentleman knows the kind of arguments which were put forward in detail.

    It may be that we ought to be more careful about refusing permission to develop in the circumstances which this Amendment has in mind, particularly in places of great beauty, whether inside or outside National Parks. I do not think that one should refuse compensation for the refusal. We ought to make a refusal perhaps in such an area where we would not make it in another area, because we say. "I must preserve its beauty," but that does not mean that we have to do it at the expense of the individual. It means that we have to do it at the expense of the public.

    For instance, the hon. Member will remember the stone quarrying problems at Buxton. I know that part of the country well, and we had some cases on which we had to decide. It may be that if this Amendment were accepted the owners of land which was bought three or four years ago for purposes of quarrying, bought perfectly legitimately and as part of the occupation of the village, would be told, "Not only shall we not allow you to use your quarry, but we shall not pay you any compensation." What would the Minister do in those circumstances? I am sure that he would stretch his authority and grant permission, rather than be guilty of taking away from people a part or the whole of their livelihood. I think that the Amendment, if accepted, would have almost the exact opposite of what is intended. I suggest that we should be content with the very rigid control which we have.

    Ministers can operate that control and be censored if they do not operate it to the benefit of the preservation of beauty, amenities and great historic traditions. But I do not think that we ought to do that at the expense of particular people who happen to own property in the area, or acquire it for perfectly legitimate means under the existing law. I think that we ought to take the burden upon ourselves.

    I would respectfully and entirely agree with what my right hon. Friend has said, but I would suggest that apart from the first of the three places which the hon. Gentleman suggests, in respect of which the Amendment is obviously far too widely drafted, that, so far as the second two are concerned, it is unlikely that any very considerable proportion of the land will, in fact, have any established claims at all. It is unlikely that development in such areas will have passed the comparatively rigid test of Part VI of the principal Act, and that if they have, a great many of them will have been excluded under the de minimis provisions.

    There is no limit on the date on which these properties come into the ownership of the Trust. I cannot imagine anything more damaging to the prospect of owners giving property to the National Trust than if, by doing so, they cut themselves out of any possible compensation. Though I am in sympathy with the intention of this Amendment, I feel that what is proposed is quite unworkable.

    I do not wish to delay the House, because we are making good progress and we wish to make even better progress so that we can finish the Third Reading debate at a reasonable time. But I feel that this approach to the problem divides the House. The Minister sheds tears over someone who has bought a piece of land to start a stone quarry somewhere round the Peak district. He jumps with joy when a local authority puts a road through a piece of land and increases the value of the land on either side of it.

    We feel, particularly because of their introduction of this Bill, that the Government do not intend rigidly to enforce the planning laws. The 1947 Act was the only real planning Act which we have had because it was the first Act which tied up finance and planning, and, therefore, we are trying to do something to improve it. This Bill takes away the financial provisions of the 1947 Act and I must advise my hon. Friends to support this Amendment in the Division Lobby.

    Division No. 199.]

    AYES

    [7.12 p.m.

    Acland, Sir RichardHargreaves, A.Paton, J.
    Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Harrison, J, (Nottingham, E.)Pearson, A.
    Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)Hastings, S.Peart, T. F.
    Allies, Rt. Hon. C. R.Hayman, F. H.Plummer, Sir Leslie
    Awbery, S. S.Healey, Denis (Leeds, S.E.)Popplewell, E.
    Bacon, Miss AliceHerbison, Miss M.Porter, G.
    Baird, J.Hewitson, Capt. M.Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)
    Balfour, A.Hobson, C. R.Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)
    Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Holman, P.Proctor, W. T.
    Bartley, P.Holmes, HoracePryde, D. J.
    Bence, C. R.Hoy, J. H.Pursey, Cmdr. H.
    Bonn, Hon. WedgwoodHubbard, T. F.Reeves, J.
    Benson, G.Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)Raid, Thomas (Swindon)
    Blackburn, F.Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)Reid, William (Camlachie)
    Blenkinsop, A.Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)Rhodes, H.
    Blyton, W. RHynd, H. (Accrington)Richards, R.
    Boardman, H.Hynd, J. B. (Attercliffe)Roberts, Rt. Hon. A.
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)Roberts, Albert (Normanton)
    Bowden, H. W.Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)
    Bowles, F. G.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.Robinson, Kenneth (St. Pancras, N.)
    Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethJanner, B.Ross, William
    Brockway, A. F.Jeger, George (Goole)Royle, C.
    Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Jeger, Mrs. LenaShackleton, E. A. A.
    Brown, Thomas (Ince)Jenkins, R. H. (Stechford)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.
    Burke, W. A.Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)Short, E. W.
    Burton, Miss F. E.Jones, David (Hartlepool)Shurmer, P. L. E.
    Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Jones, Jack (Rotherham)Silverman, Julius (Erdington)
    Callaghan, L, J.Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)
    Castle, Mrs. B. A.Keenan, W.Skeffington, A. M.
    Champion, A. J.Kenyon, C.Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)
    Chapman, W. D.Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)
    Chelwynd, G. R.King, Dr. H. M.Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)
    Clunie, J.Lawson, G. M.Snow, J. W.
    Coldrick, W.Lee, Frederick (Newton)Sorensen, R. W.
    Collick, P. H.Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir Frank
    Cove, W. G.Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)Sparks, J. A.
    Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Lewis, ArthurSteele, T.
    Crosland, C. A, R.Lindgren, G. S.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R.
    Crossman, R. H. S.Lipton, Lt.-Col. M.Stross, Dr. Barnett
    Daines, P.Logan, D. G.Sylvester, G. O.
    Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)MacColl, J. E.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Delargy, H. J.McGovern, J.Taylor, John (West Lothian)
    Dodds, N. N.McInnes, J.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
    Driberg, T. E. N.McKay, John (Wallsend)Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
    Dugdale, Rt. Hon. John (W. Bromwich)McLeavy, F.Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
    Edelman, M.MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Timmons. J.
    Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Mainwaring, W. H.Tomney, F.
    Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Usborne, H. C.
    Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Warbey, W. N.
    Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)Mann, Mrs. JeanWatkins, T. E.
    Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)Manuel, A. C.Weitzman, D
    Fernyhough, E.Mason, RoyWells, Percy (Faversham)
    Fienburgh, W.Mayhew, C. P.West, D. G.
    Finch, H. J.Mellish, R. J.Wheeldon, W. E.
    Fletcher, Eric (Islington, E.)Mitchison, G. R.White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
    Follick, M.Moody, A. S.Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Foot, M. M.Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.Wigg, George
    Forman, J. C.Morley, R.Wilkins, W. A.
    Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)Willey, F. T.
    Gibson, C. W.Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)Williams, David (Neath)
    Glanville, JamesMort, D. L.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
    Gooch, E. G.Moyle, A.Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
    Greenwood, AnthonyMulley, F. W.Williams, W. R. (Droylsden)
    Grenfell, Rt. Hon. D. RNoel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.Willis, E. G.
    Grey, C. F.Oldfield, W. H.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Oliver, G. H.Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
    Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)Oswald, T.Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
    Griffiths, William (Exchange)Pauley, W. E.Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
    Hale, LesliePaling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Yates, V. F.
    Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Younger, Rt. Hon. K.
    Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)Palmer, A. M. F.
    Hamilton, W. W.Panned, CharlesTELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Hannan, W.Pargiter, G. A.Mr. Wallace and Mr. James Johnson,
    Hardy, E. A.Parker, J.

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

    The House divided: Ayes, 218; Noes, 270.

    NOES

    Aitken, W. T.Gammans, L. D.Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. C.
    Allan, R. A. (Paddington, S.)Garner-Evans, E. H.Medlicott, Brig. F.
    Alport, C. J. M.George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. LloydMellor, Sir John
    Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Glover, D.Molson, A. H. E.
    Amory, Rt. Hon. Heathcoat (Tiverton)Godber, J. B.Moore, Sir Thomas
    Ansthruther-Gray, Major W. J.Gomme-Duncan, Col. AMorrison, John (Salisbury)
    Arbuthnot, JohnGough, C. F. H.Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Gower, H. R.Nabarro, G. D. N.
    Astor, Hon. J. J.Graham, Sir FergusNeave, Airey
    Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)Nicholls, Harmar
    Baldwin, A. E.Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)Nield, Basil (Chester)
    Barber, AnthonyHall, John (Wycombe)Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.
    Barlow, Sir JohnHare, Hon. J. H.Nugent, G. R. H.
    Baxter, Sir BoverleyHarris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)Nutting, Anthony
    Beach, Maj. HicksHarris, Reader (Heston)Oakshott, H. D.
    Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)Odey, G. W.
    Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)O'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)
    Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)Harvie-Watt, Sir GeorgeOrmsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.
    Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.Orr, Capt. L. P. S.
    Birch, NigelHeald, Rt. Hon. Sir LionelOrr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)
    Bishop, F. P.Heath, EdwardOrr-Ewing, Sir Ian (Weston-super-Mare)
    Black, C. W.Henderson, John (Cathcart)Osborne, C.
    Boothby, Sir R. J. G.Higgs, J. M. C.Page, R. G.
    Bossom, Sir A. C.Hill, Dr. Charles (Luton)Partridge, E.
    Bowen, E. R.Hinchingbrooke, ViscountPeake, Rt. Hon. O.
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.Hirst, GeoffreyPerkins, Sir Robert
    Braine, B. R.Holland-Martin, C. JPeto, Brig. C. H. M
    Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)Hollis, M. C.Peyton, J. W. W.
    Braithwaite, Sir GurneyHolt, A. F.Pickthorn, K. W. M
    Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Hope, Lord JohnPilkington, Capt. R. A.
    Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Hopkinson, Rt. Hon. HenryPitman, I. J.
    Brooman-White, R. C.Hornsby-Smith, Miss M. P.Pitt, Miss E. M.
    Browne, Jack (Govan)Horobin, I. M.Powell, J. Enoch
    Buchan-Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)Price, Henry (Lewisham, W.)
    Bullard, D. G.Hudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.
    Bollus, Wing Commander E. E.Hulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J.Profumo, J. D.
    Burden, F. F. A.Hurd, A. R.Raikes, Sir Victor
    Butcher, Sir HerbertHutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)Ramsden, J. E.
    Butler, Rt. Hon. R. A. (Saffron Walden)Hyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.Rayner, Brig. R.
    Campbell, Sir DavidHylton-Foster, H. B. H.Rees-Davies, W. R.
    Carr, RobertIremonger, T. L.Renton, D. L. M.
    Cary, Sir RobertJenkins, Robert (Dulwich)Ridsdale, J. E.
    Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)Jennings, Sir RolandRoberts, Peter (Heeley)
    Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)Robertson, Sir David
    Clyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.Joynson-Hicks, Hon. L. W.Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)
    Cole, NormanKaberry, D.Rodgers, John (Sevenoaks)
    Colegate, W. A.Kerby, Capt. H. B.Roper, Sir Harold
    Conant, Maj. Sir RogerKerr, H. W.Ropner, Cot. Sir Leonard
    Cooper-Key, E. M.Lambert, Hon. G.Russell, R. S.
    Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Lambton, ViscountRyder, Capt. R. E. D.
    Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. CLancaster, Col. C. G.Savory, Prof. Sir Douglas
    Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Leather, E. H. C.Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.
    Crouch, R. F.Legge-Bourke, Maj. E. A. H.Scott, R. Donald
    Crowder, Sir John (Finchley)Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Scott-Miller, Cmdr. R
    Crowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. T.Shepherd, William
    Darling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)Lindsay, MartinSimon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)
    Davidson, ViscountessLinstead, Sir H. N.Smithers, Peter (Winchester)
    Deedes, W. F.Llewellyn, D. T.Smithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
    Digby, S. WingfieldLloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)
    Dodds-Parker, A. D.Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Snadden, M. McN.
    Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.Lockwood, Lt.-Col. J. C.Soames, Capt. C.
    Donner, Sir P. W.Longden, GilbertSpearman, A. C. M.
    Doughty, C. J. A.Low, A. R. W.Spence, H. R. (Aberdeenshire, W.)
    Douglas-Hamilton, Lord MalcolmLucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington. S.)
    Drewe, Sir C.Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughStevens, Geoffrey
    Duncan, Capt. J. A LMacdonald, Sir PeterSteward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
    Duthie, W. S.Mackeson, Brig. Sir HarryStewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
    Eccles, Rt Hon. Sir D. M.Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Stoddart-Scott, Col. M.
    Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)Maclay, Rt. Hon. JohnStorey, S.
    Fell, A.Maclean, FitzroyStrauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
    Finlay, GraemeMacleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
    Fisher, NigelMacleod, John (Ross and Cromarty)Studholme, H. G.
    Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. FMacmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Summers, G. S.
    Fletcher-Cooke, C.Macpherson, Niall (Dumfries)Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
    Ford, Mrs. PatriciaMaitland, Patrick (Lanark)Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
    Fort, R.Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn. Sir ReginaldTaylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Foster, JohnMarlowe, A. A. H.Teeling, W.
    Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)Marples, A. E.Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
    Fyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David MaxwellMarshall, Douglas (Bodmin)Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
    Galbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)Maude, AngusThorneycroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
    Galbraith, T. G. D. (Hillhead)Maudling, R.Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N.

    Tilney, JohnWakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
    Touche, Sir GordonWakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone) Williams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
    Turner, H. F. L.Walker-Smith, D. C. Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
    Turton, R. H.Wall, Major PatrickWills, G.
    Tweedsmuir, LadyWard, Hon. George (Worcester)
    Vane, W. M. F.Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro) Wood, Hon. R.
    Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
    Vosper, D. F.Wellwood, W.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Wade, D. WWilliams, Rt Hon. Charles (Torquay)Mr. Redmayne and
    Mr. Richard Thompson.

    I beg to move, in page 27, line 18, after "out," to insert

    "for the purposes of the development."
    This Amendment is designed to make the position quite clear to those hon. Members who fear that compensation might be excluded if conditions were imposed which required parking facilities to be provided on a scale quite unrelated to the purposes of the development. In other words, conditions cannot be made which are not suitable to that particular kind of development.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 27, line 33, to leave out "the stages indicated, in."

    I think that with this Amendment we can take the next one to line 34, to leave out from "situated," to the end of line 35.

    These two Amendments go together, and deal with a point which was fully discussed in Committee. The Minister undertook to give some consideration to the points which were then made, and one can only assume that consideration has been given and that for some reason a solution has not been found. The inclusion of the words:

    "the stages indicated, in."
    will, we feel, lead to confusion and perhaps to some litigation because of a difference of opinion that might exist as to what the stages are.

    This point, as the hon. Member has reminded us, was discussed in Committee and it was made in particular by the hon. Member for Edge Hill (Mr. A. J. Irvine). He pointed out that it would be difficult for anyone to know what are the stages indicated in a plan, since these do not cover with any precision much of the land in the authority's area. I resisted the Amendment on the grounds that the words complained of are taken from the 1947 Act, and like so much of that Act could hardly be improved upon.

    I promised that I would consider whether the wording could be redrawn to avoid difficulty, and we have considered this; but we have not been able to think of a proper form of words. If somebody finds the proper form of words we will be glad to consider them, but I do not see how we can get better phraseology. On examination, it did not seem possible or right to frame a provision dealing with prematurity except by reference to those provisions in the development plan which deal with the timing of development. The things are connected and I do not see how we can disassociate them.

    I was hoping the right hon. Gentleman might have been able to clear up this question of stages in a development plan. We all know that in the framing of a development plan, which has a life of five years, obviously it will be recognised that certain designations will not be ripe for development until 10, 15 or 20 years have passed. Many of us know that certain designations in existing plans cannot be carried out within a period of five years but only at some future time.

    Local authorities may have in their minds a period of years which is quite different from the period of the validity of the plan itself. While the development plan of five yearly periods is subject to review and reconsideration, I think it would be useful if it were possible for the Minister on future occasions to persuade local authorities to have the same sort of timing in various stages of development.

    If the timing can be regarded as stages in the development of the plan that will to some extent clear the matter up, but otherwise, if the stages are not clearly tied up with timing, then it will be very difficult to determine what is the kind of stages. I do not think that such timing is regarded as stages at the moment, but perhaps if the right hon. Gentleman could tell us exactly what the position is it would greatly help.

    It is quite clear. It is what is called the programme in the first five years, then the five to 20 years and then over that.

    In the light of the Minister's statement, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 24—(No Compensation If Other Comparable Development Permitted)

    I beg to move, in page 28, line 20, to leave out from "land," to the end of line 10, on page 29, and to insert:

    "if, notwithstanding that refusal, there is available with respect to that land planning permission for development to which this section applies:
    Provided that where such permission is available with respect to part only of the land, this section shall have effect only in so far as the interest subsists in that part.
    (2) Where a claim for compensation under this Part of this Act is made in respect of an interest in any land, planning permission for development to which this section applies, shall be taken for the purposes of this section to be available with respect to that land or a part thereof if, immediately before the Minister gives notice of his findings in respect of that claim, there is in force with respect to that land or part a grant of, or an undertaking by the Minister to grant, planning permission for some such development, subject to no conditions other than such as are mentioned in subsection (2) of the last preceding section.
    (3) This section applies to any development of a residential, commercial or industrial character, being development which consists wholly or mainly of the construction of houses, flats, shop or office premises, or industrial buildings (including warehouses), or any combination thereof."
    This Amendment is a redraft of Clause 24 in simpler form to meet the criticism which was originally made on both sides of the Standing Committee. In the first place it gets rid of the Sixth Schedule. [HON. MEMBERS: "Hear, hear."] I thought everybody would be in favour of that.

    We have cut it down. We have got rid of what was confusing and dangerous because it was liable to lead to an absurdity in other directions. The absurdity arose from the fact that a man could go through the Sixth Schedule, find something which was not in it, apply for permission to do it, and then ask for compensation. That has been got rid of, and it will help the position in some later Amendments, because of the absurdity which could arise of a vexatious local authority and a vicious, wicked Minister combining to make the ridiculous position exemplified by granting permission to build a bungalow in one of the finest and most expensive housing sites in London.

    This gives a much simpler conception and is a better form. The principle remains, and that is what we are agreed about. I think the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) and I were agreed on the principle, what we sought to discover were words which would meet the situation. He suggested some words which we have accepted.

    7.30 p.m.

    The principle remains that the system of exclusions is founded upon this basis. Compensation is not to be paid for preventing maximum exploitation, so long as development of a reasonably remunerative character is allowed. From this point of view the nature of the development for which permission was sought is not of prime importance. It is much more important to deal with the permission which is granted. Therefore we have turned it round and the proposal now is that, no matter what may have been refused, compensation is to be excluded if permission is given for development of certain specified kinds. We think that is the broad definition which the hon. and learned Gentleman gave me at the end of the Committee stage, and we have made only a slight modification of it.

    I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman intends to move his Amendment to line 15, to leave out from "construction" to "buildings," in line 16.

    Perhaps it would be courteous of me to say that if we accepted that Amendment the meaning of this Clause, as well as of Clause 33 which depends on it, would become almost a matter of conjecture. And it would leave Clause 24 applying to any development of a residential, commercial, or industrial character which consisted wholly or mainly of the construction of buildings.

    We accept the suggested Amendment and are grateful for it, because it is a genuine attempt to meet the points put by my hon. and learned Friend during the Committee stage. Indeed, it is a compliment to him that some of his suggestions have been incorporated in this Amendment. We felt, however, that even under Clause 33 it would he better to make this apply to buildings, and if the Minister will look at it again, we will accept the Amendment.

    In this part of the House, too, we feel that on the whole this Amendment is an improvement, especially getting rid of the Sixth Schedule. There are certain observations on the result which will be better made on the Third Reading but, as a pure matter of machinery, this is a great improvement and I am glad that my right hon. Friend has been able to meet us in this regard.

    The right hon. Gentleman has endeavoured to meet some of the criticisms levelled against this Clause and the Sixth Schedule, but he has not caused the Sixth Schedule to disappear entirely. He has incorporated it in paragraph (3), leaving out certain designations which appeared previously, for reasons which have not been explained.

    The Minister includes houses, flats, shop or office premises but leaves out garages and petrol filling stations. He includes industrial buildings but leaves out cinemas, including television cinemas, and buildings designed for use wholly or mainly for the sale of intoxicating liquor, a description with which we are all familiar, especially my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing, North (Mr. J. Hudson). The Minister did not give any explanation of why he left those out although, if they were included, confusion would be worse confounded than it is already. The main objection to the categories in the Sixth Schedule remain to some extent in the amended version. It will still be difficult to decide strictly what are houses, what are flats, what are shops and what are industrial buildings.

    Then again the Minister said he accepted the definitions moved from this side when in Committee, namely, "residential, commercial, or industrial" but immediately proceeded to circum scribe them by tacking on a certain number of the uses which appeared originally in the Sixth Schedule. It would have been better if he had left the definition "residential, commercial and industrial character," without seeking to qualify it, because now it will be confusing to have to consider "residential, commercial or industrial" in relation to houses, shops, flats, office premises, industrial buildings and no others. So that although the Minister has moved somewhat in the right direction, and has endeavoured to simplify the problem of comparable development, I still think there is a substantial element of confusion in the wording which will lead to many of the difficulties we complained of in Committee.

    We are not moving our Amendment, but I presume that on the next stage of the Bill elsewhere the Minister could, if he thought fit, have that done on our behalf?

    And as at the Box the right hon. Gentleman made a speech copied largely from our criticism of the Bill in Standing Committee, it gives us some assurance that in another place the same thing will be done. There is some merit in deleting all these designations such as houses, flats, shops or office premises or industrial buildings, leaving the words:

    "residential, commercial or industrial character, being development which consists wholly or mainly of…buildings."
    That is much more easily dealt with by local authorities, planning authorities and others concerned with carrying out the administrative provisions of this part of the Bill. Therefore, in the hope that the right hon. Gentleman will see if he can further improve this Clause in another place, I and my hon. Friends welcome the step he has taken as far as it goes.

    I find myself with my hon. Friend the Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) in a little band of die-hards who are not enthusiastic about this proposal. Any feeling I have about forcing my lukewarmness to the stage of active opposition has been destroyed by the benign and pacific ending of the speech of my hon. Friend, because he indicated that he would not follow me into the Division Lobby against this Amendment, and I could not possibly go into such a place alone.

    The Minister has gone some distance to meet us, but my worry about this Amendment is that it is tautological, and that seems dangerous. When we put words into a Bill which have very little meaning, they usually cause a lot of trouble when the Bill comes up for judicial interpretation. Those who interpret the law of this country always assume—and it is an extraordinary assumption—that Parliament has some intention when it puts words in a Bill. Anyone who has taken part in the process of law-making knows that that is not always the case.

    These words add nothing at all to the meaning or, if they do, they will be open to an interpretation which will defeat the Minister's intention. If the words "commercial or industrial" are not narrow enough to get rid of buildings like churches, why not use the blessed word "remunerative"? That would limit the development to that which would bring something back to the developer. The Amendment speaks of
    "…any development of a residential, commercial or industrial character, being development which consists wholly or mainly of the construction of houses, flats, shop or office premises,…"
    and so on. What a residential development which did not consist mainly or wholly of houses would be, I do not know. If application was made for development based on igloos, I suppose that that would rank for compensation, because that would not be a development consisting mainly of houses. If not, why has the Minister not taken the courage of his conviction and accepted very simple, easily understood words?

    Why has it been necessary to tag on these half-hearted thoughts at the end of the subsection? They seem to me dangerous and therefore, like my hon. Friend the Member for Acton, I am reluctant and doubtful about the Amendment, but it is better than what we had previously. Perhaps one should be content with small mercies and expect, though perhaps not with much hope, that there will be some improvement in another place.

    I should like to have one difficulty cleared up in connection with the proposed new subsection (2), which states:

    "Provided that where such permission is available with respect to part only of the land, this section shall have effect only in so far as the interest subsists in that part."
    How far does this fit in with Clause 23 (2), which says:
    "Compensation under this Part of this Act shall not be payable in respect of the imposition, on the granting of permission to develop land, of any condition relating to—
    (a) the number or disposition of buildings on any land;"
    I fail to see how these two provisions fit, and I should be grateful if the difficulty were cleared up.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 26—(Supplementary Provisions As To Calculation Of Depreciation)

    Amendment made: In page 30, line 28, leave out from beginning, to end of line 36, on page 31.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 29—(Review Of Planning Decisions Where Compensation Claimed)

    I beg to move, in page 34, line 4, after "to," to insert:

    "the local circumstances affecting the proposed development, including the use which prevails generally in the case of contiguous or adjacent land, and to."
    The Amendment is part of the general review of these Clauses and is intended to make it clear beyond doubt that local circumstances are a material consideration in deciding whether or not a direction should be given under Clause 29.

    It is always a problem, in framing a Bill of this kind, whether to leave the wording strictly at what one is advised it is necessary to say or whether, to make it clear beyond doubt, it is valuable to insert sign-posts for those concerned with the operation of the statute, particularly in a context such as this. The plan and local circumstances are considerations which plainly must enter into the issue in all cases and it is just as well to make it clear to those who have to operate a Bill of this kind that it should be operated in the way that the Amendment lays down.

    7.45 p.m.

    I am most grateful to my right hon. Friend. The Amendment deals with two points which I raised in Committee and which I think a great improvement in redressing the ill-balance, arising partly out of an Amendment which was accepted without a Division from the other side of the Committee, dealing with the development plan as one of the things to be taken into consideration. Here we have the things which are essentially to be taken into account and the proper weight is given to them as protection to the owner and to ensure that the circumstances of the time are borne in mind and not merely those which arise later.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 30—(Supplementary Provi Sions As To Review Of Planning Decisions)

    I beg to move, in page 34, line 7, to leave out from "shall," to the end of line 14, and to insert:

    "if so required by the local planning authority to whose decision the direction relates or by any person who made, and has not since withdrawn, a claim in respect of that decision, afford an opportunity for that authority or person to appear before, and be heard by, a person appointed by the Minister for the purpose."
    The object of this Amendment is to provide that in all cases claimants for compensation shall receive notice of a proposed direction under Clause 29 and shall have the opportunity of requesting to be heard by a person appointed by the Minister before the direction is given. This is not a full inquiry but a hearing which should be valuable for the claimants and, in the long run, should help to avoid disputes.

    The Minister has done something which will give great satisfaction not only to owners but to all right-minded authorities. It is clearly right that both sides should be heard before the Minister gives a direction. The Amendment makes good what some of us conceived to be a difficulty in the Bill, and I am grateful for it.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 34, line 17, to leave out "to the applicant."

    This is a small point, but a logical change. On reflection, it is thought to be a mistake to give the applicant for planning permission a standing under this Clause as such. If he owns an interest on the land affected by the planning decision, then he is almost certainly a claimant for compensation and entitled to be heard in that capacity. If he owns no interest, there seems no reason why he should play any part in the proceedings on a claim for compensation.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 31—(Determination Of Claims For Compensation)

    Amendments made: In page 34, line 45, leave out from "and," to end of line 4, on page 35, and insert:

    "if his findings include an apportionment, to give particulars of the apportionment to any other person entitled to an interest in land which it appears to the Minister is."

    In page 35, line 11, leave out "the claimant or."

    In line 14, leave out "his interests are," and insert:

    "he is entitled to an interest in land which is."

    In line 32, to leave out, "to which this subsection applies."

    In line 37, leave out subsection (4).—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 33—(Recovery Of Compensa Tion On Subsequent Development)

    I beg to move, in page 37, line 26, to leave out from "development," to the first "in," in line 30, and to insert:

  • (a) to which section twenty-four of this Act applies; or
  • (b) which consists in the winning and working of minerals; or
  • (c) to which, having regard to the probable value of the development, it is in the opinion of the Minister reasonable that this section should apply:
  • Provided that—

  • (i) this section shall not apply to any development by virtue of paragraph (c) of this subsection if, on an application made to him for the purpose, the Minister has certified that, having regard to the probable value of the development, it is not in his opinion reasonable that this section should apply thereto; and
  • (ii).
  • This Amendment is directed to three points. The first is that it is to substitute reference to development to which Clause 24 applies for reference to development falling within the Sixth Schedule. This is a drafting change and is consequential on the Amendment made to Clause 24 and the disappearance of the Schedule. The second point is more substantial. It is to extend the range of cases in which the recovery of compensation is to take place by giving the Minister discretion to recover where the development to be carried out is valuable but is not, "residential, commercial or industrial" and is not mineral working. This meets a criticism made with some force in the Committee proceedings against the selective character of the items listed in the Schedule. We have now widened the range.

    The third point is to provide machinery in paragraph (i) of the proviso for enabling a prospective developer to find out in advance whether or not the Minister intends to exercise this discretion to recover.

    The right hon. Gentleman has gone a stage further towards meeting the point we discussed in Standing Committee. I am sure it will be acceptable to both sides of the House if in fact the intention of the proposal now before us is to reduce the amount of compensation paid, or likely to be paid, for alternative development. What the right hon. Gentleman said is quite true. Under the previous working there was a wide range of uses for which a person could develop a piece of land and at the same time receive compensation for refusal of the original proposal.

    Now, as the right hon. Gentleman has to some extent increased the range of comparable uses, obviously it must follow that there must be a restriction in the cases where compensation is paid for refusal of permission but carrying with it an alternative form of development of a different nature in the way of development value. To that extent the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman goes a long way, but I still think that there will be some other forms of development which will be outside the general range, for the reason I stated on Clause 24. The categories of use there embodied will to some extent restrict the uses which may be regarded as comparable. Uses otherwise not defined in Clause 24 and therefore not regarded as comparable may still rank for compensation.

    This is one more example of the extraordinary complexity of this Bill and the almost impossibility of dealing with all the anomalies likely to arise. Nevertheless, the right hon. Gentleman has made an effort to narrow the gap and I think we ought to accept the proposition.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 38, line 4, at the end, to insert:

    (4) Where, in the case of any land in respect of which a compensation notice has been registered, the Minister is satisfied that, having regard to the probable value of any proper development of that land, no such development is likely to be carried out unless he exercises his powers under this subsection, he may, in the case of any particular development, remit the whole or part of any amount otherwise recoverable under this section; and where part only of any such amount has been remitted, he shall cause the compensation notice to be amended by substituting therein for the statement of the amount of the compensation a statement of the amount which has been remitted under this subsection.
    The purpose of this Amendment is to carry further the process of making the recovery provisions of the Bill more flexible. The proposed new subsection will enable the Minister to guard against the risk that desirable development may be frustrated and land sterilised owing to the burden of recovery. The absence of any such provision was criticised in the Committee and it seems desirable that the criticisms should be met.

    It will only operate, it will be the duty of each succeeding Minister to operate it, and it ought only to be operated if the Minister is satisfied that no proper development—that is to say, no development for which permission would be granted—is likely to be carried out because it would not be sufficiently remunerative to carry the burden of repaying the compensation in full. There may not be many such cases, but it would be very desirable to deal with them if they occur.

    The kind of case we had in mind is where substantial compensation may be paid because of a refusal to allow some large and profitable development, say a factory, but owing to a change in plan or in circumstances over a period of years it becomes proper to allow, not the development originally proposed, but something much less valuable, say a number of houses to be built on the site. If nothing was done to give the Minister power to waive recovery, either in whole or in part, the land on which houses might very properly be built would be left idle because no one would face the recovery charge. That would be bad planning because the houses, instead of being built on the land which everyone thought was the best, when pressure was very great, might be built on a site where from a planning point of view that was not so satisfactory. I hope that this provision will be valuable to succeeding Ministers as years go by.

    Once again the Minister has shown his thoughtfulness and skill in dealing with points which have been raised. This matter was one which seemed to me to have grave possibilities of sterilising land. I am very grateful to the Minister for finding a way out of the difficulty which was inherent in the Bill as drafted.

    The only criticism I can offer is that the right hon. Gentleman proposes to pay out compensation for refusal of planning permission, but if at some subsequent period permission is given—probably for the same development as was originally refused, or for some other form of development equally comparable—the individual will not have to repay compensation—

    That is better if it is not for the same development, but one might put it this way. The individual may have a piece of land and apply for permission to put up a factory. The right hon. Gentleman refuses permission and the individual gets compensation. In five years' time there is a change in the development plan and that land may be designated for another purpose, or for some other reason the owner may make application for building houses, a cinema, offices, shops, or any other purpose. As far as I understand, the right hon. Gentleman says that there will he no need for the individual to repay the compensation which was previously given him.

    The hon. Member is inaccurate, and I am sure he does not mean to be inaccurate. I did not say that the owner is not to repay, but that the Minister would have discretion. The result would be that if the repayment were made, either in part or in whole, that land would remain perfectly sterile. It is for the Minister, not the owner, to decide.

    8.0 p.m.

    The Minister quite fairly puts that point of view. I understand now that it is a matter for his discretion; but the discretion may be either in favour of repayment of compensation, or not. I concede that there are cases of the kind put by the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) in which there would be no development whatever if the whole or even part of the compensation had to be repaid. If the right hon. Gentleman exercises discretion it means that in some cases he will relieve people from repaying compensation and in other cases will insist on repayment in full or in part. All I hope is that the right hon. Gentleman and his successors will exercise the discretion wisely in the interests of the community.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 38, line 7, after "notice," insert:
    "then, except where, and to the extent that, payment of that amount has 0been remitted under the last preceding subsection."
    In line 41, after "time," insert:
    "except where, and to the extent that, payment of that amount has been remitted under subsection (4) of this section."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 35—(Compensation To Include Unexpended Balance Of Estab Lished Development Value)

    Amendment made: In page 40, line 17, leave out from "interest," to end of line 20.—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 37—(Protection For Prospective Purchasers)

    I beg to move, in page 42, line 21, to leave out from "applicant," to the second "whether," in line 22, and to insert:

    "within twenty-eight days of the receipt of the application, stating whether or not the Council propose to acquire within the next five years."
    This is the Clause which tries to get the scheme to work effectively by devising a procedure to find out whether a local authority is likely to serve a compulsory notice before a developer decides to purchase a piece of land. It was rather a weakness—I am sure it would not happen, but still there was the danger—that a local authority would simply not answer the letter. Consequently, it was necessary to insert a time within which the reply must be made. The first thing, therefore, that the Amendment does is to impose upon local authorities the duty to answer applications within 28 days.

    The insertion of the words "within the next five years" deals with another point which we discussed in Committee. I was frank in saying that I thought there were arguments in favour both of five years and of three years. Obviously, if the period was made too long, the temptation on the local authority would be to say, "We are bound to want a compulsory purchase order on that bit of land some day," so the authority would tend to claw in more than was either in its interest or in the interest of the community generally.

    On the other hand, if the period was made too short, it was not of much value to the prospective purchaser and developer. What weighed with us finally in deciding on five years—although it is almost a matter of tossing a coin which period we choose—was that five years is the period we have taken in the plan system, and, therefore, it seemed reasonable that the same system should operate in Clause 37.

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

    Motion made, and Question proposed, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

    The two Amendments to the Minister's Amendment, in the name of the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington), are not being called, but can be discussed with this Amendment. If a Division is required, it can be taken on the second of the two Amendments.

    I should like to say a few words about the period that the Minister is now writing into the Bill as the time within which a local authority must notify whether it proposes to acquire land. I gather that my Amendment, which was designed to increase the period from 28 to 56 days, is not to be called.

    Twenty-eight days is rather a short time. It might not be an inconvenient period for a large authority, with staff continuously on duty and frequent—say fortnightly—council and committee meetings; but some of the smaller planning authorities might have only one meeting of the appropriate committee each month, and if an important application is received the authority may be put to considerable difficulty in having to give a decision within 28 days. I hope that in another place it may still be possible, if 56 days is regarded as too long, to insert a period of, say, six weeks. This would help authorities to have applications dealt with by their planning committees normally without the necessity and expense of special meetings.

    The period of five years specified at the end of the Minister's Amendment is a more significant matter. The Clause protects a prospective purchaser of land by assuring that if the land is to be compulsorily acquired from him by a local authority within a certain period, the compensation that is payable will include the value of any planning permission which attaches to the land when the purchaser buys it. When the Bill was introduced the period specified was three years. It was only after an Amendment had been moved by the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin)—who has been, quite properly, in my view, referred to as the Minister's conscience in many of these matters—that the Minister said that he could not be certain where the balance of justice lay. I notice, however, that he has now come down, as usual, in favour of his hon. Friend and for five years.

    I understand that in the memorandum from the Ministry to local authorities, dated 15th August, a period of five years was suggested. Subsequently, at a meeting last October with the Minister, local authorities urged upon him that three years would be a suitable period. The local authorities understood that that suggestion would be favourably considered by the Minister. Certainly, when the Bill was introduced the period was fixed at three years. Now, as a result of the comments by his hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East, the Minister has, if not exactly gone back upon his words, at any rate disregarded the representations made to him by the representative body of local authorities all over the country.

    There are, perhaps, two reasons why five years is considered too long a period. Although many local authorities will consider periods of five years, it is, nevertheless, impossible to foresee all the developments that will take place during that time. There will be educational developments, provision for open spaces, and a hundred and one other things which come properly within the province of a local authority, but cannot be fully planned in all details—for so long a period as five years.

    What may be the result if the Clause remains as it is is that authorities will be so cautious that they will acquire more land than they need or they will give undertakings about a greater amount of land than they require. They will not want to be caught on the wrong foot if the longer period is put in. This is an age of rapid developments. I should have thought that three years was adequate, especially in connection with my second point. It is that in most cases a private developer will have time within three years to have carried out full development so that he can claim full compensation should the land be compulsorily acquired. There are not many schemes in which the period of three years is likely to impose special hardship on the private developer.

    I understand that there was a further meeting between representatives of the Ministry and the local authorities on 21st October. It was emphasised by the Ministry officers that the onus would be on all public authorities to notify their future plans to the appropriate authority and if they failed to do this they would suffer by having to pay a price based on the market value of the land if they wanted to acquire it for a limited period. It was eventually agreed by both sides that this scheme might work adequately if the period during which the higher price was to be payable was to be reduced to three years. That, of course, was the period which originally appeared in Clause 37.

    It is most unfortunate, having had these two discussions with the local authorities, first, when the period of three years was seriously considered and, second, when in the consideration of the detailed working out of the scheme it was agreed by both sides that three years would be a reasonable period, that the Minister should come down against what I think is the public interest in this matter by inserting the longer period. I hope that the Minister will assure us that the matter will be reconsidered in another place. If not, I hope that we show our disagreement with the course he has taken.

    I did not intend to intervene, but I have been referred to and it is important that this matter should be worked fairly between both sides. I assure the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) that there is nothing sinister in the use of the five-year period. The point is simply that we want to get development done. With a big development where the work would take more than three years the effect of a C.P.O. would be disastrous. It is most necessary to protect the intending purchaser who proposes to undertake big industrial development for the benefit of the workers of the country, and the Bill gives the protection of a longer period. We think that three years would not give sufficient protection.

    There is nothing sinister about this provision. People just will not undertake enormously expensive developments if there is a danger that before they get the benefit of the established new existing use there might be interference. There is nothing sinister about this. If the provision is acted upon fairly from both sides—if the local authorities do not pretend that they want a lot of land which they do not really want, and intending developers do not abuse the provision—it will work; but if the period is too short it will not work.

    8.15 p.m.

    I hope that the hon. Member for Hayes and Harlington (Mr. Skeffington) did not think me discourteous when, on the last occasion that he spoke, I did not ask the leave of the House to reply. I think that asking leave of the House can be overdone. I took note of the point he made, so I will note what he said in his last speech. I have already spoken on the Amendment, but I should like to answer him briefly. He probably does not feel very strongly on the matter of the 28 days or six weeks. It is just a matter of what seems reasonable.

    I should like to remind the House of what the authority has to do. It has not to hawk the inquiry around all sorts of likely purchasers, but it has to examine the records to see whether it has received the requirements of some other body—a Service Department or something of that kind—which has notified it. That either has or has not been done. One can tell in five minutes. Then it has to have regard to its own requirements. We think that, if it can answer at all, it can answer as well in 28 days as it can in 56. I do not think that that is a great issue.

    On the other question, I can only repeat that I do not feel that I have been guilty of any sinister design or plot. During the debate I have made a number of concessions to the Opposition. Sometimes I have even been able to wring from the hon. Member for Acton (Mr. Sparks) not a smile but friendly wink. Sometimes I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the views of my hon. Friends on this side of the House, if they struck me as right.

    As my hon. Friend the Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin) said, what

    Division No. 200.]

    AYES

    [8.18 p.m.

    Aitken, W. T.Clarke, Col. Ralph (East Grinstead)Glover, D.
    Allen, R. A. (Paddington, S.)Clarke, Brig. Terence (Portsmouth, W.)Godber, J. B.
    Alport, C. J. MClyde, Rt. Hon. J. L.Gomme-Duncan, Col. A
    Amery, Julian (Preston, N.)Cole, NormanGough, C. F. H.
    Amory, Rt. Hon Heathcoat (Tiverton)Colegate, W. A.Gower, H. R.
    Anstruther-Gray, Major W. J.Conant, Maj. Sir RogerGraham, Sir Fergus
    Arbuthnot. JohnCooper-Key, E. M.Grimond, J.
    Assheton, Rt. Hon. R. (Blackburn, W.)Craddock, Beresford (Spelthorne)Grimston, Hon. John (St. Albans)
    Astor, Hon. J. J.Crookshank, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. F. C.Grimston, Sir Robert (Westbury)
    Baldock, Lt.-Cmdr. J. M.Crosthwaite-Eyre, Col. O. E.Hare, Hon. J. H.
    Baldwin, A. E.Crouch, R. F.Harris, Frederic (Croydon, N.)
    Barlow, Sir JohnCrowder, Sir John (Finchley)Harris, Reader (Heston)
    Baxter, Sir BeverleyCrowder, Petre (Ruislip—Northwood)Harrison, Col. J. H. (Eye)
    Beach, Maj. HicksDarling, Sir William (Edinburgh, S.)Harvey, Ian (Harrow, E.)
    Bell, Philip (Bolton, E.)Davidson, ViscountessHarvie-Watt, Sir George
    Bell, Ronald (Bucks, S.)Deedes, W. F.Head, Rt. Hon. A. H.
    Bennett, F. M. (Reading, N.)Digby, S. WingfieldHeald, Rt. Hon. Sir Lionel
    Bennett, Dr. Reginald (Gosport)Dodds-Parker, A. D.Heath, Edward
    Bevins, J. R. (Toxteth)Donaldson, Cmdr. C. E. McA.Henderson, John (Cathcart)
    Birch, NigelDonner, Sir P. W.Higgs, J. M. C
    Bishop, F. P.Doughty, C. J. A.Hinchingbrooks, Viscount
    Black, C. W.Drewe, Sir C.Hirst, Geoffrey
    Boothby, Sir R. J. G.Dugdale, Rt. Hon. Sir T. (Richmond)Holland-Martin, C. J.
    Bowen, E. R.Duncan, Capt. J. A. L.Hollis, M. C.
    Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hon. J. A.Duthie, W. S.Holt, A. F.
    Boyle, Sir EdwardEccles, Rt. Hon. Sir D. M.Hope, Lord John
    Brains, B. R.Eden, J. B. (Bournemouth, West)Hopkinson, Rt. Hon Henry
    Braithwaite, Sir Albert (Harrow, W.)Erroll, F. J.Horobin, I. M.
    Braithwaite, Sir GurneyFell, A.Howard, Hon. Greville (St. Ives)
    Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col. W. H.Finlay, GraemeHudson, Sir Austin (Lewisham, N.)
    Brooke, Henry (Hampstead)Fisher, NigelHulbert, Wing Cdr. N. J
    Brooman-White, R. C.Fleetwood-Hesketh, R. FHurd, A. R.
    Browne, Jack (Govan)Fletcher-Cooke, C.Hutchison, Sir Ian Clark (E'b'rgh, W.)
    Buchan Hepburn, Rt. Hon. P. G. T.Ford, Mrs. PatriciaHyde, Lt.-Col. H. M.
    Bullard, D. G.Fort, R.Hylton-Foster, H. B. H.
    Bullus, Wing Commander E. E.Foster, JohnIremonger, T. L.
    Burden, F. F. A.Fraser, Hon. Hugh (Stone)Jenkins, Robert (Dulwich)
    Butcher, Sir HerbertFyfe, Rt. Hon. Sir David MaxwellJennings, Sir Roland
    Campbell, Sir DavidGalbraith, Rt. Hon. T. D. (Pollok)Johnson, Eric (Blackley)
    Carr, RobertGammans, L. D.Johnson, Howard (Kemptown)
    Cary, Sir RobertGarner-Evans, E. H.Kaberry, D.
    Channon, H.George, Rt. Hon. Maj. G. LloydKerby, Capt. H. B.

    we want is that development should be done. The last people who want to prevent private development are the local authorities, for they depend greatly for their wealth and prosperity upon the work of private developers. We are not thinking now of houses; these are industrial and commercial developments, and sometimes a long period of preparation is necessary. Though I think it is a matter of opinion, I do not think that it is a matter of principle. Frankly, I would not go to the stake either for three or five years, but I hope that the House will agree with my proposal.

    I beg to move, as an Amendment to the proposed Amendment, to leave out "five," and to insert "three."

    Question put, "That 'five' stand part of the proposed Amendment."

    The House divided: Ayes, 261; Noes, 220.

    Kerr, H. W.Nutting, AnthonySpearman, A. C. M
    Lambert, Hon. G.Oakshott, H. D.Spens, Rt. Hon. Sir P. (Kensington, S.)
    Lambton, ViscountOdey, G. W. Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Lancaster, Col. C. GO'Neill, Hon. Phelim (Co. Antrim, N.)Stanley, Capt. Hon. Richard
    Leather, E. H. C.Ormsby-Gore, Hon. W. D.Stevens, Geoffrey
    Legge-Bourke, Maj E. A. HOrr, Capt. L. P. S.Steward, W. A. (Woolwich, W.)
    Legh, Hon. Peter (Petersfield)Orr-Ewing, Charles Ian (Hendon, N.)Stewart, Henderson (Fife, E.)
    Lennox-Boyd, Rt. Hon. A. TOsborne, C.Storey, S.
    Linstead, Sir H. N.Page, R. G.Strauss, Henry (Norwich, S.)
    Llewellyn, D. T.Peake, Rt. Hon. O.Stuart, Rt. Hon. James (Moray)
    Lloyd, Maj. Sir Guy (Renfrew, E.)Perkins, Sir RobertStudholme, H. G
    Lloyd, Rt. Hon. Selwyn (Wirral)Peto, Brig. C. H. M.Summers, G. S.
    Longden, GilbertPeyton, J. W. W.Sutcliffe, Sir Harold
    Low, A. R. W.Pickthorn, K. W. M.Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)
    Lucas, Sir Jocelyn (Portsmouth, S.)Pilkington, Capt. R. ATaylor, William (Bradford, N.)
    Lucas, P. B. (Brentford)Pitman, I. J.Thomas, Rt. Hon. J. P. L. (Hereford)
    Lucas-Tooth, Sir HughPitt, Miss E. M.Thomas, Leslie (Canterbury)
    Macdonald, Sir PeterPowell, J. EnochThompson, Lt.-Cdr. R. (Croydon, W.)
    Mackeson, Brig. Sir HarryPrice, Henry (Lewisham, W.)Thorneyoroft, Rt. Hn. Peter (Monmouth)
    Mackie, J. H. (Galloway)Prior-Palmer, Brig. O. L.Thornton-Kemsley, Col. C. N
    Maclay, Rt. Hon. JohnProfumo, J, D.Touche, Sir Gordon
    Maclean, FitzroyRaikes, Sir VictorTurner, H. F. L.
    Macleod, Rt. Hon. Iain (Enfield, W.)Ramsdon, J. E.Turton, R. H.
    MacLeod, John (Ross and Cromarty)Redmayne, M.Tweedsmuir, Lady
    Macmillan, Rt. Hon. Harold (Bromley)Rees-Davies, W. RVane, W. M. F.
    Macpherson, Naill (Dumfries)Remnant, Hon. P.Vaughan-Morgan, J. K.
    Maitland, Patrick (Lanark)Renton, O. L. M.Vosper, D. F.
    Manningham-Buller, Rt. Hn Sir ReginaldRidsdale, J. E.Wade, D. W.
    Marlowe, A. A. H.Roberts, Peter (Heeley)Wakefield, Edward (Derbyshire, W.)
    Marples, A. E.Robinson, Sir Roland (Blackpool, S.)Wakefield, Sir Wavell (St. Marylebone)
    Marshall, Douglas (Bodmin)Robson-Brown, W.Walker-Smith, D. C.
    Maude, AngusRodgers, John (Sevenoaks)Wall, Major Patrick
    Maudling, R.Roper, Sir HaroldWard, Hon. George (Worcester)
    Maydon, Lt.-Comdr. S. L. CRussell, R. S.Ward, Miss I. (Tynemouth)
    Medlicott, Brig. F.Ryder, Capt. R. E. D.Waterhouse, Capt. Rt. Hon. C.
    Mellor, Sir JohnSavory, Prof. Sir DouglasWatkinson, H. A.
    Molson, A. H. E.Schofield, Lt.-Col. W.Wellwood, W.
    Moore, Sir ThomasScott, R. DonaldWilliams, Rt. Hon. Charles (Torquay)
    Morrison, John (Salisbury)Scott-Miller, Cmdr.R.Williams, Gerald (Tonbridge)
    Mott-Radclyffe, C. E.Shepherd, WilliamWilliams, Paul (Sunderland, S.)
    Nabarro, G. D. N.Simon, J. E. S. (Middlesbrough, W.)Williams, R. Dudley (Exeter)
    Neave, AireySmithers, Peter (Winchester)Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)
    Wood, Hon. R.
    Nicholls, HarmarSmithers, Sir Waldron (Orpington)
    Nield, Basil (Chester)Smyth, Brig. J. G. (Norwood)TELLERS FOR THE AYES:
    Noble, Comdr. A. H. P.Snadden, W. McN.Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith and
    Nugent, G. R. H.Soames, Capt. C.Mr. Wills.

    NOES

    Acland, Sir RichardChapman, W. D.Griffiths, William (Exchange)
    Adams, RichardChetwynd, G. R.Hale, Leslie
    Albu, A. H.Clunie, J.Hall, Rt. Hon. Glenvil (Colne Valley)
    Allen, Arthur (Bosworth)Coldrick, W.Hall, John T. (Gateshead, W.)
    Anderson, Frank (Whitehaven)Collick, J. H.Hamilton, W. W.
    Attlee, Rt. Hon. C. R.Cove, W. G.Hannan, W.
    Awbery, S. S.Craddock, George (Bradford, S.)Hardy, E. A.
    Bacon, Miss AliceCrossman, R. H. S.Hargreaves, A.
    Baird, J.Daines, P.Harrison, J. (Nottingham, E.)
    Balfour, A.Dalton, Rt. Hon. H.Hastings, S.
    Barnes, Rt. Hon. A. J.Davies, Stephen (Merthyr)Hayman, F. H.
    Bartley, P.Deer, G.Herbison, Miss M.
    Bence, C. R.Delargy, H. J.Hewitson, Capt. M.
    Benn, Hon. WedgwoodDodds, N. N.Hobson, C. R.
    Bevan, Rt. Hon. A. (Ebbw Vale)Donnelly, D. L.Holman, P.
    Bing, G. H. C.Driberg, T. E. N.Hoy, J. H.
    Blackburn, F.Edwards, Rt. Hon. Ness (Caerphilly)Hubbard, T. F.
    Blenkinsop, A.Edwards, W. J. (Stepney)Hudson, James (Ealing, N.)
    Blyton, W. R.Evans, Albert (Islington, S.W.)Hughes, Cledwyn (Anglesey)
    Boardman, H.Evans, Edward (Lowestoft)Hughes, Emrys (S. Ayrshire)
    Bottomley, Rt. Hon. A. G.Evans, Stanley (Wednesbury)Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)
    Bowden, H. W.Fernyhough, E.Hynd, H. (Accrington)
    Bowles, F. G.Fienburgh, W.Irvine, A. J. (Edge Hill)
    Braddock, Mrs. ElizabethFinch, H. J.Irving, W. J. (Wood Green)
    Brockway, A. F.Follick, M.Isaacs, Rt. Hon. G. A.
    Brook, Dryden (Halifax)Foot, M. M.Jeger, Mrs. Lena
    Brown, Rt. Hon. George (Belper)Forman, J. C.Johnson, James (Rugby)
    Brown, Thomas (Ince)Fraser, Thomas (Hamilton)Johnston, Douglas (Paisley)
    Burke, W. A.Gibson, C. W.Jones, David (Hartlepool)
    Burton, Miss F. E.Glanville, JamesJones, Jack (Rotherham)
    Gooch, E. G.Jones, T. W. (Merioneth)
    Butler, Herbert (Hackney, S.)Gordon Walker, Rt. Hon. P. C.Keenan, W.
    Callaghan, L. J.Grey, C. F.Kenyon, C.
    Castle, Mrs. B. A.Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)Key, Rt. Hon. C. W.
    Champion, A. J.Griffiths, Rt. Hon. James (Llanelly)King, Dr. H. M.

    Lawson, G. M.Palmer, A. M. F.Sparks, J. A.
    Lee, Frederick (Newton)Pannell, CharlesSteele, T.
    Lee, Miss Jennie (Cannock)Pargiter, G. A.Stokes, Rt. Hon. R. R
    Lever, Harold (Cheetham)Parker, J.Stross, Dr. Barnett
    Lever, Leslie (Ardwick)Paton, J.Summerskill, Rt. Hon. E.
    Lewis, ArthurPearson, A.Sylvester, G. O.
    Lindgren, G. S.Peart, T. F.Taylor, Bernard (Mansfield)
    Logan, D. G.Plummer, Sir LeslieTaylor, John (West Lothian)
    MacColl, J. E.Popplewell, E.Thomas, George (Cardiff)
    McInnes, J.Porter, G.Thomas, Iorwerth (Rhondda, W.)
    McKay, John (Wallsend)Price, J. T. (Westhoughton)Thomson, George (Dundee, E.)
    McLeavy, F.Price, Philips (Gloucestershire, W.)Thornton, E.
    MacPherson, Malcolm (Stirling)Proctor, W. T.Timmons, J.
    Mainwaring, W. H.Pryde, D. J.Tomney, F.
    Mallalieu, E. L. (Brigg)Pursey, Cmdr. HUsborne, H. C.
    Mallalieu, J. P. W. (Huddersfield, E.)Rankin, JohnWarbey, W. N.
    Mann, Mrs. JeanReeves, J.Watkins, T. E.
    Manuel, A. C.Reid, Thomas (Swindon)Weitzman, D.
    Mason, RoyReid, William (Camlachie) Wells, Percy (Faversham)
    Mayhew, C. P.Rhodes, H.West, O. G.
    Mellish, R. J.Richards, R.Wheeldon, W. E.
    Mikardo, IanRobens, Rt. Hon. A.White, Henry (Derbyshire, N.E.)
    Mitchiton, G. R.Roberts, Albert (Normanton)Whiteley, Rt. Hon. W.
    Moody, A. S.Roberts, Goronwy (Caernarvon)Wilcock, Group Capt. C. A. B
    Morgan, Dr. H. B. W.Ross, WilliamWilkins, W. A.
    Morley, R.Royle, C.Willey, F. T.
    Morris, Percy (Swansea, W.)Shackleton, E. A. A.Williams, David (Neath)
    Morrison, Rt. Hon. H. (Lewisham, S.)Shinwell, Rt. Hon. E.Williams, Rev. Llywelyn (Abertillery)
    Mort, D. L.Shurmer, P. L. E.Williams, Rt. Hon. Thomas (Don V'll'y)
    Moyle, A.Silverman, Julius (Erdington)Williams, W. R. (Droylsdon)
    Mulley, F. W.Simmons, C. J. (Brierley Hill)Willis, E. G.
    Noel-Baker, Rt. Hon. P. J.Skeffington, A. M.Wilson, Rt. Hon. Harold (Huyton)
    Oldfield, W. H.Slater, Mrs. H. (Stoke-on-Trent)Winterbottom, Ian (Nottingham, C.)
    Oliver, G. H.Slater, J. (Durham, Sedgefield)Winterbottom, Richard (Brightside)
    Oswald, T.Smith, Ellis (Stoke, S.)Woodburn, Rt. Hon. A.
    Padley, W. E.Smith, Norman (Nottingham, S.)Yates, V. F.
    Paget, R. T.Snow, J. WYounger, Rt. Hon. K.
    Paling, Rt. Hon. W. (Dearne Valley)Sorensen, R. W.TELLERS FOR THE NOES:
    Paling, Will T. (Dewsbury)Soskice, Rt. Hon. Sir FrankMr. Holmes and Mr. Wallace.

    Proposed words there inserted in the Bill.

    Further Amendment made: In page 42, line 31, after "acquire," insert:

    "within the next five years."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 39—(Compensation For Sever Ance, Injurious Affection And Disturbance)

    Amendment made: In page 43, line 43, after "assessed." insert:

    "in respect of an interest in land."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    I beg to move, in page 44, line 4, to leave out from "with," to the end of line 5, and to insert:

    "subsections (2) to (7) of this section."
    This is the first of another series of rather complicated Amendments carrying out further the process of what I might call the slaughter of the Schedules, so I hope it will be popular from that point of view, at any rate.

    The purpose of this Amendment and the one which follows it in line 11 is to dispense with the Eighth Schedule and to insert the substance of it in the present

    Clause in a somewhat simpler form. Certain of the provisions will be inserted in a subsequent Clause. The arrangements for the necessary adjustments in the unexpended balance, the machinery for which is contained at the moment in paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Schedule, will be found in Clause 40 in due course.

    It is, of course, essential to carry out the same type of calculation as was previously required, this Schedule being the one which deals with the machinery for compensation for severance or injurious act or event on compulsory acquisition of the land. The depreciation which is caused by the injurious act or event has to be dealt with in two branches—the damage to the prospects of development, which we call "loss of development value," and the damage to the existing use of the land, which is called for purposes of convenience the "loss of immediate value."

    8.30 p.m.

    The compensation, therefore, is to be the amount of the loss of immediate value plus the amount of the loss of development value—if the land affected has an unexpended balance—within the limits of the balance. That is provided by subsections (3) and (4) of the Amendment and that, with the definitions, replaces paragraphs 1 to 5 of the Schedule. The changes in Clause 19 make it unnecessary to provide anything to replace paragraph 6, which can now come out. The proviso to subsection (4) and subsection (5) of the Amendment deal with cases where two or more interests exist in the whole of the land or part of it. They are very similar to the provisions which we have already discussed in Clause 21.

    The proposed subsection (6) serves as a pointer to the forthcoming Amendment in Clause 40, which contains the substance of what is now paragraph 9 of the Schedule. If hon. Members will look at the Amendment they will see that it carries out one of the objects which were so much insisted upon by hon. Members during the Committee stage. They will see the way in which the definitions are set out, and the provisions which follow them can, I think, be read very simply and clearly. I hope that the House will agree that the Amendment makes a substantial improvement in that respect.

    As the Attorney-General has said, we now see the end of the Eighth Schedule, and we are very glad of it. I should like to say that my colleagues and I appreciate the drafting of the Amendment, and especially the wording of the subsections (6) and (7). From time to time Parliamentary draftsmen come in for a great deal of criticism, some of which is justified and some unjustified, but this, at least, is a piece of work of which they can well be proud.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: In page 44, line 11, at end, insert:

    (2) In the subsequent provisions of this section, the following expressions have the following meanings respectively—
    "the compensation" means compensation such as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of the preceding subsection;
    "the interest affected" means the interest in respect of which the compensation falls to be assessed, in so far as that interest subsists in land, other than the relevant land, which is affected by the injurious act or event;
    "the land affected" means the land in which the interest affected subsists;
    "the injurious act or event" means the act or event in consequence of which the compensation falls to be assessed;
    "other interest affected" means an interest other than the interest affected which subsists in the whole or part of the land affected and in respect of which compensation such as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of the preceding subsection is payable by virtue of the injurious act or event;
    "qualified land" means land which immediately before the injurious act or event has an unexpended balance of established development value;
    "the loss of development value" means the amount, if any, by which the value of the interest affected immediately before the injurious act or event, if calculated on the assumption that, until such time as the land affected might reasonably be expected to become ripe for new development, no use whatever could be made of that land, would exceed the value of that interest immediately after that act or event if calculated on the like assumption;
    "the loss of immediate value" means the amount, if any, by which the difference in the value of the interest affected immediately before and immediately after the injurious act or event exceeds the loss of development value.

    (3) If neither the land affected taken as a whole nor any part thereof is qualified land, the amount of the compensation shall be the loss of immediate value.

    (4) If the land affected taken as a whole satisfies the following conditions, that is to say—

  • (a) that it is qualified land; and
  • (b) that no other interest affected subsists in a part only thereof, the amount of the compensation shall be the aggregate of the loss of immediate value and whichever is the less of the following amounts, that is to say—
  • (i) the loss of development value; or
  • (ii) the amount of the unexpended balance of established development value of the land affected immediately before the injurious act or event: Provided that if one or more other interests affected subsist in the whole of the land affected, and the aggregate of the loss of development value of the interest affected and of any such other interest or interests exceeds the amount mentioned in paragraph (ii) of this subsection, that amount shall be allocated between the interest affected and any such other interest or interests in proportion to the loss of development value of each of them respectively, and the amount of compensation payable in respect of the interest affected in addition to the loss of immediate value shall be the sum so allocated to that interest.
  • (5) If the land affected, taken as a whole, does not satisfy the conditions mentioned in the last preceding subsection then, for the purpose of assessing the compensation in respect of the interest affected—

  • (a) the loss of development value of the interest affected and of any other interest affected shall first be ascertained with reference to the whole of the land affected;
  • (b) the land affected shall then be treated as divided into as many parts as may be requisite to ensure that each such part consists of land which either satisfies the conditions aforesaid or is not qualified land; and
  • (c) the loss of development value of each of the interests aforesaid, ascertained as aforesaid, shall then be apportioned between the said parts according to the nature of those parts and the effect of the injurious act or event in relation to each of them, and the compensation payable in respect of the interest affected in addition to the loss of immediate value shall be the aggregate of the amounts which would be so payable by virtue of the last preceding subsection if each such part had been the whole of the land affected.
  • (6) If in any case the amount of the compensation attributable to the loss of immediate value is less than the depreciation in restricted value of the interest affected, subsection (3) of the next following section shall have effect with respect to the amount of the difference.

    In this subsection the expression "the depreciation in restricted value" means the amount, if any, by which the value of the interest affected, immediately after the injurious act or event, would be less than the value of that interest immediately before that act or event, if both values were calculated on the assumption that planning permission would be granted for development of any class specified in the Third Schedule to the principal Act but would not be granted for any other development.

    (7) In calculating value for any of the purposes of this section in its application to compensation for damage to land not held with the relevant land, being damage sustained by reason of the construction or erection of works on the relevant land, no account shall be taken of the use, or the prospective use, of those works.—[ The Attorney-General.]

    Clause 40—(Effect Of Part Iii On Unexpended Balance Of Estab Lished Development Value)

    Amendments made: In page 44, line 21, at beginning, insert "any of."

    In line 21, leave out "or any part thereof."—[ The Attorney-General.]

    I beg to move, in page 44, line 23, to leave out from "date," to the end of line 47, and to insert:

    "(in this subsection referred to as ' the relevant balance ') then, in determining whether that land or any part thereof has an unexpended balance of established development value at any subsequent time—
    (i) for the purposes of section thirty-five of this Act and, if the relevant balance was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been, disregarded for the said purposes, or if immediately after the acquisition or sale no person other than the acquiring authority is entitled to any interest in the land other than an excepted interest, for all other purposes of this Act, the original unexpended balance of established development value of that land shall be treated as having been extinguished immediately before that subsequent time;
    (ii) subject to the preceding paragraph, it immediately after the acquisition or sale some other person is entitled as aforesaid, there shall be deducted from the said original balance the aggregate of any amount by which the relevant balance was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been treated as reduced for the purposes of the said section thirty-five, and any amount which was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been, included by virtue of that section in the compensation payable on compulsory acquisition, and the original balance of that land or that part thereof shall be treated as having been reduced or extinguished accordingly immediately before that subsequent time:
    Provided that in the event of a subsequent compulsory acquisition of that other person's interest, being a compulsory acquisition to which this Part of this Act applies, the said section thirty-five shall have effect for the purposes of assessing the compensation payable as if this subsection had not been enacted.
    (2) Where—
  • (a) in connection with a compulsory acquisition to which this Part of this Act applies an amount by way of compensation such as is mentioned in paragraph (a) of subsection (1) of the last preceding section was paid in respect of an interest in any land other than the land to which the acquisition related; or
  • (b) on such a sale as is mentioned in paragraph (b) of the preceding subsection, the price paid included an amount in respect of damage sustained by an interest in land other than, but held with, the land to which the sale related, being damage sustained by reason of the severance of the land or by reason that the interest in that other land was injuriously affected, and the said amount exceeds what was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been, the loss of immediate value of that interest as defined in the last preceding section, then, for the purpose of determining whether that other land or any part thereof has an unexpended balance of established development value at any subsequent time, there shall be deducted from the original unexpended balance of established development value of that other land an amount equal to the excess, or so much thereof as was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been, calculated by reference to that balance, and the original balance of that land or that part thereof shall be treated as having been reduced or extinguished accordingly immediately before that subsequent time.
  • (3) If in a case such as is mentioned in paragraph (a) or (b) of the last preceding subsection so much, if any, of the amount mentioned in that paragraph as was, or in the appropriate circumstances would have been, attributable to the loss of immediate value of the interest in question was or would have been less than the depreciation in restricted value of that interest within the meaning of subsection (6) of the last preceding section, then (whether or not the land in question or any part thereof would apart from the provisions of this subsection have had an original unexpended balance of established development value) for the purpose of determining whether at any time after the acquisition or sale the land in question or any part thereof has such a balance, but for no other purpose, it shall be deemed that immediately after the commencement of this Act a claim holding subsisted with an area consisting of the land in question and a value equal to seven-eighths of the amount of the difference."
    This Amendment carries further the process which I have just indicated. It has two purposes. The first is to correct certain errors in the present Clause 40, and the second, and more important, is to include in the Clause the substance of what I call the bookkeeping provisions at present included in paragraphs 8 and 9 of the Eighth Schedule. If necessary I can explain the nature of the improvements, but I do not otherwise wish to occupy the time of the House. The provisions are simply expressed more happily in the form adopted in the Amendment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 42—(Registration And Appor Tionment Of Compensation For Depreciation)

    Amendment made: In page 46, line 9, leave out "whose interests appear," and insert:

    "entitled to an interest in land which appears."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    I beg to move, in page 46, to leave out lines 23 to 27.

    The purpose of this Amendment is to correct what we believed earlier in our discussions to be a fault in the words we desire to omit. I think that the Minister will remember the point. They impose upon the Lands Tribunal in dealing with matters coming to it from a local planning authority a particular method of treatment of the case, which was not imposed on it when it was dealing with a reference to it of decisions by the Minister.

    The words appeared to us, on earlier consideration, to be capable of carrying the interpretation that, in dealing with a reference from a local planning authority, the Tribunal was limited in the method that it could apply and was obliged to place itself in the position of the local planning authority and treat the case as if it came to it de novo. It is with these matters in mind that we think that the deletion of this passage would be advantageous.

    The hon. Gentleman raised this point in Committee, as he reminded us, and it was, as I understood it, that there some difference in treatment between the case where the Lands Tribunal apportioned on a reference from a decision by a planning authority and the case where it was the Minister's apportionment that was in question. I then said that I would look carefully into what the hon. Gentleman had said, but that I was advised that the provision in the Clause was precisely parallel with that in Clause 32 (3). All I can say is that I have specially called the attention of my advisers to that question, and that they still adhere to the view that I then expressed. I am glad the hon. Gentleman has reminded me of the point, and if it should be raised in another place we shall certainly look again carefully at it, but I hope that we shall be able to say, with the bellman, that what we have said three times is true.

    I cannot complain that this matter has not been investigated, and I therefore beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

    Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

    Clause 45—(Scope Of Part V)

    Amendments made: In page 48, line 35, after "land," insert:

    "to which the planning decision or order related."

    In line 42, leave out from "paragraph," to end of line 44, and insert:

    "or, where by virtue of any provision of this Act two or more separate claim holdings have been constituted thereout, one or more of those separate holdings whose area consisted of or included that land was still subsisting at the commencement of this Act;
    and in this Part of this Act any such land is referred to as qualified land ' and any claim holding such as is referred to in paragraph (b) of this subsection is referred to as the relevant holding'."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 46—(Right To Compensation In Respect Of Past Planning Deci Sions)

    I beg to move, in page 49, to leave out lines 4 to 13, and to insert:

    "or order as is mentioned in the last preceding section if he is entitled to an interest in any qualified land and the value of that interest or, in the case of an interest extending to other land, the value of that interest in so far as it subsisted in that qualified land, was depreciated by the decision or order:
    Provided that compensation shall not be payable under this Part of this Act in respect of an order under section twenty-one of the principal Act so far as it relates to any particular land if—
  • (a) compensation in respect of that order is or was payable by the local planning authority under section twenty-two of that Act; and
  • (b) by virtue of paragraph (b) of the proviso to subsection (1) of the said section twenty-two (which relates to development exempt from development charge by virtue of Part VIII of that Act) the compensation includes or included compensation in respect of loss or damage consisting of the depreciation in value of an interest in that land."
  • This Amendment, and the other Amendments down to Clause 46, have this effect: they widen the Clause so as to deal with past revocation or modification orders at present dealt with separately in Clause 49. The proviso in this Amendment replaces subsection (2) of that Clause. The other changes are merely drafting, and I think that this is really just a better arrangement.

    I am quite prepared to agree with the general substance of what the Minister said, but it seems to me that he should give us an explanation of paragraph (b). It seems to me that the Clause would be better if the paragraph were omitted, for I cannot see its purpose or its meaning. If the Minister will explain this, we shall be prepared to accept this and the subsequent Amendments.

    The proviso in lines 6 to 15 contains the substance of subsection (2) of Clause 49 which we are amalgamating with this Clause. I do not think there is any other point of substance in the Amendment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In page 49, line 16, after "decision," insert "or order."

    In page 49, line 17, leave out "Part II," and insert:
    "sections twenty-five and twenty-six."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    I beg to move, in page 49, line 21, after second "Act," insert:

    (b) as if the reference in subsection (1) of the said section twenty-six to section twenty-nine of this Act were a reference to section fifty thereof.
    Under Clause 26 (1), the assessment of depreciation takes account of any permission or undertaking given by the Minister when reviewing the original decision under Clause 29. The Amendment substitutes a reference to Clause 50, which contains the review provisions applicable to Part V of the Bill.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendments made: In line 24, at beginning, insert:

    "For the purposes of the application of this Part of this Act with respect to such a planning decision as aforesaid."

    In line 26, leave out from "shall," to end of line 27, and insert:

    "have effect as they have effect for the purposes of Part II of this Act."—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    Clause 47—(General Provisions As To Amount Of Compensation For Past Planning Decisions)

    Amendment made: In page 49, line 28, leave out "section," and insert "sub-section."—[ Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    I beg to move, in page 49, line 30, to leave out from the first "of," to the end of line 13, on page 51, and to insert:

    "the depreciation of the value of an interest in qualified land by a planning decision or order, the principal amount of the compensation shall be whichever is the less of the following amounts, that is to say—
  • (a) the amount by which the value of the interest, or, in the case of an interest extending to other land, the amount by which the value of the interest in so far as it subsisted in the qualified land, was depreciated by the decision or order; or
  • (b) the value of the relevant holding at the commencement of this Act or, if at the time of the decision or order the qualified land in which the interest subsisted constituted part only of the area of the relevant holding, the fraction of the said value which attached to that qualified land.
  • (2) If at the time of the planning decision or order the whole of the land to which the planning decision or order related in which the interest subsisted was not qualified land, then, for the purposes of paragraph (a) of the preceding subsection, the depreciation of the value of the interest by reason of the decision or order shall first be ascertained with reference to the whole of the land aforesaid and shall then be apportioned between the parts of that land which respectively were and were not qualified land according to the nature of those parts and the effect of the planning decision or order in relation thereto."
    Clause 47, as proposed to be amended, will replace Clauses 47 and 48. Clause 49 has already been amalgamated with Clause 46. The words which it is proposed to insert are on similar lines to those already adopted in Part II of the Bill. Since payments under Part V are made only to a holder of a claim holding, no question of competing interests arises, and the present Clause is therefore considerably shorter than the amended Clause 21.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 52—(Cancellation Or Reduc Tion Of Liability For Development Charges)

    I beg to move, in page 54, line 22, to leave out from "workers," to "the," in line 23.

    8.45 p.m.

    The House will recall that under an arrangement for dealing with cottages for agricultural workers, development charges were held in suspense. It seems to us to be putting a quite unnecessary administrative burden on the Central Land Board to have to inquire into the circumstances of the last couple of years or so with regard to these cottages. This might be arguable if the charge were continuing, but as it has gone, to keep these inquiries going into past circumstances seems to be putting an unnecessary burden on the Board, and the object of the Amendment is to avert that.

    We discussed the substance of this matter in Committee, and no doubt the Opposition still hold the same view as they expressed then. I think that the Amendment makes clearer what the Government tried to make clear when the Bill was drafted. I am grateful to the hon. Member for Oldham, East (Mr. Horobin), because the words which he asks the House to accept do make clearer the Government's intentions.

    I do not want there to be any misunderstanding between the two sides of the House as to what is the Government's intention. The Government's intention is that the old procedure cannot be carried on merely for the purpose of trying to find out whether someone, who built an agricultural cottage without paying development charge, in five, 10, 15 or 30 years ahead turned that cottage into some other house. It may be that it would be right to do so, but I do not think that it is. When a tax is abolished it is abolished, and that is the end of it. Whatever may be the theoretical merits of doing so, the real trouble is that we cannot ask the Central Land Board to do this job. I think that on practical grounds we cannot do it, and since this Amendment makes more clear what we want to do, I ask the House to accept it.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 55—(Recovery Of Certain Sums From Acquiring Authorities)

    I beg to move, in page 58, line 23, at the end, to insert:

    (d) the interest was acquired pursuant to a purchase notice resulting from a planning decision made before the eighteenth day of November, nineteen hundred and fifty-two.
    We had some discussion on this matter in Committee, and I do not want to repeat the arguments at length. I think that there is an important point of substance here which might well be cleared up at this stage or in another place. Subsection (2) provides exception to the general rule laid down in subsection (1) as to the recovery by the Central Land Board of payments made by them in respect of the compulsory acquisition of land from the acquiring authority.

    Subsection (2, b and c) provides for cases where the local authorities may avoid these back payments where interest in the land was acquired either by reason of notice to treat or by contract made by 18th November, 1952. That, of course, as the House will remember, was the date of the White Paper abolishing the development charge. They may escape that payment for development or redevelopment of an area as a whole—the so-called blitzed and blight areas under the Town and Country Planning Act—or where land is to be used for open spaces or allotments.

    It will be noticed that the back payments can only be excused, and are only excused, in cases where the notice to treat was served, or the contract made, on this date, 18th November, 1952. As I pointed out in Committee, there are many cases where a local authority has gone through all the motions by that date, and may have been only awaiting the decision of the Minister. A local authority may be completely committed to acquiring the land but, because it had not technically completed the process by 18th November, it is not excused these back payments.

    It seems to us that this is a very arbitrary proceeding. I know that there has to be a date, but we consider that this arbitrary division is not a satisfactory or necessary one when it is quite easy to determine what steps have been taken by the local authority which may only be awaiting confirmation by the Minister. It seems to us unfair that, because the Minister has not given his decision, the local authority, or the acquiring authority, should have to pay the whole of the back compensation. It is the failure of the Minister, not of the acquiring authority.

    I am disappointed that, although he promised on Committee stage to consider the matter—and I am sure that he has—the right hon. Gentleman so far has not seen fit to make an exemption in this category of case where the local authority has virtually acquired the land. I hope that, even at this late stage, he may be prepared to reconsider this matter.

    I beg to second the Amendment.

    I do not suppose this will cover a large number of cases. In London there are about 20 cases to which this would apply. I wish to put it to the Minister that there is a precedent in Section 14 (3) of the War Damage Act, 1943, where a somewhat similar point was dealt with and similar arrangements made to avoid the payment of compensation in such cases by local authorities. I hope that the Minister will agree to examine this matter again, and that if he is not prepared to accept this Amendment, perhaps something might be done in another place.

    This Amendment is almost in the same terms as that moved during the Committee stage, which was opposed first on the ground of time. That is a familiar ground which we must consider in this and so many other cases. Where some change is made there is always a problem of the dividing line. I have carried out my undertaking. I said that I would examine the matter although I did not think there was a great deal in point, but that I could not promise to make a concession. These matters arise on the point of time, and sometimes cause hardship.

    The hon. Gentleman also developed the case about the character of the land and the matter was argued in terms of land which was acquired for open spaces or areas of comprehensive development. The argument was that the acquiring authority were virtually committed to these purchases at a certain date. But this Amendment goes far beyond that. It would apply to all purchase notices served before 18th November, 1952. Not only that, but it could apply to all notices served after that date in pursuance of a decision before that date, and there is no limitation to land acquired for open space or comprehensive development. Indeed, there could not be because land acquired under a purchase notice is not acquired for a particular purpose. The local authority can use it for any purposes for which it is empowered to use land. It has the land free of any liability to development charge or any payment in lieu, and it is not unfair that in the circumstances it should pay for any development value. I must ask the House to agree in resisting this Amendment. I have thought about the matter, but the character of this Amendment goes further than that which originally was moved.

    Amendment negatived.

    I think that with this Amendment we could take the next three Amendments to lines 41, 42 and 43.

    The owner of an interest in land whose interest is compulsorily acquired by a local authority after the commencement of the Bill may have received, or be entitled to receive, compensation in three categories of cases. In the first place, under Part II of the Bill he may receive it in respect of the refusal of permission to carry out development or the grant of permission subject to onerous conditions after the commencement of the Bill; or, secondly, under Part V of the Bill in respect of planning refusals or orders revoking or modifying planning permission before the commencement of the Bill; or, thirdly, the Minister may have made a contribution under Part IV—I think it is Clause 43—in respect of an order of a local planning authority under Section 21 of the principal Act revoking or modifying planning permission.

    In the case of a refusal of permission or its grant subject to conditions after the commencement of the Bill, compensation will only have been paid by the Minister after he has reviewed the planning decision under Clause 29. He will have satisfied himself that the proposals of the planning authority are reasonable proposals and he will, therefore, approve them and thereby make himself financially responsible to pay compensation. The fact that the Minister in these cases will have made payments is evidence, I think, that he is generally in support of the decision arrived at by the planning authority.

    Some of the land which has been the subject of the Ministry's decision and on which compensation has been paid may some time in the future—in some cases a great many years afterwards—be acquired by a local authority. As the Bill now stands, the local authority will be required to make good the compensation even though the decision was one which the Minister obviously upheld, for he approved it under the appropriate Clause and he agreed that compensation should be paid. It seems very unfair that if years afterwards in some cases the local authority acquires that land, even at that stage it will have to make good the compensation which the Minister himself has approved. It is asking the authority to pay for its own planning proposals.

    9.0 p.m.

    The Amendment to delete paragraph (a) of subsection (6) is designed to remove the obligation placed on the local authorities in this connection, and the remaining Amendments are consequential. These are matters which have seemed to local authorities to be unfair. Decisions have been made by the Minister approving on general grounds of public interest the decisions of the local planning authority, compensation has been paid and, perhaps years afterwards, because the public authority requires it, that land is acquired by the local authority which has then the additional burden thrust upon it of repaying to the Minister any payment made by him as compensation for restrictions placed upon its development. I hope the Minister will see his way to clear that up.

    These four Amendments raise a single point. If they were accepted their effect would be that the Minister, acting for the Treasury, would be unable to recover from an acquiring authority any sums previously paid out of the unexpended balance on account of planning restrictions.

    Why have we put in this provision? Because a large part of public acquisitions are preceded by safeguarding action under planning powers. It is almost the general course. For example, if a local authority proposes to buy land for open space or schools, and permission to develop that land is refused for that reason, under this Bill the Exchequer pays for the loss of development value caused by that decision, thus extinguishing or reducing—sometimes one, sometimes the other—the unexpended balance. Consequently, the payment which the acquiring authority makes to the owner by way of the unexpended balance is very much reduced, if not wiped out.

    Supposing nothing was done to deal with this position, the result would be that public authorities would be buying land more or less at existing use value, as they did under the 1947 Act, but relieved of any liability to pay development charge. Therefore, in order to restore a fair balance between them, it is necessary to see that the Exchequer is not left to pay the whole of the development value without, in this case, recovering the development charge. In other words, we should have a form of concealed subsidy and we think it better, when we want to give a grant to local authorities, to do so in the ordinary way. Hon. Members may dislike the method or, indeed, the whole Bill, but I think they will agree that it is logical within the structure of the Bill that we should require the acquiring authority to repay the payment to the Exchequer.

    It may be argued that the planning decision had nothing to do with the needs of the authority. In point of fact no public authority will buy land subject to restrictions which prevent it using the land for its own purposes. And if the restrictions do not hurt the acquiring authority, they have no grievance and have suffered no hardship.

    The only other point which I thought might be made and I believe was mentioned by the hon. Gentleman, was that, in a sense, it is making the authorities pay for planning restrictions. As a matter of fact, in practice the restriction is normally the herald of the intended acquisition and this is a fair balancing arrangement in view of the fact that the development charge is no longer levied upon the local authorities when they purchase land for development. For these reasons, I must ask the House to resist the Amendment.

    Amendment negatived.

    Clause 68—(Provisions As To Mort Gages, Settlements, Ecclesiastical Property, Etc)

    I beg to move, in page 75, line 4, after "to," to insert:

  • (a) a claim holding which is subject to a mortgage, or which was so subject at a time specified in the regulation; or
  • (b).
  • This Amendment deals with a legal point which we have already touched upon. Its purpose is to enable the regulations under Clause 68 to deal with cases where a claim holding has been mortgaged, not by way of assignment but simply by way of a charge. This will make it possible to divert any payment due in respect of the holding from mortgagor to mortgagee. Where the mortgagee has taken an assignment of the claim holding, he can claim under Clause 10, any payment to which the mortgagor would have been entitled had he kept the holding.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause 71—(Interpretation)

    I beg to move, in page 77, line 11, at the end, to insert:

    "compulsory acquisition" does not include the vesting in a person by an Act of Parliament of property previously vested in some other person.
    The Amendment deals with another legal point, namely, the definition of compulsory acquisition. As a result of Clause 6 having been applied to the vesting of the property of road haulage undertakings under the Transport Act as if that vesting were a compulsory acquisition, it is desirable to point out in the definition that vesting by Act of Parliament is not to be regarded generally as compulsory acquisition. If this were not done, anyone purchasing such property from the authority in whom it is vested might be disqualified from claiming compensation under Part II of the Bill.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in page 77, line 13, at the end, to insert:

    "in the same capacity," in relation to entitlement both to a claim holding and to an interest in land, means entitled to one only of the following capacities, that is to say, beneficially, or as trustee of one particular trust, or as personal representative of one particular person;
    "interest in land" means only an interest in fee simple or a tenancy.
    This Amendment again deals with legal matters and I am sure that those who are interested in the Bill from a legal point of view would wish a few words to be said about it. The hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas) raised one or both of these points. The first concerns the expression "in the same capacity,". That has to be read in conjunction with certain Amendments which we have made to Clauses 6, 8, and 9. The definition now includes the substance of what was previously Clause 9 (3).

    The second concerns the definition of "interest in land." The definition now makes it clear that only owners of an interest in fee simple or a tenancy can claim compensation under Parts II and V of the Bill in respect of depreciation caused by planning restrictions, or receive any share of the unexpended balance under Clause 35 where there is a compulsory acquisition. The meaning of the word "interest" was questioned by the hon. and learned Member for Leicester, North-East, whose absence I very much regret. He raised the matter in Committee and my right hon. Friend promised to consider it after an Amendment had been moved to Clause 34. The matter is now dealt with.

    The interest need not be a legal interest. It might be an equitable interest. The definition, of course, would debar the owner of an easement from claiming. That seems right and proper, certainly so far as Part III is concerned, and, as far as I am aware, it is also correct in Part II. Rent charges have been mentioned once or twice in our discussions. The owners of those are dealt with under Clause 68.

    I thank the right hon. and learned Gentleman for his reference to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Leicester, North-East (Sir L. Ungoed-Thomas). I would hesitate to come into conflict with the Attorney-General on a legal point, but I am informed that "in the same capacity" is a term well known and in every-day use in the courts and that to define it here would be likely to lead to some legal trouble. If the Attorney-General can disabuse me on that point, we shall be only too pleased to let him have the Amendment.

    I will certainly do so. The hon. Member seems more advanced on that point than I am at the moment, but I will undertake to look into the matter. His suggestion may very well be right.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move, in line 21, at the end, to insert:

    "previous apportionment" in relation to an apportionment for any of the purposes of this Act means an apportionment made before the apportionment in question, being—
  • (a) an apportionment for any of the purposes of this Act as made, confirmed or varied by the Lands Tribunal on a reference thereto; or
  • (b) an apportionment for any of the purposes of this Act which might have been referred to the Lands Tribunal by virtue of any provision of this Act but in the case of which the time for such a reference has expired without its being so required to be so referred, or which was so referred but in the case of which the reference was withdrawn before the Tribunal gave their decision thereon; or
  • (c) an apportionment made by or with the approval of the Central Land Board in connection with the approval by the Board of an assignment of part of the benefit of an established claim under subsection (2) of section two of the Act of 1953.
  • This Amendment is a definition of the expression "previous apportionment" and is moved mainly for the purpose of clarification. The definition inserted here replaces a provision previously in subsection (5) of Clause 14 and in subsection (4) of Clause 31. The opportunity has been taken to rectify an omission in the form of words previously used which did not cover cases where a reference was made to the Lands Tribunal but was withdrawn. These are now covered by paragraph (b).

    Amendment agreed to.

    Further Amendment made: in line 45, at end, insert:
    "means an amount ascertained in accordance with sections eighteen and nineteen, and ' original unexpended balance of established development value.'"—[Mr. H. Macmillan.]

    I beg to move, in page 77, line 48, after "include," to insert "marriage or."

    The effect of this Amendment is that marriage settlements are to be treated in the same way as gifts.

    Amendment agreed to.

    I beg to move in page 79, line 14, at the end, to insert:

    "and in relation to an interest in land conveyed or assigned without a preliminary contract, are references to the conveyance or assignment."
    This Amendment is to meet a point made by the Law Society. It adapts Clause 6 to cases where an interest in land was sold without a preliminary contract. In such cases the question of qualification as to date under Clause 6 (3) is to be settled by reference to the date of the conveyance or assignment.

    Amendment agreed to.

    Clause