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Royal Fine Art Commission (Advice)

Volume 530: debated on Monday 19 July 1954

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asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what statutory powers the Royal Fine Art Commission ensures that its advice is obtained before building works are undertaken.

The powers of the Royal Fine Art Commission are granted under Royal Warrants and not by statute. These powers enable them to call for information on building works. So far as I am aware there are no statutory obligations on developers or planning authorities to consult the Commission.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that in its last Report the Commission say that too often it is either not consulted at all or consulted at such a late stage that serious improvements cannot be considered? Is not it time that statutory powers were given to the Commission to enable the advice to be tendered before it is too late?

I am aware of the passage in the 12th Report to which the hon. Member refers, but I am not at all sure that it is not better for the authority of the Royal Fine Art Commission to rest on its very high standing and reputation rather than on compulsion.