§ (1.) Her Majesty may, by Order in Council, authorise the execution of military manœuvres within specified limits and during a specified period not exceeding three months. Provided 7 that the same limits, or any part thereof, shall not be specified more than once in any period of five years.
§ (2.) Whenever it is proposed to make any such Order a draft thereof shall, not less than six months before the Order is to come into force, be sent to the council of each county, county borough, district, and parish wholly or partly within the specified limits, and in the case of the New Forest to the court of verderers; and notice of this intention to make the Order shall, not less than three months before the Order is to come into force, be advertised in at least two papers circulating generally within the district.
§ (3.) The draft Order shall not be submitted to Her Majesty in Council until it has lain before each House of Parliament for thirty days on which that House is sitting, nor unless each House presents an Address to Her Majesty praying that the Order may be made.
§ MR. MACNEILL
moved in Sub-section (1) to leave out "three months" and insert "one month." The object of the Amendment was to provide that the manœuvres might be authorised for a period not exceeding one month, instead of three months, as proposed in the Bill. He pointed out that under the Bill as it stood, agricultural operations over the land taken might be entirely stopped during a quarter of the year while it was given over to the military power. He begged to move formally, having no intention to divide the House on the subject.
§ * MR. BRODRICK
said the shortest time possible was taken in the Bill, and he could not accept the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ MR. H. C. STEPHENS (Middlesex, Hornsey)
moved to leave out "five" and insert "ten," so that land once taken for military manœuvres should be exempted for a period of ten years afterwards. No doubt it was said that whatever damage was done, whether small or considerable, would be paid for; but enormous damage might occur from prejudice and apprehension, created by specifying of particular land. Take the case of a residential estate. Three fourths of its value might consist in its value for residential purposes; but when once it was marked down, as land which might be taken recurrently for military manœuvres, any land valuer would at once say its market value was reduced from that of a first-class residential estate to the probability of a third-class agricultural estate. They 8 might do damage of many thousands of pounds that would never be recognised at all. He thought longer breathing time ought to be allowed.
THE FINANCIAL SECRETARY TO THE WAR OFFICE (Mr. POWELL-WILLIAMS,) Birmingham, S.
hoped his hon. Friend would not insist on pressing the Amendment to a Division. The point was carefully considered in Grand Committee, and last year, when the Bill was before Parliament, the concession made of five years was regarded by all those who had raised difficulties as being a very substantial one in the direction of meeting their wishes. It ought to be remembered, too, that if the Amendment were carried, not even a small corner of an area, once taken, could be used again for ten years to come, and that might have a most serious effect in preventing manœuvres from taking place.
§ MR. J. C. FLYNN (Cork Co., N.)
supported the Amendment, remarking that the arguments advanced in favour of it were unanswerable.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 2,—