§ (1) A town planning scheme may be made in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Act as respects any land which is in course of development or appears likely to be used for building purposes, with the general object of securing proper sanitary conditions, amenity, and convenience in connection with the laying out and use of the land, and of any neighbouring lands.188
§ (2) The Local Government Board may authorise a local authority within the meaning of this Part of this Act to prepare such a town planning scheme with reference to any land within or in the neighbourhood of their area, if the authority satisfy the Board that there is aprimâfaciecase for making such a scheme, or may authorise a local authority to adopt, with or without any modifications, any such scheme proposed by all or any of the owners of any land with respect to which the local authority might themselves have been authorised to prepare a scheme.
§ (3) Where it is made to appear to the Local Government Board that a piece of land already built upon, or a piece of land not likely to be used for building purposes, is so situated with respect to any land likely to be used for building purposes that it ought to lie included in any town planning scheme made with respect to the last-mentioned land, the Board may authorise the preparation or adoption of a scheme including such piece of land as aforesaid, and providing for the demolition or alteration of any buildings thereon so far as may be necessary for carrying the scheme into effect.
§ (4) A town planning scheme prepared or adopted by a local authority shall not have effect unless it is approved by the Local Government Board, and the Board may refuse to approve any scheme except with such modifications and subject to such conditions as they think fit to impose.
§ (5) A town planning scheme, when approved by the Local Government Board, shall have effect as if it were enacted in this Act.
§ (6) A town planning scheme may be varied or revoked by a subsequent scheme prepared or adopted and approved in accordance with this Part of this Act, and the Local Government Board on the application of the responsible authority, or of any other person appearing to them to be interested, may by order revoke a town planning scheme if they think that under the special circumstances of the case the scheme should be so revoked.
§ (7) The expression land likely to be used for building purposes shall include any land likely to be used as, or for the purpose of providing open spaces, roads, streets, parks, pleasure or recreation grounds, or for the purpose of executing any work upon or under the land incidental to a town planning scheme, whether in the nature of a building work or not, and the decision of the Local Government 189 Board, whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not, shall be final.
The Amendment in the name of the hon. Member for Hexham (Mr. Holt) is not in the right place; that in the name of the hon. Member for North Hackney (Mr. Hart-Davies) should come on Sub-section (2).
§ Mr. CLELAND
moved to leave out from Section (2) the words "The Local Government Board may authorise."
This Sub-section provides that a local authority in England or Scotland shall ask the leave of the Local Government Board to prepare a town planning scheme. In the ease of a private donor or a syndicate it would not be necessary to obtain such permission, and it seems to me there is nothing to justify this anomalous, treatment of municipal corporations. I do not seek to take out of the jurisdiction of the Local Government Board the right to veto, alter, or make changes in any town planning scheme prepared by a corporation, but I do submit it is a waste of time and rather a circuitous method of procedure that the local authorities should be required to get this permission before being even permitted to prepare a scheme. In the case of Scotland the objection is still stronger, seeing that the Local Government Board in Edinburgh has so far had nothing to do with housing and town planning, and, therefore, possesses no practical knowledge of details.
§ The PRESIDENT of the LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. John Burns)
I trust that my hon. Friend will not press this Amendment. It is quite true that if the Clause is passed as it stands, the Local Government Board will have in the matter of town planning schemes no control over private owners. But for some years the Local Government Board, in England, Scotland, and Ireland, has had some control over local authorities in the matter of sanctioning loans and auditing accounts, and this power has been exercised with beneficial effects to the general community. The Local Government Board has also helped local authorities by promoting Provisional Orders and Bills for schemes approximating to town planning and improvement schemes. Its inspectors have likewise conducted public inquiries into these schemes. We think that in these cases the local authority ought not to promote 190 schemes without first acquainting the central authority of the nature of their proposals, inasmuch as a scheme may impinge upon the areas of two or three other local authorities or interfere seriously with the rights of the neighbourhood. It would be only fair to adjoining owners that someone should intervene to ensure there was a definite beginning of any scheme formulated, and this is all the more important because when a town planning scheme is promoted it is provided, under Clause 57, Subsection (2), that "A person shall not be entitled to claim compensation under this section on account of any building erected on or contract made, or other thing done with respect to land included in a scheme, after the time at which the application for authority to prepare the scheme was made, or after such other time as the Local Government Board may fix for the purpose." In connection with these schemes it is necessary, therefore, for some central authority to determine the method of procedure, and the date at which compensation shall begin, and after which it shall not be paid. In the Committee upstairs we were all agreed that for some time to come the central authority— the Local Government Board—should initiate the proceedings, but that will not prevent any local authority making its preliminary investigations and inquiries. It can make all its preparations in advance, and arrange with rival and contending interests. We think this is a very serious experiment, which has to be watched very carefully at the start, when, naturally, we shall have to have the advice and guidance of a very limited number of experts. I would, therefore, appeal to my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment, but to rest assured that all the local authorities concerned will not be deprived of all legitimate opportunities for giving preparation to a scheme which they think they ought to start at once.
§ Sir FREDERICK BANBURY
I am glad that at last there is a sound of revolt from the Government Benches against the proposal that the President of the Local Government Board is to be converted into an ancient Sultan of Turkey, with powers of life and death, over all people who are living at the present moment, or likely to live in the future, in England, Scotland, or Wales. I would suggest, however, to-the hon. Member that he has not chosen a good moment in which to raise the- 191 protest, because, so far as I can judge, the effect of leaving out these words would be absolutely futile, as all that would happen if the words are left in would be that the local authority might prepare themselves a town planning scheme if they satisfied the Board that there is aprimâfaciecase.
§ Mr. CLELAND
If the hon. Baronet will look at the Amendments he will see that I. have one which is consequential, to leave out the words, "if the authority satisfy the Board that there is aprimâfaciecase for making such a scheme."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I did not notice that Amendment on the Paper, and it does alter the case very much, and I am afraid then the present Amendment goes too far. I agree with the President of the Local Government Board that this is a very serious experiment, and unless we watch it carefully we are going to put a great burden upon owners and local authorities, and I am sorry he has undertaken these duties very light-heartedly; but I am not at all sure that I would not prefer the action of the Sultan of Turkey to leaving it entirely to the local authority to interfere with other people's property.
§ Mr. CLELAND
The only effect of my Amendment would be to allow the local authority to do what you allow the private owner to do—namely, to prepare a scheme.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Then I come back to my original point that the omission of these words does not matter; whether they are in or out the local authority will have to go to the person representing for the time being the Sultan in the Arabian Nights, and exercising power over his fellow subjects, and obtain his permission. Therefore, I do not think there is very much in the Amendment, and under these circumstances, I think my right hon. Friend is right in asking the hon. Gentleman to withdraw his Amendment, but as the hon. Gentleman seems rather animated by a desire to exercise his influence against the schemes of the right hon. Gentleman, perhaps on another occasion when there is an Amendment, which will serve a more useful purpose, I may have his support.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.192
§ Sir F. BANBURY (in the absence of Mr. M'Arthur)
moved, in Sub-section (2), after the word "land"' ["with reference to any land"], to insert the words "other than land acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking."
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
On a point of Order. I would ask your ruling, Sir, as to whether we did not decide this yesterday?
That was not in connection with town planning, but in connection with another question altogether, that of housing.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
There are two points raised by the Bill; that which we decided yesterday, and I am sorry we did so decide, was a question of housing, and this has to do with town planning. The question raised by the Amendment is whether, when there is a large scheme of town planning to be carried out, land acquired under statute for the purpose of a railway, dock, canal, water or other public undertaking shall not be held to be exempt from the scheme. It must not be forgotten that where a large scheme of town planning is carried out it will be most necessary that there should be communication close to that scheme, and therefore everything should be done to encourage railways and canals and other undertakings of that sort, and not to discourage them by using their land for the purpose of the town planning scheme. Yesterday the right hon. Gentleman gave as a reason for rejecting a similar Amendment that there was a certain amount of surplus land belonging to railways which had been acquired by the railway companies but was not used for railway purposes, and he seemed to think it was not right that the surplus land should be held up and acquired for other purposes; but I would point out to him, if there is going to be a large scheme of town planning, that will mean additional work for the railways, and consequently the surplus land of the railways will be required in order to provide enlarged accommodation. Suppose there has been a small village or town, and the population has been increased by the town planning, then the railway accommodation will not be sufficient. The right hon. Gentleman is in error in supposing that the acquisition of surplus land by railways is for the purpose of holding it up, or any ill-natured purpose of that sort.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The real reason that the surplus land is bought by the railway company is because they think that in the future, in the district in which they acquire this land, they will eventually have to use the land for the purpose of railway extension. And when they have an opportunity of buying the land at a reasonable price, though they may not require it at the moment, it is always advisable so to do, because it they wait until it is perfectly well known in the neighbourhood that they must acquire the land they will have to pay a very much larger price than if they acquire it at the time they do not actually desire to use it.
There is another point to be considered, and that is, that if the railway companies are not allowed to hold a certain amount of land in neighbourhoods where they think perhaps their business will increase, that land probably will be built upon or used for other purposes, and when they want to acquire it they have to demolish the houses, and that will cause a certain amount of hardship on the people who are dispossessed without compensation. Then this land cannot be acquired by any of the companies or corporations mentioned in the Amendment unless they have the sanction of both Houses of Parliament. Even the hon. Member (Mr. Dillon) two days ago. in the discussion upon the Irish Land Bill, hoped that where land had been acquired by tenants under the Statute it would be exempted from the operations of the compulsory clauses. Where an advanced social reformer—if that is an appropriate description of people who are anxious to acquire other people's property—like the hon. Member advances a claim with regard to property the right hon. Gentleman might consider that there is something in it. I understand this exemption has been given to railway companies, canal companies, and others by the Public Health Act Amendment Act, 1907, Section (38) and also by the Small Holdings and Allotments Act, 1907, Subsection (1) of Section 30, and the Small Holdings and Allotments Act of 1908, Section 41. Yesterday the right hon. Gentleman held up for our approbation the Small Holdings and Allotments Act of 1907, and he advanced as an argument for doing certain things under this Bill that that had been done in the Act of 1907. He argued that because it was done in the Act of 1907 it was necessarily good, and it ought to be done in this Bill. What is sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. There are provisions in the Act—which he 194 says is such a good one, and on which apparently he has founded, so far as regards Land Clauses procedure, the procedure under his Bill—which justify the Amendment which I am moving. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will remember his utterances of yesterday and will be consistent, at any rate, in this one particular.
§ Mr. BURNS
Practically this point was discussed at considerable length yesterday on several Amendments. By a decisive majority yesterday the House decided that for housing purposes land should be compulsorily acquired. If it is necessary for housing, where land is diverted entirely from the railway company, surely this procedure is doubly necessary for town planning where, in 19 cases out of 20, land will not be diverted from the railway company to the local authority for the purpose of a town planning scheme in the sense that ownership by the railway company will terminate and it will be vested in the local authority or in exchange with other private owners. On the contrary, it was generally agreed in the Grand Committee chat in all matters of town planning where both the actual railway and the stations and the depots or the surplus land of the railway comes within a town planning scheme, it would come less for expropriation than for a re-arrangement and for inclusion within the purview of the -scheme, not with the object of inflicting any injustice on the railway company or depriving them of their property, but by the development of the township the railway would be considerably benefited—by the widening of roads, the grading of roads, and the general improvement of the area. Let me give a practical instance. The Garden City Company at Letchworth was started some six or seven years ago, and came to me about four years ago to discuss certain proposals for the improvement of their estate. One of the questions was what should be the relationship of the railway to the Garden City. They had previously determined, roughly, that the Garden City, in relation to the railway close by, should have certain lands abutting on the railway where, for many years to come, houses would not be built, and the railway company had in that case what in too many cases railway companies, for lack of foresight, have had to do in London and the suburbs, to pull down houses that abutted on the narrow strip which they ought to have had wider. The Garden City people sensibly went 195 to the railway company, who said if the Garden City is to grow to ten, twenty, or fifty thousand, ten or 20 years hence, the railway should go to a certain spot, a certain amount of surplus land on either side wide enough for all probable developments should be acquired, and the depots should be so and so, and the bridges should be so and so. I found the railway company exploiting me. They said, "We have agreed with the Garden City. We have fixed up terms without any counsel and without expert witnesses, but by the common-sense of a conference." I had money to spend on the unemployed. I was allowed to take two or three hundred men to the Garden City for the improvement of the approaches. The Garden City was benefited, the railway was not damnified, and the unemployed got work, and by the concatenation of circumstances and by common-sense all round we produced this small town planning scheme. In 19 out of 20 cases that is what would happen under this Bill, and I would appeal to the hon. Baronet not to do injustice to his clients, the railway companies, by insisting on this rather absurd proposal.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
May I ask whether the right hon. Gentleman approved of the action of this particular railway company?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I asked the question because it is a railway company of which I am a director. I am glad that the right hon. Gentleman approved of the proceedings of the railway company. My version of the story is not quite the same as that of the right hon. Gentleman. Unless I misunderstood him the point of the right hon. Gentleman was that the Garden City people came to the railway company and requested them to make a station, and that they offered land on both sides for development. Then there was some question as to a gradient, and the right hon. Gentleman having gone down and assisted both sides, a charming and beautiful result arose. That is not quite the story I heard in the board room.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am not casting any doubt on the statement of the right hon. Gentleman so far as he is concerned. I am casting doubt on the action of the Garden City. What really took place there was what might take place in other quarters unless this Amendment is accepted. What took place was this. The Great Northern Railway Company put up a station the moment they heard that the Garden City was likely to build houses at that particular part; they stopped trains, and did everything they could to encourage the development of traffic—not from philanthropic, but from business motives. The railway company asked some land from the Garden City. The Garden City people asked three or four times more for the land then they gave for it. They knew that their scheme, if not a success, was progressing, and they knew that the railway company in order to do their duty were obliged to have land. They took advantage of that, and demanded an extraordinary price for the land. What the price eventually was I do not remember, but we made the best bargain we could. The argument of the right hon. Gentleman is a strong argument in favour of my Amendment, and I hope, now that he has heard the other side of the story, he will accept it.
§ Mr. ALFRED LYTTELTON
As a matter of principle, I entirely agree with my hon. Friend that it is wrong to supersede —by the action of a Department—the deliberate decision of Parliament. It was pointed out yesterday that when railway, dock, and other companies get powers from Parliament to acquire land for the prosecution of public objects, it ought not to be left to a Department to say that these public objects have ceased or that other public objects which supersede them or which are greater, have arisen. If the present President of the Local Government Board were to be at his office in perpetuity, I dare say I should not very much object to this particular Clause. I think no town planning authority would really be so mad as to take lands which were necessary for the purposes of a railway company. I am perfectly certain that in 99 out of 100 cases no attempt would be made by any sagacious town planning committee to obtain land from a railway company unless that land was more or less superfluous to the railway company. I did not discover in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman any reason at all against the principle of my hon. Friend's Amend- 197 ment. It is that powers from this House in some form or another should be obtained in order to divest railway companies of lands with which they have been entrusted by Parliament for public purposes.
§ Mr. JOHN WARD
I understand that it was decided yesterday that surplus lands belonging to railway companies and other corporations might be taken for the building of houses. To-day we are discussing whether a municipal or other local authority shall have power to sketch out the way in which they intend development to take place on land which is now vacant. It is not intended to rip up a railway, possibly a trunk line, for the purpose of building houses. I take it for granted that what is intended, after all, is that lands not otherwise used by a railway company should be taken if good reason can be shown for doing so. No one would suggest the pulling up of the sidings of a railway company, or the carrying out of schemes which would involve a stupid waste of energy and money. That I understand to be the position, and therefore no injury will be done to railway companies or any of the other corporations which have been mentioned.
§ 4.0 P.M.
§ The ATTORNEY-GENERAL (Sir William Robson)
May I draw attention to a Sub-section which I think ought to allay the apprehension of the hon. Baronet opposite (Sir F. Banbury). Sub-section (1) of Clause 53, which governs the whole of this part of the Bill, says: "A town planning scheme may be made in accordance with the provisions of this Part of this Act as respects any land which is in course of development or appears likely to be used for building purposes, with the general object of securing proper sanitary conditions, amenity, and convenience in connection with the laying out and use of the land, and of any neighbouring lands." That, of course, is a very effective and important direction to the various authorities who will be concerned in the preparation of the scheme. For instance, the local authority who will first consider the scheme—what is generally called the responsible authority—will have to prepare the scheme in accordance with the spirit of the Sub-section, and the scheme will remain before the Local Government Board, who equally will construe it and mould it or mend it in accordance with the effect of the Sub-section. Land which is close to a railway, and is really wanted for its purposes, will not 198 become surplus land. Land of that kind can scarcely be described as land which is in course of development, or is likely to be used for building purposes, and although it may come within the scope of a general scheme, and I think very properly come within the scope of a general scheme which deals with the laying out of the whole district, yet is land which any local authority, and certainly the Local Government Board, would carefully protect in giving assent to a scheme. In giving assent to a scheme they would see that land of that kind is not in the same position as land which is obviously in process of development, and likely to be used for building purposes, and therefore such land would be specially provided for. I think that anyone who reads the Bill as a whole would not apprehend any serious danger to such land. Of course, there are cases where the land has become surplus land, where is was originally intended for the purposes of the railway, and the railway men changed their intention and left the land surplus land. In that case representations could be put before the town planning authorities as a matter of right. If the land is still wanted for the purposes of the railway it should be specially dealt with. If it is not wanted for the purpose of the railway, but may be so wanted, still special provisions would undoubtedly be made to safeguard any future necessity that the railway might contemplate in relation to that land. But I can scarcely imagine that any local authority reading the Sub-section referred to would, nevertheless, proceed to deal with the land adjacent to a railway acquired by the railway for railway purposes as though it were ordinary building land on which they would be prepared to erect, workmen's cottages.
§ Viscount MORPETH
Surplus land has been alluded to by the learned Attorney-General. As far as I can see, there is no mention of surplus land either in the Bill or in the Amendment. Although, of course, it is not very probable that a town council would take the actual track of the railway it conceivably might happen. Conceivably they might say to the railway, "You must divert your railway." Indeed, one can conceive this happening under the Town Planning Clauses, that if there was a town planning scheme for London, the London County Coucil might say to the South-Eastern Company, "Hungerford Bridge is the greatest eyesore in London. You must convert it into a stone bridge." I do not 199 suggest that is very probable, but it is possible, and I think that the Bill ought to provide for what is possible as well as for what is probable. I think that the Attorney-General does not quite realise that one of the objections we feel under this Clause is that you are taking from corporate bodies land which they have received in accordance with Acts of Parliament, and for which they have probably paid very heavily before the Committees here, and that you are taking it by the mere administrative action of the municipality and the Local Government Board. This kind of case may arise in the future. At present the Government is proposing to drive roads through England, with 220 yards of surplus land on each side—
§ Viscount MORPETH
That does not affect my argument at all. In any case, there is 110 yards on either side of the tract of land deliberately intended by this House to be surplus land. This question then arises: What is to be the relationship of the Local Government Board and of the Town Planning Authorities, and of the new Road Board as to the surplus of land? Will the former bodies be able to give directions and able to override an Act passed by this House saying that these roads shall be made and that the surplus land shall be left? A very dangerous principle to introduce into an office or into administration would be to enable them to override deliberately the express intention of Parliament, and although I do not think it very probable that anything very foolish will be done in the direction of railway tracks being broken up, yet I think the duty arises to safeguard those who have received a Parliamentary title.
§ Sir SAMUEL SCOTT
The Attorney-General (Sir W. Robson), as I understood him, said that it was very undesirable that railway companies should by any possibility be cramped in any future development in the course of their business. He added that there was no possibility of that taking place, as they were fully protected by Sub-section (1) of Clause 53. I have no doubt that it is perfectly plain to his legal mind, but it is not clear to the lay mind. Would he therefore undertake on behalf of the Government to put down an Amendment on the Report stage to make clear in this Sub-section what is obviously the intention of the Government?
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The hon. and learned Member (Sir W. Robson) really agrees with me in everything I have said. When he said that my Amendment was not necessary because of Sub-section (1) of Clause 53 I venture to say that that Sub-section makes my Amendment more than ever necessary, because the question of development would arise, and if the land was ripe for development it would be taken. Therefore the Sub-section gives no protection whatever. Then the hon. and learned Gentleman went on to say that the Local Government Board would do so-and-so. How does he know what the Local Government Board are going to do? There is not a single person in this House who has any idea of what the Local Government Board in future will or will not do. The hon. and learned Gentleman knows perfectly well that there is no use saying in this House or in this Committee that the effect of a clause or an Amendment will be to have such-and-such things. The effect will be what the Law Courts choose to interpret it later on, and we shall not be able to bring forward evidence, because I understand that no expert evidence or counsel will be allowed. But even if we could bring forward evidence, no evidence that the right hon. Gentleman said so-and-so or that the hon. Member for Stoke (Mr. J. Ward) said so-and-so would have the slightest weight when the Clause has to be considered either in a court of law or by the Local Government Board. If the hon. and learned Gentleman really thinks that certain safeguards should be put in, those safeguards should be put in in Committee. The hon. Member for Stoke says that railway companies and other companies of this description need not be alarmed, because, he says, a local authority would not dream of pulling up the tracks. How does he know what they would or would not do? Then he says that if you prove to them that the land was required for the development of the railway they would not take it. Why not put all that into the Bill? If the right hon. Gentleman will put the words of the hon. Member for Stoke and the words of the Attorney-General into the Bill I should have nothing to say, because then it would be apparent what the wishes of the Government arc. But I am not satisfied as to the intention either of the Attorney-General or the Member for Stoke or of the Local Government Board in the future, or as to what the 600 or 700 local authorities in the future will do. In this Clause we are 201 giving very wide authority to local authorities—in my opinion very much too wide— but, at any rate, the desire of the Committee as expressed by two hon. Members of the opposite way of thinking to myself is that the Clause should have the effect they think it ought to have, and if that be so why not put in words with that object?
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
There is a suggestion which I think would meet the practical difficulty in this case. You are dealing with the land—not surplus land —of some people to whom Parliament has given the right to use that land. You are empowering under this Bill an Executive Department of the Government to modify the statute which has been enacted by this House. The right hon. Gentleman (Mr. J. Burns) is going to meet that problem by an Amendment which he proposes to move later on, that where land held under any public general Act is interfered with the Order for its acquisition is to lie on the Table of this House for 40 days, and an address may be presented against it. It would meet that case if the right hon. Gentleman would only follow his own precedent, and would not confine the application of this Order to cases of a public or a general Act, but would make it apply to all cases of statutory enactment where land affected has been acquired by authority of this House. Then we should ensure that the authority which has been entrusted with land by this House would not be interfered with without this House having at least an opportunity of signifying its assent or dissent.
§ Mr. A. LUPTON
It seems to me that this Clause is proposing that a certain plan should be made under which certain proposals of the local authority approved of by the Local Government are put down on paper. There are to be roads there, canals there, railways somewhere else, tramways on this plot, and parks here; and as I understand the Amendment it would mean that certain parts are to be left blank, because the railway has been authorised by Act of Parliament to acquire certain land. Surely the hon. Baronet (Sir F. Banbury) does not suppose that any town council would propose to erect a cottage on a railway, but what it might propose is to have cottages near the railway. You can build much more economically where you have a railway to bring the building materials as near as possible to the spot.
§ Mr. J. A. BRIGHT
I would like to point out to my right hon. Friend that the land which is possessed by railway companies has often been bought at a very much higher price than really ought to have been paid, and I would ask him whether land really required for the purposes of extension for the laying down of sidings or the erection of warehouses, and which has been preserved for those purposes is not in any way to be applied to the purposes of public authorities. If under the Bill it can be shown that there are really surplus lands which might come under the purview of this Clause, excluding such as really have been bought for the purpose of extensions, I think that would meet the difficulty. I suggest that there should be inserted in the Amendment the words, "not being surplus land."
§ Mr. BURNS
I have been appealed to by my hon. Friend behind me and hon. Members opposite to make a further concession beyond that which I have already indicated our willingness to make, and which is shown on page 24 of the White Paper, already referred to by the hon. Member for one of the Lanark divisions (Mr. Mitchell-Thomson). Beyond that Amendment it is impossible for the Government to go, and in this connection I see no reason why the Government should be pressed. I think the fears of the railway representatives who have spoken to-day are as groundless almost as those of some of their ducal competitors on another subject elsewhere. I would advise the railway representatives to remember this: Under a town planning scheme it is just of as much advantage to the railway company to act in harmony with the local authority for the future development of their organisation and of their railway property in the particular area affected as it is for them, when Parliament gives the local authorities power to acquire land for housing, not to be excluded from the general law. If hon. Members who represent the railway interests are not content with the concession we make, it is impossible for us to go further and to comply with their real requirements, namely, that all land owned by the railway companies, whether surplus or otherwise, shall be ruled to be without the purview of a town planning scheme. That cannot be done, and ought not to be done, if the essentials of a town planning scheme are to be kept in view.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
I protest against the speech which we have just heard from 203 the right hon. Gentleman. I object to any hon. Members in this House who get up to speak being referred to as "railway representatives." I myself have no connection with any railway.
§ Mr. BURNS
The right hon. and learned Gentleman has rather misconstrued my observation. The hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London, with a frankness and a directness that always do him credit, said he represented the interests of the railway companies, and it was only in that general sense I replied. My reply was direct and courteous, and was not intended to convey what the right hon. and learned Gentleman implies, that I made a distinction in regard to the hon. Baronet the Member for the City of London as representing railways only. On the contrary, the hon. Baronet made his position perfectly clear, and I, as representing the public as distinct from the railway companies, had the right to reply to him, as I did, and I hope I courteously expressed my reasons.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
This is a question which does not merely affect railway companies. There are public bodies, such as dock companies, water companies, canal companies, and other statutory companies, who are also affected, as the right hon. Gentleman must be aware. It is the public case we seek to meet. The President of the Local Government Board is really under a complete illusion if he supposes that he has made any concession whatever by the Amendment which he has placed upon the Paper: "Provided that where the scheme contains provisions suspending any enactment contained in a public general Act the scheme shall not come into force unless a draft thereof has been laid before each House of Parliament for a period of not less than forty days during the Session of Parliament, and if either of those Houses before the expiration of those forty days presents an Address to His Majesty against the proposed suspension no further proceedings shall be taken on the draft without prejudice to the making of any new scheme." My hon. Friend behind me most properly referred to it as showing that the Government are not acting in ignorance on this matter, because by the Amendment to which reference has been 204 made they say that, when a public Act is likely to be contravened by this Section, some provision should be made by which that Act should be in no way interfered with without the intervention of this House. I submit that this shows that the House, and the House alone, ought to deal with that which has been created by its own authority. There is not the slightest objection, and no pretence of an argument has been raised at all, to show that a private Act of Parliament, which is often very much more expensive and very much more considered than a public Act, should not have the same provision applied to it. With reference to what was said by the Attorney-General, I happen to have a practical knowledge of the matter which possibly he does not possess. He imagines that in the case of a town planning community there will be no temptation on the part of the local authority to do anything hostile to a railway company. In the instance I have before my mind the railway company has at immense expense constructed a line at Hampstead. They have a very considerable quantity of land on which they intend in future to place goods-yards, warehouses and other erections. At Hampstead they have the enormous advantage of the connection which the railway gives with London, and it would be exceedingly desirable if the lands which are adjacent to the railway and are destined for future accommodation could be acquired. Under this Section that would be precisely the case where there would be the greatest temptation to a local authority to round off its town planning scheme at the expense of the railway company. The Attorney-General suggests that the local authority are quite incapable of such action, but that is not my experience.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I think there is a difference, which the right hon. Gentleman will himself see, between the case of the Garden Cities Association, of which the right hon. Gentleman is a distinguished member, and the case of the local authority, who would come under the supervision of the Government Department. In the former case, there is an element of private interest; I do not use the word in any invidious sense; but the interests of the Garden Cities Association would be under very different control, because it is a separate and private association as compared with the local authority.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
I cannot agree with my hon. and learned Friend, I think the 205 temptation would be equal in both cases. It is clearly reasonable that the powers which have been entrusted to the railway company to acquire land, which it occupies by virtue of its Parliamentary powers, should not be exposed to the interference of the local authority without being subject to the authority of Parliament, which originally granted those powers to the railway company.
§ Mr. E. B. BARNARD
I should very much like if the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board would make his position a little clearer than it is, and if he could restrict the matter to surplus land it would be a source of considerable comfort to many people other than railway directors. My experience in regard to this question has nothing to do with railways, and I approach it from a totally different standpoint. Those who advise me consider that the matter is not nearly so clear as the right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board and the Attorney-General seem to think. If it could be arranged that surplus land only would be dealt with, it would be a considerable relief to many who are in no way antagonistic to the Bill.
§ Mr. E. H. CARLILE
The President of the Local Government Board in his speech referred only to future arrangements. Whether he did it advisedly or not I do not know, but I should think those who are connected with these great undertakings would probably be satisfied if the right hon. Gentleman would carry out the spirit of his last speech by saying that future arrangements will not be likely to interfere with these great interests. If the future arrangements of the right hon. Gentleman are allowed to undo the action of the House in the past, and to interfere with land already set aside for specific purposes in connection with these great undertakings, such as dock companies, canal companies, water companies, and railways, then it is a preposterous position to take up. If the right hon. Gentleman is willing to confine the operation of the Clause to land that may be subsequently acquired by railway companies, canal companies, and dock companies, then the sting will be taken out of it, and all these undertakings which are carried out on behalf of the public would be entered upon with these schemes laid before them; they would know all the advantages or disadvantages that would be likely to accrue to their various under- 206 takings, and there would be no particular harm done. What appears to me to be a particular hardship is that the right hon. Gentleman is going to make arrangements in future to deal with arrangements that have been made more or less in the past, and to set up these local authorities and the Local Government Board as the judges as to whether these pieces of land are really required in connection with these great undertakings. The local authorities and the Local Government Board are to decide the matter, and it is quite impossible to suppose they are qualified to do so. What is the Board of Trade going to say about this? Railways, for instance, are undertakings which come under the jurisdiction of the Board of Trade. We shall have a nice state of things presently. We shall have the President of the Local Government Board and the President of the Board of Trade at loggerheads over this—the President of the Board of Trade very properly and very rightly trying to secure for these great public undertakings those rights which have been accorded to them on the floor of this House, and the President of the Local Government Board egging on those local authorities to upset and break down those rights, in order to carry out all sorts of schemes.
§ Mr. CARLILE
May I point out that I am endeavouring to strictly confine myself to the Amendment, which deals with the undertakings to which I have referred?
The hon. Member is suggesting a possible conflict between the Board of Trade and the Local Government Board. The Board of Trade does not come in here. It is only a question of the Local Government Board authorising the local authorities, within the meaning of this part of this Bill, to prepare a town planning scheme.
§ Mr. CARLILE
My point was that the Local Government Board is proposing to interfere with these interests, which in very many ways come under the control and direction of the Board of Trade. With great respect, I thought I was justified in making some reference to possible difficulties that might arise between the two Departments. If the right hon. Gentleman will confine his proposal to future arrangements in connection with these great public companies, then I think the difficulty would be overcome.
§ Lord ROBERT CECIL
It is a little difficult, owing to the method under which we are discussing this measure, to follow exactly what is proposed. If I read the proposals rightly, it would be possible under this scheme for a local authority under a town planning scheme to require the removal of a railway from one part of the town to another. If that is not so, no doubt the Government will explain it. Clause 56 says: "The responsible authority may at any time, after giving such notice as may be provided by a town planning scheme and in accordance with the provisions of the scheme (a) remove, pull down, or alter any building or other work in the area included in the scheme which is such as to contravene the scheme, or in the erection or carrying out of which any provision of the scheme has not been complied with." They may in default of their orders being carried out execute the work. Let me put a case which does not seem to be extravagant. A local authority oppose a railway Bill, and the Committee of the two Houses agree that the Bill is a desirable one, and that the railway should be in the position which is shown on the deposited plan. A few months afterwards, or a couple of years afterwards, they secure a favourable President of the Local Government Board, and the local authority go to him and propose a town planning scheme, setting out that no railway whatever shall be constructed in the particular position but in another position. That seems to me to be perfectly within the powers of the Bill. If that is confirmed, the effect of the decision of Parliament given on this particular point as to where the railway would be would be overruled. It may be said that no local authority would do such a thing or that no President of the Local Government Board would confirm it. I am not at all sure of that. I am not in the least sure about the local authority. They look at
§ it from their point of view. They do not look at the general point of view or the interests of communication throughout the whole country, which is what the Committee has to do. Personally, without the slightest disrespect to the present President of the Local Government Board, I have a profound distrust of all Government Departments in judicial methods, and I am sure every experience we have had in recent years of their judicial action confirms that opinion. They are not fitted for judicial decisions at all. The effect of this Bill is really to hand over a railway company, wherever a town planning scheme may be made, entirely to the jurisdiction of the President of the Local Government Board, though that undertaking has been authorised by Parliament after the most elaborate inquiry. I have no interest in the railway companies, and I confess I look at the matter from the point of view of the constitutional position. It seems to be an outrage to say that a Government Department, with or without the assent of a locality, should be entitled to set aside the decisions of Parliament without any appeal. I very much regret the Government have not seen fit to modify this portion of the scheme. I feel convinced that if we had been discussing this under normal conditions this proposal would have failed. The Government know that only three or four hours remain, and we are quite at their mercy. They have got some 20 Members in the House, and 50 or 60 more will come in and join them from the Terrace and support them, whatever may have been the arguments or the proposal. If we were discussing this under unrestricted conditions, I do not believe this would have been persisted in.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 41; Noes, 176.209
|Division No. 560.]||AYES.||[4.40 p.m.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gretton, John||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Guinness. Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edm'ds.)||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Bright. J. A.||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Cave, George||Joynson-Hicks, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Law, Andrew Bonar (Dulwich)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Valentia, Viscount|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Winterton, Earl|
|Fell, Arthur||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)|
|Forster, Henry William||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)||Sir F. Banbury and Viscount Morpeth.|
|Goulding. Edward Alfred||Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Hazleton. Richard||Philips, John (Longford, S.)|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Higham, John Sharp||Pointer, J.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Hobhouse. Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.||Radford, G. H.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Hogan, Michael||Rainy, A. Rolland|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Holland, Sir William Henry||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Reddy M.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Hudson, Walter||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Idris, T. H. W.||Rees, J. D.|
|Beale, W. P.||Illingworth, Percy H.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W)|
|Bellairs, Carlyon||Jardine, Sir J.||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Jenkins, J.||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Joyce, Michael||Robinson, S.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Kilbride, Denis||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Boland, John||Laidlaw, Robert||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Lambert, George||Roche, John (Galway, East)|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Lamont, Norman||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S.||Lehmann, R. C.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Cleland, J. W.||Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Rowlands, J.|
|Clough, William||Lewis, John Herbert||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Lloyd-George, Rt. Hon. David||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Lundon, T.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Lupton, Arnold||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Sheehy, David|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Crean, Eugene||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Crooks, William||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Crosfield, A. H.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Curran, Peter Francis||M'Callum, John M.||Snowden, P.|
|Davies, Ellis William (Eifien)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||M'Micking, Major G.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Maddison, Frederick||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Dickson-Poynder, Sir john P.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Donelan, Captain A.||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Micklem, Nathaniel||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Elibank, Master of||Molteno, Percy Alport||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Mooney, J. J.||Trevelyan, Charles Phillips|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Faber, G. H. (Boston)||Morrell, Philip||Verney, F. W.|
|Falconer, James||Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Vivian, Henry|
|Ferens, T. R.||Murphy, John (Kerry, E.)||Walters, John Tudor|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Myer, Horatio||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Waring, Walter|
|Flynn, James Christopher||Nolan, Joseph||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Ginnell, L.||Norman, Sir Henry||White, J Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Nussey, Sir Willans||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Glendinning, R. G.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)|
|Glover, Thomas||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Gulland, John W.||O'Doherty, Philip||Winfrey, R.|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||O'Malley, William||Young, Samuel|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Parker, James (Halifax)|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Paul, Herbert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Perks, Sir Robert William|
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
moved, in Sub-section (2), to leave out the words "or in the neighbourhood of" [" land: within or in the neighbourhood of"].
I wish to direct the attention of the President of the Local Government Board to a sense of the importance of this proposal, because I am speaking, I may say, at the request of several of the more important of the county councils on this point. It involves a very serious matter, and there is under this part of the scheme a certain amount of overlapping between different local authorities. I am anxious 210 that the right hon. Gentleman should understand that I am in no sense wanting to insist that local authorities should be compelled to work in their own separate areas. That would be the effect of this Amendment taken by itself; but there are a large number of consequential Amendments which, unfortunately, we shall have no opportunity of discussing, but which in another place may receive the attention they deserve. In the meantime, I am anxious that the Committee should consider this question of the overlapping of different authorities, and what will result 211 where the territory of one local authority infringes on the territory of another. Two sets of cases will obviously arise in which this may happen. It may happen when a county local authority prepares a scheme which overlaps the territory of a burgh or urban local authority; or the converse may be the case. If the first of these cases took place I have no doubt that serious objection would be at once taken to the proposal. There are cases where that might happen, but I do not think they are very likely, although I know one or two cases in the county of Lanarkshire where that state of things might very conceivably arise. But the other case will almost certainly occur. An urban local authority will come to the Local Government Board and ask them to approve of a scheme which will allow them to take in part of the area at present administered by the county council. There are two or three considerations which should be borne in mind before the proposals of the Bill as they stand are allowed to be carried into effect. The London County Council have already had this matter under consideration, and have been careful to make provision that, whatever happens to other county authorities, what I have described shall not happen to them; because at the end of Clause 54 there is a special proviso that no other local authority is to be responsible for enforcing a scheme within the area of the London County Council except with its consent. That clears London out of the way, but the same important question will arise in connection with other authorities. Take the County Council of Lanarkshire, whose area impinges on the territory of the municipality of Glasgow. What are the possible reasons which justify a new departure of this character in the matter of local government? It may be said that the county councils at present have not powers properly to administer populous areas, or that, having powers, they do not exercise them. I do not think that either of those statements, so far as Lanarkshire is concerned, has any foundation in fact. County councils have very large powers to carry on the work of administering populous areas, and, so far as my knowledge goes, they are not slow to avail themselves of them. Even supposing both contentions were true, the remedy in Scotland would not be that proposed in the Bill. If, on the one hand, a county council neglects to use its powers, you should give the Local Government 212 Board power to put pressure on the county council; or if, on the other hand, a county council has not the powers, fresh powers-should be given, but not, as this Bill proposes, to another and a different local authority altogether. I see a certain amount of danger in the proposal. In the first place, there is the obvious danger of friction between local authorities. Even although there are provisions in Clause 54 and elsewhere with a view to smoothing: over the friction, I still think there- is bound to be a not inconsiderable amount of difficulty and bitterness brought into the relations of the different local authorities. That is serious from the point of view of the inhabitants of the area in dispute, but there is a question much more serious. What is likely to happen when you have an area which will probably be sought to be included by an urban authority in one of these town planning schemes? Is it not absolutely certain that a county-council, before spending any large amount of money in that area, will wait to see whether the urban, authority proposes to include it in one of its schemes? The county council will not spend large sums of money in a particular area which is almost certain within a few years to be taken away from it. When an urban local authority came to this House to ask for an extension of the borough bounds, it would be an almost irresistible argument in its favour if it could show that for a number of years it had been administering that area for the purposes of this Act. Further, it is obvious that, pending the preparation of any such scheme, the inhabitants of that locality are likely to be in a very difficult position, because the urban authority will have no power to spend money on the area, and the county council will be disinclined to incur expenditure in connection with territory which before long is likely to be taken away from it. I quite recognise that you cannot expect local authorities in this matter to work in absolutely water-tight compartments; but it would be a thousand pities if for the sake of the benefits of a town planning scheme you were to have in the intervening period a paralysis of local government in the area to be affected. I suggest that at all events further provisions should be inserted in the Bill giving, the council of an area likely to be affected by a scheme greater powers to make themselves heard before the scheme is approved. I ask, in the first place, that the county council should have a statutory right to be heard before a scheme of an adjoining urban local authority is ap- 213 proved by the Local Government Board; and, in the second place, that when a joint board is created the county council should have a statutory right to representation upon it. If those two conditions were given effect to much of the difficulty of the present proposals would be removed. While. I have every desire that the right hon. Gentleman's schemes should bear the fruit we all hope they will, I am afraid that in this particular they are likely to bring about a certain amount of bitterness between local authorities and a considerable amount of hardship and neglect in the areas affected.
§ 5.0 P.M.
§ Mr. BURNS
So far as this Clause and the Amendment just moved specially concern Scotland, I will leave the Lord Advocate to supplement what I have said on the general scheme. The hon. Member himself frankly admitted that he had no desire to keep local authorities promoting town planning schemes in watertight compartments. Whilst making that generous admission he also said that there would arise under this Bill a certain amount of overlapping. When a local authority promotes a town planning scheme which takes within its purview a neighbouring area without which the scheme would be impossible, a certain amount of overlapping of action and intention is inevitable, and nothing the hon. Member can suggest or we can do in this Bill will prevent it. What we have to do is to mitigate the hardship of the inevitable overlapping. What steps do we take to do that? Take the City of Glasgow. The City of Glasgow is a very enterprising and ambitious body. It has shown great energy and ability in its wonderful system of tramways, which, in my opinion, must be an adjunct of any rational town planning scheme. I believe that in that particular Glasgow has had no difficulty in coming to an arrangement with the adjoining townships, so that so far as tramways are concerned there is not much fear of friction, or overlapping, and the mutual interests of the outer townships and of the city are advantageously served by the central authority owning and working the tramways. Supposing Glasgow decides upon a town planning scheme, looking 10 or 15, probably 50 years ahead, as I trust growing cities will seriously undertake to do. Under the present Amendment we should find that Govan, Partick, and other places would be able to say, "Oh, Glasgow is impinging upon our territory; we have a right to be 214 heard. We can defy Glasgow and prevent its expanding in this way." This is not an expansion of a city's authority and jurisdiction with the object of grabbing territory for the purpose of getting rateable value, or improving its treasury, or reducing its rates relatively at the expense of the adjoining townships. The object of the expansion is to confer an advantage upon Glasgow itself, whilst at the same time conferring a greater benefit upon the relatively undeveloped townships outside, which, for lack of a joint town planning scheme, 15 or 20 years hence, would be considerably damnified. Therefore, on the merits of the Amendment, we cannot allow large cities to be cribbed, cabined, and confined by recalcitrant local authorities, who do not take a prescient view of their growth and development; but we have a right to say to them, "No; you: can join in with the larger city, and as a joint authority you can promote a town planning scheme mutually agreeable and beneficial. You shall go to the Local Government Board of the particular country in which you are situated and make it the medium for bringing together at a public inquiry and adjusting and arbitrating upon, probably without much difficulty, the conflicting schemes of both authorities." That is particularly easy with regard to Scotland, because I understand that the county councils of Scotland enjoy analogous powers and responsibilities to those of the urban district councils in England. They can do many things both as a county council and as an urban district which an English urban district cannot do as a county council or a county council as an urban district. So that in that regard this particular part of Lanarkshire would be safeguarded. Then he said, "What about the inhabitants?" Is it safe to assume that the County Council of Lanarkshire cannot be left to safeguard the interests of the inhabitants of Lanarkshire as against this invading local authority for the invading local authority's future benefit? He will pardon me if I cannot differentiate between the inhabitants themselves and their civic representation—namely, the city of which they form a part. The other point which he raised is, "What is the safeguard?" If he looks at Sub-section (3) of Clause 54 he will see that the joint body may be responsible, and it is only right that it should be so for cities like Glasgow and London. For instance, why should not 215 London and West Ham come to a mutual arrangement to take joint action? If that can be done this Bill will give every facility for it. I really do not apprehend the trouble which the hon. Gentleman implies. On the contrary, I believe if there is a part in the United Kingdom where town planning is more desirable than any other it is the River Clyde. If there is a part of the world where the natural beauty and what were the greatest amenities in the United Kingdom have been sacrificed to local and pettifogging claims of a parochial character it is to be found within Glasgow and within a 12 or 15 miles' radius. The hon. Member can rest assured of this: When my Department and myself had the intention of forming a town planning scheme we had in our minds and heart the great city of Glasgow, 50 per cent. of whose people are living in one or two rooms, where housing conditions are intolerable, where almost one can say of some stretches of the river, "Where every prospect did please, and where man has made it vile." To prevent a continuation of that is the object of our town planning scheme, and we consider Lanarkshire will be well protected, and that Glasgow will be able to improve its future development without any injustice being done to anybody.
§ Sir FRANCIS POWELL
There has been shown in this Debate a disposition to make this Bill as useful as possible, but there must be some limitation to its application. I must confess that I have always felt an extension beyond the district was attended with great risk. The phraseology of this term "neighbourhood" is unfortunate. I am not quite sure it is to be found in the law books. It is rather a term of conversation, one used in the Debates, and of a vague character. I think, if we are going at all beyond the boundary, it ought not to be put in this vague form. Instead of the term "neighbourhood," I think the phrase should rather be "adjacent to" or "immediately contiguous to," or Something of that kind. The word "neighbourhood" might include some district not adjoining, which might have some peculiar recommendation of its own. I think it would be a very hard case to the other district for the original district, or to term it so, to the district proposed to be added, that so vague a definition of duties and powers should be given as is described in these very vague terms. Action under this Clause and many other 216 parts of the Bill is compulsory. That, I think, aggravates my objection. When you are to apply compulsory powers you surely ought to define in a very careful manner the area in which it is proposed to exercise those powers. These difficulties have occurred to me from the first in connection with this phraseology. I did not raise them before the Standing Committee, because we had plenty of work on hand at that time. I believe it will be a grave defect in the Bill if it is allowed to go through.
§ Viscount MORPETH
I am afraid that the Amendment, as it stands, goes beyond what some of us wish, and what, indeed, my hon. Friend desires to do. He only desires to draw attention to necessary safeguards. It is quite obvious that for large and populous centres like the big cities of this country there must be facilities for town planning over a large area, which, perhaps, will stretch into the jurisdiction of neighbouring county councils. I do not think any rural districts, as distinguished from urban parts of this country, desire to stop that planning in what may be called their territory. What we do desire is that full guarantees shall be given to county councils that nothing shall be done on the territory under their jurisdiction without their full knowledge, both ample and given in plenty of time. Further, that if they wish for it—I can quite conceive in many cases they may not wish it—they should be entitled to representation. In Sub-section (3), Clause 54, power is taken by the Local Government Board to adjudicate as to which of two authorities is to be the responsible authority. No doubt in almost every case the responsible authority will be the town authority which is making the town planning scheme. It is only right that it should be so. But I suggest to the President of the Local Government Board that if the outside authorities desire representation they should be entitled to it as a right. As the Clause is drawn it is only to be given to them if the Local Government Board so directs, or, indeed, it may be given to the composite authority. There is no guarantee that the county council will be represented. We turn to Schedule 5, and I would ask the attention of the right hon. Gentleman to this, and ask him, when he replies, to give us some information concerning it. Under paragraph (c)—" Objections and representations by persons affected"—"persons affected" seems to mean only private individuals, landowners, and the like who 217 may consider themselves aggrieved. I wish to know whether an outside authority such as the county council is included in the expression "persons affected," or if they are left altogether out of the Schedule? These are the two points I desire to mention: First, as to whether an outside authority such as the county council can be held to be specified in Schedule 5? Secondly, whether the right hon. Gentleman will favourably consider the proposal to give an outside authority representation as a right, if they wish it, on any joint body that maybe constituted?
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
One word about the speech which the right hon. Gentleman has made in reply to me. I listened with some attention to it, and I fail to gather what are his views with regard to the two suggestions which I put forward in mitigaton of these difficulties which he himself admits are not unlikely to occur. I may say again that I do not want to press this Amendment with the object of shutting up the authorities in separate cells. But I have brought it forward because I do want to point out, what the right hon. Gentleman recognises, that there are great difficulties in the way of practical administration. The right hon. Gentleman has referred to Glasgow and neighbourhood. I do not understand him to suggest for one moment that there has been any conflict between, let me say, the Lanarkshire County Council or that of Dumbartonshire; but what I do suggest is this: that in the case of a scheme brought forward for town planning by the City of Glasgow, which goes into the area of the Lanarkshire County Council or the Dumbartonshire County Council, there shall be powers given as a right to these county councils. One is the power, if they wish it, of representation on the body which is going to be charged with the control of that particular area. The second is that they should have power as a right to be heard by the Local Government Board before the Local Government Board commits itself to a scheme by giving its approval to it. If I understand aright, it seems to me they have under Sub-section (6) a statutory right to be heard in a case of revocation or alteration of the scheme. I cannot find any passage which gives them a statutory right to be heard by the Local Government Board when the scheme is being made. I think that is probably an omission in the drafting of the Bill. Certainly they ought to have the last right, and I also think the right of statutory 218 representation. The right hon. Gentleman did not say anything on that point in his very courteous reply.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
The right hon. Gentleman, replying to my hon. Friend, took the case of Glasgow. In outlining the-scheme, he said that it would not include the Treasury. But all these schemes will be schemes for wasting considerable sums of money. I do not think they will do anything else. I am glad the right hon. Gentleman has admitted that, at any rate, they will not improve the finances of the local authorities, but tend in an opposite direction. He went on to say, "Why should not London and West Ham come to terms?" I do not know why, except that under the Clauses of this Bill there will be no opportunity. London will be able to go to West Ham and say, "We have got the approval of the President of the Local Government Board, and we do not care whether you agree or not. You can take a back seat."
§ Mr. BURNS
The county council could not say that to West Ham, because the Local Government Board would say, Before the county council attempted to put upon West Ham, orvice versâ, that a public inquiry would have to be held. The two bodies affected would be represented and heard, and the scheme promoted would be submitted to this tribunal. The idea of one body dictating in the sense indicated by the hon. Baronet is impossible.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I am afraid the right hon. Gentleman did not quite understand. Perhaps I did not make myself clear. I said provided that London had got the consent of the Local Government Board they could go to West Ham and say, "Oh, we do not care what you think."
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That depends upon who the President of the Local Government Board is going to be. You cannot tell in the least what he is going to be in the future. He might be quite an impossible person. That is not an unlikely contingency. We are legislating for the Local Government Board, not as it exists, 219 but for the time to come. It is no answer to the argument of the hon. Member to say, "Oh, but the Local Government Board is not going to do such a thing" You cannot tell what the Local Government Board is or is not going to do. Under the Clause as it stands, it will have power to allow London to go to West Ham, and to say, "The Local Government Board has decided against you, and we are going to do something which is absolutely against your wishes or desires." The right hon. Gentleman got up and said, "It is not likely that that will occur." That is his opinion. I may as well say, in my opinion, I think it is very likely to occur. We neither of us know what may happen under the provisions of this Bill. The right hon. Gentleman said that Glasgow was, in his opinion, a blot upon the face of the globe with regard to certain things.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Am I not right in saying that there is no lack of empty houses in Glasgow at present? The lack of foresight on the part of the city fathers seems to me in having built too much and not in having built too little.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
That, again, is a matter of opinion. I really do not see how we can tell that the houses were built in wrong places or that they are wrong houses. I quite admit that the Corporation of Glasgow themselves have not built, but they have allowed other people to build. The result is exactly the same whether the houses were built by private enterprise or by public authority. I must say that these words which are proposed to be left out of the Amendment seem to me to be very dangerous and to give enormous powers to the local authority and to the Local Government Board. I really 220 think these ought to be limited in some such sense such as is intended by my hon. Friend. Even then I think it goes a little further than I would go—at any rate, I think the power ought to be limited in some such way as to enable the other local authority to have the power of veto. I do not think one local authority should plant itself down in the middle of another area without the consent of that particular area. I do not know whether my hon. Friend intends to proceed to a Division. I think this is a very serious question. There is one possible doubt which only occurred to me just this moment, and that is that in all probability the local authorities will be at loggerheads in a few years and the scheme will be a failure. I think it is extremely likely, and if the right hon. Gentleman desires that his Bill should be a success, and does not desire to bring a hornet's nest about his ears, I suggest that he should accept this Amendment.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
I think the views put forward by my hon. Friend are very sensible. I speak as a friend of this Clause, and I think my hon. Friend is quite right in saying that a serious risk was involved in the Clause as it stands at present by reason of the friction that may arise among the conflicting authorities, and you cannot do a better thing to obviate that possible friction than to do with the local authorities what every Briton likes to have done, namely, to give them a fair hearing, in the first instance, before the Local Government Board, to see whether the scheme should be authorised at all, and to give them some representation upon the resident authority in order that the invaded local authority may assure its constituents that, at any rate, nothing has been done callously or heatedly or without due representation by persons really competent to represent the matter of responsible authority. I feel quite certain that the power is absolutely necessary if you are to have a town planning scheme of an extensive character; that is, if you should have power to invade other local authorities—I do not use the words in any hostile sense—if you have power to come into the territories of other county councils. The whole merit in my view of this Bill, and I think it has very great merits, is that it enables a far-sighted view to be taken. Therefore, I think this provision is necessary, and I think, and my hon. Friend agrees with me, you allow it to be imperilled by friction with local authorities, which I have often seen in my time, and which will undoubtedly be a risk. I can 221 hardly resist saying that the instance given of the County Council and West Ham is rather a curious instance. I remember your predecessor in the chair, Mr. Emmott, saying when an accusation was made in this House that the Prime Minister was in collusion with the Chairman of Committees, and somebody rose to Order, "It is in Order to say that the Prime Minister is in collusion with the Chairman of Committees, but it is not in Order to say that the Chairman of Committees is in collusion with the Prime Minister" Some such position is taken up by the London County Council having the right to invade West Ham if it pleases, while in no case is West Ham to invade London.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I do not propose to go over the ground of this controversy, but the hon. Member for Lanark put one or two queries which were reinforced by the right hon. Gentleman who just sat down. The right hon. Gentleman said it is undoubtedly necessary in any town planning scheme that the local authority most affected should have power to go out beyond its boundaries, but he thinks some limits should be put to their powers. It is not very easy to find phraseology defining or limiting the lines beyond which a, local authority shall not go as to its boundaries. It is not very easy to put limitations of a geographical character, or of a character involving measure upon a local authority. The general principle is not easy to lay down. All that you can do is to try and check any improper application of that power. I do not myself see how the draftsman of a measure of this kind could adopt any other words than those which have been put into the Bill giving power in general terms, but taking care that there is some check upon its exercise either involved in the principle of the Bill, or in the machinery of the Bill. I think the checks here are very adequate. First, there is the question of the period on the part of the county council. The hon. Member asked whether the word "person" includes a corporation. It is quite clear it does. The word "person" is freely used, and there is no doubt as to the powers of representation given to persons, and the word "person" does include corporation. The interpretation includes any corporate body, so any corporate body would have the power under the 5th Schedule to make objections and representations.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
No, no. Power to make representations only in the 222 case of the varying or revoking of a scheme.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I think not, The hon. Member has not quite distinguished between two sections. Varying and revoking is Clause 53, Sub-section (6), and that is not the section which refers to the 5th Schedule. The Clause referring to the 5th Schedule is 55, and that Clause gives very general power to the Local Government Board to make regulations for very general purposes, and it goes on to say provision shall be made by these regulations (c) I miss out (a) and (b) for they are dealing with other matters mentioned in the 5th Schedule, which has nothing to do with the varying or revoking. The 5th Schedule (c) says, "Hearing of objections and representations by persons affected" Now reading that as interpreted by the Interpretations Act it would mean "hearing of objections and representations by bodies corporate or societies otherwise interested." So there is doubt about the power of hearing upon the making of a scheme. The case under the Clause to which the hon. Member refers, that is, Clause 53 (6), deals with the power of varying and revoking of any scheme. Another point put of which I feel the force, but which I think is thoroughly met by the provisions of the Bill, is as to the joint body where the land is in the area of more than one local authority the Local Government Board may direct who shall be the responsible authority. It may select the responsible authority from among the local authorities, and that, I think, is a wise discretion. It may also divide the powers; it may be that the county council only desires to preserve certain powers without using them thoroughly. They may say to the Local Government Board, "We do not want to delegate our members to take part in the actual management, but we do want to see certain powers carefully preserved," and the power is given to the Local Government Board to say you may give representation in its fullest sense—you may constitute the county council a part of the authority which comes into its area. I think these difficulties have been very thoroughly and usefully raised, and are met by the machinery of the Bill. And, although the Bill may have some defects, still I think, on the whole, the machinery contained in it is the best.
§ Mr. MITCHELL-THOMSON
I am very much obliged to the right hon. and learned Gentleman for the information 223 he has given us, but I am bound to say while I would prefer that the local authority affected should have statutory representation on the body and should not have to rely upon the possibility of the Local Government Board giving that representation, I do not think, in the circumstances, that I should be right in pressing the Amendment, and will, therefore, ask leave to withdraw.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Mr. MUNRO FERGUSON
moved, in Sub-section (2), after the word "or" ["or may authorise a local authority to adopt"], to insert the words "with the consent of the local authority, and, subject to any agreement between such authority and the owners, the Board."
Under the Clause as it stands, any individual or any body can prepare a plan without consulting the Local Government Board. I think a local authority ought to give its consent to any scheme prepared by any individual or by any other authority. I think that is a fair proposition, and it is one which is certainly very generally supported in Scotland. I think that is a form of responsibility which ought to be allowed to the local authority under the Bill. The town council of Glasgow would have to go to the Scottish Local Government Board and ask consent to bring in a plan. I think that would be an absurdity. If an individual landowner or any society or corporation can draft a scheme without the consent of the central authority, it is only reasonable that the local authority should be allowed to do the same thing without having to get the consent of the Local Government Board. I know this matter was debated in Committee, but I still think that the consent of the Board ought not to be necessary in the case of a borough council any more than in the case of a private landowner or any society. I beg to move.
§ Mr. BURNS
The Clause relating to this matter was carried on the Grand Committee without a Division. I mention that fact to bring home to the hon. Member for Leith Burghs, who moved this Amendment, that after deliberate consideration and discussion at considerable length the Committee were under the impression that this was the best way to proceed with the promotion of town planning schemes. It is perfectly true to say that private owners are allowed to prepare schemes, but I wish to point out that the Local Government 224 Board has not the power over the private owner that it has over the local authorities. Nothing that the hon. Gentleman might suggest can alter that condition of things. If any body is anxious to promote a town planning scheme they will draft a scheme, prepare plans and specifications, and if aprimâ facie case for presenting them to the Local Government Board for Scotland is made out, the Board would probably allow it to proceed. It might, for instance, say to Glasgow, "There is no objection to you making a preliminary effort and drafting a hypothetical scheme to materialise before it comes before the inquiry," but I do not think in the case of the scheme referred to by the hon. Member the central authority would be justified in accepting such a condition as that which is laid down in the Amendment. In the judgment of the Government the local authorities are sufficiently protected, and as we have not the same power over the private owners as we enjoy over local authorities it seems to me that we ought to give a private owner some protection, and some guarantee against a reactionary or non-progressive local authority which is determined to put every obstacle in the way of an owner co-operating with the local authority at the right time in the right way, and where a private owner is benevolently inclined to improve the amenities of his district that private owner ought to be protected. For these reasons we think the local authority is sufficiently safeguarded, and I ask my hon. Friend not to press his Amendment.
§ Mr. MUNRO FERGUSON
My right hon. Friend should bear in mind that there are a number of syndicates or associations, and they will be able to draw up schemes without first obtaining the approval of the local authority. I do not think local authorities should be put in an inferior position to syndicates and associations of that kind. In England associations of this kind put in a claim to have direct access to the Local Government Board, and this was very much resented by local authorities. There is the same sort of feeling in Scotland in regard to syndicates being able to prepare schemes before they get the approval of the Local Government Board. I may say that the Local Government Board in Scotland is a body which does not carry much confidence. Under the circumstances I ask leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.225
§ Sir F. BANBURY
moved, in Sub-section (3), to leave out the words "a piece of land already built upon, or." If those words are not left out the Local Government Board will have a most extraordinary power. They will have power "where it is made to appear to the Local Government Board that a piece of land already built upon, or a piece of land not likely to be used for building purposes, is so situated" to adopt a scheme which will allow them to demolish or alter the buildings already in existence on this piece of land. A piece of land in a Bill of this sort may not sound anything very alarming, and the President of the Local Government Board may tell us that neither the local authority nor the Local Government Board will be likely to do anything foolish. This House has to take care that they have not the power to do anything foolish. Supposing there was a local authority, who fancied themselves great architects and great improvers of the human race generally. Such an authority might practically demolish a whole town, because there is no limitation under this Clause. The hon. Member, for Blackburn (Mr. Snowden) might some day be President of the Local Government Board, and he might authorise the demolition of a whole town and re-erect it at the cost of the ratepayers in an æsthetic and artistic manner quite regardless of the consideration as to whether the new scheme would pay. Under these particular words, as the Noble Lord the Member for Marylebone (Lord R. Cecil) pointed out, the station of a railway company, the works of the water company, or the docks of a harbour board might all be demolished under these particular words. I fail to see any limit to what will arise if these words are left in. I hope the President of the Local Government Board will not reply that local authorities or the Local Government Board are not likely to do anything so foolish. I am not questioning theirbonâ fides, but I am anxious that we should lay down the exact conditions which we wish to be enacted in the Bill. There is no doubt that the functions of the House of Commons are rapidly being taken away, and there is a tendency to say that if a Department requires a certain thing it is sufficient for them to give the House of Commons a general outline, and hon. Members are asked to put such trust in them and give them power to do whatever they please without coming to the House for confirmation of those powers. Only yesterday we were told that Parliament ought to concern itself 226 only with Imperial matters, and all other matters should be left to the different Departments. The hon. Member for Leith Burghs said he had no confidence in the Local Government Board for Scotland. Here we have, not a benighted Tory, but a Radical Member, stating that he has no confidence in the Local Government Board for Scotland. and yet you are proposing by this Clause to give to that very body which Scotch Members have no confidence in, the power to take a piece of land which has been built upon and demolish those buildings. I think the height of absurdity has been reached when the House of Commons is asked to sanction such a procedure. Why not do away with the House of Commons altogether, and let the right hon. Gentleman opposite legislate as he likes? That would save a great deal of trouble and a great deal of speech-making to an empty House. Hon. Members who support the Government do not take the trouble to listen to the Debate, because they prefer to be on the Terrace or in the smoking-room.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
Unfortunately we are a very small number, and only comprise about one-fourth of the House of Commons. Upon the last Amendment I said I was afraid the result of the decision of the right hon. Gentleman to accept the Amendment would bring a hornets' nest about his ears. He does not seem to mind that, and I know he is a man of great courage, but he does not realise what may be the effect of these particular words if, all over the country houses are to be demolished at the sweet will of the local authority and himself. The financial effects alone will be so bad that the right hon. Gentleman will regret he did not accept this Amendment. I would appeal to him to show a little more disposition to meet his opponents. Up to the present time he has shown no signs of any disposition to meet hon. Members on this side of the House. I do not know whether he has been relying upon the powers given to him under the guillotine or whether he does not think our protests are worth attention. I am glad to see that the Prime Minister ha3 returned to the House. Perhaps he will be able to put a little pressure on his colleague, who is really so hard and unbending that it is quite impossible to obtain the slightest concession from him. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will listen 227 to the arguments of my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Cave) and, if he thinks there is anything in them, that he will request the President of the Local Government Board to be more lenient to the Opposition. I can assure the Prime Minister that we have put our arguments in the most courteous way, and not in the least in any endeavour to be factious or to create opposition for the mere sake of opposition.
§ Mr. BURNS
The hon. Baronet is giving me a character for firmness that I really do not deserve. If he will take the trouble to look at the Division Lists of yesterday—and there were 15 Divisions—he will find that in 10 out of the 15 Divisions we made concessions more or less with a view of tempering the wind to the shorn lamb.
§ Mr. BURNS
Sufficient for the day was the goodness thereof. With regard to today, I have already expressed my willingness to the hon. Member for one of the Divisions of Lanarkshire to move a number of reasonable Amendments, which I think sufficient for their object, and the hon. Baronet is doing me an injustice when he says I am absolutely firm and unyielding. I must, however, tell the hon. Baronet that on the particular point he raises he does not give me much opportunity for making a concession, because the complaint he makes, I think, events will prove is unreasonable, not to say unfair. He asks us to cut out certain words from Sub-section (3) of Clause 53. The Sub-section reads:—
"(3) Where it is made to appear to the Local Government Board that a piece of land already built upon, or a piece of land not likely to be used for building purposes, is so situated with respect to any land likely to be used for building purposes that it ought to be included in any town planning scheme made with respect to the last-mentioned land, the Board may authorise the preparation or adoption of a scheme including such piece of land as aforesaid, and providing for the demolition or alteration of any buildings thereon so far as may be necessary for carrying the scheme into effect."
When we worded the Sub-section as I have read it, we had this situation in view. You have a township, say, of 10,000 acres, three-quarters of which is occupied by houses, roads, parks, and other amenities. 228 It is necessary either for a town planning scheme of a single authority, or for a scheme of the authority of that township and an adjoining authority, to extend say to the westward of the town. There is a road, say a road approaching to the railway station, abutting upon a piece of land that is to be included within the town planning scheme. The road is only 16 or 15 feet wide, and it is necessary for railway purposes and for the purposes of the town planning scheme that that 18 feet road should be converted into a road 40, 50, or 60 feet wide. That will impinge upon the corner of a field in which there is a pigsty, a tool shed, or an outhouse, perhaps of a golf club. Are we to say that the town planning scheme shall not be allowed to proceed, and that the local authority or authorities shall not have the power to pull down a building of that kind? It would be an absurd restriction of the town planning scheme, and of the sensible powers which a local authority ought to have, and which, if it were an urban authority, it would probably have under Michael Angelo Taylor's Act. The hon. Member for St. George's, Hanover-square (Mr. Lyttelton) and the hon. Member for Birkenhead (Mr. H. Vivian) knows that in garden cities and garden suburbs like Bourneville, Letchworth, and Port Sunlight there were a few sheds or buildings that had to be absorbed or appropriated in the mapping out of the general town planning schemes, and the local authority ought to have power, on fair and equitable terms, to pull down such buildings.
§ Mr. CAVE
So far as this refers to buildings that can be removed or taken under Michael Angelo Taylor's Act, I think the Government might rely upon the present law. The Clause, however, makes town planning schemes retrospective, and it means that the Local Government Board, without any consent, may make or approve of a scheme compelling the removal of buildings already erected. You must read these particular words with the words at the end of Sub-section (3), namely, "The scheme may provide for the demolition or alteration of any buildings thereon so far as may be necessary for carrying the scheme into effect." You must also read it with the later Clause, which provides that without any appeal to the court the Board may, if it thinks the house is an obstruction to the scheme, authorise the authority without any order of any court summarily to remove the building. These 229 are great powers, and I do think they want a little more consideration than was given to them in the speech of the right hon. Gentleman. I always object to giving these wholly arbitrary powers to a Government Department. The Local Government Board, according to this Section, are made the judges of whether land is likely to be used for building. Even although the owner has not the least intention of using it for building purposes, the Board may say, "The land is likely to be so used." Having given that decision, they are again to say whether neighbouring land or buildings which have already been erected before the Act was brought in ought to be included in the scheme. Those buildings may be not the buildings of a golf club or any buildings of that kind, but a house or even a row of houses.
If the authority, backed by the Government Department, thinks that particular house or that particular row of houses is not in accordance with the scheme they desire to see carried out they can compel the pulling down of that house or houses. I think that is monstrous. It is all very well to lay down your plans for the future. It is well and wise to do that, but I think it is an innovation, and an unwise one, that Parliament should empower any Department, without any obligation to come to Parliament again, to pull down existing houses in order to give effect to some scheme they have in their minds. To be quite fair, if the Bill contained anything like fair provision for compensation, part of my objection would be removed, but, according to my view, which I hold very strongly, there is no such provision in the Bill. The only compensation provisions are those in Clause 57, which provides that the amount of loss or gain to an owner is to be determined by the Local Government Board—by the very people who are backing the scheme, who have approved of it, and may perhaps have inspired it. They are to say what is to be paid to the owner as compensation for his land taken or for his buildings compulsorily pulled down. I think that is grossly unfair, and is likely to be the occasion of very great injustice to owners who are affected by this scheme. There is to be no appeal to any court. There is this further extraordinary provision. If the Local Government Board think a man is going to gain by the scheme they may say so, and he must pay his contribution at once; but if they think he is going to lose, they are indeed to say so, but he is not to get compensation until the loss actually occurs. I have never seen in 230 any Bill a provision more unfair or more inadequate than this which deals with compensation, and it is partly because I object to these compensation provisions as unfair that I also object to the power given by this Clause to pull down houses. While it is right, and I am quite in sympathy with it, to authorise local authorities to make town planning schemes—to lay down lines on which future buildings may be erected—I do insist that it is no necessary and proper part of that provision that you should also enable local authorities to go back and object to buildings already erected in perfect good faith before any scheme was thought of and to compel the pulling down of those buildings without fair compensation.
§ 6.0 P.M.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
My view of this matter will very largely depend upon whether the right hon. Gentleman is able to make any satisfactory statement as to his attitude about the compensation Clauses. I am rather a strong advocate of compulsory powers where they are necessary. I think if there is real cause for a town planning scheme in the public interest I would be very strongly in favour of compulsory powers being used providing, of course, that those whose interests are affected shall have full compensation. The right hon. Gentleman says we will deal with that compensation afterwards. What I want to point out is that the proposals for dealing with it in the Bill are of a very unsatisfactory nature, and it is impossible for well wishers of the measure to consent to its provisions because of the unsatisfactory and possibly unjust character of the tribunal to be erected under the compensation Clauses. My hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Cave) has pointed out there may be cases of great hardship in the demolition or alteration of buildings under this scheme. I may point out also that very hard cases indeed have occurred to landowners and proprietors under schemes of public utility which have been promoted under the existing law. I was myself counsel for a man who, by virtue of a permanent water scheme, was compelled to acquiesce in the placing of a reservoir in the middle of valuable buildings which he had erected, and, considering the very large interests involved, it was deemed necessary that he should be so treated. Of course, he got full compensation, but still there was the hardship. A case might arise in which a house stands in such a position that, in order for a town planning scheme to be effective it should 231 be taken away. The whole question, to my mind, is this. Is the scheme really of public utility? If that be answered in the affirmative, then, it may be asked, are the persons whose property stand in the way of the carrying out to be reasonably, properly, and fully indemnified for the loss which they may sustain? I am perfectly prepared to go the length of saying that. in the few cases where buildings have to be demolished, they should be demolished provided there is a proper scheme of compensation, but I shall feel bound to vote for the Amendment unless the President of the Local Government Board is able to say that he will consider, with an open mind, Amendments with regard to the compensation scheme, and that he will withdraw from this Bill the really monstrous proposition which could not possibly stand discussion, except under the guillotine, that the Local Government Board itself should fix the price to be paid to the persons grievously injured without any right of appeal. I am really amazed that our representations in this matter have not been more favourably met ere this. I earnestly desire to point out that the good feeling with which this Bill—or rather, many parts of it—has been received throughout the whole country, is being grievously imperilled by provisions which, I quite agree, are unusual as well as very drastic, in respect of compensation. I appeal, in the strongest way, to the right hon. Gentleman to give some reasonable satisfaction to those who feel so very strongly on this point.
§ Mr. BURNS
Before we come to the terms of compensation under this Bill, or any suggested modification which the hon. and learned Gentleman (Mr. Cave) may construe as an improvement, I think we ought roughly to agree on matters of fact. Later on the question of compensation will be raised both by myself and by the Attorney-General, and we shall respond to the invitations tendered by the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover-square (Mr. Lyttelton). But I repeat we must deal with facts before we come to the question of compensation. May I put this to the House? Suppose a private owner wishes to improve house property; he is able to dispossess, evict, and demolish buildings occupied by people on a large tract of what may be deemed to be undeveloped land. Or take the case of a railway company. It may, for some public purpose, wish to acquire 232 a property upon which there are a number of buildings held by leaseholders and freeholders and occupied by tenants. The company will come to this House and ask for powers to acquire that property, for, presumably, public purposes, and it will be allowed to dispossess, evict, and demolish; and, as a rule, the consideration given to the tenants in these cases is covered by a grant of from 30s. to £5, to cover the expense of removing the furniture. We do not intend to follow that procedure under this Act. Let me put this case to the hon. Gentleman opposite. If the houses in the district proposed to be acquired were insanitary, they could be pulled down and a minimum amount of compensation given to the owner. That would be done in the interests of public health and of the sanitation of the area. If the owner were unwilling that they should be pulled down, the local authority could promote either a Provisional Order or a Public Act, and take possession of the property. What is it we are proposing? It is that the local authority shall be empowered, for the purposes-of public benefit, to pursue the line of least resistance for the community. If it wants to carry out a town planning scheme, on a certain tract of mainly undeveloped land—in many cases agricultural land—with a few buildings intervening, the local authority is to have the power, in the interests of the community as a whole, to acquire sheds, broken-down farm buildings and other erections hardly worth any consideration. It does seem to me it would be cracking the nut with a Nasmyth steam hammer to declare that the bothy, the tool shed, the pigsty, or the derelict farm building should be made the subject of proceedings in a court of law, when a process which I am convinced would be equally just might be adopted by the appointment of an arbitrator by the Local Government Board to fix the amount of compensation. The Local Government Board itself, under this Act, is to have the power to determine the price, or to appoint an arbitrator, which in some cases it would do. It does seem ridiculous that in order to acquire these buildings we should resort to a costly and tortuous process altogether disproportionate to the object to be attained. We cannot accept the Amendment, and we do not think that the question of compensation should be brought up at this moment.
§ Viscount MORPETH
The right hon. Gentleman does not seem to be able to 233 get certain elementary facts into his head. I agree with the President of the Local Government Board, as well as with the right hon. Gentleman the Member for St. George's, Hanover-square, that this policy of town planning can only be a sham unless you have power to clear away the buildings which prevent its being made effective, and which will enable the substitution of straight and suitable roads for narrow, winding lanes. The right hon. Gentleman has said that we must take things in their right order, and must deal with facts first and compensation afterwards. In my opinion that is not the right order. I may be willing to sell a horse, but the first question is, what price I am going to get.
§ Viscount MORPETH
I would make no contract with the right hon. Gentleman to sell him a horse until I knew something about the price he is going to offer me, and it is not likely I would bind myself to sell the animal to him if he is to be the arbitrator to fix the price. That is a most extraordinary proposal. It is a new sense in which to present the term "arbitrator." It is a sense peculiar, I should say, to the right hon. Gentleman. No other person would accept it. I repeat that the right hon. Gentleman is totally unable to appreciate elementary facts.
§ For weeks last Session we were trying to drive them into his head. We have also been trying to do it this Session, but yet he seems to think it is sufficient for him to say, "I am convinced." When he has said that he apparently holds that we should drop our opposition altogether. He says, "I am convinced myself that the Local Government Board will be a fair and just court." I have no doubt he is so convinced, but the public are not, and the right hon. Gentleman is bound to produce something more than his own convictions. I would willingly vote with him against the Amendment if he would give us some assurance that he will meet us not merely with an open mind or with sympathy, but give us some definite assurance that if we vote against this Amendment we shall have established some court which we can trust, and which will not itself be a party to the transaction. This seems to me to be a plunge from the old system to which we have been accustomed in these Western countries into Oriental habits which I hope will never become acclimatised here. Unless the right hon. Gentleman will give us some assurance that he will consider this question of compensation, which I assure him is not the least but the first consideration, I shall be compelled to vote for the Amendment.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 196; Noes, 49.235
|Division No. 561.]||AYES.||[6.15 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John|
|Agar-Robartes, Hon. T. C. R.||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Glendinning, R. G.|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Condon, Thomas Joseph||Glover, Thomas|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Griffith, Ellis J.|
|Barnard, E. B.||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Guest, Hon. Ivor Churchill|
|Barnes, G. N.||Crean, Eugene||Gulland, John W.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Crooks, William||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius|
|Beale, W. P.||Crosfield, A. H.||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Cullinan, J.||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Curran, Peter Francis||Hart-Davies, T.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Hayden, John Patrick|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hazleton. Richard|
|Bright, J. A.||Dobson, Thomas W.||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Duckworth, Sir James||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)|
|Brooke, Stopford||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Henry, Charles S.|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Elibank, Master of||Higham, John Sharp|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Evans, Sir S. T.||Hobhouse, Rt. Hon. Charles E. H.|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Everett, R. Lacey||Hedge, John|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Falconer, J.||Hogan, Michael|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Fenwick, Charles||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Ferens, T. R||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)|
|Cleland, J. W.||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Hudson, Walter|
|Clough, William||Fiennes, Hon. Eustace||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Clynes, J. R.||Flynn, James Christopher||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Fullerton, Hugh||Jackson, R. S.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Joyce, Michael||Nolan, Joseph||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Norman, Sir Henry||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Nussey, Sir Willans||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Lambert, George||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Snowden, P.|
|Lamont, Norman||O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||O'Doherty, Philip||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Lehmann, R. C.||O'Malley, William||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Parker, James (Halifax)||Summerbell, T.|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Paul, Herbert||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Lundon, T.||Paulton, James Mellor||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Pointer, J.||Tomkinson, James|
|Mackarness, Frederic C.||Power, Patrick Joseph||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Radford, G. H.||Verney, F. W.|
|Macpherson, J. T.||Rainy, A. Rolland||Vivian, Henry|
|MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Waring, Walter|
|M'Callum, John M.||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Maddison, Frederick||Rees, J. D.||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Massie, J.||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W)||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Micklem, Nathaniel||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Robinson, S.||Williamson, Sir A.|
|Mond, A.||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Mooney, J. J.||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Roe, Sir Thomas||Winfrey, R.|
|Morrell, Philip||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Wood, T. M'Kinnen|
|Morse, L. L.||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Young, Samuel|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Muldoon, John||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Myer, Horatio||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Nannetti, Joseph P.||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Napier, T. B.||Sheehy, David|
|Balcarres, Lord||Gretton, John||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Hill, Sir Clement||Stanier, Beville|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hunt, Rowland||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Valentia, Viscount|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morpeth, Viscount||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Fell, Arthur||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Younger, George|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Forster, Henry William||Oddy, John James|
|Foster, P. S.||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp||Cave and Sir F. Banbury.|
|Goulding, Edward Alfred||Pretyman, E. G.|
§ Mr. CAVE
moved, in Sub-section (7), to leave out the words at the end, "And the decision of the Local Government Board, whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not, shall be final."
The purpose of this Amendment is to leave out the words which require the Local Government Board to decide, without appeal, whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not. This is only one of a large number of powers given to the Board under this Bill, and I do want to call attention to the fact, that throughout the Bill the whole decision of almost every point that can arise under this enactment is given to this Government 236 Department. I tried to make a list of powers given to the Local Government Board under this Bill, but it was very difficult to be sure or not whether one had included them all. But let me enumerate only a few, that the Committee may see in what position we are going to be placed by the Bill. First, the Board may authorise the preparation of a scheme, and if the local authority do not want one, the Board may compel the authority to frame a scheme under Clause 60. Then the Board may decide under this Clause whether land is likely to be used for building or not. This they may decide in the face of the opposition of the owner of the land, 237 and they may say that it is likely to be used for that purpose. Then the Board may approve the scheme, amend it, or reject it. The Board may also prescribe a number of provisions to be included in the scheme, including the closing of highways and the suspension of statutes; they may make regulations as to procedure; they may authorise the authority to act upon the scheme in face of the opposition of the owner; without any order of a court they may proceed to pull down buildings, and the Board may decide, without appeal, what compensation is to be paid to the owner for land, or what contribution is to be made by him. They may give power of compulsory purchase, and may enforce a scheme when it is made, and in all these matters, as far as I can see, they may act wholly without appeal. Then there is an extraordinary provision in the Bill, that the Board may themselves act as arbitrators in the matter. The effect of this power may be to prevent any court from interfering, even if the Board is believed to have gone beyond its powers.
There never was such an Act as this passed, and I do not think there was ever such a Bill, and if the Committee assent to it in this form, they are really abrogating the principles which have always guided Parliament in dealing with such matters as this. I am not at all opposed to private property being taken for public purposes, when a fair case is shown, and when the demand is reasonable, but I hold very strongly that the decision ought not to be that of the authority interested, but of some disinterested tribunal. I do not care very much whether it be a Committee of this House or an arbitrator appointed by an independent authority, but I do submit that it is not a wise act to leave all these powers in the hands of the Department which is concerned in pushing the matter through. The Bill enables the Board to say that land is likely to be used for building at a future time, and I agree that if you are going to have town planning somebody must say, but I do suggest, that in case of doubt, the owner shall, if need be, have some sort of recourse to some tribunal, not being the Board itself. Allusion was made yesterday to the provision in the Port of London Act under which an independent person was appointed who was to have the power to say whether the power should be exercised or not. Here, if there is any doubt whether land is likely to be used for building which will come within the scope of the town planning scheme, I think it ought to be entrusted, 238 not to the Board, but to some impartial authority, to see whether that is so or not. This is only one case amongst many, and I do not want to dwell upon it, but it seems to me that I have the right to object in this instance to the whole arbitrary power being placed in the hands of the Board.
§ Mr. BURNS
The hon. and learned Member said he did not intend to discuss, in connection with this Amendment, the larger question of compensation which we hope to discuss later on. I am agreed with the hon. and learned Gentleman upon two statements that he has made. He said in many cases he was in favour of private property being taken for public purposes. That is one of the principles of this Bill. But he went further, and I congratulate him upon it. He said that if town planning was to be a success someone must decide the character of the land and whether it is likely to be built upon or not. Upon these two questions of principle and fact there is no difference between us. The only difference between us, and it keeps cropping up in the hon. and learned Gentleman's mind, is the tribunal to determine the compensation, and the authority which is to decide as to what land shall or shall not be construed as building land. The difference between us can be narrowed down. The hon. and learned Gentleman wants to shift the venue from the Local Government Board to the courts of law.
§ Mr. BURNS
That is practically the same thing. The ordinary courts are to appoint an arbitrator, if any, and it is not to be left to the Local Government Board or the arbitrator the Board may appoint. There really is not any difference. If the venue of the whole position was shifted from the Local Government Board to a court of law or to an arbitrator that the court may appoint, then the hon. Member's contention would disappear if I conceded it, but I cannot concede that point. The reason we object to a court is this. A court means Lands Clauses. It means that a court or a jury is to decide, juries to view, judges or magistrates to determine. It means great delay. If you yield the court it will mean counsel and expert witnesses. It will mean a reversal of the process adopted in the Small Holdings Act which we have incorporated in this Bill, and for these reasons we cannot shift the venue from the Local Government Board inquiry, the inspector, and the arbitrator 239 or the Board if it acts as an arbitrator. I am afraid if the hon. and learned Gentleman and myself were to discuss this from now until doomsday we should not be able to arrive at a closer agreement than now. That is our view, that it would really destroy the vital principle of this Bill, namely, economy and despatch, an opportunity in 99 cases out of 100 of coming to an agreement without recourse either to law or arbitration at all, through the agency of an inspector and a public inquiry. I appeal to the Committee to decide between the hon. and learned Gentleman and myself, and I ask them to adopt the procedure embodied in this Bill in preference to the old, costly, and cumbrous method which a court means, and which we should have to adopt if we accepted the Amendment.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
I am surprised at the speech we have just heard, and I really do not understand it when I put it alongside the previous speech made by the right hon. Gentleman. Ten minutes ago, perhaps, I flatter myself with the idea of getting my vote on the previous Amendment, the right hon. Gentleman said he was going to modify the compensation
§ Clauses. Now he has told my hon. and learned Friend he is not going to.
§ Mr. BURNS
I told the Committee that what modification or alteration of compensation we were inclined to make we would suggest and we have an Amendment down to Clause 57, which we think goes some way. I can assure the right hon. Gentleman that the statement I made then is not incompatible with the statement I have now made.
§ Mr. CAVE
The President has said more than once that these matters will be decided either by the Board or by an arbitrator appointed by the Board. As I read the Bill there is no provision compelling the Board to refer this matter or the matter of compensation to an arbitrator appointed by the Board or otherwise. It may be determined by the Board itself without reference to anyone. I only rise because the right hon. Gentleman has said twice over that the Bill provides that this matter shall be referred to arbitration. It is not so.
§ Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 195; Noes, 51.241
|Division No. 562.]||AYES.||[6.40 p.m.|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Cullinan, J.||Henry, Charles S.|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Curran, Peter Francis||Higham, John Sharp|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)||Hodge, John|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Devlin, Joseph||Hogan, Michael|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)||Holland, Sir William Henry|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.||Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)|
|Barnard, E. B.||Dobson, Thomas W.||Hudson, Walter|
|Barnes, G. N.||Duckworth, Sir James||Idris, T. H. W.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Duffy, William J.||Illingworth, Percy H.|
|Beale, W. P.||Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Jackson, R. S.|
|Beauchamp, E.||Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Johnson, John (Gateshead)|
|Belloc, Hilaire Joseph Peter R.||Elibank, Master of||Jowett, F. W.|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Evans, Sir S. T.||Joyce, Michael|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Everett, R. Lacey||Kekewich, Sir George|
|Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Falconer, J.||Laidlaw, Robert|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Fenwick, Charles||Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)|
|Brodie, H. C.||Ferens, T. R.||Lambert, George|
|Brooke, Stopford||Ferguson, R. C. Munro||Lamont, Norman|
|Bryce, J. Annan||Fullerton, Hugh||Lardner, James Carrige Rushe|
|Burns, Rt. Hon. John||Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)|
|Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Glendinning, R. G.||Lehmann, R. C.|
|Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Glover, Thomas||Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)|
|Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Lewis, John Herbert|
|Clancy, John Joseph||Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes|
|Cleland, J W.||Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)|
|Clough, William||Griffith, Ellis J.||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)|
|Clynes, J. R.||Gulland, John W.||Mackarness, Frederic C.|
|Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.|
|Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift|
|Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Macpherson, J. T.|
|Condon, Thomas Joseph||Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)|
|Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)||Hart-Davies, T.||M'Callum, John M.|
|Corbett. C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)||Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)|
|Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.||Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Maddison, Frederick|
|Cotton, Sir H. J. S.||Hayden, John Patrick||Massie, J.|
|Crean, Eugene||Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Masterman, C. F. G.|
|Crooks, William||Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Meehan, Francis E. (Leitrim, N.)|
|Molteno, Percy Alport||Radford, G. H.||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Mond, A.||Rainy, A. Holland||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Summerbell, T.|
|Morrell, Philip||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Morse, L. L.||Reddy, M.||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Morton, Alpheus Cleophas||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Muldoon, John||Rees, J. D.||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Myer, Horatio||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)||Tomkinson, James|
|Nannetti. Joseph P.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Napier, T. B.||Robinson, S.||Verney, F. W.|
|Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Robson, Sir William Snowdon||Vivian, Henry|
|Nolan, Joseph||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)||Ward, John (Stoke-on-Trent)|
|Norman, Sir Henry||Roe, Sir Thomas||Waring, Walter|
|Nussey, Sir Willans||Rogers, F. E. Newman||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Rose, Sir Charles Day||Waterlow, D. S.|
|O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)||White, Patrick (Meath, North)|
|O'Doherty, Philip||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel||Williamson, Sir A.|
|O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Sheehy, David||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Parker, James (Halifax)||Sherwell, Arthur James||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Paul, Herbert||Shipman, Dr. John G.||Winfrey, R.|
|Paulton, James Mellor||Silcock, Thomas Ball||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Sloan, Thomas Henry||Young, Samuel|
|Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Pointer, J.||Snowden, P.|
|Power, Patrick Joseph||Soames, Arthur Wellesley||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Balcarres, Lord||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banbury, Sir Frederick George||Gretton, John||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Bowles, G. Stewart||Harris, Frederick Leverton||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Carlile, E. Hildred||Hay, Hon. Claude George||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, E.)|
|Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.)||Hill, Sir Clement||Stanier, Beville|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Hunt, Rowland||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Joynson-Hicks, William||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. C. Scott-||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Talbot, Rt. Hen. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell- (Lanark)|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred||Valentia, Viscount|
|Fell, Arthur||Magnus, Sir Philip||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Younger, George|
|Forster, Henry William||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Foster, P. S.||Oddy, John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Mr.|
|Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||Cave and Viscount Morpeth.|
§ Question proposed, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ Lord R. CECIL
I am afraid I cannot vote for the Clause as it stands. The President of the Local Government Board said a short time ago, in answer to my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Kingston (Mr. Cave) that two principles of the Bill were accepted by my hon. and learned Friend. These were that private property can be taken for public purposes, and that somebody must be there to decide whether it was a proper case for taking land under the powers conferred by the Bill. I do not think the right hon. Gentleman could be very serious when he made that statement. It is part of the general scheme under which we live in this country that land in private ownership can always be taken, under proper conditions, for public purposes. It follows from that that some tribunal or other must decide 242 whether land is to be taken and what price is to be given for the land when it is taken. Therefore these two principles are not principles which are specially involved in this Bill. But there are several principles involved in it. The principle to which I object in this Clause is that the whole matter is handed over to the Local Government Board absolutely as regards the question whether land shall be taken, what land shall be taken, and what price shall be given. That seems to me an intolerable way of passing legislation, and it is for that reason that I cannot vote for the Clause as it stands.
I want to say a word as to why the Local Government Board, or any Government Department, is not competent for such duties as these. In the first place, I do not know any reason for supposing that the Local Government Board is competent to carry out such difficult work as town planning. I am not aware of any 243 Department in the Local Government Board which has made a special study of this question. It is a matter which is comparatively novel, and there are few persons in this country who have any special knowledge of it at all. For my part, I should be very loath to entrust duties of that kind to the Department over which the right hon. Gentleman presides. There is another objection to the Clause. It is not only that the Local Government Board has to decide what land shall be taken; but it is to give a variety of decisions of a judicial character as to compensation, damages, and so on. I think it is perfectly clear that there is no principle which is more important in the Government of this country than that you ought to have complete separation between the judicial and the administrative powers. I do not believe that there is any civilised country which has disregarded that principle which has not suffered. In the few cases in this country where we have entrusted judicial work to Government Departments, it has been almost uniformly badly done. The truth is that the judicial and administrative qualities are absolutely different in character, and the Government, if they considered recent history, will see that Government Departments are not competent for such work. It would not be in order now to discuss the Swansea case, which is the most recent example of an administrative department undertaking judicial functions. All the fears which some of us felt in the Grand Committee have been more than confirmed by the action of the Education Department in that case. Exactly what we anticipated took place then. What we anticipated would take place in future was there exemplified by what actually happened. That is the second reason why these powers should not be entrusted to a Government Department.
There is another reason. The right hon. Gentleman had the courage to say he did not wish to entrust any of these powers to a judicial tribunal—not necessarily a court of law—because it would mean great delay and great expense. Does the right hon. Gentleman really think that the Local Government Board is in a position to reproach anyone for delay? I thought it was a perfectly well known fact that there is no Department in the whole Government which is more open to the charge of gross delay in its administrative duties than the Local Government Board. I 244 have had some little experience in the-matter, and I think everybody will tell you that with the Local Government Board the delays are very serious and very prejudicial to the administration of the Department. I was talking the other day to a gentleman of great experience, and he confirmed ms in the general impression that it is a most unsatisfactory body to have dealings with in any administrative matter. The right hon. Gentleman said he was anxious to follow the Small' Holdings example. The Small Holdings Act has been to some extent well administered, and that has been so to the extent that the Department which has had the administration of the Act has departed from the ordinary methods by which the Local Government Board acts. Personally I think it is much too early to say whether that Act is going to prove a success or not; but I have the greatest doubt whether the party opposite will find any reason to congratulate themselves upon the passing of that Act into law. But whether it is a good Act or not, we have here to deal with a totally different kind of thing. This is not a question of acquiring plots of land suitable for small holdings. It is a matter of town planning, which is one of great difficulty. For the carrying out of this, part of the Bill, I think you must establish' some kind of body of Commissioners or a separate Department of the Government, created for the purpose. You must man that body with the greatest experts you can find in the country. There are very few who have knowledge of this particular department of social work. To them you. may entrust undoubtedly some of the administrative powers which you entrust to the Local Government Board, and, above all, if you are going to entrust them with any judicial powers, you must free them altogether from connection with the Government Department itself. They must act altogether independently of the whole Parliamentary and political machine. That is an essential condition of impartial decisions m judicial questions; and unless that is done you will never get impartiality, and you will never get what is quite as important, namely, the confidence of the people with whom you deal. Unless you get the confidence, not only of landowners but of everybody connected with the subject, none of your schemes can possibly succeed. It is a matter of exceeding difficulty and novelty, and you want all the assistance you can get from private individuals to make it a success. I cannot see 245 any hope of success in the scheme foreshadowed in this Clause, and, therefore, I will be compelled to vote against it.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I have heard with some surprise, and also, if I may say so, with some amusement, the suggestion of the Noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) that, instead of having a Government Department to carry out the provisions of this Act, there should be constituted what he vaguely described as a body of Commissioners of some kind, to whom might be entrusted the powers given by this measure to the Local Government Board. I have had on previous occasions in the performance of my duty to stand here and defend the appointment of a body of Commissioners under the Small Holdings Act. I remember the speeches which were made then from the other side of the House—I cannot charge my memory whether the Noble Lord took part in the Debates—in which the appointment of Commissioners was denounced as though it were a revolution in our Administration. The history of revolutionary movements was ransacked for parallels to the body of Commissioners we then proposed to appoint. What were these Commissioners to do? They were to be constituted by some partisan Government—I am afraid that for the rest of our time any Government in this country will be a partisan Government—and they would have a roving commission all over the country. They were to have unlimited powers in taking property upon their own inquiry and according to their own discretion. That was denounced as a most unconstitutional procedure. What was said against it? We were told that the alternative to the Commission was a Government Department. The Noble Lord opposite is a great constitutional authority, but I do not think he spoke upon the basis of constitutional authority when he made his observations to-night about the separation between judicial and administrative functions. It is the first principle of sound constitutionalism, but he ought to have given us some little idea of what he meant by judicial functions and what he meant by administrative functions, how he defines them, distinguishes between them, and how he allocates the judicial and administrative branches their proper functions? Let us look at this Clause, and see what are the judicial functions which the Noble Lord thinks it will be dangerous to allow a Government Department to exercise. There is under Sub-section (2) the duty cast upon the Department of authorising a local 246 authority to prepare a scheme. If they think that there is not aprima facie case. for a town planning scheme, it is for them to check the discretion of the local authority by seeing that the powers given are properly exercised. Does the Noble Lord suggest that our court of law is the proper tribunal to decide whether or not A, B, or C—
§ Lord R. CECIL
No doubt I did not make myself clear. But what I pointed out was that the Local Government Board were entrusted with powers which are certainly administrative, and also with powers-which are judicial. They have, first of all, to decide what land ought to be taken, and then they have to decide what price should be given, which has always hitherto been treated as a clearly judicial function.
§ 7.0 P.M.
§ Sir W. ROBSON
I am dealing with what the Noble Lord said as to the confusion of the judicial and, the administrative functions. That was the proposition which I made. I said: Where are the judicial functions here which are being improperly given to an administrative authority? The first of the functions given is that of deciding whether or not aprimâ facie case for the scheme was made out. Is that the kind of inquiry you would put before a court, whether a court of judges or jurors? I hope the Noble Lord will forgive me for saying that it is preposterous to suggest such a matter. The next judicial function is whether or not a piece of land already built on ought or ought not to be included in a given scheme. That is a matter turning entirely upon local considerations. You could not have a question more entirely and exclusively administrative. If administrative functions are to have any meaning at all this certainly should be classed as being among them. The next is, deciding whether or not any land is likely to be built upon. Is that proper for a court? In all these sub-sections here the functions ascribed to the Local Government Board are in every case, properly speaking, administrative. There is not one of them which any practical man would describe as judicial, or which should go to a court of law. Therefore the somewhat pretentious proposition about the separation of administrative and judicial functions, while it may be good as a general statement of constitutional law, is certainly very inapplicable to the Clause under consideration. The Noble Lord said that the Local Government Board is not qualified to work out town planning, which 247 is a new scheme. I should think that the Local Government Board has more experience in dealing with these problems, and is much better qualified to deal with them in their initial stage than any body of gentlemen selected by a partisan Government, having possibly no experience whatever on the subject matter at all. It is not easy to suggest, and certainly the Noble Lord has not succeeded in suggesting any alternative authority to that which the Bill provides.
§ Sir JOHN DICKSON-POYNDER
With the major portion of the remarks of the Noble Lord I am not in agreement. They have been fully answered by my right hon. Friend (Sir W. Robson). The Noble Lord objects to the Clause because of what he deems a confusion of judicial and administrative functions in the powers given to the Local Government Board. I am quite in sympathy with the idea that the Local Government Board should be the Department in authority to administer these provisions. The reason I have risen is, if possible, to elicit from the President of the Local Government Board some further information as to what extent the Local Government Board is to undertake these functions, and what is the staff with which it is to carry them out. This Bill proposes to impose on the Local Government Board a variety of new duties very onerous and very difficult. One has only to read the clauses which passed last night to see that not only the duty of control, but also the duty of initiation is to be found in many of the clauses. Therefore, it would almost be impossible for the Local Government Board as an ordinary Department to carry out that work efficiently. I am quite convinced myself that if the work to which I have referred is to be carried out, in addition to the town planning which we are now adding, there must be something in the nature of a distinct staff of gentlemen whose time will be exclusively confined to that work—of course under the full jurisdiction of the President of the Local Government Board. But if it is left in the ordinary course to the Department in the same way that these other multifarious duties are now left, I cannot but feel that there will be great delay, delay for which I do not blame the Local Government Board, because their duties have been multiplied to such an extent that no Department, unless it is properly segregated in its duties, could properly undertake all the work 248 efficiently. Now in this very technical work of town planning, where the scheme of the local authority is in some instances to be checked and controlled by the Local Government Board, where in other cases the Local Government Board will initiate the scheme itself, it does seem almost indispensable that there should be gentlemen of technical knowledge who are employed exclusively in this work and become experts. I think that the Local Government Board is the most behindhand of all the public Departments as regards its efficient segregation of work. They have it at the Admiralty, at the Home Office it is increasing, and in the War Office and in all the other great Departments you have special services handed over to a special staff or special Department. I cannot conceive any work in the future which, if it is to be carried out sufficiently and efficiently, demands a special staff more urgently than this work of town planning, coupled with looking after public health in towns. I would ask my right hon. Friend to say whether some definite establishment of the staff, with their own Department, will be made with the view to carrying out this work.
§ Mr. LYTTELTON
I should like to reinforce the demand just made by the hon. Member for Chippenham (Sir J. Dickson-Poynder) asking the President of the Local Government Board for a statement as to the means by which he proposes to work this Bill. I agree with the Noble Lord that there is a confusion, not only in this Clause but in the whole Bill, of administrative and judicial duties. I agree that that confusion is not only unconstitutional, but disastrous, and is likely to bring into dislike, and in some instances even into contempt, a Bill which in many respects contains most admirable features; but I still hope, owing to the representations which have been made, that when we get to the portions of the Bill which deal with the Local Government Board in its judicial aspect some provision will be made of the nature required. From recent practical experience, I am quite convinced that if the Local Government Board do not add to the present staff persons of skill and experience in this matter, this Bill will fail. Having concerned myself with town planning matters for some two years, and having been very familiar with the conditions under which these schemes are worked, I am convinced that the subject is only in its infancy in this country; that very few people really know anything about it in a technical, expert sense, and 249 that if the large municipalities throughout the country are anxious to put forward town planning schemes, they will attach to themselves most of the experts, and it will be absolutely necessary for the Local Government Board, if they are to act au a tribunal upon these administrative matters, and if they are to decide such highly technical questions as are involved in this Bill—planning, laying out roads, deciding the manner in which towns should be planned, the style of building, and hundreds of other questions of that kind—obviously the persons to do that work must be very highly skilled. Otherwise their guidance and control and their appellate functions would fall into absolute contempt. I do not say this in the slightest degree out of disrespect to the Local Government Board, because its permanent officials are admirable members, as we all know; but I do not think they would claim for themselves that they have had practical experience in this matter, and I do not think that anybody who is acquainted with the working of the Department would deny that you cannot possibly have such complicated and very onerous duties put upon the Local Government Board as are imposed by this Act without giving them some extra assistance. Unless you give them that extra assistance the delays of which we have heard will become more and more frequent. Before coming to any conclusion upon this Clause, which does raise generally these very large municipal questions which will be henceforth in the power of the Local Government Board, the House is entitled to some statement from the right hon. Gentleman as to the means which he has devised to enable this Clause to be efficiently executed, and with reasonable despatch.
§ Mr. BURNS
The Motion to add this Clause to the Bill has evoked from several speakers criticisms of the plan, the method, the machinery and the personnel, essential to carry out both the housing and town planning portion of this measure. I am impelled by these criticisms to say a word or two in reply. The Noble Lord referred, as he has done frequently in the course of these Debates, to the impropriety of entrusting to an administrative Department those judicial functions necessary for the acquisition of land and for the determination of various processes under both the housing and the town planning portion. Into that I do not intend to go. If he would pardon me I must refer for a moment or two to the suggestion which he made before, I believe last year, that this should 250 be divorced entirely from all Government Departments, and if there was to be a Government Department to do it, then, in his opinion—and I notice that this was not uproariously cheered—the Department least qualified to do it is the one over which I preside. The Noble Lord will pardon me if I do not share his view. He objects to a Government Department taking action in this matter at all. May I pcint out that if the Government Department does not do it, and in this country we are governed by Government Departments—
§ Mr. J. BURNS
Subject to the House of Commons: in these administrative matters the House of Commons very wisely gives Government Departments great latitude and discretion. The only alternative in this matter of town planning and housing other than that expressed by the Noble Lord, namely, Commissioners or anad hoc Commission, is the rule prevailing on the Continent, where the burgomaster,, or thepréfet, or themaire arbitrarily exercises very great powers, which he would not suggest that the chairman of the London County Council or the Lord Mayors of Glasgow or Liverpool or London should have. As a matter of fact, the Lord Mayor of London: is rather ruled out. Though the Corporation of the City is embedded in the hearts of the administrative county of London, it is not enshrined there; therefore, its duties are rather small. The Continental plan will not do for this country—the over-burgomaster, thepréfet, or themaire. The other point is this: shall we have a Commission? I do not think that a Commission could do this work as well as a Government Department. The Government Department to be entrusted with this work has been for the last seven years in close and harmonious co-operation with the local authorities on whom will devolve the initiation of these schemes. They also have had considerable experience of works under private and public Acts; and they have been in close contact with private owners whose property has been secured either by agreement or compulsion by the local authorities. The Local Government Board have continuity of experience, and knowledge both of private owners and of local authorities, and, in my judgment, they, are eminently qualified for this particular work. That being so, why does the Noble Lord (Lord R. Cecil) object to the Local 251 Government Board? He is entirely wrong when he thinks that that body is as dilatory as he suggests it to be, considering the enormous amount of work which it has to do. I really wonder that it gets through the amount of work it does. But that is no argument against the Local Government Board doing this particular work. I will tell you what it is an argument for—and it is a matter which the Government are generally considering—that every Department should have knocked from it certain administrative duties that are more relevant to other Departments, and that there should be an interchange of duties and functions, with the result that all the various Departments will be able to do a larger amount of work, and that their machinery will be segregated and co-ordinated better than at present. If there are any matters which the Local Government Board ought to attend to, they are housing, public health, and town planning. I will give the Noble Lord one reason: The Local Government Board every year either sanctions, supervises, or controls in some form or another 10 or 12 millions of money for the maintenance and making of roads, widening of roads, and so forth. The making of the roads, the acquisition of land, and the maintenance of these vast public works are duties akin to many of those that will accrue under town planning. I only give that as one of many instances. We think that, given a Government Department, the Local Government Board is better able to do this work than anad hoc body which would not have that relationship with the local authorities which is possessed by the Local Government Board. Such a body would have to begin anew, and it would probably have the local authorities against it for a considerable time. Therefore we think the line of least resistance is that which is offered by the Local Government Board doing this particular work.
When pensions were introduced into this country by the Government I can remember that a statement was made similar to that which we now hear. It was said, "Do not entrust the administration of pensions to the Local Government Board. They will not know how to do it, and if they get it to do they will do it very badly. It will be a very slovenly piece of work." How have these prophecies been justified? Not at all. We were told that the Local Government Board was overworked, and that if we had this enormous piece of work 252 to do it would cost a lot of money; that the officers would not be able to do it properly, and that the whole thing would be tainted with pauperism, and so forth. What is the result? For nearly a year we have had the administrative duty of granting pensions to 400 thousand aged men and women. It has been done, by universal admission, very well by our officers, and we have only had to ask the Treasury for £800 more than last year, for hearing something like 12 or 13 thousand appeals. I can assure the House that the zeal shown by the Department in regard to housing and to roads in the past will be equally shown, given the machinery, which we intend to secure, with regard to town planning.
§ Mr. BURNS
The right hon. and learned Gentleman asks what the machinery is, and the same question has been asked by the hon. Baronet for Chippenham (Sir John Dickson-Poynder). I can only tell the hon. Baronet and the right hon. and learned Gentleman that the staff necessary for the proper working of town planning will be an adequate one, and will be able to carry out the duties to the highest limit. But particularly do I say that guardedly, in view of the fact that the right hon. and learned Gentleman himself says, and says very truly, that the number of men qualified to do town planning work in this country is relatively small. In my judgment they could be counted on the fingers of one hand. There are not more than five or six men, I believe, who have the necessary qualifications for doing town planning work adequately, scientifically, reasonably and economically. The Local Government Board will do their best to secure the services of the most highly qualified man or men for this particular work, and the hon. Baronet will do me the credit of admitting that, ever since I have been President of the Local Government Board, in the selection of officers I have never allowed personal or political or any other considerations, except fitness and proper qualification, to guide my choice, and those considerations will guide me in the appointment of any engineer, surveyor or architect for this particular work. I shall select the best possible men I can secure. I can assure the House—and they may rely upon it—that I intend to rigorously exclude, possibly 99 out of every 100, who think themselves town planning experts.
253 So much for town planning. Then the hon. Baronet asked what about housing. Since we have been able to get into our new office at the corner of Whitehall, we have succeeded in improving enormously the classification and segregation of the work of the Department. I think I can say that both axe sufficiently important to have a separate Department to themselves, and, as I did in Grand Committee upstairs and here on the second reading, I can assure the House that with regard to town planning and housing we shall have both machinery and staff adequate to carry out this important work. I think myself that the ideal body would be a sub-department for this work, and probably the ideal sub-department would consist of a medical man, who would make a special study of housing in relation both to public health and town planning; an architect who, it would be generally agreed, should be appointed; and, thirdly, an expert in town planning of the highest capacity we can possibly secure. When this Bill becomes law—apart from what I have now suggested—I think it will be necessary for us to adopt some medium—perhaps a new journal issued by the Local Government Board—lay means of which local authorities would get regular information with regard to housing, town planning, and kindred schemes, in such a way that it would create, so to speak, a spirit of emulation between them to do the best they possibly could for the interests of their respective towns. Local authorities would find it a very desirable thing to have information ready to their hand in regard to the work under this Bill. It is information which they have a right to expect, and which in other matters they get from Government Departments, including the Board of Trade, the Board of Agriculture, and the Local Government Board itself. The House may rely upon it that the Local
§ Government Board, which has had the courage to initiate for the first time a measure of this kind, on which it has been engaged upon for a considerable period, will also see that the means by which it is to be carried out are not starved, and will be determined that the Department is adequately equipped with men and machinery, the essential organisation, which will enable this Bill to be carried out, as I trust, with advantage to all the towns of the country and with credit to our national history in these matters. Despite the wave of depreciation of everything English and of everything that has been conducted by Englishmen which we have experienced, I believe we lead in the matter of sanitary homes, and, I hope, in the future that we will lead all other countries of the world in the matter of town planning.
§ Sir F. BANBURY
I would like to draw attention to the fact that we in this country are governed by Department. [An Hon. MEMBER: "No."] That is what the right hon. Gentleman said, and it is because we are coming to that, and because I am afraid that this Clause will tend in that direction, that I shall vote against it. The right hon. Gentleman is going to appoint an architect, a medical man, and somebody else, but I did not hear him make any reference to the point of economy. I hope he will do so, because I now understand that he is going to run a newspaper. The vista of expenditure he is opening up in this Bill is very alarming to those of us who really do think that a little economy should be exercised, and that we should not pursue every phantom which presents itself to the philanthropic mind, but should have some regard to what the cost will be to the ratepayers.
§ Question put, "That the Clause stand part of the Bill."
§ The Committee divided: Ayes, 212; Noes, 54.255
|Division No. 563.]||AYES.||[7.29 p.m.|
|Abraham, W. (Cork, N.E.)||Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon)||Condon, Thomas Joseph|
|Acland, Francis Dyke||Bright, J. A.||Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow)|
|Asquith, Rt. Hon. Herbert Henry||Brodie, H. C.||Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead)|
|Baker, Sir John (Portsmouth)||Brooke, Stopford||Cornwall, Sir Edwin A.|
|Baker, Joseph A. (Finsbury, E.)||Bryce, J. Annan||Cotton, Sir H. J. S.|
|Balfour, Robert (Lanark)||Burns, Rt. Hen. John||Crean, Eugene|
|Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight)||Burnyeat, W. J. D.||Crooks, William|
|Barnard, E. B.||Buxton, Rt. Hon. Sydney Charles||Crosfield, A. H.|
|Barnes, G. N.||Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R.||Cullinan, J.|
|Barran, Sir John Nicholson||Clancy, John Joseph||Curran, Peter Francis|
|Barry, Redmond J. (Tyrone, N.)||Cleland, J. W.||Davies, Ellis William (Eifion)|
|Beale, W. P.||Clough, William||Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.)|
|Beauchamp, E.||Clynes, J. R||Davies, Timothy (Fulham)|
|Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport)||Cobbold, Felix Thornley||Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.)|
|Berridge, T. H. D.||Collins, Stephen (Lambeth)||Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P.|
|Bethell, Sir J. H. (Essex, Romford)||Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.)||Dobson, Thomas W.|
|Duckworth, Sir James||Lundon, T.||Robertson, Sir G. Scott-(Bradford)|
|Duffy, William J.||Luttrell, Hugh Fownes||Robinson, S.|
|Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness)||Lyell, Charles Henry||Robson, Sir William Snowdon|
|Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne)||Macdonald, J. R. (Leicester)||Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)|
|Elibank, Master of||Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs)||Roe, Sir Thomas|
|Evans, Sir S. T.||Mackarness, Frederic C.||Rogers, F. E. Newman|
|Everett, R. Lacey||Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J.||Rose, Sir Charles Day|
|Falconer, J.||MacNeill, John Gordon Swift||Russell, Rt. Hon. T. W.|
|Fenwick, Charles||Macpherson, J. T.||Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland)|
|Ferens, T. R.||MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.)||Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)|
|Ferguson, R. C. Munro||M'Callum, John M.||Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)|
|Ffrench, Peter||M'Laren, H. D. (Stafford, W.)||Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)|
|Fullerton, Hugh||Maddison, Frederick||Sheehan, Daniel Daniel|
|Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John||Massie, J.||Sherwell, Arthur James|
|Glendinning; R. G.||Masterman, C. F. G.||Shipman, Dr. John G.|
|Glover, Thomas||Micklem, Nathaniel||Silcock, Thomas Ball|
|Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford||Molteno, Percy Alport||Sloan, Thomas Henry|
|Greenwood, Hamar (York)||Mond, A.||Smyth, Thomas F. (Leitrim, S.)|
|Grey, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward||Morgan, G. Hay (Cornwall)||Snowden, P.|
|Gulland, John W.||Morrell, Philip||Soames, Arthur Wellesley|
|Gwynn, Stephen Lucius||Morse, L. L.||Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N.W.)|
|Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose)||Muldoon, John||Stewart, Halley (Greenock)|
|Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil)||Murphy, John (Kerry, East)||Strachey, Sir Edward|
|Hardy, George A. (Suffolk)||Myer, Horatio||Strauss, E. A. (Abingdon)|
|Hart-Davies, T.||Nannetti, Joseph P.||Summerbell, T.|
|Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)||Napier, T. B.||Taylor, John W. (Durham)|
|Haslam, Lewis (Monmouth)||Nicholson, Charles N. (Doncaster)||Taylor, Theodore C. (Radcliffe)|
|Hemmerde, Edward George||Nolan, Joseph||Tennant, Sir Edward (Salisbury)|
|Henderson, Arthur (Durham)||Norman, Sir Henry||Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)|
|Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)||Nussey, Sir Willans||Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)|
|Henry, Charles S.||O'Brien, K. (Tipperary, Mid)||Thompson, J. W. H. (Somerset, E.)|
|Higham, John Sharp||O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)||Tomkinson, James|
|Hodge, John||O'Connor, James (Wicklow, W.)||Trevelyan, Charles Philips|
|Hogan, Michael||O'Kelly, Conor (Mayo, N.)||Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander|
|Holland, Sir William Henry||O'Shaughnessy, P. J.||Verney, F. W.|
|Hope, W. H. B. (Somerset, N.)||Parker, James (Halifax)||Vivian, Henry|
|Hudson, Walter||Paul, Herbert||Walters, John Tudor|
|Idris, T. H. W.||Paulton, James Mellor||Ward, John (Stoke-upon-Trent)|
|Illingworth, Percy H.||Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)||Waring, Walter|
|Jackson, R. S.||Pearce, William (Limehouse)||Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.|
|Jardine, Sir J.||Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)||Waterlow, D. S.|
|Johnson, John (Gateshead)||Philips, John (Longford, S.)||Whitbread, S. Howard|
|Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)||Pickersgill, Edward Hare||White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)|
|Jowett, F. W.||Pointer, J.||White, Sir Luke (York, E.R.)|
|Joyce, Michael||Power, Patrick Joseph||Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)|
|Kavanagh, Walter M.||Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)||Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)|
|Kekewich, Sir George||Radford, G. H.||Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)|
|Laidlaw, Robert||Rainy, A. Rolland||Winfrey, R.|
|Lamb, Edmund G. (Leominster)||Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)||Wood, T. M'Kinnon|
|Lambert, George||Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)||Young, Samuel|
|Lamont, Norman||Reddy, M.||Yoxall, Sir James Henry|
|Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.)||Redmond, John E. (Waterford)|
|Lehmann, R. C||Rees, J. D.|
|Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich)||Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr.|
|Lever, W. H. (Cheshire, Wirral)||Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)||Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.|
|Lewis, John Herbert||Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)|
|Balcarres, Lord||Foster, P. S.||Powell, Sir Francis Sharp|
|Banner, John S. Harmood-||Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West)||Pretyman, E. G.|
|Beach, Hon. Michael Hugh Hicks||Goulding, Edward Alfred||Rawlinson, John Frederick Peel|
|Bowles, G, Stewart||Gretton, John||Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)|
|Burdett-Coutts, W.||Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds)||Salter, Arthur Clavell|
|Butcher, Samuel Henry||Harrison-Broadley, H. B.||Sheffield, Sir Berkeley George D.|
|Carlile, E, Mildred||Hill, Sir Clement||Smith, Abel H. (Hertford, East)|
|Castlereagh, Viscount||Hills, J. W.||Smith, F. E. (Liverpool, Walton)|
|Cave, George||Hunt, Rowland||Stanier, Beville|
|Clyde, J. Avon||Lambton, Hon. Frederick William||Stanley, Hon. Arthur (Ormskirk)|
|Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E.||Lane-Fox, G. R.||Staveley-Hill, Henry (Staffordshire)|
|Craig, Captain James (Down, E.)||Lee, Arthur H. (Hants, Fareham)||Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)|
|Craik, Sir Henry||Lockwood, Rt. Hon. Lt.-Col. A. R.||Thomson, W. Mitchell-(Lanark)|
|Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott-||Lowe, Sir Francis William||Tuke, Sir John Batty|
|Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers-||Magnus, Sir Philip||Valentia, Viscount|
|Faber, George Denison (York)||Morrison-Bell, Captain||Walker, Col. W. H. (Lancashire)|
|Fell, Arthur||Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield)|
|Fletcher, J. S.||Oddy, John James||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir|
|Forster, Henry William||Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)||F. Banbury and Lord R. Cecil.|
§ And, it being after Half-past Seven of the clock, the Chairman proceeded, in pur- 256 suance of the Order of the House of 15th June, successively to put forthwith the 257 Questions necessary to dispose of the Clauses to be concluded at Half-past Seven of the clock this day, and on any Amendments thereto moved by the Government, of which notice had been given.