HC Deb 01 November 1909 vol 12 cc1564-81

Lords Amendment: Leave out Subsections

11.0 P.M.

(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.


I beg to move, "That the House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The Amendment of the Lords substitutes for the Small Holdings Act terms the costly and cumbersome procedure of Provisional Order. The objection we have to these Lords Amendments is that we should have a local authority compelled to promote a Provisional Order, and owners would be put to needless expense, and the whole of the town planning scheme might get the go-by. My Noble Friend the Secretary of State for the Colonies said if these Clauses introduced were adhered to town planning would become a luxury only possible to the millionaires. It was never intended by the Government that the local authority would have to go to the very lengthy and costly and tortuous procedure which they would have to by means of a local Act, a Private Bill, or a Provisional Order, if these Amendments were carried. It is because we prefer the cheaper provisions of the Bill that we ask the House to support us with the Motion to disagree with the Lords on this Amendment.


This is a matter of very great importance, and the House will pardon me while I submit my reasons showing why if this Amendment is not accepted, at any rate something of the kind ought to be introduced into the Bill. The President of the Local Government Board by a slight slip said it was a question of the Small Holdings Act terms. That was a slip, because the terms of the Small Holdings Act have nothing to do with this part of the Bill. The procedure in this part of the Bill is certainly simple, but I do not think it is very good. It is simply that the President of the Local Government Board may do what he pleases. There is no inquiry; the Local Government Board is allowed to do exactly what it pleases, subject to certain very wide limits in reference to town planning. He may set aside any statutory provisions that may at present exist; he may acquire any land or sanction any scheme; he may pull down houses that are in the way of a scheme. I do not think it is possible to imagine a wider power to be exercised in reference to a public improvement. They practically have the power to do everything that can be done in regard to public improvement. We had before us quite recently a Bill for development and road improvement in this country. In that case the Government immediately assented to the view that powers of that kind ought not to be exercised without the sanction of some body quite independent of a Government Department. If the Government think that procedure by Provisional Order is not the right procedure that is an intelligible position to take up. The expense of a Provisional Order has been very much exaggerated, but, assuming they think that the Provisional Order system is too expensive, surely they ought to provide for some inquiry by an independent body before exercising such very wide powers as these. I cannot understand why the Government should adopt this procedure. To ask this House merely to disagree with this Amendment without setting up anything in its place appears to me to be a thoroughly unreasonable proposal. I hope we shall have from some Member of the Government some reason why it is necessary to entrust this despotic and uncontrolled power to a public department.


I wish to support what has fallen from my Noble Friend on this question. The view is held that in regard to these large powers dealing with land the matter ought not to be left entirely to the Local Government Board. The allegation that Provisional Orders are unusually expensive has been entirely disposed of by the Under-Secretary to the Board of Trade himself, and the statement made by the right hon. Gentleman, that the procedure is lengthy and tortuous, is not justified by the facts. Whatever may be said about the schemes under Part I. there is no doubt that the schemes we are considering now are even more far-reaching. The right hon. Gentleman, on the 31st of August, used these words:— Supposing Glasgow decides on a town planning scheme, looking ten, fifteen, or probably fifty years ahead, as I hope growing cities will seriously undertake to do. Those words show the immense scope of some of these schemes, and they show the absurdity of the Local Government Board being allowed to deal with them in this way. After all, Part I. schemes dealt only with the area of a particular authority, but these town planning schemes go much further and deal with areas and authorities entirely outside the area of the particular authority which is framing the scheme. The idea is that the extension of these great towns should not be limited to their own area, but that they should be allowed to have control and lay out areas in districts coterminous with their own. Therefore in such cases the rights of the local authorities themselves might be greatly infringed by these large schemes, and yet they would have no power to come before this House to protect themselves. It is not clear whether it is in the contemplation of the Government that a town planning authority should exercise their power under Section 60 of purchasing any land comprised in a scheme. There seems nothing to prevent them going into very large building speculations. Surely, Parliament should have some sort of control over these very large schemes. The House hesitated to give complete power to the right hon. Gentleman over Part I. scheme of the Housing Act of 1890, and they ought, I think, to hesitate still further before giving these entirely new and really very large and vague powers. Parliament ought, at any rate, in the first few years to retain some sort of control. It should not be left to the uncontrolled opinion of one or two inspectors of the Local Government Board or even of the President of the Board, and I would ask the right hon. Gentleman to give us some reply, and to explain why he is going to take very large schemes entirely away from the purview of the House of Commons.


I have pointed out to the House several times before that this town planning part of the Bill is not sound. There are very few cases to guide the Local Government Board on the subject, and there are very few people in this country familiar with it. If ever there was a case in which full precaution should be taken it is this. These schemes should be thoroughly safeguarded. It is manifest that the arguments we used with regard to the previous parts of the Bill have less force than those we urge with respect to this, because, whilst the housing parts are comparatively familiar to the House and the country, this part is absolutely a novel experiment. Great powers may be used and great innovations may take place, and it may be—I think it often will be the case—that they will be entirely justified; but on the other hand, private owners may have very clear and well-defined views as to the town planning suitability of their property, and they will be liable to be overridden, not by men of great experience, but by men who, like themselves, will be novices in the matter. I do not think this is an exaggerated statement. So far as we know there is at present no one in the department who is an expert, and that seems to me a circumstance, at any rate, averse to giving the Board such wide powers. It may well be that when this subject has been thoroughly thrashed out, when more definite ideas than at present prevail are stereotyped, it will be possible to leave it to the department. But at present it is a great experiment that is being tried. These proposed powers are very wide: they may involve dealing with very great tracts of country; they may involve questions with regard to main roads and with respect to communications between one district and another.

Has the House of Commons such confidence in the Local Government Board that it can afford to dispense with all the security and to divest itself of all power with regard to questions of even far less magnitude than this? It seems to me not only a most dangerous but really an unconstitutional course, and I venture to say we have at present heard absolutely no reason why the code set up in another case should be disregarded in this. Let me just assume what may happen. You may take an area of 300 or 400 acres in a very expensive portion of the suburban district of a large town. You may have a plan in respect of which the owners affected, and injuriously affected, may not have a right to be even heard by counsel at all. Surely that is wrong. It is supposed always in this House that to exclude counsel is to promote brevity and cheapness. But nothing requires such careful inquiry and scrutiny as cases which are presented by men unacquainted with the practice of the law, who may be called upon to answer difficult points raised by those who are accustomed to argue them before these tribunals. The Local Government Board in these inquiries will get very little information from those who appear before them. I do not think that anybody who considers the matter can contemplate with satisfaction the possibility of elaborate proposals presented by unskilled persons before an unskilled tribunal, and of the immense interests being dealt with by such a tribunal.


The right hon. and learned Gentleman has asked the Government to give him some better explanation than has previously been given with regard to the operation of the method of a town planning scheme. It is not usual in considering Lords Amendments for us to speak at the length which is customary on the Report stage or on the third reading, but I was under the impression that he was fully cognisant of what the Government adopted as we had discussion of it almost ad nauseam upstairs in the Grand Committee on the third reading and on the Report stage. But as he is anxious to refresh his mind and "Barkis is willin'," I am ready to give the explanation, though I am surprised that he should ask for it, particularly as he is associated with one or two garden cities which, if this Bill is carried with the Lords Amendment, will say, "Thank you for nothing, as we can do under the existing law just as much as we can do under your Bill, which, at the instance of Earl Cawdor, imposes upon us a disability." If this Lords' Amendment were agreed to, there would be no advantage in this Bill either for private owners or local authorities over the existing practice. What is the existing practice? A private Bill for town planning was introduced by the Liverpool Corporation last year. There was no such Bill to provide them with a more economical and more speedy procedure. I do not know the number of hundreds of pounds that the Liverpool Corporation spent upon the promotion of its Town Planning Bill, but whether it was £100, or £800, or £900—it is possible that it was nearer £800 or £900 than £100—it was many hundreds of pounds more than they ought to have been called upon to spend or would have been called upon to spend if this Bill had been passed three years ago. The right hon. Gentleman himself knows something about the Hampstead Garden Suburb. They promoted a bill to enable them to carry out that particular piece of work. Notwithstanding that the Local Government Board rendered the Hampstead Garden Suburb all the assistance that it was our duty to give, it cost them more money than they should have to spend for that private Bill, and if this Bill had been carried, both Liverpool and Hampstead Garden Suburb would have been spared time and expense. What does it mean if Earl Cawdor's proposal prevails? It will have to be done by private Bill or Provisional Order Bill that will have to run the gauntlet of both Houses, and the delay and expense which ensue will be disproportionate to the advantage which the right hon. Gentleman thinks that course will give the promoters. Then he says: Is there to be a public inquiry? Of course there is. Then it was suggested that public statutes were to be brushed on one side. But we do not suspend public enactments with regard to the subject matter of Clause 54.

The next point the right hon. Gentleman raised is one that he has a perfect right to put. He says town planning is experimental in this country, and up till now novel, and there are very few men who can be regarded as experts on the subject. The right hon. Gentleman is perfectly correct, and it is because we are going to take his advice to be cautious that we contemplate adding to our staff a sufficient number of men so that at the beginning of this experiment we can save promoters and local authorities from the pitfalls and dangers that the right hon. Gentleman suggested they will succumb to unless we get the best possible advice. Apart from politics or any predilection whatever, I shall consult everyone as to who would be the best persons to guide the Local Government Board, and we shall go to the best authority, and I hope we shall be able to secure two or three good men who will help to guide this new experiment on the lines I have suggested, and we believe Clause 54 gives sufficient protection to owners, and public enquiry guarantees that every interest will be adequately represented. The Local Government Board is not lightly going about to take up schemes indiscriminately, whether they should be taken up or not. In that matter we shall exercise the greatest discretion. We believe this is the only way in which this new, beneficent and great experiment can be safely launched.


I have the greatest sympathy with the desire of the right hon. Gentleman to cheapen expenditure in reference to these new plans, but I would beg him to consider one or two points which really indicate that we ought to be most cautious in leaving the whole of this to a department to determine. The very claim of this Bill, which I desire to see justified, is that the future of a city shall be determined, as it were, for a generation to come, that its evolution, the course which its new streets are going to take, and the direction in which building is going to be carried out, are to be pre-determined, not, as they are at present, by changes of casual fashion and the enterprise of the builder and of the landowner, but on some fixed scheme. That is a tremendous responsibility from two points of view. In the first place it may entirely alter the relations between the central city, which is going to develop, and the independent local authorities round the city. Their whole future may really depend on what scheme is adopted, whether the new main road is in this direction or in that. Ought you to allow the interests of the independent local authorities round the great cities to be entirely at the mercy of a public department? Then, with regard to individual owners, if this Bill passes the individual owner whose land is taken compulsorily will get a fair price for it. I am not raising any question as to the pro- priety of taking land by compulsion if it is required. I firmly believe in that principle and have always believed in it. But the whole value of the property round the town will depend upon the plans that you make for its future. In determining town planning I agree that you are not robbing anyone, but you are making a tremendous potential change in the whole character of the growing value of sites round that town, and you are doing it, not for this year or next year, but for a generation, or for 50 or 60 years to come. Surely we ought most seriously to consider whether the whole destiny, for two generations, of a great city is to be put in the hands of officials of a single department and all the matters with respect to the rights of neighbouring local authorities and the rights of neighbouring interests.

The magnitude of the problem is so great that, I confess, I do look with reluctance on the granting of these powers to a department. Do not let us suppose that a public department is under the control of this House. It is not. The right hon. Gentleman the President of the Local Government Board, as long as he has the confidence of the Government to which he belongs, or any other head of a department, is absolute master in his own sphere. There is no real control by this House over the head of a department. The House cannot do it under the present arrangement, and no rearrangement can enable it to do it. Are you going to do what was done with, I think, admirable effect in the time of the Stuarts and the Star Chamber. On the whole, I understand that the modern historical view is that the Star Chamber was a most beneficent central authority for keeping local authorities in their proper place. The criticism as to the Star Chamber was that it was an irresponsible body—an irresponsible bureaucracy at the centre of Government, but for all practical purposes you are recreating it. For some purposes such an authority may be necessary. There are strange reversions of types as civilisation develops. It may be that the ideal of the future is the régime of the Stuarts with modern modifications. I really do not dogmatise on the subject, but I confess that I think the House ought to pause before it gives this power over the future development of every city in the Kingdom, over every local authority in the neighbourhood of every city, and over every piece of property in the neighbour- hood of every city, to a single bureaucracy, not responsible to this House, or to any House, or to public opinion, but responsible only to itself. It is because I think this too great a step in the direction of those ancient and abandoned ideas that I shall vote against the proposal of the right hon. Gentleman, much as I sympathise with his great desire to do everything that is possible for the proper planning of streets and houses.


What is your alternative?


I am afraid I am not in a position to offer alternatives.


The right hon. Gentleman has given the House a most admirable presentment of the ideals of town planning, and I hope these ideals will give a great stimulus to the movement. Like him, I have a great distrust of bureaucracy, but I do not see a better alternative for exercising some control over the local authorities than by having a department of the Local Government Board, with the best information on the subject, advising the President of the Board so far as he has to exercise control over the local authorities. I think the local authorities themselves will be cautious in undertaking their work. In some cases they may be rash. If local authorities err it is on the side of caution, and I do not think they will wish to rush recklessly into expense. I think the local authorities will often be able to co-operate in carrying out a town planning scheme. With a little help I certainly think they will. I believe in leaving as much initiative as possible to the local authorities. I would like to see a bureaucracy interfere as little as possible. But look to any other alternative. Is it to this House we could look with advantage? Would the extension of a Scottish borough or a North of England town be more intelligibly discussed here than by the local authorities themselves, in conjunction not only with other authorities, but with the holders of land in a neighbourhood with whom they would have to enter into consultation and with the advice of such expert assistance as the central department could afford? I confess I see no better help that could be given to local authorities than can be given in the way that is proposed, and in the present state of the House, with the length of the Session and the congestion of business here, I must say I should not look forward with equanimity to all these town planning schemes, not only from boroughs but from many counties, being submitted to Committees of the House or to review by the House. I do not think it possible.

As regards the country to which the right hon. Gentleman (Mr. Balfour) and I belong, I am not satisfied with the nature of the settlement itself, there being no provision to provide us with anything in the nature of a Local Government Board fit to grapple with this matter, and in the course of the discussion which we had not long ago on the housing portion of the Bill, and also as regards the town planning portion of the Bill, it was shown that as they have got no Local Government Board the local authorities in Scotland are to be led on to indulge in litigation before the Court of Session, which has to take the place of the Local Government Board. With that state of matters, I am profoundly discontented. That is a very weak part of the Bill, but I am bound to say if I had the misfortune to be an Englishman and to live in this country I should be quite satisfied with the provisions of the Bill, because whatever the evils of bureaucracy may be you have a properly constituted department which will be a department to be constituted within itself to give what help it can to the local authorities. That is a great asset which is lacking in Scotland. Therefore, so far as Scotland is concerned the Act will work with great disadvantage as compared with England, and I think that England is fortunate in this matter. I do not think that any other working alternative can be presented as against the sketch which the right hon. Gentleman has given.


The President of the Local Government Board asked what was the alternative to his proposal? The alternative is the Amendment with which the right hon. Gentleman desires to disagree. Here are the chief points. The Local Government Board, after approval of a scheme, is to hold a public local inquiry. What is there to object to in that? If the Order is sanctioned notice is to be served on the authorities and the persons affected. If there is no objection the Order is to be confirmed and come into operation fortwith unless it contains a provision suspending any statutory enactment, in which case the Order must come before Parliament as a Provisional Order. There is also a limitation to expenses. Only a few weeks ago the Under-Secretary to the Board of Trade said that Provisional Orders were very easy of execution and were not expensive, and that out of over 1,000 that had come before the House during the last ten years only 190 had been rejected. This procedure is far and away better than appointing a dictator in the person of the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Battersea, to decide what is good for everybody. Personally, I am a Tory, but I believe in the right of the House of Commons to settle what is good for the people——


You are no Tory; you are a Radical.


When the House represents the people, which it does not do now, I prefer the Houses of Parliament to the beneficent rule of the right hon. Gentleman.


In supporting this Amendment we are not giving full effect to the usual objection to expropriation against a man's will without Parliamentary confirmation. We are only fighting on the narrow issue raised by the extreme course you are taking, which involves the absolute repeal of enactments passed by this House. I suppose there is no Minister in this House who is not fully prepared to admit that in all these matters the public health, the interest of generations to come, is the highest of all public interests which can be pleaded in favour of expropriation. Even if you preserve Parliamentary forms in this case, the expense complained of by the right hon. Gentleman is rendered in the highest degree improbable, because it is impossible to conceive that any local authority would approach this House otherwise than after it has been conceded in advance by any Committee that could possibly be struck by this House; that this supreme consideration must govern them in their decision as to whether property must be expropriated or not. Another consideration which occurs to my mind in connection with these town planning schemes is that you will be able to achieve an extraordinarily beneficial result. Among other things it is inevitable that you must have a maximum number of houses to the acre, and not only will you be serving the interests of the public health, but you will be going further than has any other measure before the House to solve the difficult and vexatious question of increment in the value of land by imposing a maximum number of houses to the acre; you will supply an automatic means for the settlement of that difficult question. If you are going to put aside Parliament in taking away men's property against their will by appointing officials of a Department, you are constituting the most unsatisfactory of all possible tribunals. I profoundly disbelieve in all these attempts to convert executive departments into judicial authorities. I object to it for this reason: You may find fault with, you may criticise, you may reverse the decision of a Parliamentary Committee, and you may move in this House to remove a judge. You can question the acts of a Minister by discussions on the Estimates, you may put questions to him, you can make his life a burden to him, but if you convert his department into a judicial body, the Minister will be always able to take refuge behind the doctrine that he cannot be objected to because powers have been delegated to somebody in his department who is placed in a judicial position, and whose decision is protected in practice and in theory from all Parliamentary attack and discussion. I really think that this House should disapprove of any control of that kind. I do say, where the issues are so supremely important, where the object is of such inestimable value, it is right that the initial proceeding with regard to this new movement should not be characterised by anything in its earlier stages of any approach to a sense of injustice. I do ask the Government to consider most gravely whether even now this alternative, this fully considered and matured alternative, might, without loss of dignity or credit, be accepted by them.


The right hon. Gentleman made a statement which ought to be corrected before we come to a Division. He suggests that under the procedure promoted by the Local Government Board that all public Acts are set on one side. If he would do me the honour of looking at page 25, line 30, he will find, "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." That removes many of the objections the right hon. Gentleman had in his mind before he was aware of that provision in the Bill. Another point which it is only necessary for me to repeat is that if the Local Government Board disagree with a local authority, provision for a local inquiry will be found in Clause 61, so that protection will be given to the owners of property and interests affected, and if prejudicially affected may make their case known to the Local Government Board, on which an inquiry will be held. The Leader of the Opposition, who I am sorry is not here now, made a few remarkable admissions. He admitted that towns should be planned, he admitted that land should be taken at a fair price, as this Bill does, for the town planning and development of towns in the future, and he said that town planning might benefit, and I would add prejudice, the growth of a town, in such a way that every safeguard should be adopted to prevent a town planning scheme doing injustice to any body affected.

I put it to the hon. and learned Gentleman who is here in the absence of the Leader of the Opposition, what other alternative is there besides the Central Department to see that the local authority acts fairly; to see that the owners are properly treated. What other tribunal could he have instead of the central authority of the Local Government Board. I assure this House, if we are to save some local authorities from land speculation, which some of them might use this Bill as an opportunity for indulging in, the action of a strong central authority is needed in the interest of public probity in that direction. If we are to prevent, as we must prevent, the black countries repeating themselves, if we are to prevent places like St. Helens and Widnes, and Dudley, and Netherton, and Brierley Hill and Middlesbrough, and Rhondda Valley indefinitely extending themselves, we have got to give some central authority control in that direction, with a view to guiding local authorities and preventing private owners going too far. This is done in Germany, it is being attempted in America, and will be done in nearly every other country. I want our Parliament to have the honour and distinction of being the first legislative assembly to give town planning schemes a reasonable legislative shape, so as to prevent injustice to owners on the one hand, and on the other to enable good owners and prescient local authorities to co-operate for the prevention of the civic horrors and social dangers which towns unquestionably create by not having the advantages that this Bill will confer. We discussed this matter almost day after day in Standing Committee, and in the absence of a better alternative than the Local Government Board, I appeal to the House, now that I have enumerated some of the

safeguards against the central authority being needlessly arbitrary, to support the Motion to disagree with this Amendment.

Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 164; Noes, 39.

Division No. 883.] AYES. [11.55 p.m.
Acland, Francis Dyke Fuller, John Michael F. Parker, James (Halifax)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Fullerton, Hugh Pearce, Robert (Staffs, Leek)
Ainsworth, John Stirling Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Pearce, William (Limehouse)
Allen, A. Acland (Christchurch) Glover, Thomas Philipps, Owen C. (Pembroke)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Goddard, Sir Daniel Ford Pickersgill, Edward Hare
Asthury, John Meir Gooch, George Peabody (Bath) Pirie, Duncan V.
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Pointer, Joseph
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Ponsonby, Arthur A W. H.
Barker, Sir John Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Barlow, Percy (Bedford) Harcourt, Robert V. (Montrose) Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Barnard, E. B. Hardie, J. Keir (Merthyr Tydvil) Radford, G. H.
Barnes, G. N. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worc'r.) Raphael, Herber tH.
Beale, W. P. Harwood, George Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton)
Beauchamp, E. Hedges, A. Paget Ridsdale, E. A.
Benn, Sir J. Williams (Devonport) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Benn, W. (Tower Hamlets, St. Geo.) Henry, Charles S. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Berridge, T. H. D. Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon., S.) Roberts, Sir J. H. (Denbighs)
Black, Arthur W. Higham, John Sharp Rogers, F. E. Newman
Boulton, A. C. F. Hobart, Sir Robert Rowlands, J.
Bowerman, C. W. Hodge, John Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Brigg, John Hooper, A. G. Samuel, S. M. (Whitechapel)
Bright, J. A. Horniman, Emslie John Scott A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Brooke, Stopford Howard, Hon. Geoffrey Seely, Colonel
Brunner, J. F. L. (Lancs., Leigh) Hudson, Walter Sherwell, Arthur James
Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire) Hyde, Clarendon Snowden, P.
Bryce, J. Annan Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Jowett, F. W. Summerbell, T.
Byles, William Pollard Keating, Matthew Sutherland, J. E.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Laidlaw, Robert Tennant Sir Edward (Salisbury)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Lamont, Norman Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Cleland, J. W. Lehmann, R. C Toulmin, George
Clough, William Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Cobbold, Felix Thornley Lewis, John Herbert Verney, F. W.
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Vivian, Henry
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Maclean, Donald Wadsworth, J.
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Walsh, Stephen
Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Walters, John Tudor
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. M'Callum, John M. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Cross, Alexander M'Micking, Major G. Warner, Thomas Courtenay T.
Crossley, William J. Maddison, Frederick Waterlow, D. S.
Dalziel, Sir James Henry Markham, Arthur Basil White, Sir George (Norfolk)
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Marnham, F. J. White, Sir Luke (York, E. R.)
Dewar, Arthur (Edinburgh, S.) Masterman, C. F. G. Whitehead, Rowland
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Menzies, Sir Walter Wiles, Thomas
Dickson-Poynder, Sir John P. Micklem, Nathaniel Wilkie, Alexander
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Middlebrook, William Williams, J. (Glamorgan)
Dunn, A. Edward (Camborne) Mond, A. Wills, Arthur Walters
Edwards, Clement (Denbigh) Montgomery, H. G. Wilson, Henry J. (York, W.R.)
Essex, R. W. Worrell, Philip Wilson, P. W. (St. Pancras, S.)
Esslemont, George Birnie Morse L. L. Winfrey, R.
Evans, Sir Samuel T Murray, Capt Hon. A. C. (Kincard) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Everett, R. Lacey Nannetti, Joseph P.
Ferguson, R. C. Munro Newnes, F. (Notts, Bassetlaw) TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Findlay, Alexander Norman, Sir Henry
Foster, Rt. Hon. Sir W. (Ilkeston) O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny)
Balcarres, Lord Clyde, James Avon Fletcher, J. S.
Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J. (City Lond.) Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Forster, Henry William
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Courthope, G. Loyd Gretton, John
Bignold, Sir Arthur Craik, Sir Henry Guinness, Hon. R. (Haggerston)
Bowles, G. Stewart Dickson, Rt. Hon. Charles Scott Guinness, Hon. W. E. (Bury St. Edm)
Cave, George Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Harris, Frederick Leverton
Cecil, Evelyn (Aston Manor) Dumphreys, John M. T. Harrison-Broadley, H. B.
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Fell, Arthur Hay, Hon. Claude George
Kerry, Earl of Peel, Hon. Wm. Robert Wellesley Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred Ronaldshay, Earl of Younger, George
Morpeth, Viscount Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Newdegate, F. A. Sandys, Lieut.-Col. Thos, Myles TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir Alexander Acland-Hood and Viscount Valentia.
Nicholson, Wm. G. (Petersfield) Stanier, Beville
Nield, Herbert Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Pease, Herbert Pike (Darlington)

Question, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.

Lords Amendment: Leave out, at end of Clause, "and the decision of the Local Government Board whether land is likely to be used for building purposes or not, shall be final."

Lords Amendment: After Clause 54 insert Clause D:—

Confirmation of Town Planning Scheme.

12.0 P.M.

D.—(1) A town planning scheme prepared or adopted by a local authority shall be submitted to the Local Government Board and shall be supported by such evidence as the Board by their regulations require.

(2) If, on consideration of the scheme and on proof of the publication of the notices prescribed by the regulations of the Local Government Board, the Board think fit to proceed with the case, they shall direct a public local inquiry to be held in or in the vicinity of the area comprised in the scheme.

(3) After receiving the report made upon such inquiry and considering the same the Local Government Board may make an order sanctioning the scheme.

(4) Such order may be made with such modifications and subject to such conditions as the Local Government Board think fit to insert, and it shall be the duty of the authority promoting the scheme to serve in the manner prescribed by the regulations of the Board a notice of any order so made upon the authorities whose area and upon the person whose property will be affected by the operation of the scheme.

(5) If within the prescribed period, not being less than three months, no objection has been presented to the Local Government Board by an authority or person interested, or if every such objection has been withdrawn, the Board may confirm the order unless the scheme contains a provision suspending any statutory enactments, in which case, or if such an objection as aforesaid has been presented and has not been withdrawn, the order shall not be of any validity unless and until it has been confirmed by Parliament.

(6) Where an order under this section is referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament, that Committee shall not hear expert witnesses, that is to say, any witness who receives any fee or reward for his attendance or evidence other than his out-of-pocket expenses, unless before the hearing of the case upon an application by the party desiring to call an expert witness, the Chairman of Committees in the case of an order referred to a Committee of the House of Lords, or the Chairman of Ways and Means in the case of an order referred to a Committee of the House of Commons, certifies that the evidence of any particular expert witness or witnesses is requisite or desirable.

(7) Where an order under this section is referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament the local authority who has submitted the scheme and any authority whose area or any person whose property will be affected by the scheme shall be entitled to petition and be heard before the Committee.

(8) The Local Government Board or, in the case of an order referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament, that Committee, by a majority of the members of the Committee for the time being present and voting, may make such an order as they think fit in favour of any authority whose area or of any person whose property was proposed to be affected by the scheme, for the allowance of the reasonable costs, charges, and expenses properly incurred at any stage of the proceedings in opposing such scheme, and for that purpose shall take into consideration the circumstances under which such opposition was made to the scheme, and whether such opposition was or was not justified by such circumstances, and shall award costs accordingly, to be paid by the local authority promoting the scheme or the opponents of the scheme, as may appear just.

[(9) All costs, charges, and expenses incurred by the Local Government Board in relation to any Order under this Section shall, to such amount as the Local Government Board, or, in the case of an Order referred to a Committee of either House of Parliament, as that Committee think proper to direct, and all costs, charges, and expenses of any authority or person, to such amount as may be allowed in pursuance of the aforesaid power, shall be taken to be a liability incurred by the authority promoting the scheme, and shall be paid to the Board and to such authority or person respectively in such manner and at such times, and either in one sum or by instalments, as may be directed.]

(10) A town planning scheme may be varied or revoked by a subsequent scheme, prepared or adopted and confirmed in accordance with this Part of this Act, on the application of the responsible authority, or of any other council or person interested.

(11) Any costs under this Section may be taxed and recovered in the manner in which costs may be taxed and recovered under the Parliamentary Costs Act, 1865.