HC Deb 30 May 1916 vol 82 cc2676-7

Where on the application of a person entitled to build on any site it is proved to the satisfaction of such Court as may be provided by rules or directions under the principal Act—

  1. (a) that that person is prevented from erecting a building on the site by reason of circumstances attributable directly or indirectly to the present War, or that it is desirable in the national interests that he should not erect such a building during the present War; and
  2. (b) that in consequence of the delay in erecting such building there is danger of a right to light being acquired by prescription in respect of any adjoining or neighbouring premises,
the Court may in its absolute discretion, after considering all the circumstances of the case and the position of all the parties, by order declare that a period commencing at such date not earlier than the twenty-fifth day of May nineteen hundred and sixteen and ending at such date not later than six months after the termination of the present War as may be fixed by the Court shall be excluded in computing the period of the enjoyment of light required for the purpose of obtaining a prescriptive right whether under the Prescription Act, 1832, or otherwise.


I beg to move, in paragraph (a), after the word "that" ["or that it is"], to insert the words "in the opinion of the Treasury or of the Minister of Munitions."

It was thought it was rather too much to ask the Court whether it was desirable that a building should not be erected in the national interests, and that it is better to ask the Minister of Munitions or the Treasury who have charge of these matters to give their certificate that the building ought to be stopped.


I should like to ask, would not this limit the operation of the Clause unfavourably since a small owner could hardly go to the expense of getting the opinion of the Treasury or of the Minister of Munitions? I should have thought he would enjoy a better position if the judge were allowed to say whether it was in the national interests. Looking at these words for the first time, it seems to me that this provision would be injurious to the small owner.


I think it would operate exactly the other way. It costs nothing to go to the Minister of Munitions to get a certificate. It would merely mean a letter. On the other hand, if the owner has to prove the matter to a Court he must go into evidence. It will cost him more to satisfy a judge than to obtain a simple letter.

Amendment agreed to.

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