HC Deb 26 May 1919 vol 116 cc959-61

(2) The purposes for which land may be acquired under Part III. of the principal Act shall be deemed to include—

  1. (a) the lease or sale of the land, under the powers conferred by this Act, with a view to the erection thereon of houses for the working classes by persons other than the local authority; and
  2. (b) the lease or sale under the powers conferred by this Act of any part of the land acquired with a view to the use thereof for purposes which in the opinion of the local authority are necessary or desirable for or incidental to the development of the land as a building estate.


I beg to move, at the end of Sub-section (2), to add the words including the provision, maintenance, and improvement of houses and gardens and other works or buildings for or for the convenience of persons belonging to the working classes and other persons. When we were discussing this Clause in Committee one or two hon. Members were not quite certain what was included in the term "desirable for or incidental to the development of the land as a building estate." In our opinion there was no no doubt as to what was included. I move this, however, to make quite clear the purposes for which land may be acquired under the Clause.

Amendment agreed to.


I beg to move, at the end, to add the words Notwithstanding anything in the principal Act or in this Act contained a local authority or county council shall not be authorised to acquire any land belonging to any local authority, company, or person empowered by Act of Parliament to supply water in any area and required by them for the purpose of such supply, or for protecting from contamination any water which such local authority, company, or person are so empowered to impound, take, or use for the purpose of supply. I move this for the purpose of protecting water authorities. A large number of water companies hold land not only for the purpose of extracting water, but to protect from pollution the springs they have in a particular place. The object of the Amendment is to prevent any local authority taking land so held by a water company, because it is highly desirable that water companies should not be compelled or tempted to sell any land which they hold for the protection of an existing water supply. It must be obvious that it would be no advantage to a water company to hold such lands, because they are non-productive, and it is not likely that they would hold more of such land than they could possibly help. It might be a very great temptation to a local authority, which might want to build cottages, to press a water company to give it some small portion of land which they hold to protect springs, which would be highly undesirable. I am sure the Government will agree as to the desirability of protecting water companies in that way, and no doubt in other Acts of Parliament such provision has been made and water companies' land is in certain cases held sacred, like that of railway companies, and cannot be taken. It is an exemption which the Government will be anxious to continue in this Bill. The only-difference between my hon. and gallant Friend and myself will be whether or not it will be more conveniently done in this form or by incorporating a previous Act.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I know the Government is always anxious to protect water companies and they are protected against contamination. I know many water companies which are possessed of a considerable amount of land, which they buy for the purpose of protecting their springs and water courses, and these words are proposed for this purpose. I understand my hon. and learned Friend (Mr. Rawlinson) to suggest that this is covered by another Act. If that other Act, to which I hope he will refer, is incorporated, I shall be satisfied.


I am glad to have an opportunity of giving my hon. Friends an assurance that the point they desire to obtain is in our opinion—and we have consulted the Law Officers—already secured. They want, very naturally, to see that land which is held by a water company, by statute or by any authority, for the purpose of providing water should not be invaded or taken under the provisions of this Bill to the detriment of the present owners. In our opinion the point which is raised is already covered by Section 45 of the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909. It says that nothing in the Housing Acts shall authorise the compulsory acquisition of any land which is the property of any local authority or has been acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or any other public undertaking. In our opinion this Act will have to be read with the other Housing Acts. This Clause will really protect the interests to safeguard which this Amendment is brought forward If my hon. and learned Friend likes on Clause 14, after the word "manner," to add the words "and subject to the like restrictions," I think that will give him an additional safeguard in the matter which in our opinion will fit in better with the Bill as drawn. I am afraid I cannot accept the Amendment where it is now moved.


I am obliged to my hon. and gallant Friend for his assurance, which will satisfy those on whose behalf I put down the Amendment. When the time comes I will move the Amendment suggested, although I do not know if it strengthens the position as he puts it.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn