HC Deb 27 May 1919 vol 116 cc1160-1

The power of the Local Government Board of making regulations under Section fifty-six of the Act of 1909 shall include power to make regulations as to the procedure consequent on the passing of a resolution by a local authority to prepare or adopt a town planning scheme, and provision shall be made by those regulations for securing that a local authority after passing such a resolution shall proceed with all reasonable speed with the preparation or adoption of the town planning scheme, and shall comply with any regulations as to steps to be taken for that purpose, including provisions enabling the Local Government Board in the case of default or dilatoriness on the part of the local authority to act in the place and at the expense of the local authority.


In the absence of the hon. Member for the Everton Division, I beg; to move the Amendment standing in his name—after the word "authority" ["the local authority to act"], to insert the words and after holding a local inquiry. The object of Clause 37 is to empower the Local Government Board to make certain regulations as to procedure with regard to town planning, and the later part of the Clause empowers the Local Government Board, in cases of difficulty or dilatoriness on the part of the local authority, to act in the place and at the expense of the local authority. The object of the Amendment is to secure that no local authority shall be found to be in default or dilatory so that their powers may be superseded until there has been a local inquiry. The Amendment is put down at the request of the Association of Municipal Corporations.


I beg to second the Amendment.

I do so more especially in order to give the right hon. Gentleman the opportunity of expressing his views in regard to it. I understand that representations have 'been made to him. I hope he may agree with them, and that if not he will explain why.


I am glad to explain why upstairs I resisted Amendments of this kind, and why I must continue to do so to the end. It would mean that, where, for some reason or another, dilatoriness had occurred and the local authority had been superseded, a statutory local inquiry must be held. It is quite obvious, where anything of this kind will come to pass, you must have a good many communications with the local authority in the ordinary way. The local authority would know all about it; you would not do this kind of thing as a surprise, to anybody. I have said already this evening, and I had this Amendment in mind at the time, that if housing Bills are beset with statutory inquiry, time would be taken and delay caused, and they would lead to endless correspondence. This would apply in every case, however simple and obvious. I think I must ask the House, in giving us the responsibility for dealing with this business, to expect us to deal with it like sensible people. Statutory inquiries at every point would make for endless delay and place a weapon in the hands of every dilatory authority. No authority wishful to do its part under this scheme will ever come within the ambit of this Clause at all. As to the others, they do not deserve the protection.

Amendment negatived.