§ Where it appears to the Minister that on account of the special architectural historic or artistic interest attaching to a locality it is expedient that with a view to preserving the existing character and to protecting the existing features of the locality a town planning scheme should be made with respect to any area comprising that locality, the Minister may, notwithstanding that the land or any part thereof is already developed, authorise a town planning scheme to be made with respect to that area prescribing the space about buildings, or limiting the number of buildings to be erected, or prescribing the height or character of buildings, and, subject as aforesaid, the Town Plannings Acts, 1909 to 1923, shall apply accordingly.
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
I think this Amendment will be of interest to those concerned with town planning. The House will, no doubt, be aware that the Town Planning Acts now only give powers with respect to areas which are undeveloped. It has been represented that in certain cases, notably Oxford and Stratford-on-Avon, it would be extremely desirable that the local authority should have powers to make town plans for areas that are already built up, and so preserve certain historic or architectural features of great interest to the country, which otherwise might be in danger of being destroyed through the presence of factories or other buildings which would be out of keeping with these historie buildings. This Clause, which has been carefully drafted, gives to the Minister power in such cases to authorise 2674 the making of a town-planning scheme in respect of the area, but the town-planning scheme must be confined to certain particular matters. It may not include the planning of roads, but may include the prescribing of the space there shall be around buildings, the limitation of the number of buildings, and the prescribing of the height or character of the buildings. This is a Clause which I think will be watched with considerable interest, and I hope it may be the forerunner of further legislation in this direction hereafter.
§ Mr. ADAMS
I desire to congratulate the other place upon having discovered one defect, if it may be so described, in this immaculate measure. It is gratifying that the other place should justify its existence as the home of democracy, and we have a magnificent illustration of this in the new Clause which is now being inserted. The House will note, with gratification, that where there are special historic and artistic interests in any disrict, the Minister will use his power in order to apply a town-planning scheme to the area. The action he will take will be to prescribe the space about the buildings to be erected, to limit the number of buildings on any given site or area, and to prescribe the height and character of the dwellings. That is exceedingly gratifying in this age. I mention this because the Lords are concerned with preserving the architectural features and the amenities of a district where beauties and ancient buildings and other features ought to be preserved. But it is interesting to observe that the members of another place are not so concerned with regard to the areas in which those working-class dwellings are to be erected. The Minister and the Lords similarly have resisted, I suppose successfully, all endeavours on the part of hon. Members on this and that side of the House to induce the Government to consent that there should be town-planning schemes applied to the new areas where working-class dwellings are to be erected.
§ Mr. HOHLER
On a point of Order. May I ask how this arises on the Clause? The hon. Member's argument, as I understand it, is that this ought to be extended to other areas. I submit that is not in order.
The hon. Member has hardly developed his argument. The dis- 2675 cussion must be confined, of course, to the actual Amendment which has been made by the other House.
§ Mr. HOHLER
I have been listening very attentively, but have not heard a single word which was directed to the Amendment beyond congratulating the House of Lords upon it.
§ Mr. ADAMS
I think the House will agree that I am in order, before the Bill passes for ever from our ken, in drawing certain comparisons between the demands of Members of the House of Commons with regard to working-class areas and the decision of the Government with respect to the preservation of certain places of historic interest.
The hon. Member cannot discuss the Bill in advance. He cannot discuss other Amendments. We are confined simply to the question whether or not we agree with this particular Amendment.
§ Mr. ADAMS
I would argue that I disagree with this Amendment on the ground that it does not go far enough. I take it that in this way I shall be in order. If it is desirable to preserve space about these buildings, that is precisely what we want in regard to the working-class dwellings, and that there should be a limitation of the dwellings to be erected on a given space. We request that the speculators into whose hands we are to be delivered should be compelled to limit the number of houses per acre and that—