§ (1) Subject to the provisions of this section a county council or other highway authority may by resolution prescribe in relation to either side of any part of a highway maintainable by them a frontage line for building (in this section referred to as "a building line"):
§ Provided that—
- (a) the Minister may by order direct that a building line shall not be prescribed under this section in relation to any class of road classified by him under sub-section (2) of section seventeen of the Ministry of Transport Act, 1919, until notification of the building line proposed has been sent to him and his observations with respect thereto have been considered; and
- (b) before a building line is prescribed under this section—
- (i) affecting any main road maintainable by an urban authority by virtue of the provisions of subsection (2) of section eleven of the Local Government Act, 1888, notification of the building line proposed to be prescribed shall be sent to the council of any county in which any land proposed to be affected is situated; or
- (ii) by any county council, notification of the building line proposed to be prescribed shall be sent to the local authority for every district in which any land proposed to be affected is situated, and to every authority for the time being authorised to make a scheme under the Town Planning Act, 1925, or under any enactment repealed by that Act, in respect of any such district, and any observations by an authority to whom notification has been sent as aforesaid, which
1322 are made within three months after the receipt of the notification shall be considered by the authority proposing to prescribe the building line.
§ (2) Any building line proposed to be prescribed and every building line prescribed under this section shall be distinctly marked and shown on plans to be signed by, and deposited with, the clerk of the authority prescribing the building line, and the said plans shall be at all reasonable times thereafter open for the inspection of the public without charge; and any county council or other highway authority prescribing a building line under this section—
- (a) before the building line is prescribed shall give notice in writing of the proposal to prescribe the building line and of the times and place at which the plans aforesaid can be inspected, by serving a notice in writing upon every owner, occupier and lessee of land proposed to be affected, and shall consider any objection to the proposal made within six weeks after the service of the notice;
- (b) within six weeks after the building line has been prescribed, shall cause the plan showing the building line to be sealed and authenticated by the signature of their clerk, and shall serve upon every owner, occupier and lessee of land affected a notice in writing of the prescription of the building line and of the times and place at which the said plan can be inspected.
§ (3) Where a building line prescribed under this section is in force it shall not be lawful, except with the consent of the authority by whom the building line was prescribed, to erect or make nearer to the middle of the highway than the building line any new building, other than a boundary wall or fence, or any permanent excavation below the level of the highway:
§ Provided that the consent of a county council or other highway authority for the purposes of this sub-section may be given subject to such conditions as the authority think fit to impose, and any conditions so imposed shall be binding upon any successor in title to the owner, occupier or lessee of any land to which they relate.
§ (4) If any person erects or makes, or permits to be erected or made, any new building, or permanent excavation in contravention of the provisions of this section he shall, without prejudice to any other proceedings which may be taken against him, be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a penalty not exceeding five pounds, and any person so convicted shall, within such time as the Court may allow, remove any building erected, or fill in any excavation made in contravention of this section, and if he fails to do so he shall be deemed to commit a continuing offence, and shall be 1323 liable on summary conviction to a penalty not exceeding forty shillings for each day upon which such failure continues.
§ (5) Any person who proves that his property is injuriously affected by the prescription of a building line under this section shall, if he makes a claim within six months after the prescription thereof, or in the case of an owner, occupier or lessee, within six months after the service upon him of a notice of the prescription thereof, be entitled to recover from the county council or other highway authority by whom the building line was prescribed, compensation for the injury sustained, and any question whether compensation is payable under this section, or as to the amount of any compensation so payable, shall in default of agreement be determined by an official arbitrator appointed under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919:
§ Provided that in determining any such question as aforesaid—
- (a) no compensation shall be payable to any person in respect of anything done by him or on his behalf after the date of the service upon him of a notice of the proposal to prescribe a building line, except in respect of anything done in pursuance of a contract made, or for the purpose of finishing a building begun, before that date; and
- (b) there shall be taken into account any benefit accruing to the person to whom compensation is payable, by reason of any improvement made or about to be made to the highway.
§ (6) In the administrative County of London the powers conferred by this section shall not be exercised except by the London County Council, and may be exercised by that council in relation to any highway, whether maintainable by them, by the Common Council of the City of London, or by a metropolitan borough council; and all expenses of the London County Council incurred under this section, so far as not defrayed out of any advance made by the Minister, shall be defrayed as expenses for general county purposes:
§ Provided that the Common Council of the City of London and any metropolitan borough council may, as part of the general expenses of the council, pay or contribute towards the payment of any expenses incurred by the London County Council under this section.
§ (7) The powers conferred by this section shall be in addition to, and not in derogation of, any powers conferred by any other Act:
§ Provided that a county council or other highway authority shall not, except with the consent of the Minister of Health and subject to any conditions imposed by him, exercise the powers conferred by this section with respect to any land to which a resolution having effect under section two of the Town Planning Act, 1925, or under 1324 any corresponding enactment repealed by that Act, extends,
§ (8) Nothing in this section shall affect—
- (a) any right of statutory undertakers for gas, water, electricity, train-ways or light railways, to make any excavation for the purpose of laying, altering, repairing or renewing any main, pipe, electric line, duct or other apparatus; or
- (b) any land belonging to a railway company or to the owners, trustees or conservators acting under powers conferred by Parliament, of any canal, inland navigation, dock or harbour where the land is held by them for the purposes of their railway, canal, inland navigation, dock or harbour, except in so far as they may consent thereto; or
- (c) any land specifically authorised by Parliament to be used by any statutory undertakers for the manufacture or storage of gas, the generating of electricity, or as a pumping station or reservoir for water, except in so far as the undertakers may consent thereto:
§ Provided that any consent required for the purposes of this sub-section shall not be unreasonably withheld, and any question whether or not consent so required is unreasonably withheld shall be determined by the Minister after consultaton with the Minister of Health."
§ Colonel ASHLEY
I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."
The House will remember that in Committee the hon. Member for Tamworth (Sir E. Iliffe) inserted a provision which authorised the Ministry and the local authorities to do away with blind corners, and that was supported unanimously by the Committee. In Committee, also, it was moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Cambridge (Sir D. Newton) that a provision to ensure the building line being put into operation should be inserted in the Bill, but the Chairman of the Committee ruled that that was outside the scope of the Bill, greatly to the regret of everyone on that Committee. When it went to another place, the Lords amended the Title of the Bill, and last week put in this new Clause, which allows a local authority to prescribe a building line. This is one of the reforms that have been long called for in the matter of road construction. It will, in my considered opinion, if the House agrees to it to-night, immensely facilitate the improvement of roads and will save literally 1325 millions of pounds to the taxpayers and ratepayers, because by this building line Clause the local authorities will be able to say that within a certain distance from the centre of the road no building shall be put up. Therefore, the scandal which has occurred in the past, and is still occurring, when any road widening is contemplated, of people putting up houses for the very purpose of having them bought up and pulled down again, will not occur again. I would point out to the House that proper compensation is provided for the damage which may be done to the value of the property. This computation will be assessed by the proper tribunal.
At this late hour I do not propose to elaborate the arguments, but I may say that this Clause has the approval of the Ministry of Health, of the London County Council, and of the County Councils Association, and was moved in another place on their behalf, as it was in Committee by the hon. Member for Cambridge. I understand that it has the approval also of the Association of Municipal Corporations and the Association of Urban and Rural District Councils, and the railway companies and other undertakings have, been consulted and agree to this Clause, which will safeguard their interests. I hope the House will pass the Clause, which will really enable us, when we are widening roads or when we make new roads, to do the work at much less cost to the taxpayer and ratepayer than has hitherto been the case.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I must point out that technically there are two small points which raise the question of privilege—in Sub-sections (5) and (6) of the Clause, again dealing with compensation to local authorities. The House, of course, may waive its privilege, and in that case, again, I will cause an entry to be made in the Journal of the House.
§ Colonel ASHLEY
Very much so. Absolutely every power that the rural district councils have now is preserved.
§ Remaining Lords Amendments agreed to.