HC Deb 28 July 1927 vol 209 cc1626-7

Lords Amendment:

In page 4, line 27, leave out the Clause and insert a new Clause.

Viscount WOLMER

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

What I said about the last Clause is practically true of this Clause also, but there is one slight difference I ought to mention. This is a Clause that empowers the Postmaster-General to take part of a scheduled property instead of the whole of it, and the House of Lords, in reverting to the old form, has reinserted these words: If such portions can, in the opinion of the tribunal to whom the question of disputed compensation is submitted, be severed from the remainder of those properties without material detriment thereto. It is a little safeguard in favour of those people whose property we are taking. As a matter of fact it does not make the slightest difference in this Bill at all, because this Clause only refers to one particular property mentioned in the second Schedule. That purchase has already been completed by agreement, and the property is only included in the Bill because there is some doubt as to the title of the vendor. Therefore I think I am still quite accurate in claiming that there is no difference in substance between this new Clause and what we passed the other day. It is merely a drafting matter.


Not having the Bill, and not having anticipated the discussion, one relies with confidence on what the Noble Lord has said about this Clause dealing only with one property, and therefore it makes no material difference. But there are few more difficult questions that can be considered than those relating to severance and taking part only of properties, and the decision whether the taking of a part instead of the whole does or does not damage the owners. It has always been one of the most difficult questions in arbitrations under the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, and it raises a very material point of principle. The application in this case may be simple and may make no difference, but the emergence of this particular Amendment at this stage adds considerable weight to the protest I made just now.