HC Deb 09 May 1929 vol 227 cc2427-30

"(1) After the commencement of this Act no petroleum filling station shall without the consent of the district council be erected on any land in the county so as to be adjacent to a county road or so that any carriage way forming part of the station communicates directly with such a road, but the district council shall not refuse to give such consent as aforesaid, except for the purpose of preventing obstruction to traffic.

(2) Any person aggrieved by the refusal of a district council to give their consent under this Section may, within 14 days after the refusal has been communicated to him, appeal to a petty sessional court, and the provisions of Section 8 of the Public Health Act, 1925, shall apply with respect to any such appeal as they apply with respect to appeals under that Act.

(3) If any person erects, or permits to be erected, any petroleum filling station 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 £5, and any person so convicted shall within such time as the court may allow, do all such things as may be necessary to remove any petroleum filling station erected in contravention of this Section, and if he fails to do so he shall be deemed to commit a continuing offence and shall be liable on summary conviction thereof to a daily penalty not exceeding 40s.

(4) In this Section the expression 'petroleum filling station' has the same meaning as in the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928."—[Sir D. Herbert.]

Brought up, and read the First and Second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Clause be added to the Bill."


Before we proceed, may we have some explanation from the Home Office?

The UNDER-SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Lieut.-Colonel Sir Vivian Henderson)

The hon. Member is under a misapprehension in thinking that the Home Office is in any way responsible for the fact that we are discussing this Bill at half-past seven this evening.


I never suggested that. All I am saying is that the House is being asked to take this course in regard to an Amendment which has been imposed by the Home Office against the considered decision of the Local Legislation Committee.


There, again, the hon. Member is forgetting that this course has been taken on several occasions even within the short time I have been at the Home Office. I remember that there was a discussion on a Bill dealing with charities. In that matter the Home Office intervened and eventually we had to bring it to the Floor of this House and point out that what the Local Legislation Committee were recommending was not desirable—and the House agreed with the Home Office.


But the Standing Orders were not suspended.


The hon. Member is talking about the Standing Orders, I have nothing to do with the Standing Orders. We are perfectly entitled to bring before the House, and, in fact, it is our duty to do so, any proposal of the Local Legislation Committee which we consider is contrary to general legislation. Two Clauses in the Bill, Clauses 58 and 59, were objected to originally by the Automobile Association and certain garage proprietors because they considered they went further than was reasonable. The Home Office objected to them for another reason, and that was that they brought county councils and district councils into cross-purposes with each other. I do not know if the hon. Member is a member of the Local Legislation Committee, but that was the difficulty there.

Certain Amendments were made and, as a consequence, the opposition of the Automobile Association and the motor garage proprietors was withdrawn, but when the Bill reached this House objection was taken by the Urban District Councils' Association, an objection in which the Home Office concurred, that the proposals would cause overlapping jurisdiction between the urban councils and the county councils. The House will remember that the authority under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928, is the urban district council, which a county council by a private Bill proposed to amend. That is highly improper. In view of this objection the promoters substituted the district councils as the authority in place of the county council. Clause 58 was allowed, but the Committee deleted Clause 59 in the form in which it was put forward and instead allowed Clause 59 as it now appears in the Bill, which contains a provision designed to secure that garages erected within 100 yards of a road junction should be set back from the road. Clause 58 as it appeared in the Bill cut across the powers possessed by local authorities in the Petroleum Act, 1928, and the Home Office considered it a matter of importance because the Home Secretary is the appellate authority under that Act. It seemed to the Department that it was desirable that these two Clauses should be deleted as they appeared in the Bill, and that the new Clause should be substituted. The Clause which has been substituted gives the local authority power, subject to a right of appeal which was not in the original Clause, to refuse its consent to the erection of a filling station adjacent to a county road if its erection would cause obstruction to traffic. That provision is not in the Petroleum Act, and, therefore, it does not cut across the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act in that respect. The hon. Member suggested that this Clause goes much further than the two original Clauses.


I am not in the least arguing the merits of the Amendment. What I am saying is that by the procedure we are adopting we are preventing those who oppose the Bill coming to any arrangement with the promoters on these disputed points.


There, again, the hon. Member is referring to something which has nothing to do with me. He said that the Clause on the Order Paper went much further than the two Clauses in the Bill. May I point out that the new clause is not limited to garage junctions, as was the original Clause, but that there was in the original Clause a provision dealing with petrol pumps on the roadside. That Clause has disappeared, and it is not reasonable to say that the new Clause really is much wider seeing that under modem conditions you would not have any garage without a petrol pump. By running the two Clauses into one we have not really done what objectors to the Bill think we have. I cannot conceive any modern garage without a petrol pump. I hope that with this explanation the hon. Member will not press the matter, because it is an agreed Bill as between the Home Office and the promoters. Everyone will agree that we should not allow Private Bill legislation to cut across Acts of Parliament, and seeing that we passed the Petroleum Act only 12 months ago, it is unreasonable to allow any local authority to amend that Act in a particular Bill.

Question, "That the Clause be added to the Bill," put, and agreed to.

Further Amendments made.

Ordered, That Standing Orders 223 and 243 be suspended and that the Bill be now read the Third time."—[The Deputy Chairman.] Prince of Wales's Consent signified; Bill read the Third time, and passed with Amendments.