§ Miss LAWRENCE
I beg to move, in page 42, line 15, at the end, to insert the words:(2) The provisions of this Act with respect to the validity and date a operation of compulsory purchase orders made under Part I of this Act shall apply in relation to compulsory purchase orders made under Section sixty-four of the principal Act as amended by Sub-section (1) of this Section.This Amendment is consequential, and it is necessary in order to make the provisions in the new Clause which we have just passed in regard to validity and date of orders, apply to the compulsory purchase of land under Part III of the principal Act.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Mr. P. OLIVER
I beg to move, in page 42, line 15, at the end, to insert the words:(2) The proviso to Section sixty-four of the principal Act shall have effect as if the words 'forms part of any park, garden, or pleasure ground or' and the word 'otherwise' were omitted therefrom.This Clause amends Section 64 of the Housing Act, 1925, which deals with the power to acquire land compulsorily. The proviso to the Clause says:Provided that nothing in this Act shall authorise the compulsory acquisition for the purposes of this Part of this Act of any land which is the property of any local authority or has been acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking, or which at the date of the order forms part of any park, garden, or pleasure ground, or is otherwise required for the amenity or convenience of any house.If this Amendment is accepted, the latter part of the proviso wilt read:or which at the date of the order is required for the amenity or convenience of any house.There are considerable areas of land which are not really required for the amenities of any house, and the suggestion is that this land, if required, should form the subject of a compulsory purchase.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
Ordinarily, land which forms part of any park, garden or pleasure ground is required for the 357 amenity of a house, but the London County Council have found that sometimes in the suburbs you have a house which has become derelict, and which is not required by the sort of people who used to live in it. The garden is also derelict, but it still remains technically a garden. This Amendment will remove from our legislation a difficulty in the case of suburbs which have gone right down the scale.
§ Sir K. WOOD
I do not think that the wording of this Amendment can be accepted. It may be true, as the Parliamentary Secretary says, that there may be cases which the London County Council have in mind, but this goes very much further, and deals with any land which forms part of any park, garden or pleasure ground. It does not say anything about derelict houses in the suburbs. The Amendment is very wide and extensive, and the Government will be well advised to consider this matter further to see whether that is necessary, or whether these words are desirable.
§ Miss LAWRENCE
There can be no acquisition of any land which is required for the amenity of a house, and that covers all pleasure grounds which are in fact so used. We are advised that this will deal only with pieces of pleasure ground which are now no longer used; but where you have a house which has gone down in the world and which has a derelict garden which is not required for the amenity or convenience of the house that garden can be compulsorily purchased. We are advised that these words may be omitted from the proviso, but if there is any doubt, it will be considered later on. We are assured, however, that the owners are protected.
§ Mr. C. WILLIAMS
I am amazed at the Minister accepting this Amendment, and am surprised that it was not brought forward at another stage, as it could have been if there were real value in it, and it was merely a matter which concerned the London County Council. I have not the text of the original Act before me, but surely the word "garden" must mean more than a derelict piece of ground round a house which has fallen on evil days. May I ask the Parliamentary Secretary how she would deal with this particular case under this Section? 358 Where, even though the house itself is not occupied, you have someone actually using the garden for the purpose of growing, say, vegetables, would she in that instance have the power of obtaining it? I do not desire to stand in the way of ground which is not fully and properly used being obtained. I want to make that perfectly clear, so that there shall be no misrepresentation on that particular point, such as we had many times upstairs, but I think we are entitled, as the Minister has not given a clear legal definition of this point, to have a clear and definite pledge that it does not go outside the case of some derelict piece of ground, and if it is in occupation for the purpose of any reasonable cultivation, then it will not come under the Act. Before we accept hastily an Amendment of this kind, coming as it does from the quarter from which it comes, I think we should be well advised to consider it care fully.
I feel quite sure that the hon. Member who moved the Amendment did it with great knowledge of the facts, but, at the same time, after one remark which dropped from below the Gangway just now, I think we are entitled to look at the matter very carefully and to see if there is anything hidden in it. I noticed one or two hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway seemed to think that they themselves had found some further meaning in the words and, as far as I am concerned, I am mildly suspicious because of the alacrity with which the Parliamentary Secretary accepted the Amendment. I have always noticed that when she accepts Amendments with great speed it seldom has the effect of making a rather bad Bill any better.
§ Mr. E. BROWN
In giving vent to his suspicions, the last speaker has forgotten his past record. I cannot help comparing his speech with that which he made last night when pleading for another thing. The whole argument then was that be-cause a particular local authority desired to have it they ought to have it. In this case, my hon. Friend desires to get this amendment of the law to facilitate the work of the London County Council, which is a much larger authority and which governs a much larger portion of ground containing many more millions of people. The hon. Member above the 359 Gangway is not willing to give the London County Council what he was prepared to give the corporation of Torquay yesterday, namely, the power to do what they desire to do. This Amendment is brought in in order to alter a position which made difficulties in the way of re-housing in certain parts of London. I have never based my support of any Amendment on the position of any given local authority, but the hon. Member above the Gangway is the last Member who is entitled to take that view now, when this Amendment is based on entirely the same ground as that which he advanced last night.
§ Amendment agreed to.