HC Deb 11 July 1932 vol 268 cc1051-5

Lords Amendment: In page 5, line 41, at the end insert: Provided that nothing contained in this Sub-section shall prevent the Minister from approving a resolution adopting a scheme comprising land in respect of which he is not satisfied that the conditions specified in this Sub-section are complied with, if the scheme has been proposed by the owners of not less than two-thirds of that land and approved by not less than three-fourths of the owners of that land.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."—[Sir H. Young.]


This Amendment raises a rather important point. As we understand it, this is giving the Minister power to consent to a scheme which is put up by the owners, when 'he cannot consent to a scheme for the same land put up by the local authority. Under Clause 6 as it stands, he is prohibited from considering a scheme put up by the local authority, yet the local authority can be overridden by the owners. Further, we do not understand what machinery is provided for ascertaining the consent of the owners. There will, of course, have to be some special machinery either by circulating them or ascertaining whether they voted in favour of the scheme or against it, and unless it follows in a subsequent Amendment we can find no machinery Clause to carry out this new procedure as regards town planning.


This is the first of the Amendments of interest and substance to which I referred, and its effect is this: The House passed the Bill in the form that the power to plan was limited to certain categories of land, and certain categories of land were excluded from the planning authorities' power to plan. The Amendment has this effect, that it applies to land which is not included in the category that is plannable in the Bill as it left this House, and it says that land which otherwise would not have been plannable shall become plannable in certain circumstances. Those circumstances are that there is a desire on the part of the owners of that land that it should be planned.

The House will remember that categories of land were excluded from the power to plan on the ground that there could be no public necessity for land in those categories to be planned, and the purpose of the Amendment is to say that such land may be planned, even though there is no public necessity, if it is the desire of the owners of the land that it should be planned. I confess that that appears to me to be a wholly reasonable provision, and the only reason for excluding these categories of land was because it was thought the owners would rather not have a plan because it was troublesome, but if the owners desire to have one, there can be no reason against inclusion in the planning power. The will of the owners is specified in the Clause to be the will of the owners of two-thirds of the land, that is, the area of the land, and three-fourths of the number of the owners, so as to secure a substantial majority—so big a majority that it would only be an unreasonable minority that would resist.

The hon. and learned Gentleman asks what would be the procedure for ascertaining that there is such a majority. It will be plain to the House that these are two perfectly simple and easily ascertainable facts, as to whether the owners of two-thirds of the area of the land and as to whether three-fourths of the owners of the land assent. Those are two arithmetical figures about which there can be no dispute or conjecture, and it will be the duty of the Minister to do that sum and to see that those two proportions are secured.


I think the right hon. Gentleman misunderstands me. There is no provision that I can find for any service of any notice on the owners in regard to giving consent, or ascertaining it in the case of absent owners. There is no legal provision for giving them notice which would be accepted as proper notice in the scheme, which is dealt with fully with regard to other schemes.


The hon. and learned Gentleman will see that those difficulties are all met by the circumstance that it is the owners who propose the scheme, and if enough of the owners appear to propose and support the scheme to secure the necessary majority, then the dissidence of the minority is not regarded. There is same fear that the local authority may be overridden, but that is not so, because the procedure for proceeding with the scheme under these conditions would be the same as under any other scheme in the Bill.


Would the owners of land include the case of joint owners? If a small parcel of land were held by joint owners, would they be able to have a voice in the matter?


That is a very interesting question. I speak with some diffidence on a point better answered by a lawyer, but my memory of the law is sufficient to tell me that in respect of

any given piece of land or property there is somebody entitled to express a legal assent. For instance, there is such a law as to the proportion of the trustees who would be capable of alienating land, and apparently they would be the persons capable of giving assent under this Clause.


When the right hon. Gentleman refers to owners of not less than two-thirds of the land, which I understand is the acreage of the land apart from the value, does it mean that it has to be approved by not less than three-fourths-—not the owners of three-fourths of the land? That is to say, if three people have the right as regards a particular piece of land, as the right hon. Gentleman suggests, they will have three votes, whereas the single owner of half the total acreage will have only one vote?


The hon. and learned Gentleman will realise the diffidence with which I reply on a point requiring legal knowledge. It appears to be certain that each piece of property has a single owner for the purpose of the majority. As to how many of these owners are necessary to express assent, that is in accordance with the general law. They will be the same proportion as in the case of trustees who alienate land, but, as respects voting power, the dictates of common sense will operate, and the owners will vote as single owners of the land.

Question put, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 198; Noes, 25.

Division No. 302.] AYES [11.27 p.m.
Acland-Troyte. Lieut.-Colonel Brown, Brig.-Gen. H.C. (Berks.,Newb'y) Davison, Sir William Henry
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T. Dawson, Sir Philip
Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G. Burgin, Dr. Edward Leslie Dickie, John P.
Albery, Irving James Burnett, John George Duncan, James A. L. (Kensington, N.)
Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd) Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley) Elmley, Viscount
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Caporn, Arthur Cecil Emrys-Evans, P. V.
Asks, Sir Robert William Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Entwistle, Cyril Fullard
Astor, Viscountess (Plymouth, Sutton) Cazalet, Capt. V. A. (Chippenham) Essenhigh, Reginald Clare
Atholl, Duchess of Chalmers, John Rutherford Fielden, Edward Brocklehurst
Banks, Sir Reginald Mitchell Chapman, Col. R.(Houghton-le-Spring) Fox, Sir Gifford
Barrie, Sir Charles Coupar Chorlton, Alan Ernest Leofric Fraser, Captain Ian
Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury) Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston Spencer Ganzoni, Sir John
Beaumont, Hon. R.E.B. (Portsm'th,C.) Clarry, Reginald George Gibson, Charles Granville
Belt, Sir Alfred L. Cochrane, Commander Hon. A. D. Gluckstein, Louis Halle
Bernays, Robert Conant, R. J. E. Glyn, Major Ralph G. C.
Bird, Ernest Roy (Yorks., Skipton) Copeland, Ida Greene, William P. C.
Boulton, W. W. Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John
Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W. Craven-Ellis, William Grimston, R. V.
Boyce, H. Leslie Crooke, J. Smedley Gunston, Captain D. W.
Bracken, Brendan Crookshank, Capt. H. C. (Gainsb'ro) Guy, J. C. Morrison
Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough) Crossley, A. C. Hales, Harold K.
Broadbent, Colonel John Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard Hanbury, Cecil
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Davidson, Rt. Hon. J. C. C. Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry
Harris, Sir Percy Martin, Thomas B. Rutherford, Sir John Hugo
Hartington, Marquess of Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Salmon, Major Isidore
Hellgers, Captain F. F. A. Merriman, Sir F. Boyd Salt, Edward W.
Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsford) Mills, Major.J. D. (New Forest) Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Holdsworth, Herbert Milne, Sir John S. Wardlaw- Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard
Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Mitchell, Harold P.(Betf'd & Chisw'k) Scone, Lord
Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge) Mitcheson, G. G. Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.
Horobin, Ian M. Molson, A. Hugh Elsdale Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)
Howard, Tom Forrest Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)
Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.) Skelton, Archibald Noel
Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport) Morrison, William Shepherd Slater, John
Hume, Sir George Hopwood Muirhead, Major A. J. Smiles, Lieut.-Col. Sir Walter D.
Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Munro, Patrick Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)
Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Nall-Cain, Arthur Ronald N. Smith, Louis W. (Sheffield, Hallam)
Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.) Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Somervell, Donald Bradley
James, Wing-Com. A. W. H. Newton, Sir Douglas George C. Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Janner, Barnett Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth) Sotheron-Estcourt, Captain T. E.
Ker, J. Campbell North, Captain Edward T. Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Kerr, Lieut.-Col. Charles (Montrose) Nunn, William Spencer, Captain Richard A.
Kerr, Hamilton W. O'Donovan, Dr. William James Stanley, Hon. O. F. G. (Westmorland)
Kirkpatrick, William M. Palmer, Francis Noel Stones, James
Lamb, Sir Joseph Quinton Pearson, William G. Stourton, Hon. John J.
Leckie, J. A. Peat, Charles U. Sueter, Rear-Admiral Murray F.
Leighton, Major B. E. P. Percy, Lord Eustace Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Lennox-Boyd, A. T. Pickering, Ernest H. Tate, Mavis Constance
Liddall, Walter S. Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada Taylor,Vice-Admiral E.A.(P'dd'gt'n,S.)
Lindsay, Noel Ker Pike, Cecil F. Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)
Little, Graham-, Sir Ernest Power, Sir John Cecil Thompson, Luke
Llewellin, Major John J. Raikes, Henry V. A. M. Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian) Todd, Capt. A. J. K. (B'wick-on T.)
Lumley, Captain Lawrence R. Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles) Train, John
Mebane, William Ramsden, E. Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
MacAndrew, Maj. C. G. (Partick) Rankin, Robert Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)
MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr) Rea, Walter Russell Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)
McKeag, William Reid, Capt. A. Cunningham- Waterhouse, Captain Charles
McKie, John Hamilton Reid, William Allan (Derby) Windsor Clive, Lieut-Colonel George
McLean, Major Alan Renwick, Major Gustav A. Womersley, Walter James
McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)
Macmillan, Maurice Harold Rosbotham, S. T. Worthington. Dr. John V.
Making, Brigadier-General Ernest Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge) Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S' v'noaks)
Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot Rothschild, James A. de
Mander, Geoffrey le M. Ruggles-Brise, Colonel E. A. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Margesson, Capt. Henry David R. Runge, Norah Cecil Sir George Penny and Mr.
Marsden, Commander Arthur Russell,Hamer Field (Sheffield,B'tside) Blindell.
Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South) Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur Rathbone, Eleanor
Attlee, Clement Richard Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Tinker, John Joseph
Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale) Groves, Thomas E. Williams, Edward John (Ogmore)
Cocks, Frederick Seymour Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Williams, Dr. John H. (Llanelly)
Cripps, Sir Stafford Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)
Daggar, George McEntee, Valentine L.
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Maclean, Nell (Glasgow, Govan) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Davies, Rhys John (Westhoughton) Maxton, James Mr. John and Mr. Gordon
Evans, R. T. (Carmarthen) Milner, Major James Macdonald.
George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Price, Gabriel

Question, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment," put, and agreed to.