HC Deb 03 June 1932 vol 266 cc1562-4

Amendments made:

In page 24, line 39, leave out from the word "Section" to the word "either," in line 41, and insert instead thereof the words "a scheme may provide."

In line 42, leave out the words "in the declaration," and insert instead thereof the words "for the purpose in the scheme."

In line 43, after the word "of," insert the words "Sub-section (1) of."

In page 25, line 7, leave out the word "elevation," and insert instead thereof the words "external appearance."—[Mr. E. Brown.]

Brigadier-General BROWN

I beg to move, in page 25, line 16, after the word "involve," to insert the word "serious."

This Clause provides that compensation shall not be payable in certain cases, one of which is where building operations are prohibited or restricted permanently on the ground that the erection of buildings on any particular land would be likely to involve danger or injury to health, and I think it is advisable to say that this restriction shall apply only in cases of "serious" danger or injury to health. Without that qualification the Clause is hardly fair to the owner or occupier of the land.

Marquess of HARTINGTON

I beg to second the Amendment.

I feel that we raise here a point which is of greater importance than would appear at first sight. As the Bill stands it would enable the use of certain land for building purposes to be prohibited for all time, on the ground that there was a risk, even though it were a very small risk, to health. There may in some cases be a risk of flooding, with consequent injury to life by drowning, or injury to health through the deposit of unwholesome matter on the land. It will be agreed that in cases where land is habitually subject to flooding it is right that building should not be 'allowed. That land should be prohibited or reserved because of the risk of flooding might be undesirable, and might lead in many ways to serious complications. It would enable local authorities to reserve land for building without paying compensation, and without their real motives for reserving the land for building being fully disclosed. I have in mind a case along the Thames Valley where a local authority has been seeking to prevent building. The Amendment suggested by my hon. and gallant Friend would make it simpler to meet that case, and that local authority would have to pay adequate compensation. The Clause that we are now considering gives them a second line, so that, instead of saying, "We will reserve this as an open space because we want it," and then having to pay compensation, they can say, "You cannot build on this land, because there is a risk of flooding, and consequently a danger of injury to health." They would therefore get off without paying any compensation at all. They would be able to prevent the owner, who has a perfect right to make use of his land, from making any use of it. For that reason, the point that my hon. and gallant Friend has raised is one of importance, and I hope that the Minister will pay attention to it.


The Noble Lord has sought to give a very much wider extension of meaning to this Amendment than it is capable of bearing. We already disallow, in respect of certain restrictions of rights, the payment of compensation, and are, in this case going to disallow compensation where the carrying out of the development proposed would involve injury to health. The hon. and gallant Member for Newbury (Brigadier-General Brown) proposes that a man is to be paid compensation unless there is going to be "serious" injury to health. We discussed this matter in Committee, and I do not think we ought to dwell upon it now. I submit with all earnestness that, if we are to preserve our sense of proportion, we are not entitled to inflict injury, whether it is serious or not.


While the Minister does not wish to cause any hardship in regard to compensation, I think he is not giving the attention that they merit to the words "likely to involve" which are in the Clause. As has been suggested in connection with this Bill, Ministers and Ministries unfortunately change. I suggest that a Minister could say that almost anything was "likely to involve" injury. He might say that driving a motor car was likely to involve danger, and on those grounds prohibit it. There is a very big loophole with which the Minister has not dealt.

Amendment negatived.

It being Four of the Clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.

Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), to be further considered upon Monday next.

The remaining Orders were read, and postponed.

Whereupon Mr. SPEAKER adjourned the House without Question put, pursuant to Standing Order No. 3.

Adjourned at One Minute after Four o'Clock, until Monday next, 6th June.