§ Mr. E. BROWN
I beg to move, in page 5, line 21, to leave out from the word "land" to the end of the paragraph.
This also is a drafting Amendment. The House is aware that the Fourth Schedule contains a great many things which previously had been done by regulations, and this Amendment will be leading up to the fourth Schedule.
§ Amendment agreed to.
§ Sir FRANCIS FREMANTLE
I beg to move, in page 5, line 26, to leave out Sub-section (2).
This raises, perhaps, the most vital issue of the Bill as between the two sides in the main controversy in which we have to get a compromise—between those who wish to rationalise the development of the country as a whole and those who wish to protect the proper interests of the existing owners. I think that all those who nave been through the Committee stage 1491 of the Bill, and I hope all who are keen on town planning, will recognise the extreme importance of doing justice to the private owners and of doing nothing excessive under mere theory, nothing which is uneconomical and nothing which would spoil the real interests of town planning. I use the expression "to spoil the interests of town planning" because, although you may get the best Measure on the Statute Book, you will surely enough spoil the working out of such a Measure if there is either injustice or false economy involved. Sooner or later the schemes are held up and the result is that town planning is spoiled. It is in the interests of the town planner as well as others that nothing which is excessive shall be done.
I recognise that there is a great liability, in local government and national government, on the part of those who are concerned with one particular department of it, to go ahead regardless of other interests and often regardless of economy. It is right that in the working out of this Measure we should try to see that there is every proper safeguard, both in the interests of public economy and in the interest of the existing owner. That being the case, I move this Amendment as raising the whole question. There are four Amendments on the Paper in my name. This Sub-section is to the effect that if the Minister is asked for an approval of the scheme on the Resolution stage, not on its final or committal stage, he has to give or withhold his sanction, but under Sub-section (2) that power of his is limited. The Minister shall not approve any such Resolution unless he is satisfied on certain points. It is that particular limitation of the Minister's powers to which town planners object. The limitation is as regards land which is not likely to be developed. That is a vague phrase which it is very difficult to define, and it caused a great deal of consideration in Committee. The Minister in offering the compromise which now stands in the Clause definitely stated that it was a compromise between the two sides. In outlining the Amendment which is now this Sub-section he said that he would not approve of a Resolution unless he was satisfied that the land was likely to be developed.
§ Captain WATERHOUSE
On a point of Order, Mr. Speaker. Earlier to-day you ruled that it was out of Order to move anything that would create a further charge either on the local authorities or the taxpayer. I submit if this Amendment were carried and if these extra areas of land were inserted in the schemes, that it would most certainly mean a very large extra local charge, if not a charge on the Exchequer.
§ Sir F. FREMANTLE
On that point of Order I would call attention to the fact that the Financial Resolution covers all the matters that are in the opening paragraph of the Bill and includes the development and planning of all land.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That may be so, but if the hon. and gallant Member for South Leicester (Captain Waterhouse) is right the Amendment would increase the charge.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That may be so when the charge on the Bill as it stands is covered by the Financial Resolution. You cannot increase a charge in the Report stage, even though the charge may come within the Financial Resolution.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
As the Bill left this House after Second Reading it did not contain this Sub-section. This sub-section was inserted in Standing Committee. Is it not in order on the Report stage to take up a Sub-section which was inserted in a Bill in Committee, but was not there when the Bill got a Second Reading?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
If the effect of taking out this Sub-section would be that a charge might be imposed it would not be in order to take out the Sub-section. Perhaps the Minister will explain whether the Amendment would increase the charge.
Sir H. YOUNG
I have no desire to prevent the discussion of these Amendments. My only wish is to assist you, Mr. Speaker, in arriving at such a decision as you may be pleased to make on the point of Order. As to the actual effect of the Sub-section, the hon. and learned Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) is perfectly right in stating that this Sub- 1493 section is a new one inserted since the Bill received its Second Reading. Its whole effect is to restrict the areas which can be planned. It is, therefore, all directed to limitation. It is obvious that the removal of the Sub-section at this stage would increase the areas that can be planned. As to the effect of that upon any charge, I do not think that, on the spur of the moment, I could say that either an increase or diminution of the area that can be planned would directly impose or affect a charge upon the public purse. Nevertheless, undoubtedly, an increase of the area that can be planned must have an indirect effect upon certain expenses and charges. Therefore, indirectly, the financial consideration of the charge is not irrelevant.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
May I draw your attention, Mr. Speaker, to the Financial Memorandum which accompanied the Bill when it was presented for Second Reading. That Memorandum stated that the only provisions in the Bill which involved a charge upon the Exchequer were those contained in Clauses 32 and 35. In my submission, no further charge will be involved by the omission of this Sub-section. The resolution will be passed by the local authority in exactly the same way. The only question will be whether or not the Minister gives his approval and no charge upon the Exchequer of any sort or kind will arise out of the Minister's approval.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
May I submit, Sir, that the charge is likely to be upon the rates, and I understood you to rule a proposed new Clause out of order just now because it would have imposed a charge, not on the Exchequer, but on the rates. If we extend the number of authorities entitled to plan, as we would by the removal of this Sub-section, we would undoubtedly impose or run the risk of imposing an extra charge on the rates.
§ Mr. CAPORN
May I direct your attention, Sir, to Clause 7 (1,b) under which local authorities, having passed a resolution, are required to serve notices in the case of every rateable hereditament in the area to which the resolution applies on the ratepayer thereof and if the area is increased there must be a direct charge 1494 on the local authority in respect of serving notices.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
It seems to me that this Sub-section has been inserted in the Bill with the object of limiting the effect of the Clause, and that the deletion of the Sub-section would remove that limitation. That obviously may affect the charge and the Amendment is therefore out of order.
§ Sir F. FREMANTLE
May I ask whether the House is not now considering the Report of the Committee which dealt with the Bill and is it not the case that we are not in any way bound by the Report of the Committee—that is as regards the whole House and not merely the 60 Members who were Members of the Committee? The House may wish to restore the Bill to the form in which it was when it left the House. Surely, it is not giving the true power which ought to belong to Members of this House who were not on the Standing Committee, to say that they cannot do so.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That is a different point altogether. All that we have to consider now is the Bill, as it has corns from the Committee, in its amended form.
§ Sir F. FREMANTLE
I submit, Sir, that we are only bound by the Financial Resolution and that the Financial Resolution does not include this limitation which has been put in by the Committee upstairs.
§ Sir AUSTEN CHAMBERLAIN
In order that your Ruling, Mr. Speaker, may be quite clear, may I ask whether it is that on the Report stage we cannot add to the expense involved in the Bill as it leaves the Committee, even though the Bill as it was originally introduced would have permitted us to cover the expense in dispute.
§ 12 n.
§ Miss RATHBONE
May I ask you, Mr. Speaker, further to amplify that Ruling for the benefit of hon. Members. Is there any means by which the opinion of those 1495 Members of the House who were not on the Standing Committee, can be expressed on the desirability or otherwise of provisions passed in the Standing Committee which alter, radically, provisions contained in the Bill as it received a Second Reading? Is there any way in which the House can, on the Report stage, express its opinion that the intention of the Bill as it received a Second Reading is an intention to which the House wishes to adhere, and that it does not desire to have the Bill in the truncated form in which it has left the Standing Committee, or are Members of the House who were not on the Committee, completely helpless as regards any change made in the Bill which limits its extent?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The regular form in which that can be done is by moving to re-commit the part of the Bill which is in question. We have already this morning had the case of an Amendment standing in the name of the hon. Member for Greenwich (Sir G. Hume) which is out of order in the form in which it comes to us now, and as the Bill comes to us now, but in regard to which there is to be a Motion for recommittal of that part of the Bill in order that that Amendment may be discussed.
§ Miss RATHBONE
Is it in order to move that this Clause be re-committed so that we may have an opportunity of discussing the Amendment of the hon. Member for St. Albans (Sir F. Fremantle)?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
That can be done at a later stage, but it cannot be done now. It can be done at the same, time as the Motion for recommittal which is to be moved in respect of the Amendment of the hon. Member for Greenwich and several Amendments in the name of the Minister. There will be a Motion for recommittal with respect to the particular Clauses affected by those Amendments, and this Clause could be added to that recommittal Motion.
§ Sir A. CHAMBERLAIN
May I be allowed to make an appeal to the Minister to include this Clause in his. Motion for recommittal. It is one to which the Corporation of the great city which I have the honour to represent, attach the highest importance.
Sir H. YOUNG
As I understand Mr. Speaker's Ruling, the Motion for recommittal would provide an adequate opportunity for the discussion of the principle of the Clause. I think possibly we shall find when we come to the time for that Motion that there will be adequate opportunity for considering this matter.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
I hope that that statement does not mean that the Minister proposes to add this Clause to the list of Clauses which are to be recommitted but that the right hon. Gentleman only means that the Motion for recommittal will provide an adequate opportunity for discussion. If the right hon. Gentleman means that this Clause is to be sent back to the Committee I would point out that it will probably receive the same decision as it proved before.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
Any hon. Member who wishes to do so can move the recommittal of a Clause but whether the Clause is recommitted or not is a matter for the House.
§ Mr. BEAUMONT
I was only asking the Minister whether his statement meant that he was going to move the recommittal of this particular Clause.
Sir H. YOUNG
I assure the hon. Member that the point of my statement was directed in precisely the opposite direction. I was referring to a Motion for recommittal by another Member. I understand that the hon. Lady the Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone) or the hon. Member for St. Albans (Sir F. Fremantle) will probably move a Motion to recommit this Clause, and I said that that Motion would provide an opportunity for a discussion of the principle which my hon. Friends desire to raise.
§ Captain WATERHOUSE
Is it possible to move to recommit a Clause at any stage, even where the discussion of the Clause has commenced or even where that discussion has been completed?
§ Mr. SPEAKER
The Motion for the recommittal of any Clause must come after OUT discussion of the Bill on Report.
§ Lieut.-Colonel ACLAND-TROYTE
Would it be in Order to ask the Minister whether he is prepared to accept the Motion for the recommittal of this Clause which affects the Bill very considerably?
§ Mr. ARTHUR GREENWOOD
I beg to move, in page 5, line 26, after the word "resolution", to insert the words:applying to any land not within the district or, as the case may be, districts aforesaid".Hon. Members will be aware that an alteration has been made in Clause 6 with regard to the submission of schemes to the Minister. The object of this Amendment is to put the law back as it stood before and not to give the additional powers to the Minister.
Sir H. YOUNG
This is a limited case of the Amendment which has just been ruled out of order. Assuming that it is in order, it raises for a limited area precisely the same question which was raised on the previous Amendment, because the effect of this Amendment is as follows: The approval of the Minister of Health to a resolution would be required only where the resolution covered land outside the area of the local authority, and the restriction contained in Sub-sections 2 (a) and 2 (b) of Clause 6 would apply only to the outside lands. For the same reason as before, I should not be prepared to accept the Amendment, assuming it is in order. If we are to have a general discussion on the principle involved on a Motion for recommittal of the Clause, it might perhaps commend itself to the right hon. Member for Wakefield (Mr. Greenwood) to withdraw his Amendment and leave the general principle to be discussed then.
§ Mr. GREENWOOD
I think that possibly a good many of these Amendments are now out of order under your last ruling, Mr. Speaker.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
With regard to the Amendment now under discussion, I understand that this does not increase the area and that therefore it would be in order.
Sir H. YOUNG
On a point of Order, I think, as a matter of fact, the effect of 1498 the Amendment would be to increase the planable area, because its effect would be to limit the number of cases in which the approval of the Minister is required for a scheme. The purpose of the approval of the Minister in this connection is to see that a limited area only is subjected to planning. Therefore, if you exclude a certain number of cases from the necessity for the Minister's approval on this ground, you exclude a certain number of cases from the limitations in area, and thus you increase the area.
§ Mr. SPEAKER
I think the best plan would be to recommit this Clause with regard to this Amendment. That applies also to the next three Amendments on the Paper:
In page 5, line 35, after the word "expedient", to insert the words:
or that there is danger that gradual changes may take place in the use of the land within the area of the scheme or in the character of any buildings thereon of such nature and to such extent as would in the course of time be liable to prejudice existing property or its amenities or satisfactory redevelopment of the land".
§ In line 40, to leave out paragraph (b).
In page 6, line 6, at the end, to insert the words:
or that there is danger that from time to time the erection of buildings or change in use of exising buildings may take place to such an extent as would be liable to injure rural amenities".—[Sir F. Fremantle.]
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I beg to move, in page 6, line 6, at the end, to insert the words:Provided that, as regards any land as to which the Minister is not satisfied that it should be included for the general purposes of the scheme, he may nevertheless authorise the inclusion of such land for the sole purpose of being protected by a clause which may require that the owner or occupier shall give notice, not exceeding three months, to the local authority or responsible authority before permitting any development to take place or any change of user such as would have justified the Minister in permitting the land to have been included in the scheme had such development or change of user been known by him to be probable or contemplated at the date when he approved the resolution.This proviso is intended not to include any further land in a planning scheme except with the sole object of giving the local authority notice if that land is going to turn from the static stage into the dynamic stage which will make it a suitable subject-matter for planning. If 1499 in a rural district there has been a large rural area which has not been planned, because the Minister under the operation of Sub-section (2) came to the conclusion that development was not likely, it might well be, as one knows from experience, that some bungaloid growth would suddenly appear in the centre of that rural space. The object of this proviso is that notice should be given of any change of development of that kind, not so as to bring the land into the scheme, but so as to give the local authority notice so that they may subsequently extend the scheme to an area which will then have become one in which development is taking place. It is obviously impossible for any local authority, or the Minister, or anyone else to be able to foretell with any degree of accuracy when development is likely to take place. He has to make the best shot he can at it.
I do not envy the right hon. Gentleman's job under Sub-section (2) of this Clause. Exactly how he is going to tell, for instance, whether a district like that in which I live, the Cotswolds, is likely to be developed in any part of it in the near future, I do not know, but I am assuming that there will be large agricultural areas there which may be left out of any town planning scheme. There have been in that area from time to time sudden growths. I remember very well one case where someone bought a more or less derelict farm and proceeded to turn it into a bungaloid town, which has most hideously disfigured the countryside. Nobody could possibly have anticipated that development, and if in the future some similar development took place, the local authority would be without notice of it, and would not have time before building started to include this new area in the plan.
The object of this proviso is that such an area shall be included in the scheme for the sole purpose of giving notice; that is to say, the local authority, having got out its scheme, says, "As regards this area marked blue on the plan, that only comes under Clause 6, which says that if anybody intends to change the nature of user there in such a way as to bring it within the type of land which might have been within the original scheme under Sub-section (2), he must give three months' notice of it to the 1500 local authority." That is the only provision which will apply to that particular area marked blue on the plan. That will enable the local authority to take steps, if it is necessary and advisable, to get the scheme extended or to get a new scheme to cover that area. In other words, it will stop sudden development in any area, prejudicing what would be a normal plan when that plan came into normal development in the ordinary way. I do not think anybody can take objection to this very reasonable provision. Hon. Members opposite, who take the view of private ownership and economy that this scheme should be limited as far as possible to land which is only likely to be developed in the immediate future, cannot, I am sure, object to a proviso which merely makes provision for a notification to the local authority where land which formerly has not come within that category is about to be brought within it by the owner.
That is the only provision which is included in this Amendment, and I hope the right hon. Gentleman will see his way, if not to accept it now—in view of the discussion which may be coming later on the proposal to recommit the Clause, which this might possibly prejudice—if Sub-section (2), after that discussion, remains as part of Clause 6, to get some sort of provision put in which will enable the local authority to be warned when land is likely to be changed by the owner from what would then be the unplanable category into the planable category. I am sure that hon. Members opposite will see the reasonableness of that, because any local authority in a rural district cannot of its own knowledge know when land is likely to change from the character of static to dynamic. [An HON. MEMBER: "Plans!"] Plans have certainly to be submitted in certain cases, and. if those plans are submitted, it might or might not get to the rural authority, but not necessarily to the authority responsible for planning, and the object of this proviso is that the authority who is responsible for the planning may have notice of the change from static to dynamic conditions. I hope the right hon. Gentleman will say that he thinks this is a reasonable provision to be included.
§ Mr. CAPORN
On a point of Order. Does not this Amendment come within 1501 the Ruling given previously? As I understand, if this Amendment were passed, it would still be obligatory upon the local authority to serve notice upon owners under Clause 7. That seems to come under the same Ruling.
§ Lieut.-Colonel MOORE
As the House will see, there is an alternative Amendment in my name immediately following that which is under discussion—In page 6, line 6, at the end, to insert the wordsProvided that, with respect to any land as to which the Minister is not so satisfied, he may make an order requiring the owner or owners of such land to give not less than three months' notice to the local authority in whose district the land is situated before developing the land or permitting it to be developed.It will not have the effect of the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for St. Albans (Sir F. Fremantle) which has been ruled out of Order, and yet is much more simple in its application, and more innocuous in its principle than the Amendment moved by the right hon. Gentleman. The criticism I have of his Amendment is in respect of the wordswould have justified the Minister in permitting the land".I cannot believe that any judge would be able to interpret the proviso. Who is to say what "justified" means? For this reason I drafted the alternative proviso, which gives all that we want, namely, that restraint should be applied to premature planning, and the land would still be protected. I feel sure my hon. Friends opposite will see that there is reasonable ground for not opposing the Amendment, and I think the Minister will probably see considerable ground for accepting it. The effect would be to preserve the existing use and character of land, and yet in any change subsequently proposed there would be a reasonable opportunity —three months or more—for the land to be planned and sold by some supplementary and subsequent scheme. I think that the owners and local authority would be in perfect agreement on the question, and, from experience, I believe there would be no difficulty in coming to terms. I suggest that my Amendment does provide a suitable and easy alternative to both the other Amendments.
Marquess of HARTINGTON
I hope that my right hon. Friend will not accept the Amendment before the House. It seems, perhaps, reasonable enough, but I believe that it would inevitably have the effect of laying the dead hand of the authority unnecessarily on areas which the Minister, in his wisdom, has decided to exclude from the Bill. The actual wording of the proviso, as my hon. and gallant Friend who has just spoken pointed out, would be unworkable, and there are other features about the proviso which, I think, the Minister ought not to accept. For instance, there are the words:before permitting any development to take place or any change of user such as would have justified the Minister".As I read that, any development which takes place is not governed by the words—such as would have justified the Minister.It seems, therefore, that in addition to the ordinary machinery of getting your plans passed, you would have to notify the local authority of any kind of change whatever taking place in land occupied or owned by you as an individual. That is an extra charge imposed upon ownership and an extra duty imposed upon local authorities. Economy has been very much in the air lately, and we are met again and again by the Government who say that the limits of economy without legislation have been reached. There is talk even of bringing in further legislation limiting the powers and duties of Government in order that economy may be effected. I shall believe that when I see it, and not before. We may at least refrain from imposing fresh and unnecessary duties on local authorities such as this Clause would do. Under the existing laws, you cannot build even a pig sty without getting the plans passed by the local authority. After all, the local authority must be represented on the town planning authority, and if the local authority does not take steps to pass on information which it has received in the ordinary way about the notification of plans, it is not fit to be an authority to town plan or do anything else. The proviso is unnecessary and contains extremely objectionable words which could not work, and ought not to be accepted.
§ Miss RATHBONE
May I reinforce the argument used by the hon. and learned 1503 Member for East Bristol (Sir S. Cripps) in support of this Amendment; I do not feel strongly whether his Amendment or that of the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs (Lieut.-Colonel Moore) is better, but that the purpose of this Amendment is desirable seems to be undeniable. Take the illustration used by the hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Rhys), when he asked to be assured that there would be some protection for the rights of the property owner whose need to cut down wood arose from the payment of Death Duties. That is perfectly true of a very large number of cases where the property owner wants to develop land in a way which is objectionable to the local authority. He may want to sell it to the owner of a garage to put up undesirable advertisements, or to a jerry-builder for bungaloid growth. The motive that leads to that is a personal motive not adhering to the land, but adhering to the owner.
How can the Minister judge beforehand what the circumstances are? He can judge as to the situation and character of the land economically and industrially for the needs of the locality, but a very large number of the most undesirable developments do not arise at all out of what I may call the local circumstances. They arise out of the individual circumstances which it is impossible for the Minister or anyone else to anticipate. In the case of Death Duties, the Minister cannot tell that a particular landowner is going to die and that his successors will require to raise a large sum of money in a very short time. What can be more essential, therefore, if this Bill is to carry out the purpose which we all know the Minister has at heart as much as any Member of the House, than to have some provision for making sure that the local authority concerned will have reasonable notice and have the opportunity of protesting before a landowner takes some steps that might ruin for ever the value of a particular piece of land for town-planning purposes, or for the purpose of preserving the amenities of a district?
We had many tributes paid in the course of the debate in Standing Committee and in the House to the services of the landowners in the past in preserving the beauties of England. I agree that in many cases landowners have 1504 acted in that way, but unfortunately self-interest is a stronger motive in nearly all men than aesthetic interest and, when a landowner is up against some strong economic motive that makes him want to realise money quickly, aesthetic interests are likely to Vanish like smoke, and he sells his land to the highest bidder for any development which may permanently ruin the land for town planning or aesthetic purposes. I entreat the Minister to consider either this Amendment or the Amendment in the name of the hon. and gallant Member for Ayr Burghs if he intends to refuse the more substantial Amendment which we have to consider when the discussion on recommittal comes up, for I am sure that he realises the necessity of safeguarding in some way the right of the local authority to know what is going to happen at least three months before the cat jumps.
§ Mr. RHYS
We cannot let go unchallenged the statement of the hon. Lady that self-interest is the only motive that causes the sale of land. It is nothing more nor less than the grinding level of taxation which is placed upon owners of land by the State, and I can assure the hon. Lady that nine owners out of ten have not the least desire to see their property split up or disfigured by advertisements, bungaloid growths or anything else. But what are they to do? If I can take the hon. Lady with me as far as I think I could with regard to woodlands, and ask her to establish the principle that where an owner is not to be allowed to sell for death duties the local authority or the State can say that compensation shall be paid, I will agree with her, but I think that that principle can be carried too far. It is impossible to restrict too closely the right of an individual to raise money which the State forces him to raise, even if it means the unfortunate result of causing disfigurement of the countryside. If we want to preserve the countryside in its beauty, the first thing to do is to reduce the taxation of the countryside.
§ Sir J. WALKER SMITH
There does not seem to be any reason or justification for this Amendment. Local authorities have ample notice of the intentions of owners to develop their land or to erect buildings of any kind. Owners have to submit their plans for the approval of 1505 the local authority, and they also make inquiries of the appropriate departments of the authority with regard to drainage, water supply, lighting and matters of that kind, so that local authorities as a rule have ample knowledge of intentions with regard to any development. It may be suggested that the particular department of a local authority that will be charged with the town planning duties may not be fully aware of the activities of the other departments, but the fact that there is no close co-ordination between the various departments of the local authority is no good reason for placing additional burdens, obligations, liabilities, and responsibilities upon particular owners.
§ 12.30 p.m.
§ Sir PERCY HARRIS
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Guildford (Mr. Rhys) that the reason why land is 3old by many great landlords is not that they want to part with their property, but the grinding effect of heavy taxation to-day. This Bill is inevitable partly because of the breakup of great estates. In the case of great landlords with great traditions, we can safely trust the development of their land to them; but we have to take the world as we find it, and, owing to the effect of heavy taxation, which was caused largely by the War, great estates are broken up, and unfortunately sold to people who have not the same sense of responsibility or the same traditions that their former owners had. I have a vivid memory of an area in Kent which at one time nobody would have thought would have been subject to rapid and sudden development. When I arrived there it was a pleasant rural area with delightful woods many miles from a. railway station. Suddenly, a service of omnibuses ran along the narrow country lane. Some of the woods were cut down for War purposes when the timber shortage was serious and when the demand for pit-props had to be met by the cutting down of woods. One of the most delightful woods in the district was in this way, I will not say wantonly, but inevitably destroyed.
Almost in a night, old railway carriages appeared in the silvern glades, disfiguring the area and turning the country district almost into a slum. There was 1506 no warning of the arrival of these old carriages. The local authority knew nothing, and the people in the district looked on in surprise. They arrived at night. I remember on a wet Easter morning seeing that they had arrived without warning. The local authority was not able to grapple with the situation, and these hideous old railway carriages were followed by others. You could not blame the people who bought the sites; they were suffering from the housing shortage. They went there because they could not find any suitable cover but in the meantime the development of that area had been prejudiced. I do not attach importance to the wording of this Amendment, but something of this kind is required if we are to preserve what we treasure more than anything, the natural beauty of our country. This is a practical proposal in order that local authorities may be forewarned. To be forewarned is to be forearmed, and I suggest that the Minister could give sympathetic consideration to the Amendment.
§ Mr. M. BEAUMONT
The hon. Member for Guildford (Mr. Rhys) hoped that he would take with him the hon. Member for the English Universities (Miss Rathbone). If, however, the hon. lady took not only the hon. Member but several others with her, she would go a long way outside the Amendment. We are not discussing the unfortunate difficulties of the owners, but whether or not the owners should give three months' notice to the planning authorities of any proposed development. I support the argument which was put forward by my noble Friend the Member for West Derbyshire (Marquess of Hartington). The Amendment is both unnecessary and unworkable, and, because it is unnecessary, it is undesirable. It is unworkable because nobody would know the exact development of which the unfortunate owner would have to give notice. It is unnecessary because the local authorities already, through their own departments, get information as to any substantial development of an estate. I agree with my Noble Friend that if a local authority is so incompetent that it cannot join the department which receives that notice with its town planning department the sooner it is deprived of town planning powers the better.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Sir MERVYN MANNINGHAM-BULLER
I hope the Minister will not accept this Amendment, because, as far as I can see, it is quite unworkable. It lays down that the owner or occupier, before permitting any development to take place, or any change of user, must notify the Minister. I fail to see how it is possible for an owner or occupier to judge what change of user or development would justify the Minister in including the land in a scheme. One of the main objects of rather limiting the scope of this Bill, which for the first time deals with built-up areas, is to minimise, as far as possible, the damaging effects to ordinary normal development in towns of the standstill under an interim development order. One of the results of passing this Amendment would be to hinder the ordinary normal development in a built-up area where no regular development was likely to take place on such a scale as would warrant its being included in a town planning scheme.
The development of almost every town has, up to date, taken place more or less on the same lines. A building runs its course, it becomes worn out, the lease expires, and it is wise then to pull it down and replace it with another. How is a man whose lease has run out and who wants to rebuild to judge whether the new building he proposes to erect is one as to which he should give notice to the Minister, on the ground that the land ought to be included in a town planning scheme? If he does give notice he must wait to see whether the land is included, and his development or rebuilding plans are postponed, to the detriment of himself and of the prospective tenant and to the detriment of the trade of the neighbourhood. I sincerely hope the Minister will not accept the Amendment, not only because, as I say, it is unworkable, but because I think a great many people do not realise the difficulties which will arise in the interim period to the ordinary normal development of towns, and it is those difficulties which we want to minimise as far as possible.
§ Mr. McENTEE
I hope the Minister will at any rate accept the principle of this Amendment, and that whether he aecepts it or the one that follows he will at least give us a promise that the principle will in some way be included in the Bill. The arguments to which we have just listened, 1508 like most of the arguments used by opponents of the Bill, would have been to some extent justified had we been considering this Bill 30 years ago; but, as has been indicated by the hon. Member for South-West Bethnal Green (Sir P. Harris), conditions in regard to the ownership of land have entirely changed, and the character of districts is very rapidly changing. The argument has been put forward that when plans are lodged notice is thereby given to the local authority, and that any local authority whose department with which the plans were lodged was not in touch with the other department responsible for town planning would not be a fit local authority to control town planning.
That is a good argument as far as it goes, but I would point out that the companies who are now exploiting the country, and considering only the profit they can make out of development, have an entirely different outlook from that of the better type of landlord or land owner who used to own these estates. A tract of land coming into the possession of one of these companies might include woods and have a pretty rural outlook. They would go ahead with their scheme, and long before they had lodged their plans they would have destroyed the whole aspect of the place by cutting down the woods and running roads across them —in respect of which they need not put in plans—and by the time the plans were actually lodged the whole appearance of the area would have been destroyed. If, then, after the lodging of the plans, any attempt were made to restrict the development contemplated, the company would plead that they had already been put to very heavy expenditure, and use that as an argument for being allowed to proceed with their scheme. For these reasons and others which have been given I think the Minister would be well advised, in the interest of preserving the amenities of the countryside, to include the principle of this Amendment in the Bill.
Sir H. YOUNG
This Amendment and the one which follows it have certain differences in form, but they both raise the same question of principle, and I think it will be convenient to deal with them at the same time. I have listened with great interest and a good deal of sympathy to speeches made from both sides. Now that we have decided to limit 1509 the areas which can be planned so as exclude what are called static areas I quite recognise the nature of the case put forward by those favouring the Amendment that there should be provision for notice to be given to the planning authorities of proposed development in static areas. At the same time, when we are dealing with restrictions upon the use of property and capital assets in the interests of the community we must be assured, and doubly assured, that the restrictions we are imposing are absolutely essential, and it is from that aspect that I would regard this proposal. I confess that I have not been able to persuade myself that the limitations which this Amendment suggests are essential for the purposes to which they are directed. Indeed, it appears to me that they go a good deal further than is necessary, and that it is a case of burning down the house to roast the pig. Let us see what a very wide restriction this would impose; and we must suppose that this power, if given, is to be widely used. It would amount to nothing less than this—that a very wide extent of land would be placed in a special class, and that the owners and occupiers of all land in that class would be unable to build upon or to develop their land without a new and extensive period of notice to the local authorities, and, what is more, and to this I would draw special attention, they would be unable to make any change in their plans without three months' notice to the local authority.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Will the right hon. Gentleman excuse me. I think the provision will not stop anybody from using land. It only provides that, if they are going to do it, they shall first give notice. It puts no prohibition or restriction of any sort or kind upon them.
Sir H. YOUNG
I accept that correction. It is a fact, as has been very well pointed out by the hon. and gallant Gentleman the Member for Northampton (Sir M. Manningham-Buller) that practically the necessity for notice amounts to prohibition. You never know what is going to happen. Incidentally, giving notice is not sufficient to prevent a man from going on with his undertaking. There is much in the contention advanced by my hon. and gallant Friend 1510 the Member for Northampton, but I do not think it is necessary for the purposes of town planning. It is very severe, and, however severe it was, if it was necessary, I would have to do it, but I do not think it is necessary for the purpose of town planning. If a planning authority has not included an area in its plan—and development is likely to take place subsequently at less than three months' notice—all you can say is that in that case the town planning authorities have been caught napping. The land is clearly land likely to be developed, and it could be included in the planning of the authorities.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
Will the right hon. Gentleman allow me for a moment. Is it not the Minister who is caught napping, and not the town planning authorities? It is the Minister who has to decide.
§ Mr. HOROBIN
May I ask the right hon. Gentleman how the Minister is to know or how the town planning authorities are to know in advance if somebody is going to die?
Sir H. YOUNG
The matter is one for the local town planning authorities under the control of the Minister. Either the planning authority, or the complex of authorities that are responsible, are caught napping. As to the objection of the hon. Member opposite, I do not think it is asking too much that people should look forward to the extent of three months in order to know whether land is likely to be developed or not. That seems to be a reasonably practical plan. I think it is a decisive point that there are ample powers already in the Bill to enable an alert complex of planning authorities to deal with the situation which is feared by some hon. Members who wish to put additional powers of this sort into the Bill, which would only serve to put a premium upon the lack of alertness and lethargy of town planning authorities. In those circumstances, the question becomes one of the extension or confinement of the area of planning, and discussion on that could only take place upon the appropriate motion being moved upon the re-committal of the Bill. Perhaps, therefore, the hon. and gallant Member will not regard it as necessary to press the Amendment.
§ Sir S. CRIPPS
I am not quite certain what the position will be. I apprehend that the matter can only arise on the Report stage, and I understand that the Report stage is only to last two more days. Can the right hon. Gentleman give us a guarantee that there may be time in which it will be possible to discuss it. Judging from the Paper, it looks as though unless the House sits continuously from 2.45 p.m. on Monday until next Wednesday at mid-day it will be quite impossible to reach that stage.
§ possible for me to give an undertaking as to the time that will be occupied by hon. Members in Debate. I may point out that the programme of time between the Report stage and the Third Reading might allow for a measure of accommodation.
§ Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."
§ The House divided: Ayes, 28; Noes, 215.1513
|Division No. 209.]||AYES.||[12.52 p.m.|
|Adams, D. M. (Poplar, South)||Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan)||Milner, Major James|
|Attlee, Clement Richard||Hall, George H. (Merthyr Tydvil)||Molson, A. Hugh Eisdale|
|Bevan, Aneurin (Ebbw Vale)||Harris, Sir Percy||Rathbone, Eleanor|
|Cocks, Frederick Seymour||Hirst, George Henry||Thorne, William James|
|Cove, William G.||Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly)||Tinker, John Joseph|
|Cripps, Sir Stafford||Lansbury, Rt. Hon. George||Williams, David (Swansea, East)|
|Daggar, George||Lawson, John James||Williams, Dr. John H. (Lianelly)|
|Davies, David L. (Pontypridd)||Macdonald, Gordon (Ince)||Williams, Thomas (York, Don Valley)|
|Edwards, Charles||McEntee, Valentine L.|
|Greenwood, Rt. Hon. Arthur||Maxton, James||TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—|
|Mr. John and Mr. Groves.|
|Acland-Troyte, Lieut.-Colonel||Cranborne, Viscount||Hudson, Robert Spear (Southport)|
|Agnew, Lieut.-Com. P. G.||Craven-Ellis, William||Hume, sir George Hopwood|
|Altchison, Rt. Hon. Craigle M.||Crookshank, Col. C. de Windt (Bootle)||Hurst, Sir Gerald B.|
|Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.)||Crossley, A. C.||Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd)|
|Allen, Lt.-Col. J. Sandeman (B'k'nh'd.)||Cruddas, Lieut.-Colonel Bernard||Inskip, Rt. Hon. Sir Thomas W. H.|
|Allen, William (Stoke-on-Trent)||Dalkeith, Earl of||Jackson, Sir Henry (Wandsworth, C.)|
|Aske, Sir Robert William||Davies, Maj. Geo. F.(Somerset, Yeovil)||Johnstone, Harcourt (S. Shields)|
|Baldwin, Rt. Hon. Stanley||Denman, Hon. R. D.||Ker, J. Campbell|
|Balniel, Lord||Dickie, John P.||Kerr, Hamilton W.|
|Barclay-Harvey, C. M.||Emmott, Charles E. G. C.||Kimball, Lawrence|
|Barton, Capt. Basil Kelsey||Erskine-Bolst, Capt. C. C. (Blackpool)||Knatchbull, Captain Hon. M. H. R.|
|Beaumont, M. W. (Bucks., Aylesbury)||Essenhigh, Reginald Clare||Knebworth, Viscount|
|Beaumont, Hon. R. E. B. (Portsm'th, C.)||Foot, Dingle (Dundee)||Latham, Sir Herbert Paul|
|Birchall, Major Sir John Dearman||Fox, Sir Gifford||Law, Richard K. (Hull, S.W.)|
|Boulton, W. W.||Fraser, Captain Ian||Leckie, J. A.|
|Bower, Lieut.-Com. Robert Tatton||Fremantle, Sir Francis||Lennox-Boyd, A. T.|
|Bowyer, Capt. Sir George E. W.||Fuller, Captain A. G.||Liddall, Walter S.|
|Braithwaite, J. G. (Hillsborough)||Galbraith, James Francis Wallace||Lindsay, Noel Ker|
|Broadbent, Colonel John||Ganzoni, Sir John||Llewellyn-Jones, Frederick|
|Brockiebank, C. E. R.||Gault, Lieut.-Col. A. Hamilton||Loder, Captain J. de Vere|
|Brown, Ernest (Leith)||Gilmour, Lt.-Col. Rt. Hon. Sir John||Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander|
|Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C.(Berks., Newb'y)||Glossop, C. W. H.||Mabane, William|
|Browne, Captain A. C.||Gluckstein, Louis Halle||MacAndrew, Capt. J. O. (Ayr)|
|Buchan, John||Goff, Sir Park||McKie, John Hamilton|
|Buchan-Hepburn, P. G. T.||Goodman, Colonel Albert W.||McLean, Major Alan|
|Burnett, John George||Grattan-Doyle, Sir Nicholas||McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston)|
|Cadogan, Hon. Edward||Grenfell, E. C. (City of London)||Magnay, Thomas|
|Campbell, Edward Taswell (Bromley)||Gretton, Colonel Rt. Hon. John||MaKins, Brigadier-General Ernest|
|Campbell, Rear-Adml. G. (Burnley)||Griffith, F. Kingsley (Middlesbro', W.)||Mallalieu, Edward Lancelot|
|Caporn, Arthur Cecil||Grimston, R. V.||Manningham-Buller, Lt.-Col. Sir M|
|Cautley, Sir Henry S.||Guinness, Thomas L. E. B.||Margesson, Capt. Henry David R.|
|Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City)||Gunston, Captain D. W.||Marsden, Commander Arthur|
|Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.)||Hanley, Dennis A.||Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)|
|Chalmers, John Rutherford||Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry||Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John|
|Chamberlain, Rt. Hn. Sir J. A.(Birm., W.)||Hartington, Marquess of||Mills, Sir Frederick (Leyton, E.)|
|Chapman, Col. R. (Houghton-le-Spring)||Hartland, George A.||Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr)|
|Chotzner, Alfred James||Harvey, Major S. E. (Devon, Totnes)||Moreing, Adrian C.|
|Clayton, Dr. George C.||Hellgers, Captain F. F. A.||Morris, Owen Temple (Cardiff, E.)|
|Cobb, Sir Cyril||Henderson, Sir Vivian L. (Chelmsf'd)||Mulrhead, Major A. J.|
|Colville, John||Hope, Sydney (Chester, Stalybridge)||Munro, Patrick|
|Conant, R. J. E.||Hornby, Frank||Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H.|
|Cooke, Douglas||Horobin, Ian M.||Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)|
|Cooper, A. Duff||Horsbrugh, Florence||Nicholson, Rt. Hn. W. G. (Petersf'ld)|
|Copeland, Ida||Howard, Tom Forrest||Nunn, William|
|Courthope, Colonel Sir George L.||Howitt, Dr. Alfred B.||Ormsby-Gore, Rt. Hon. William G. A.|
|Craddock, Sir Reginald Henry||Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.)||Palmer, Francis Noel|
|Patrick, Colin M.||Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart||Thomas, James P. L. (Hereford)|
|Perkins, Walter R. D.||Sanderson, Sir Frank Barnard||Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles|
|Peto, Geoffrey K.(W'verh'pt'n, Bilst'n)||Savery, Samuel Servington||Titchfield, Major the Marquess of|
|Pickford, Hon. Mary Ada||Scone, Lord||Touche, Gordon Cosmo|
|Potter, John||Selley, Harry R.||Train, John|
|Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H.||Shakespeare, Geoffrey H.||Vaughan-Morgan, Sir Kenyon|
|Procter, Major Henry Adam||Shaw, Helen B. (Lanark, Bothwell)||Wallace, Captain D. E. (Hornsey)|
|Raikes, Henry V. A. M.||Shaw, Captain William T. (Forfar)||Wallace, John (Dunfermline)|
|Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)||Shepperson, Sir Ernest W.||Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)|
|Ramsden, E.||Sinclair, Maj. Rt. Hn. Sir A. (C'thness)||Ward, Irene Mary Bewick (Wallsend)|
|Ratcliffe, Arthur||Skelton, Archibald Noel||Ward, Sarah Adelaide (Cannock)|
|Rea, Walter Russell||Smith, Sir Jonah W. (Barrow-in-F.)||Warrender, Sir Victor A. G.|
|Reid, James S. C. (Stirling)||Smith, R. W.(Ab'rd'n & Kinc'dine, C.)||Waterhouse, Captain Charles|
|Reid, William Allan (Derby)||Smith-Carington, Neville W.||Watt, Captain George Steven H.|
|Remer, John R.||Smithers, Waldron||Wedderburn, Henry James Scrymgeour-|
|Reynolds, Col. Sir James Philip||Somervell, Donald Bradley||Wells, Sydney Richard|
|Rhys, Hon. Charles Arthur U.||Somerville, Annesley A (Windsor)||Weymouth, Viscount|
|Robinson, John Roland||Spencer, Captain Richard A.||Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)|
|Ropner, Colonel L.||Stanley, Lord (Lancaster, Fylde)||Williams, Herbert G. (Croydon, S.)|
|Rosbotham, S. T.||Steel-Maitland, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur||Wills, Wilfrid D.|
|Ross, Ronald D.||Stones, James||Windsor-Clive, Lieut.-Colonel George|
|Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)||Strickland, Captain W. F.||Wood, Sir Murdoch McKenzie (Banff)|
|Runge, Norah Cecil||Stuart, Lord C. Crichton-||Young, Rt. Hon. Sir Hilton (S'v'noaks)|
|Russell, Albert (Kirkcaldy)||Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart|
|Russell, Hamer Field (Sheffield, B'tside)||Summersby, Charles H.||TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—|
|Rutherford, Sir John Hugo||Tate, Mavis Constance||Sir George Penny and Lord|
|Samuel, Sir Arthur Michael (F'nham)||Taylor, Vice-Admiral E. A.(P'dd'gt'n, S.)||Erskine.|
§ Mr. E. BROWN
I beg to move, in page 6, line 17, to leave out from the word "Minister" to the word "may" in line 19.
This is a further drafting Amendment, necessitated by the inclusion in the Fourth Schedule of what now are regulations. Perhaps I may say also, to save time, that the next Amendment, which stands in the name of my right hon. Friend—in line 20, after the word "approval", to insert the words, "to a resolution to prepare or adopt a scheme" —is consequential upon this one.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Further Amendment made: In page 6, line 20, after the word "approval," insert the words
to a resolution to prepare or adopt a scheme."—[Sir H. Young.]
§ Brigadier-General BROWN
I beg to move, in page 6, line 20, after the words last inserted, to insert the words:but subject to the provisions of Subsection (2) of this section.It seems desirable to make it quite clear that the Minister's power to in-crease the area to which the scheme applies is subject to the provisions of Sub-section (2). This will only apply if Sub-section (2) remains as it is, and it may be that it is already governed by Sub-section (2). I should like an assurance on that point. If not, the Minister, when he has the power to give his approval to a resolution to vary the extent of the land to be included in an area, 1514 ought to be subject to the same limitations to which he is subject under Subsection (2).
Sir H. YOUNG
I think that my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Few-bury (Brigadier-General Brown) is right, and that there might be some doubt as to the wording of the Bill if we did not take some such action as he suggests. If it were possible for the Minister, in varying an Order, to include an area which he could not include under the original Order, that would obviously be unreasonable and bad legislation. Accordingly, I propose to accept my hon. and gallant Friend's Amendment. I trust, however, that he will understand that its drafting is perhaps not perfectly correct, and that it might be necessary in another place to alter the actual drafting of the words.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Sir H. YOUNG
I beg to move, in page 7, line 9, at the end, to insert the words:(7) Where under the last foregoing subsection a local authority or joint committee have power to prepare a scheme for any area they may decide in lieu of proceeding with the preparation of a scheme to adopt, with or without modifications, a scheme for that area or any part thereof proposed by all or any of the owners of land in that area or part thereof. A decision under this Sub-section shall not be deemed for the purposes of this Act to be a resolution to adopt a scheme but as from the date of the decision the resolution or resolutions to prepare a scheme or schemes shall, so far as concerns the area or part of an area to which the 1515 decision relates, have effect as if the resolution or resolutions had been for the adoption of a scheme.(8) The foregoing provisions of this section shall not apply in the case of a resolution to prepare a scheme varying an existing scheme or to prepare a supplementary scheme as defined by this Act.This Amendment, again, is smaller in substance than it is in length. It is put down to meet a point which was made in Committee, that an authority ought to be able to adopt an owner's scheme, if they think fit, with respect to any land or part of any land as to which they have passed a resolution. Already under the Bill they have power to adopt an owner's scheme before they pass a resolution, and this provision gives them power to do so afterwards. It gives a little elasticity.
§ Mr. GROVES
When the hon. Gentleman says "they," does he mean the council or the owners? If it is the owners, we could not agree.
§ Amendment agreed to.