HC Deb 04 May 1934 vol 289 cc693-8

3.21 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 5, line 27, after "applies," to insert: or which has been acquired for the purpose of any such factory or workshop.

This Amendment protects a factory from available land upon its boundaries which it requires for extension being acquired for a sub-station. Probably that land is the only direction in which the factory can extend, and the factory owners may have had to pay a very high price to acquire it. If the supply company were to be able to acquire that piece of land for a sub-station, it would probably mean that the factory would have to close down and move elsewhere. On the other hand, the electricity supply company have ample opportunity of finding somewhere else in the area to erect a sub-station.

3.22 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The Clause gives very big powers for compulsory purchase, not only in regard to sub-stations, but for various distributive purposes. If a factory has land on which the owners want to extend and which they had bought for an additional factory, the whole of the land might be coveted by the electricity undertakers and compulsorily acquired. In sub section (2) there are various exemptions in respect of land adjoining a house or a farm, and I suggest that it is important to safeguard factories in these days where they have need of or contemplate extension, in order that the land which they have acquired for that purpose.

Amendment agreed to.

3.24 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 5, line 30, at the end, insert: (b) the compulsory acquisition of any land situated nearer to the middle of a highway than a building or improvement line prescribed by a highway authority or a local authority under the provisions of the Roads Improvement Act, 1925, or the Public Health Act, 1925, or otherwise; (c) the use of any land for any purpose which contravenes any provision of any scheme, order, or regulation made under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, or the Town Planning Act, 1925, or the town planning provisions of any private Act and applicable to such land. The object of the Amendment is to ensure that land shall not be taken for the erection of transformer stations by the local undertakers. We have already protection for railways, docks, cannals, factories, workshops and aerodromes in the Clause, and we have just given protection to other factories. Where an authority has taken precautions in the public interest in regard to land that they require, we do not think that they should be over-ridden by the powers given in this Clause. I do not apologise for bringing forward this Amendment again. When it was brought forward in Committee, negotiations were taking place between the promoters and the County Councils' Association, and I was asked by the promoters to delay bringing it forward until this stage, to give them an opportunity of completing the negotiations. The County Councils' Association still wish to obtain the consent of the House to the insertion of these words in. the Bill, and I understand that the promoters do not object.

3.25 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

The Amendment raises two points. The new paragraph (b) definitely says that the promoters of any scheme under the Act shall not build closer to the road than people are ordinarily allowed to build—that is to say, it preserves the possibility of having a wide road. Paragraph (c) excludes any land which has been acquired for the purposes of town planning, so that the electrical people, who are being given such very great privileges by this Bill, shall not be able to over-ride the Town Planning Act. Many of us who have taken a great interest in preserving the amenities of local authorities realise that no one should be able to over-ride those amenities and break down the provisions of the Town Planning Act. I hope that the Amendment will be accepted. I feel sure that the Minister of Transport, if he has his way, will support it. It seems to me to be an Amendment which will at any rate make the Bill a little better than it was before, and its insertion now will mean that less work will have to be done in another place.

3.27 p.m.


I venture to submit to the House that the insertion of this Amendment is not necessary. There seemed to be some anxiety on the part of the Mover as to whether the Bill would have the effect of overriding the Town Planning Act. In my submission it would have no such effect, and the provisions of the Amendment are really unnecessary. The Clause only authorises the acquisition of land in pursuance of the powers of Acts and Orders, and if land were acquired under the Town Planning Act, the Clause would not apply. In the circumstances, I hope that the Amendment will not be pressed.

3.28 p.m.


I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman has made the position quite clear to us. Already during the day he has accepted Amendments which we all felt to be unnecessary except for the purpose of excluding the possibility of certain things being done. It seems to me that there is an ambiguity in the Bill on the points mentioned by the Mover of the Amendment, and we on these benches, if the Amendment is taken to a Division, will vote in favour of it, in order that the position may be made absolutely clear in relation to town planning.


I venture to submit that the Amendment is not necessary, but, if hon. Members like to press it, I do not propose to oppose it.


I was going to say that we have excluded so many types of land already under this Clause, and we are excluding so much by the Amendment, that I am beginning to wonder where any land will be available upon which to put these undertakings. In any case we shall support the Amendment.

3.29 p.m.


The confusion into which we are getting on this Bill is further illustrated by this Amendment and by the observations of my hon. and learned Friend upon it. He first of all explained to the House categorically that the Amendment is entirely unnecessary to protect the interests which the Mover states to be affected. In the next breath, when the hon. Gentleman opposite makes certain observations, he says he does not propose to oppose the Amendment if the matter is pressed. It seems to me to illustrate the confusion into which we are getting in our legislation. Any observations that I have made have not been so much directed to matters of electricity supply in particular as to the procedure that is adopted in this very complicated Bill. I hope the hon. Gentleman will resist the Amendment if only for the purpose of seeing that we get clear and well-defined legislation on the Statute Book.


May I point out that the purpose for which land is required is for the erection of sub-stations.

3.31 p.m.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

In our opinion, this Amendment is not necessary. At the same time, I understand my hon. Friend's anxiety on the matter, and I suggested to him that the subject should be discussed between Committee and Report between the promoters and the County Councils Association. I think that discussion has taken place.


That is exactly what the hon. and gallant Gentleman said to me in Committee. The County Councils Association instruct me that he had no authority to say it, and the negotiations are not finished. That is why I have put down the Amendment.

Lieut.-Colonel HEADLAM

My hon. Friend entirely misunderstands me. I do not suggest that there should be any further discussions. I think the Amendment is not necessary because the points are covered by the existing law. I do not propose therefore, to take any action one way or the other.

3.33 p.m.


I think we are entitled to protest against the course that is being pursued of attempting to put into one Act of Parliament provisions which already exist in others. I understand it is clear that if an Act of Parliament operates and another Act comes along, unless it expressly repeals the provisions of the earlier Act, they remain in operation. The provisions of the Town Planning Act are in operation. This

Clause must be regarded for that purpose as merely an addition to the Town Planning Act. It is governed by the Town Planning Act, and it is reducing Parliament to a farce if you put the same provision into two Acts of Parliament.

3.34 p.m.


I rise to ask my hon. Friend whether he will not withdraw his Amendment in the interest of local authorities themselves. If it is passed, it may well be that local authorities who are their own electricity supply undertakers will be prevented from putting underneath one of their own main roads some chamber or apparatus that is necessary for their own supply.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted in the Bill."

The House divided: Ayes, 48; Noes, 86.

Division No. 243.] AYES. [3.35 p.m.
Adams, Samuel Vyvyan T. (Leeds, W.) Foot, Isaac (Cornwall, Bodmin) Mason, David M. (Edinburgh, E.)
Aske, Sir Robert William George, Major G. Lloyd (Pembroke) Milner, Major James
Attlee, Clement Richard George, Megan A. Lloyd (Anglesea) Palmer, Francis Noel
Banfield, John William Grenfell, David Rees (Glamorgan) Peto, Sir Basil E. (Devon, B'nstaple)
Brown, C. W. E. (Notte., Mansfield) Groves, Thomas E. Renwick, Major Gustav A.
Brown, Ernest (Leith) Grundy, Thomas W, Rutherford, Sir John Hugo (Liverp'l)
Cadogan, Hon. Edward Hamilton, Sir R. W. (Orkney & Zetl'nd) Sinclair, Col. T. (Queen's Unv., Beflast)
Cape, Thomas Hicks, Ernest George Southby, Commander Archibald R. J.
Clayton, Sir Christopher Hunter, Dr. Joseph (Dumfries) Thorne, William James
Dagger, George Jones, Morgan (Caerphilly) Wayland, Sir William A.
Davies, David L. (Pontypridd) Leckie, J. A. Wedgwood, Rt. Hon. Joslah
Davies, Rhys john (Westhoughton) Mabane, William Williams, Charles (Devon, Torquay)
Denville, Alfred Macdonald, Gordon (Ince) Wilmot, John
Dobbie, William McEntee, Valentino L. Young, Ernest J. (Middlesbrough, E.)
Edwards, Charles McGovern, John
Evans, David Owen (Cardigan) McLean, Major Sir Alan TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—
Evans, Capt. Ernest (Welsh Univ.) Magnay, Thomas Sir Joseph Lamb and Mr. Brocklebank,
Albery, Irving James Hannon, Patrick Joseph Henry Pownall. Sir Asshaton
Allen, Sir J. Sandeman (Liverp'l, W.) Haslam, Henry (Horncastle) Raikes, Henry V. A. M.
Anstruther-Gray, W. J. Heneage, Lieut.-Colonel Arthur P. Ramsay, Capt. A. H. M. (Midlothian)
Balfour, George (Hampstead) Hills, Major Rt. Hon. John Waller Ramsay, T. B. W. (Western Isles)
Balfour, Capt. Harold (I. of Thanet) Hope, Capt. Hon. A. O. J. (Aston) Reed, Arthur C. (Exeter)
Barclay-Harvey, C. M. Howard, Tom Forrest Remer, John R.
Bossom, A. C. Hudson, Capt. A. U. M. (Hackney, N.) Rickards, George William
Broadbent, Colonel John Hume, Sir George Hopwood Ropner, Colonel L.
Brown, Brig.-Gen. H. C. (Berks., Newb'y) Hunter, Capt. M. J. (Brigg) Ross, Ronald D
Campbell-Johnston, Malcolm Hutchison, W. D. (Essex, Romf'd) Ross Taylor, Walter (Woodbridge)
Cayzer, Sir Charles (Chester, City) Ker, J. Campbell Runge, Norah Cecil
Cazalet, Thelma (Islington, E.) Lindsay, Kenneth (Kilmarnock) Rutherford, John (Edmonton)
Cooke, Douglas Lindsay, Noel Ker Sandeman, Sir A. N. Stewart
Courthope, Colonel Sir George L. Locker-Lampson, Com. O. (H'ndsw'th) Scone, Lord
Crossley, A. C. Lovat-Fraser, James Alexander Somerville, Annesley A. (Windsor)
Davies, Maj. Geo. F. (Somerset, Yeovil) McCorquodale, M. S. Strauss, Edward A.
Dickie, John P. McKie, John Hamilton Sugden, Sir Wilfrid Hart
Duckworth, George A. V. McLean, Dr. W. H. (Tradeston) Summersby, Charles H.
Eales, John Frederick Haltland, Adam Sutcliffe, Harold
Emmott, Charles E. G. C. Margesson, Capt. Rt. Hon. H. D. R. Tate, Mavis Constance
Erskine, Lord (Weston-super-Mare) Mayhew, Lieut.-Colonel John Thomson, Sir Frederick Charles
Galbraith, James Francis Wallace Meller, Sir Richard James Tufnell, Lieut.-Commander R. L.
Goff, Sir Park Mitchell, Sir W. Lane (Streatham) Ward, Lt.-Col. Sir A. L. (Hull)
Goldie, Noel B. Moore, Lt.-Col. Thomas C. R. (Ayr) Whyte, Jardine Bell
Goodman, Colonel Albert W. Moreing, Adrian C. Wills, Wilfrid D.
Grimston, R. V Nation, Brigadier-General J. J. H. Wise, Alfred R.
Hacking, Rt. Hon. Douglas H. Nicholson, Godfrey (Morpeth)
Hales, Harold K. O'Donovan, Dr. William James TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—
Hamilton, Sir George (Ilford) Penny, Sir George Mr. Herbert Williams and Mr.
Hanley, Dennis A. Powell, Lieut.-Col. Evelyn G. H. Caporn.