HC Deb 20 May 1935 vol 302 cc155-7

Amendment made: In page 58, line 37, leave out "thereafter," and insert "after that date."—[Sir H. Young.]

10.58 p.m.


I beg to move, in page 58, line 38, at the end to insert: Provided that notwithstanding the snaking of an order under this Section any statutory undertakers owning apparatus in any land to which such order relates, shall, until the local authority shall have completed the purchase of all houses and premises abutting on such land, and supplied by such local authority, company, body, or person, with gas, water, water for hydraulic power, or electricity, have all such rights of access to such apparatus as they had immediately before the making of such order, and shall be entitled to execute and do all such works and things in, upon, or under such land as may be necessary for inspecting, repairing, maintaining, removing, or renewing such apparatus. A local authority is given power by the Clause to extinguish a public right of way when they are proposing to take possession of houses in the area concerned. In other words, they may extinguish a public right of way before they have obtained possession of those houses. The situation will arise that a public right of way has been extinguished during a time when there are still houses making use of certain public utilities, such as gas, electricity and water. It seems essential that during that period, extinction of the right of way should not deprive a public utility authority, whether it be municipality or company, of an opportunity of making use of the right of way which they possessed before the general right of way was extinguished. It may seem a little strange that I should bring in the question of municipalities, but there are cases where a county council, for example, may be taking over a right of way and where the local authority, from the point of view of supply of public utilities, is a municipal borough, urban district or a rural district council. Therefore, this is not a matter which only affects companies, but it affects municipalities also, and it seems only reasonable that these rights, which they possess in order that they may carry out duties imposed upon them by Parliament, should not be extinguished.

11 p.m.


I beg to second the Amendment.

It would seem that the draftsman had not in mind the rights, such as they are, of public utility undertakings, because the Clause refers to land, but it is necessary that such rights as exist of access to property during the period between the time when those rights are extinguished and the time when the property is taken over for the purposes of the Act should be reserved.

11.1 p.m.


I think that this Amendment has been put down under a misunderstanding. My right hon. Friend the Member for South Croydon (Mr. H. Williams) said that under the Clause the local authority could make an Order which would take effect before they took possession; but, if he will look at line 35, he will see that the Order only extinguishes the right as from the date on which the authority takes possession. We think that probably the Amendment is unnecessary, but, if it is necessary, we think that this is the wrong place for it, because it merely extends the power under the existing Clause. If there is a hole that needs stopping up, words should have been added to the new Clause which we moved the other day. I do not want to delay the House, but I can tell my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend is perfectly prepared and anxious to hear representations from these interests, and, if they convince him that an Amendment is required, steps will be taken to have a provision inserted in another place. Perhaps, with this assurance, my hon. Friend may see his way not to press the Amendment.


In view of the explanation which the Solicitor-General has given, and of his undertaking that, if anything is necessary to make sure that public utilities will be able to carry out their statutory obligations, the necessary provision will be made, I beg to ask leave to withdraw the Amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.