HC Deb 28 July 1938 vol 338 cc3293-4
56. Mrs. Tate

asked the Minister of Health whether, in view of the recent decision of a rural district council in Essex not to proceed with a demolition order confirmed by him because it was originally made as the result of a mistake and the property in question has now been rendered habitable, he proposes to take any action to regularise such decisions by all local authorities in order to avoid the necessity of demolishing property which, on reconsideration, is found to have been condemned unnecessarily?

Mr. Elliot

The procedure prescribed by the Housing Acts already affords ample opportunity for the consideration of any reconditioning proposals in respect of houses included in demolition and clearance orders before the orders become operative. Whether the fullest advantage is taken of these applications is a matter into which I am inquiring at the present time. I think the object desired by my hon. Friend can be secured most effectively by careful attention to the possibilities of reconditioning before an order is issued.

57. Mrs. Tate

asked the Minister of Health in how many instances during the past two years local authorities have decided not to carry out clearance orders confirmed by him, in view of the fact that since confirmation was sought the owner of the property concerned had made it fit for habitation; whether, in such cases, he has taken action to compel the local authorities to demolish the houses in question; and, if not, what action is proposed?

Mr. Elliot

I am not in a position to give the information asked for. Once a clearance order has been confirmed my jurisdiction is at an end and the execution of the Order rests with the local authority. I have no reason to think that local authorities generally are not carrying out their statutory duties.

Mrs. Tate

Can I understand from that answer that where a house has been condemned and the owner afterwards makes it perfectly fit and the local authority does not press the Order, that what he has stated will be the admitted position throughout the country?

Mr. Elliot

No, Sir, it would be wrong to make that assumption.

Mr. Macquisten

Is this to be regarded as a law of the Medes and Persians which cannot be altered, even although the house has been made new?