HC Deb 30 May 1945 vol 411 cc277-8
Mr. Peake

I beg to move, in page 10, line 42, leave out: to which the public have rights of access or an," and insert "or. As hon. Members will remember, we discussed the definition of commons and open spaces at some length on the Committee stage. Special protection is now to be given to commons and open spaces in that unless substituted land is made available there will have to be an affirmative Resolution of both Houses. We suggested that the proper definition of "common" was a common to which the public had right of access. Those words involved difficulty on further consideration, and we propose to omit them.

Mr. Geoffrey Hutchinson (Ilford)

As my right hon. Friend has said, it will be within the recollection of the House that on the Committee stage there was expressed in all quarters of the House a general feeling that certain protection should be given to commons and open spaces. It is only because that feeling was very general that I desire to say a word about it this afternoon. I think my right hon. Friend has met us very handsomely. After a little pressure, if I may be allowed to say so, he introduced a new Clause to give protection to these open spaces. The new Clause in due course appeared on the Paper, but it then turned out that by reason of a certain difficulty in the matter of the definition to which my right hon. Friend has referred, the new Clause did not, in fact, afford the intended protection to a very large number of commons. Most of the rural commons would actually not have been protected. My right hon. Friend saw the point when his attention was directed to it. Now this Amendment puts the matter right.

I desire to say that the right hon. Gentleman has really met my point completely, and we can now be satisfied that we have complete protection for all forms of open spaces, rural commons and all classes of land on which the public have enjoyed access, under the terms of some Act of Parliament or by long established usage or in any other way. I wish to thank my right hon. Friend for what he has done, and to express to him the gratitude which I believe will be felt in all quarters of the House for the complete manner in which he has met us on this rather difficult point.

Mr. Graham White (Birkenhead, East)

I desire to associate myself with the remarks that have just been made from the other side of the House.

Colonel Clarke

As one who has strenuously fought all through the proceedings of this Bill for some reference to this sort of common I desire to say that I am extremely grateful to the Chancellor for having met us so handsomely. The matter affects a very large area of land in my constituency.

Amendment agreed to.