§ The Minister for Town and Country Planning (Mr. Silkin)
The Secretary of State and I have appointed a Board. As we desire to give the House full information I will with permission circulate a statement in the OFFICIAL REPORT. In the meantime, it may be for the convenience of the House if I anticipate this statement to the extent of saying that, with the concurrence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State for Scotland and I have invited the chairman and members of the War Damage Commission to accept appointment also as members of the Central Land Board. Two of the members have been unable to take on the new appointment, but I am glad to say that the Chairman, Sir Malcolm Eve, and the other members have accepted
§ Mr. Derek Walker-Smith
Does the statement to be circulated give any indication of when the appointed day under the Act will come into force?
§ Colonel Gomme-Duncan
As the Minister does not know what the numbers are, how can he say whether the representation is adequate or otherwise?
§ Following is the statement:
§ The Secretary of State for Scotland and I are required to appoint a Central Land Board for the purposes of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, and the corresponding Scottish Act. The main provisions of the Acts do not come into operation until an appointed day which will not be earlier than 1st April next; but as a good deal of preliminary work has to be done it is necessary to appoint the Central Land Board straightaway.
§ The Government are naturally anxious, particularly at the present time, to make the minimum demands on manpower and accommodation and, with the concurrence of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Secretary of State and I invited the chairman and the members of the War Damage Commission to accept appointment also as members of the Central Land Board. This course commended itself to us for two reasons. First, it enables us to utilise the ability and experience of the War Damage Commissioners themselves, and in particular of their capable and energetic chairman, Sir Malcolm Eve. Second, the Central Land Board will be able to draw on the resources of staff and accommodation of the War Damage Commission both at headquarters and at the Regional Offices, and thus limit very considerably the demands on resources which would otherwise have had to be made. I feel sure that on both grounds, this course will commend itself to the House.
§ One member of the Commission, Sir John Morison, had felt unable to accept the additional appointment. Another member, Mr. W. P. Allen, is also unable to take up membership of the Central 169 Land Board in view of his appointment to the Railway Executive of the British Transport Commission. The Secretary of State and I have accordingly made the following appointments:
§ Sir Malcolm Eve to be chairman of the Central Land Board; and the following to be members:
- Miss Myra Curtis, C.B.E.,
- Sir George Etherton, O.B.E.,
- Sir Basil Gibson, J.P.,
- Mr. H. W. Guthrie, K.C.,
- Mr. A. Macdonald,
- Mr. J. R. Rutherford, C.B.E., J.P.
§ The appointments are for the period ending 31st March, 1948. The existing appointments as War Damage Commissioners of the individuals concerned expire on that date, and later on we will consider whether the arrangements should continue or whether other arrangements should be made.
§ There is one point to which the Secretary of State for Scotland has asked me to draw the attention of the House; namely, that in fulfilment of the undertaking given by his predecessor in office and in order that full account may be taken of Scottish conditions, including the distinctive form of Scottish land tenure, we have arranged to have two Scottish members on the Board, namely, Mr. H. W. Guthrie, K.C., who has been newly appointed to the War Damage Commission, and Mr. J. R. Rutherford. Arrangements have also been made to strengthen the organisation of the Scottish Office of the Board in Edinburgh.
§ I should like to take this opportunity of saying publicly how grateful the Secretary of State and I are to the members of the Board for accepting appointment and helping us in the task of bringing these new Planning Acts into operation. Especially in the case of the Chairman, Sir Malcolm Eve, it has meant asking him to add to other burdens he already carries. Not only is he chairman of the War Damage Commission, he is also chairman of the Local Government Boundary Commission and heavily engaged at the present time in work connected with it. I am asked by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Health to make it clear that Sir Malcolm Eve will remain as chairman of the Boundary Commission until the Commission have 170 completed the report on which they are at present engaged.
§ I want to make it clear that the starting date for the work of the Central Land Board in relation to the public is not the date of the appointment of the Board but the appointed day under the Act, which as I have explained cannot be before 1st April. The Board will not be in a position to deal with correspondence or inquiries for some time to come, and the Secretary of State and I will arrange for a further public announcement to be made when they are open for business.