HC Deb 31 January 1949 vol 460 cc1393-4

3.47 p.m.

The Minister of Transport (Mr. Barnes)

I beg to move, in page 3, line 18, after "construction," to insert "or improvement."

This is really a drafting Amendment. The powers conferred on a special road authority in Clause 3 (1, c) namely, to stop up or divert, etc., side roads, now applies only in the case of construction. This Amendment will apply them to a case where there is an improvement of a side road in connection with a special road. which will be an advantage.

Mr. Peter Thorneycroft (Monmouth)

We think this Amendment is a thoroughly sound one. More particularly in view of the next Amendment on the Order Paper, it is desirable that the question of improvement should be dealt with as well as that of construction, and we think it will improve the Bill.

Amendment agreed to.

Mr. Barnes

I beg to move, in page 4, line 7, at the end, to insert: before the highway is stopped up; and no order providing for the appropriation by or transfer to the special road authority of an existing road comprised in the route prescribed by a scheme under this Act shall be made or confirmed as aforesaid unless the Minister is satisfied that a reasonably convenient alternative route is available for traffic other than traffic of the class authorised by the scheme, or will be provided in pursuance of an order under this Section before the date on which the appropriation of transfer takes effect, or unless in the case of any such traffic he is satisfied that such an alternative route is not reasonably required. Hon. Members will recollect that during the Committee stage I undertook to look into the problems of providing alternative routes in the event of existing routes being stopped up and, in particular, the question of an existing all-purpose road which might be incorporated into a special road. The Amendment covers both points. An obligation is placed upon the Minister, before stopping up takes place, so that he cannot approve or confirm a stopping-up order until he is satisfied that an alternative route is provided. In the case of a section of an existing all-purpose road which is incorporated into a special road, the Minister must be satisfied that a reasonable alternative route is available. The third point represents an exception, in that it gives the Minister discretionary power not to provide an alternative route in the case of, for example, a green track if he does not consider it advisable to do so. Obviously, if a green track over which only a few motor vehicles have been passing becomes a special road, the cost or expense of providing an alternative route would be out of the question. Discretion is left to the Minister accordingly.

Mr. P. Thorneycroft

I should like to thank the Minister for conceding, after consideration, this point which was urged upon him during Committee stage. Undoubtedly there was a serious gap in the provisions of the Bill to the extent that, prior to the insertion of this Amendment, a man might awake one morning to find that the road he had been accustomed to using outside his premises had suddenly become a special road and was restricted to a special form of traffic which might disastrously exclude him from using it.

Mr. Barnes

We do not do things quite like that.

Mr. Thorneycroft

We felt that some alternative route should be provided for an unfortunate individual of that kind. The Amendment goes a long way to meet the points which we raised in Committee. I am glad to see that some concession has also been made on the question raised by my hon. Friend the Member for Ripon (Mr. York) of providing an alternative route before stopping-up takes place.

Amendment agreed to.

Clause, as amended, ordered to stand part of the Bill.