HC Deb 22 July 1953 vol 518 cc534-5
Mr. Molson

I beg to move, in page 3, line 8, at the end, to insert: (2) A grant under this section may be made subject to conditions imposed by the Minister for the purpose of securing public access to the whole or part of the property to which the grant relates, or for other purposes, as the Minister may think fit. This matter was discussed in Committee, and in view of the strong representations made from both sides I undertook that we would incorporate words in the Bill which would show that in all normal cases it was the intention that there should be right of public access. We had to take power to exclude that for certain cases. I gave the example of houses in Bath, where it might be the case that grants were made because of their external appearance. This Amendment carries out the undertaking I gave.

Mr. A. Blenkinsop (Newcastle-upon-Tyne, East)

As the Parliamentary Secretary rightly says, this matter was discussed in Committee and I think it was stressed on all sides that this was a crucial point. From the point of view of making money available for this purpose out of public funds, it must be understood that there would be some public advantage in the form of access in all suitable cases.

While some of my hon. Friends felt that the question of access ought to be made mandatory and compulsory in all cases, most of us felt there were some limited cases of the sort the Parliamentary Secretary has mentioned. We should like it to be fully understood that in all normal cases, with only the most exceptional cases being left out, that public access would be fully assured. It is our object to ensure that the general public shall have the enormous advantage, educationally and otherwise, of being able to see something of these great treasures we wish to preserve. Otherwise, we would feel the desirability of preserving them was, at least, questionable.

As we are happy that has been understood and accepted, we welcome this Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

Sir D. Eccles

I beg to move, in page 3, line 10, at the end, to insert: both as to the making of the grant and as to the conditions subject to which it should be made. This addition also meets the wishes of the Committee. It means that the Minister will take the advice of the Historic Buildings Council on the conditions attached to the grants. The final decision will rest with the Minister, but I have no doubt that the Historic Buildings Council will have something to say about the conditions, and it will be a very good thing to listen to them.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: in page 3, line 14, leave out subsection (3).—[Sir D. Eccles.]