HC Deb 22 November 1954 vol 533 cc972-5

Lords Amendment: In page 42, line 2, leave out from "by" to "stating" in line 4, and insert: any person with respect to particular land in their district, to serve on the applicant a notice

12.30 a.m.

Commander Galbraith

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

It might be to the convenience of the House if, together with this Amendment, we discussed the Amendments in page 42, line 9; page 42, line 13; page 42, line 36, and page 42, line 38.

The purpose of all these Amendments is to meet a number of points raised during the proceedings in another place. Perhaps it would be advisable if I were to allude briefly to the changes of substance.

The notice is to state the name of the authority which intends to acquire, and is to specify any part of the land which it is not proposed to acquire. That will, on the one hand, help to discourage authorities from notifying, an intention to acquire more land than they need, and, on the other, will indicate to the would-be purchaser any part of the land not earmarked for acquisition.

As regards the Amendment in page 42, line 38, paragraph 1 of the proviso ensures that the protection of the Clause will be available in the case where, at the time of the public acquisition, while the land has not yet been acquired by the prospective developer the contract to buy is still enforceable against him. Paragraph 2 of the same proviso provides that transactions between associated companies are not to be recognised as qualifying a company for the protection of the Clause. The further point is that the local planning authority is to be at liberty to charge a fee of 5s.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

My right hon. and gallant Friend said that these Amendments were the result of points raised in another place. He will recollect that they were raised on several occasions, and raised quite forcibly, in the Scottish Standing Committee. We thank him for the way in which these Amendments have been inserted. Some of us were very apprehensive that the opportunity given to local authorities to acquire land on the basis of the 1947 prices, that is to say, excluding any development value which might have accrued since 1948, would be taken advantage of, that they would, in a sense, have a sort of statutory option to acquire land at a value which excluded all development values which had accrued since 1948. We were most anxious that they should not hawk the land about among the various Government Departments.

As I understand, the Government have now introduced three important safeguards. They have said, first—and here they have met a point which they originally refused to us—that the planning authority must reply within 28 days. My right hon. and gallant Friend will recollect that he resisted that Amendment in Committee. Now, I am very glad to say, he has given way. Not only have planning authorities to reply within 28 days, but, if they do not, it is assumed that they do not intend to acquire the land.

Commander Galbraith

May I interrupt my hon. Friend to say that he is quite wrong? We have not accepted 28 days in this Bill.

Mr. Thornton-Kemsley

Then this is unique, because it is the only departure from what has occurred in respect of the English Bill. It is the one instance in which we are not slavishly following the pattern set in the other Bill.

The other two safeguards for which we are most grateful are, one, that the planning authority has now to divulge the name of the acquiring authority which wants the land, which means that we can see exactly who it is, which is another important safeguard, and, two, it also has to say if only part of the land is required. My purpose in rising was to thank my right hon. and gallant Friend for meeting us on these points.

Mr. Ross

The Joint Under-Secretary of State for Scotland said that these were matters raised in another place. Did he mean on the Scottish Bill or the English Bill?

Commander Galbraith

Both Bills.

Mr. Ross

I have the OFFICIAL REPORT from another place before me and I see no reference to anybody raising the matter on the Scottish Bill.

Commander Galbraith

If the hon. Member looks at it he will see that the Lord Chancellor made certain promises.

Mr. T. Fraser

The Lord Chancellor does not raise matters for the Government to consider at a later stage. It is a great pity that the hon. Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Thornton-Kemsley) should waste the time of the House at this hour discussing an Amendment made to the English Bill some hours ago.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to: In line 9, at end insert: specifying in the notice—

  1. (a) any such public authority by whom the local planning authority have been so notified; and
  2. (b) any part of that land to which any such proposal of the local planning authority or other authority does not extend."

In line 13, leave out from "propose" to "is" in line 24 and insert: and have not been notified of any proposal of another authority, to acquire within the next five years any interest in any land specified in the notice (in this subsection referred to as 'the specified land'), being the whole or part of the land to which the application related; and

Lords Amendment: In line 27, after first "by" insert "or under."

Commander Galbraith

I beg to move, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

It might be convenient to discuss at the same time the Amendment in page 42, line 29. It is doubtful whether the present wording of subsection 2 (c) covers the case where powers of acquisition are conferred in a private Act confirmed subsequent to the proceedings under the private legislation procedure.

Question put, and agreed to. [Special Entry.]

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to: In line 29, leave out published or served in accordance with that Act or Order, and insert "duly published or served."

In line 36, leave out "time" and insert "date of service."

In line 38, leave out subsection (3) and insert: Provided that—

  1. (i) this subsection shall not have effect unless at the date of the publication or service of the first notice in connection with the acquisition such as is referred to in paragraph (c) of this subsection, the contract mentioned in paragraph (b) thereof remains in force or has been implemented;
  2. (ii) this subsection shall not have effect in relation to a purchase by a company from an associated company within the meaning of section forty-nine of this Act.
(3) Without prejudice to the duty imposed by subsection (1) of this section on a local planning authority to whom an application under that subsection has been made, the local planning authority may require the applicant to pay to them a fee of five shillings. (4) Section thirty-three of this Act shall not apply for the purpose of assessing any compensation to the assessment of which subsection (2) of this section applies: Provided that if the compensation payable in respect of the acquisition of the relevant interest would, apart from this proviso, be less than it would have been if this section had not been enacted, the said subsection (2) shall not apply in the case of that acquisition. —[Special Entry.]