HC Deb 27 July 1960 vol 627 cc1658-60

Lords Amendment: In line 32, leave out from "order" to end of line 35.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Sir Keith Joseph)

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

It might also be convenient to discuss at the same time, three consequential Amendments, one in page 9 and the other two in page 10.

These Amendments deal with short-term licences for caravan sites which have short-term planning permission. Up to now we have always taken the view, unanimously, that site licences should not be issued for only a limited period, but in our previous discussions we did not take into account the fact that there may be occasions, such as agricultural fairs, which involve only the licensing of a caravan site for a very limited period. It would be absurd to exclude them from a site licence, because we have rightly decided, in general, that for normal purposes a site licence shall have no limit.

The Amendments provide that instead of excluding from the site licensing powers of the local authority under Clause 3 all caravan sites which have planning permission which will cease to exist within six months of the application for a site licence, that exclusion shall not appear in Clause 3 but shall be reproduced separately in a separate Clause which is to be moved as a new Clause. This will permit local authorities to grant a site licence where planning permission has been given for a temporary use for a caravan site, while leaving unaffected the last sentence of Clause 4 (1), which says that a site licence shall not be issued for a limited period only". We reproduce the exclusion of a site licence for a site which has planning permission for less than six months in the new Clause, in respect of existing sites.

Mr. Cledwyn Hughes (Anglesey)

The Parliamentary Secretary has almost persuaded me that this Amendment is necessary, but I still have a marginal doubt about it. As he explained it, the argument for the Amendment is that a licence might be required for a purely temporary caravan site needing only a very short-term planning permission.

It was my impression that we had covered all such cases as he visualised when we debated the Schedule in Committee and on Report. It seemed to me that we dealt exhaustively with all this kind of exemption in the Schedule, particularly in paragraphs 4, 5, 6 and 12. We tried to cover all these short-term needs, such as agricultural shows. It was my impression that when the right hon. Gentleman spoke to the Schedule in Committee, he quoted an agricultural show as an example which might be covered in the Schedule under the five-day rule.

This Amendment seems to broaden the field considerably, certainly far more than we had intended in Committee, and I should like a further explanation. I do not think that the example of an agricultural show is sufficient. Does the Minister visualise that it is not covered by the Schedule as it stands?

Sir K. Joseph

The hon. Member for Anglesey (Mr. C. Hughes) is quite right in drawing attention to the exemptions under the Schedule. My hon. Friend made it plain that if there is a project requiring perhaps more than five days there is no reason why planning permission should not be sought. The hon. Member will notice that exempted organisations have to have as part of their objective the promotion of recreational activities, and it is conceivable that there could be a need for a caravan site for longer than five days or for an organisation which is not specifically recreational, and which might, therefore, successfully seek planning permission for a very short period. In all fairness, we must make provision for a site licence.

Question put and agreed to.