HC Deb 27 July 1960 vol 627 cc1666-8

Lords Amendment: In page 6, line 45, at end insert: () If an application is made under subsection (1) of this section for consent to the transfer of a site licence to a person who is to become the occupier of the land, that person may apply for a site licence under section three of this Act as if he were the occupier of the land, and if the local authority at any time before issuing a site licence in compliance with that application give their consent to the transfer they need not proceed with the application for the site licence.

Mr. H. Brooke

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

This Amendment is designed to meet a small contingent difficulty which was mentioned during the Committee stage discussions It would not be likely to arise, but it might occur in connection with the transfer of a site licence where a caravan site changes hands. Clause 9 (1) requires the local authority's consent to a transfer of the licence in these circumstances.

As was explained in Committee, that is a convenient method of making sure that a local authority knows of the transfer. It is most improbable that an authority would wish to withhold consent. After all, the site already has planning permission so that if the consent for a transfer were withheld the new occupier would, in any case, be entitled to obtain a fresh licence under Clause 3. There would seem to be no object, therefore, in the local authority withholding consent. But as the authority's consent has to be obtained, we must provide for a conceivable case where, for some reason or other, the local authority thought fit to withhold consent.

In that event, under the Bill as it is drafted, the person taking over the site might be in some difficulty because he might not be able to obtain a licence in time. He might find himself in the position of having caravans on the site without a licence and he would be committing an offence under Clause 1.

This Amendment is designed to remove that possible difficulty. It enables a man who is proposing to take over a caravan site to apply for a licence in advance. If by any chance the local authority were to withhold consent to the transfer of the old licence, he would have an opportunity to apply for a licence in advance under the terms of this Amendment and there would be no danger of his falling foul of the law.

Mr. Dempsey

Will the right hon. Gentleman explain what is implied here regarding the consent of the local authority? Does it mean that an application must be made with a plan and details for the renewal of the licence, or does it merely involve a normal application by letter advising the change of use which in turn might receive the approval of the local authority?

4.30 p.m.

Mr. H. Brooke

It merely means this. Here is a caravan site in use, with the site operator having planning permission and a site licence issued by the local authority. He is transferring or, maybe, selling the site to somebody else. The man who is coming in will be able to apply by letter to the local authority, giving particulars and referring to the licence, the existence of which will be perfectly well known to the local authority as it will have issued the licence, and asking for it to be transferred to him. It will be the simplest kind of formality.

Mr. A. J. Irvine (Liverpool, Edge Hill)

Does that mean that there can be in respect of a site two licences taking effect concurrently? In other words, can two people, one the transferor and the other the transferee, have concurrently rights of appeal against conditions attached to the licence?

Mr. Brooke

By leave of the House, may I say that I do not think that there is any danger of there being two site licences outstanding at the same time. The person taking over the site can make two applications, one for a new licence and one for the transfer of the existing licence. If he gets the existing licence transferred to him, as is probable, he will naturally withdraw his application for a new licence as it would be no use to him.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.