§ 41. Mr. A. Lewis
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware of the difficulties confronting local authorities with bombed sites in keeping these free from rubbish, and preventing them from becoming danger spots to children; and whether he will introduce the necessary legislation to enable these authorities to fence off these sites and charge the costs to the freeholders of the land.
§ The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Dr. Charles Hill)
No, Sir. Local authorities already have power under the War Damaged Sites Act, 1949, to tidy up these sites, and if necessary to take possession of them for up to ten years. They also have powers under Section 144 of the Highways Act, 1959, to deal with sources of danger adjoining a street. Sections 27 and 34 of the Public Health Act, 1961, and Section 33 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, provide alternative ways of dealing with sites which although not dangerous are detrimental to amenity.
§ Mr. Lewis
Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under present legislation local authorties have to meet the cost of dealing with this matter under his suggested proposals? Is it not unfair that landholders and freeholders who pay no taxes and no rates should make the local councils clear up and keep these sites tidy and clean and free from danger? Should not the council have the authority at least to fence them in for safety's sake and charge the cost to the freeholder?
§ Dr. Hill
If action is taken under the Highways Act, 1959, where there is an unfenced or inadequately fenced source of danger to persons using the street, what the hon. Gentleman has in mind obtains.