HC Deb 24 April 1963 vol 676 cc330-2
Mr. Leburn

I beg to move in page 12, line 11, to leave out Clause 18.

Would it be convenient, Sir William, to discuss this Amendment and the Amendment to Clause 24, page 14, line 31, leave out "sections 2 and 18" and insert "section 2", together with the first new Clause?

The Chairman

In that case, perhaps it would be better for the Committee also to discuss the new Clause in the name of the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. Hendry) which was to be discussed with the Secretary of State's first new Clause.

Mr. Leburn

I think that that would be better.

In Committee, hon. Members opposite were good enough to withdraw their Amendments to this Clause about the rating of parks. They saw difficulties and persuaded me about the approach that we had taken and particularly the requirement that the public had to have both free and unrestricted access to a park if it was to be de-rated. In view of this, I am now suggesting that we should adopt a different approach and, therefore, we are proposing that a park vested in or under the control of a local authority should be excluded from the valuation roll unless the park makes a profit. In other words, the ordinary parks would be outside the valuation system altogether, which would avoid the assessment of fictitious rental values, and the fact that there are perhaps putting greens or boating ponds for which a charge is made would not prevent a park being excluded from the roll. Few, if any, of these facilities cover their expenses, still less the expenses of a park as a whole, and only commercially profitable parks, for example, fun fairs, would be entered in the valuation roll. It is also appropriate that buildings in a park, which are ancillary to the park, for example, for implements and vehicle sheds and the houses for the staff who need to be resident there, should be considered as part of it. But buildings such as ordinary dwelling houses in the parks will, of course, not come within this category.

9.15 p.m.

It is expected that the vast majority of local authority parks will obtain this exemption. As I explained in Committee upstairs, this will not make any real difference to the local authorities concerned, except where a park is in the area of another local authority or where it is a district council park. I hope that, with this explanation, the Committee may feel disposed to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.