HC Deb 05 February 1963 vol 671 cc213-4
16. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether, with a view to reducing damage caused by mining subsidence, he will bring forward amending legislation to ensure that where planning consent is being given to private developers to build on land liable to subsidence, the developers are required to lay down strenthened foundations for the buildings.

Mr. Corfield

No, Sir. Amending legislation is not necessary. All local authorities in coal mining areas were advised in Circular No. 44/61 that the powers conferred by the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, enable them in appropriate cases to require structural precautions to be taken when permission is given for surface development.

Mr. Swingler

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that it appears that this has not been universally carried out? Would he make inquiries? Is he not aware that there are cases of houses and villas being built without strengthened foundations on land liable to mining subsidence, only causing future trouble and expense to the National Coal Board? Will he ensure that this requirement is universally applied to private development?

Mr. Corfield

This is a matter for local planning authorities, but if the hon. Member will send me details of any case of which he knows, I will certainly look into it with the local planning authority concerned.

Mrs. Slater

Will the hon. Gentleman also consult some of the people in the National Coal Board who are fully aware of this difficulty? Is he aware that in the great hurry to build private houses local authorities often do not insist that the foundations of houses in areas where mining subsidence has actually taken place should be reinforced? In the interests of both the Coal Board and the people who spend their money on these houses, is it not advisable for the Government to see that precautions are taken right at the beginning?

Mr. Corfield

I can assure the hon. Lady that the local planning authority is required to consult the National Coal Board in coal working areas which have been notified to the authority by the Board, and that when it does so the Coal Board is always willing to advise on the stability or likely stability of the area.

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