HC Deb 21 June 1963 vol 679 cc828-9
Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move, in page 5, line 32, after first "is", to insert: and is likely to continue to be". Under Clause 6 the local authority can acquire land which is "derelict, neglected or unsightly." If the local authority cannot acquire it by agreement, then it can acquire it compulsorily, but only if it satisfies certain conditions. Those conditions appear in subsection (3). These conditions are that the Minister, before he gives his consent for compulsory acquisition, must be satisfied that the land is derelict, that is, that it has been abandoned, that its ownership has been abandoned, or, alternatively—and here there are three conditions—first, that its previous use has been abandoned; secondly, that it has been neglected, and, thirdly, that its present condition makes it desirable to be acquired in the public interest.

There may be a case in which previous use of land has been abandoned, where it is in a neglected state and where it is desirable to acquire it for public purposes under certain conditions, but where, at the same time, the owner is about to develop it. That condition would not be covered by the Clause as it stands at present, and my Amendment would provide that the Minister must be satisfied before he gives consent to the local authority acquiring compulsorily that the land is not likely to be put to good use in the near future.

If the local authority were entitled, as it would be as the subsection stands at the moment, to acquire the land compulsorily without regard to the fact that the owner is about to develop it for a good purpose, then it would be unfair on the owner. Therefore, my Amendment would require the Minister to take into account the genuine intentions of the owner about development. These words are not my own. They are not just taken out of the sky and proposed to be put into the subsection; they are a repetition of the words used in very similar circumstances in the Local Employment Act, 1960, so the House will see that I have a good precedent for them.

Sir G. Nicholson

I am willing to accept the Amendment.

Amendment agreed to.

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