§ MATTERS WHICH MAY BE TAKEN INTO ACCOUNT BY THE MINISTER IN LISTING BUILDINGS UNDER SECTION 32 OF PRINCIPAL ACT.
§ In considering whether to include a building in a list compiled or approved under section 32 of the principal Act, the Minister may take into account not only the building itself but also—
- (a) any respect in which its exterior contributes to the architectural or historic interest of any group of buildings of which it forms part; and
- (b) the desirability of preserving, on the ground of its architectural or historic interest, any feature of the building consisting of a man-made object or structure fixed to the building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building.—[Mr. Skeffington.]
§ Brought up, and read the First time.
§ 6.15 p.m.
§ The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government (Mr. Arthur Skeffington)
I beg to move, That the Clause be read a Second time.
Perhaps it might be for the convenience of the House if I referred in passing to Government Amendment No. 71, in Clause 33, page 27, line 6, at end insert:(3) For the purposes of this part of this Act, any object or structure fixed to a building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of a building shall be treated as part of the building.If the House were good enough to accept the new Clause the Bill will require a consequential Amendment.
§ Mr. Skeffington
I am much obliged.
My hon. Friend the Member for Norwood (Mr. John Fraser), on 2nd April, asked whether the definition of building in Section 221 of the principal 96 Act was wide enough to cover all the surrounding features of a building which it might be desirable to bring within the confines of Clause 33 so that the whole character of the building might be preserved, and I undertook to look at the matter. The Government have, therefore, decided that it would be advantageous to have this new Clause, which is divided into two parts, paragraphs (a) and (b), to deal with the point which he raised. It would enable man-made structures attached to a building to be included, and they are now specifically included by the definition. It could be an item of machinery. One might say, what has an item of machinery to do with a historic architectural building? It may be an ancient pump or something of interest to the industrial archaeologist.
Further, the definition in paragraph (b) deals with other man-made structures fixed to a building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building. This might be a terrace, or cobbles, features of that kind. I hope that my hon. Friend will be pleased that his intervention has led to the improvement in this Part of the Bill.
At the same time we have taken advantage of the opportunity to put into legislative form a decision of the Court of Appeal in the case of the Earl of Iveagh v. Ministry of Housing, where there was a dispute on the Minister's determination on appeal as to whether a group of buildings acquired historic and architectural interest by the circumstances of their being part of a group. The Master of the Rolls decided that this was within the general planning provisions, but it was not specifically spelt out in legislation. We have taken advantage of the Clause to incorporate that decision in paragraph (a).
The Government Amendment No. 71 to which I have referred makes the consequential Amendment in Clause 33 were this Clause to be accepted.
§ Mr. Allason
During the Committee stage I declared a provisional interest on the basis that I did not know whether my house was listed or not, and the Minister of State said that he would inquire and let me know. He let me know by the Ministry sending to me last Friday a notice of listing. What is interesting is that the listing that he sent me is only for the courtyard before my house and not for the house itself, so I am still unaware whether or not my house is listed. All I know is that it is intended to list the courtyard, which seems very peculiar, in view of the terms of Section 32 of the 1962 Act which refers to listing a building, and of this Amendment, which seeks to extend the building so that other matters can be listed.
I wonder whether the Minister will admit that he is acting ultra vires in attempting to list the little courtyard in front of my house. Otherwise, I would imagine that paragraph (b) of the new Clause is unnecessary.
We all welcome paragraph (a), which provides that an architectural facade should be protected even though what lies behind the facade may have little merit. The Regent's Park terraces are not of great historic value, but the facade is magnificent.
Paragraph (b) says that the Minister may take into accountthe desirability of preserving, on the ground of its architectural or historic interest, any feature of the building consisting of a man-made object or structure fixed to the building or forming part of the land and comprised within the curtilage of the building.I understand that the curtilage of the building means the full extent of the garden. If there is a summerhouse half a mile from the house, I cannot see how it can possibly be a feature of the house.
§ Mr. Skeffington
Perhaps I can help the hon. Gentleman. This refers to a separate feature. Anything which was a long way from the house would have to be the subject of a separate listing.
§ Mr. Allason
How is a summerhouse a feature of the building if it is close to the house;? It must be the wording, "a feature of the building", which is at fault. Perhaps the Minister would look at that again.
98 Provided that the feature is close to the House, so that the building and the feature which is desirable are closely integrated, it is desirable that it should be preserved. A fine terrace running round the front of the house clearly ought to be preserved. I am glad to see that the intention is that this refers to something close to the house and in those circumstances I welcome the Clause.
§ Mr. John Fraser
I would like to thank my hon. Friend for these Amendments, which I find acceptable, and which arise from undertakings he gave in Committee stage. The attitude of the Front Bench has been both receptive and cooperative.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Clause read a Second time, and added to the Bill.