HC Deb 24 May 1968 vol 765 cc1177-9


3.45 p.m.

Mr. Farr

I beg to move Amendment No. 24, in page 6, line 24, to leave out 'or appropriate'.

I fear that, unless these words are removed, the Bill will enable county authorities to acquire land compulsorily for this purpose and I should not like to see such power included.

Mr. Lubbock

I understand that, if we deleted these words, we should be stopping a local authority from using land which is already in its possession. To delete them would be rather negative.

Amendment negatived.

Mr. Farr

I beg to move, Amendment No. 25, in page 6, line 28, at end to insert: 'and shall take into account representations made by anyone living or engaged in a remunerative occupation within a radius of one mile and for this purpose shall cause the proposal to be suitably advertised by Press and other media'. The purpose is to see that all people affected by a proposal to establish a site for the purposes of the Bill are properly consulted. It does not appear to me that the hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) has given much concern to the objection of anyone, even if they live within a stone's throw of such sites, unless they represent the council of a county district. As the Bill stands, even a parish council is not entitled to object. A rural district council is, but many other people are or could be affected. People with genuine grounds of objection should be allowed to make representations to the county authority.

My Amendment suggests that those living within a radius of one mile or anyone in a remunerative occupation within the same radius should at least be consulted and asked to let the council have their views on the proposition before a decision is taken.

Mr. A. H. Macdonald (Chislehurst)

The hon. Member for Orpington (Mr. Lubbock) has asked me, as one of the sponsors of the Bill, to give him assistance in replying. The Amendment is unnecessary. Already in the Bill, in Clause 8(1) and Clause 9(1), there are provisions for objections to be raised but, more particularly, there is nothing in the Bill to override the normal town planning procedure. If anyone desires to establish a caravan site, whether for gipsies or anyone else, they will have to go through the normal town planning control. There is, therefore, ample opportunity for people to register objections under the town planning law. The object of the Amendments is already met.

Mr. Wells

I fear that I must disagree with the hon. Gentleman. Some years ago, I sought to bring in a private Member's Bill under the ten minute rule procedure to protect such people because, in and near my constituency, the Kent County Council has been extremely active in setting up these sites. This has caused grave hardship in special circumstances and we have seen the rigidity which the Minister's Department interprets the terms of compensation. There is absolutely no give or take. A man may have a building site on which he intends to put up private housing and find overnight that the adjacent property has been designated as a gipsy camp site area, and he then suffers from terrible "blight" and gets no compensation and very little opportunity even to make representations. I believe that even the Amendment is far too weak and I would prefer definite provisions for compensation. This comparatively mild wording is the very least we should have, and I hope that the Amendment will be accepted.

Amendment negatived.

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