§ Mr. Gordon Campbell
I beg to move Amendment No. 15, in page 9, line 41, leave out Clause 9.
1568 This Amendment raises a point of principle in the procedures proposed by the Bill. We believe that the Clause leaves a fundamental defect in the procedures for the new kind of plan, the local plan. Under these procedures, a local planning authority is to consider the objections to its own plan and then decide whether the plan should be adopted. This seems wrong and unnecessary, because it will appear that the authority is judge in a case in which it is one of the parties. The objector is one of the parties objecting to the plan produced by the authority.
In Committee, the Minister objected to our saying that the authority was a party, but, because it is the authority's plan, it will be thought to be one of the parties to the matter at issue. The decision on whether to adopt a plan in the face of objections is given to the local authority. That is the main reason why we object to this new procedure and press this Amendment and related ones which have not been called.
The local authorities concerned are likely to consider that the plans produced by their own planning committees, working sincerely for the best interests of the community, are good and sensible. No one can blame them for that. That is why it seems wrong that they should then have the power of final decision. If ever there were a case in which justice should not only be done, but should be seen to be done, this is it. I do not suggest that any local authority would behave improperly, but it will have to make a judgment of its own plan against the views of objectors. If, even at this late stage, the Government accepted our view, that would preclude a sense of grievance which will otherwise underlie such cases.
The Government have not argued that such plans being referred to the Secretary of State will constitute an additional administrative burden. If the Minister of State argues that, we should be interested in the details, but I understand that it has not been suggested. The Scottish Office has dealt with such matters in the past with great expedition and more quickly than equivalent procedures are handled in England and Wales. No change would be required for that reason.
It is true that, under subsection (3), local authorities would be obliged to 1569 submit a case to the Secretary of State for a decision, if he called it in, but this would not be much of a safeguard to the citizen, since there is no indication of what kind of cases would be affected, or of the criterion against which he will judge the plans and the objections.
On Amendment No. 1 concerning the Countryside Commission, the Minister of State said that the Scottish Office played an important part in planning matters and that it was often the third party in planning questions. I was glad to hear that. This is precisely our point on this Amendment. Because the Scottish Office and the Secretary of State can act as a third party in planning matters, we think it a mistake to leave it to the local planning authorities to take the final decisions.
I hope that the Minister will repeat the principle which he enunciated earlier and which no doubt he heard me loudly endorse. If he cannot accept this, I admit, radical Amendment entirely, I hope that even at this late stage he will give an assurance that the Government will have second thoughts and will recognise that to leave it to the local authority to decide these matters will arouse anxiety among all those who may have objections to local plans.
§ 9.0 p.m.
§ Dr. Dickson Mabon
Although we had a full debate in Committee on this matter, as reported in columns 266 to 275 of the OFFICIAL REPORT Of the sixth Sitting, it is nevertheless wise that we should debate it again. I agree that we are considering an essential principle of the Bill.
The difference between the Amendment and the Government's position is simple. The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Gordon Campbell) pointed out that under Clause 9 plans shall not take effect unless they are approved by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State. I readily accept that this does not meet the hon. Gentleman's case, but it is an exceptional circumstance when in the Secretary of State's view the local plan raises issues concerning important Government policies or matters of national rather than local significance or arouse acute controversy on more than a local scale.
1570 One could go further and recognise that there are plans which may include important schemes of development, sensitive areas, such as town centres, of exceptional architectural or historic value or schemes of unusually technical complexity. The plans might be called in if they seem to run counter to important planning principles or conflict with the structure plan.
These are important exceptions, and, in fairness to the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn, I concede that they are in the minority. Therefore, since the hon. Gentleman argues by his Amendment that all local plans should go before the Secretary of State, there is an important division between the Government and the Opposition. I do not understand the Opposition's view. Earlier, the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pent-lands (Mr. Wylie) lamented—and it was not an unreasonable lament—that we do not have the Skeffington Committee's report. But we have the report of the Royal Commission on Local Government in England. We know the proposals for Wales which may well be modified in the light of the Royal Commission's report on local government in England and the report of the Royal Commission on local government in Scotland when it is published, which, I hope, will not be too long.
In these days of local government reform, it must strike hon. Members that the report of the Planning Advisory Group made a valid point when it referred to the importance of local authorities dealing with local plans. Local authorities of the future—I am not giving a Government commitment—are likely to be bigger than present-day planning authorities. The hon. Member for Moray and Nairn, only the other day, was advocating that we should have regional planning groupings now, so that we can get ahead with regional plans on a more extensive basis. There is a later Amendment on which we may discuss this.
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell
The hon. Gentleman has slightly misunderstood what I was saying. I was saying what I said in Committee, that it is a pity that, although we started on the question of the reform of local government in Scotland nearly six years ago, we are still 1571 awaiting the report of the Royal Commission. If only we had been able to get ahead in those five years we would now know the size and shape of future local authorities in Scotland.
§ Dr. Mabon
I quite agree that the hon. Gentleman said this in Committee. I was speaking about the report in the Glasgow Herald, which was quoted to me by a Socialist convenor as being in support of the proposition which I was putting forward and which was heavily objected to by the Conservatives present. I am speaking of the Clyde Valley Advisory Committee, which met recently in the City Chambers, Glasgow.
I wish to put a direct question to the hon. Gentleman before he divides the House on this issue. There is no point of reconciliation here. This is a fundamental principle of the Planning Advisory Group Report. It is a fundamental report on the reform of town and country planning, which I do not want to debate tonight because I have done so before. We can only agree to disagree at this stage. His hon. and learned Friend was embarrassed when I asked him this in Committee. It was not a point of worry on his part that he should be embarrassed, because it was put to him suddenly, but very clearly.
I hope that the hon. Gentleman, who is fond of making pledges—he made one last night—will make another pledge, or be prudent and not make a pledge until he thinks the matter fully through. Will the new administration formed by the party opposite, if such be the case ever or in the foreseeable future, repeal these provisions? If the answer is yes, a lot of confusion will be caused among Conservative supporters in the country. Will the hon. Gentleman tell us whether the vote he is insisting upon means that the party opposite will so disturb town planning legislation, if they get a chance, as to do this considerable damage?
§ Mr. T. G. D. Galbraith (Glasgow, Hillhead)
The Minister in dealing with this matter has been inadequate all along the line; he was inadequate in Committee and he has been inadequate tonight. He simply has not explained why the change should be introduced. He burbles about a fundamental principle of the 1572 Planning Advisory Group, but that body was not just considering the Scottish situation, it was primarily considering the English situation. The Minister may shake his head, but he knows as well as I do that the situation in England is utterly different from the situation in Scotland. It is for administrative reasons, because of the vast volume of appeals in England, that the change has been necessary, and this does not apply in Scotland.
There is being introduced the thoroughly obnoxious principle that local authority should be jury and judge in its own case. The Minister is like a parrot; he keeps saying to us, "This means you do not trust the local authority". This is absolute bunkum, if you will forgive me, Mr. Deputy Speaker, for saying so. It is not a question of trusting or not trusting the local authority. It is a question of who should be the court of appeal where there is a difference of opinion between the private individual and the planning authority.
The Minister does not seem to know how ordinary people feel about the matter. The trouble with the local authority is that precisely because it is local it gets involved in things. It cannot stand back. We need some body, some organisation, which can stand back and which is not involved in the way that a local authority inevitably gets involved.
This is a thoroughly bad feature of the Bill. The Minister has not got down to the basic principle of justifying it. It is not just that I do not understand him or do not agree with him. That happens often enough. The trouble is that he has not bothered to get down to the basic principles. He has never explained why this should be done.
§ Dr. Dickson Mabon
If the hon. Member is good enough to look up the relevant passage he will see on page 38 the references to 6.17, 6.18 and 6.19, as well as subsequent matters. Surely the argument could not be clearer that the Government should stand by a policy which it has chosen.
§ Mr. Galbraith
There are two different principles in collision here. There is the principle in the Report and I am obliged to the hon. Gentleman for giving me the reference—which is to some extent a valid principle, and there is the principle that I have enunciated that one should 1573 not be judged in one's own case. These are two contradictory principles. The House ought to decide which is the more important. I agree that in England, because of the volume of objections, what is enunciated in the Report must prevail. But I believe that the contrary principle that one should not be judge in one's own cause should apply in Scotland.
The Minister has not produced one single valid practical reason why that principle should not apply. When there may be 200 objections in Scotland it is ridiculous to say that the principle which applies to England should apply to Scotland. It has been stated in the Press and is clear to everybody that this is an instance in which the Scottish legislation follows unnecessarily the English legislation. Indeed, the Secretary of State, far from being a lion rampant and roaring in the Committee, has been merely a meek sheep—
§ Mr. Galbraith
Dormant or regard-ant. He certainly has not come up with the right decision.
The Minister must recognise the clash of principle. Private individuals will have no confidence when their appeal is turned down. They may not like it if they do not get their way, but they will feel that the matter has been looked at by a person, the Secretary of State, who is used to acting in a quasi-judicial capacity remote from the immediate issue, and they will accept that. But they will have no confidence at all if the Minister does not accept this Amendment.
It is a great pity that the Bill has been handled in this way. It was raced through far too quickly in the House of Lords where, in spite of Committee and Report stages and a Third Reading, a fundamental error remained. If the Bill were now at the stage of going to the other place the Minister would have the opportunity for second thoughts. The Minister of State should now have beside him the Secretary of State to listen to the arguments which we have put forward this evening to make a change in order to ensure that independence of judgment is given priority over the administrative reasons which apply in England. I hope that he will consider the matter again.
§ 9.15 p.m.
§ Mr. J. Bruce-Gardyne (South Angus)
I rise to support what is clearly an Amendment which involves a highly important issue of principle.
As the Minister of State is aware, he and I have differing views about the joys and virtues of planning. I accept that planning must be involved in the activities of a local authority. But, unlike hon. Gentlemen opposite, I believe that we must go out of our way to tilt the balance of protection in favour of the rights of the individual citizen, which may be at risk in the activities of the planners. Therefore, in the interests of the defence of the rights of the individual citizen, there is an overriding case for accepting the Amendment and deleting the Clause.
In his endearing way, the Minister of State suggested that if we deleted the Clause we would show a lack of confidence in the local authorities. That is nonsense. It has nothing to do with confidence, or lack of it, in local authorities. It has to do with the far more fundamental principle of the rights of the individual versus the impositions of the community. In recent years, we have gone too far in riding roughshod over the rights of the individual on behalf of the community, and it is high time that we took some step, however modest, to correct the balance. The Amendment would have the effect of doing that.
The Minister of State also said that the object of the Clause was to recognise that local authorities should be the bodies to deal with local plans. However, if the Clause were deleted it would not prevent local authorities dealing with local plans, but it would ensure that there was an effective court of appeal which was at arm's length from where the decisions are taken.
In our dealings with constituents, we must all be aware of occasions when local authorities, perhaps acting in good faith, have shown themselves to be peculiarly insensitive to the rights and interests of their individual ratepayers. Very often, damage is done before effective pressure can be brought to bear on the local authority, unless there is a judicial procedure of appeal. If there is an appeal procedure under the Secretary of State there is no danger. But it is not good 1575 enough to say that the citizen who feels aggrieved can complain to the local authority when the local plan is being formulated and that he can team up with friends and neighbours to bring pressure to bear on the authority. As we have all experienced, sometimes the time for doing it has slipped by before the individual is aware of it.
It is a fundamental issue that we should preserve the right of appeal of the individual citizen to a body outwith and above his own local authority.
The Minister of State ought to think again about the argument that to delete the Clause would betray a lack of confidence in the local planning authority. This is a very feeble argument and we should hear no more of it.
My hon. Friend the Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) pointed out that the only reason we have apparently been given at any stage for the inclusion of the Clause is that it was felt necessary to do it in the English Bill.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Yes. I feel that in recent months and years we have had too much from this Government of legislation justified on the ground that the English have done it and therefore we must do it, too. It is not good enough as an explanation. What is the purpose of separate Scottish legislation if we have to follow slavishly in the footsteps of the English on every occasion?
Perhaps I may improve on a word used by my hon. Friend the Member for Hillhead. He said that the Secretary of State had become a sheep regardant. I do not think that he is particularly regard-ant of these matters. My hon. Friend the Member for North Angus and Mearns (Mr. Buchanan-Smith) suggested "dormant". I would say "passant" as well, which I think is another term of heraldry which seems to be peculiarly apt in this instance.
We should say to the Secretary of State and to the Minister of State: "Wake up. Get off your trotters or your backside, or whatever it is, and acknowledge that this is an occasion when we should step aside from the English and have legislation suitable for circumstances in Scotland 1576 which effectively, for once, protects the rights of the individual in the burghs and the country areas of Scotland."
§ Mr. James Davidson (Aberdeenshire, West)
I intervene briefly on this Amendment. Having been through all the Amendments tabled to the Bill I have had no difficulty in deciding how to vote on any, except this one. This rather troubles me. I have listened to the argument with great interest. If the whole Clause is deleted it seems to me that it will make a nonsense of the Bill as a whole. This concerns me because, at this late stage, as it is a Lords Bill and, therefore, there will be no chance to re-amend it in another place, it puts us in a difficult position.
I rise to ask for clarification on one point. I am very much in favour of the arguments that have been put forward in favour of the rights of the individual. These sort of arguments sway me. I am not entirely convinced that the way that the arguments have been put, although they convinced me in a sense, are fair on this Amendment.
It appears that in subsection (3) there is an opportunity, if objections have been made and the local planning authority has not accepted them, for the aggrieved party to write to the Secretary of State or get on to the Secretary of State through his Member of Parliament. But is there sufficient time for him to do so and to say, "The objections that I have made have been steam-rollered by the local planning authority. I am dissatisfied because I feel that I have been done an injustice. Will you please operate under this subsection and look at my objections again and, if necessary, direct the local planning authority to pay heed to them and to make the necessary alterations? "Does this opportunity exist?
It may not be a matter of much consequence to the Minister whether the Liberals vote for or against the Amendment, but this will depend on his answer, because I had intended to support the Government.
I have listened to the arguments, and I admit to having been swayed by them, particularly by the argument of the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) who, I thought, put the case very strongly, and it is up to the Minister to sway me the other way if he wishes 1577 to do so. In particular, will the Minister make clear that the opportunity will still exist for the objector to make his objections known to the Secretary of State?
§ Mr. George Lawson (Motherwell)
I appreciate that the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) is suspending judgment, but I should have though that more than any other Member present he would have supported what the Government were trying to do. There has been so much clamour for increased devolution. I have questioned it at times, but everyone seems to take it for granted that there is this demand for more and more local control of local affairs.
One of the features of the modern State is over-centralisation. We must get away from that and develop a position in which local people have a bigger voice and more control over what is happening in their own localities. We have to get to the position in which decisions which affect people locally can be taken locally, andr can be taken speedily. I thought that this, above all, was a feature of what the Liberal Party stood for.
The Clause which the Amendment seeks to eliminate endeavours to give greater control to local people over their own local affairs.
§ Mr. James Davidson
The hon. Gentleman is right in saying that the Liberals have made great play of devolution and giving more power to people locally. The point in dispute is whether the power of the local authority might overrule the rights or objections of an individual. This is the critical point, and I ask the hon. Gentleman not to try to slur it over. I should like to hear the Minister's answer to my question.
§ Mr. Lawson
I am not trying to slur it over, but if we think in terms of a central Government we must realise that there must be some kind of authority which has power to take decisions which quite often an individual does not like. For a long time we have been building up protections. If Mr. Speaker permitted me to do so I could tell the House how many more protections the individual has in this modern State than he used to have, how much more sensitive the modern State is of the rights of the 1578 individual, but I know that the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) would want to come back again and we would have to spend a long time on it.
If we live in an organised community, somewhere, in some form or other, there has to be a means of taking decisions, and in such circumstances the individual may feel aggrieved. If we argue that there must be greater power to take decisions localy—more devolution; because surely that is what all this means—we must think in terms of giving the authority in the locality—and I assume that it is democratically elected, sensitive authority and can be displaced if it does not act in a way which is generally approved—power to act, or there is no devolution.
§ Mr. Galbraith
I appreciate what the hon. Gentleman says about devolution, but I think that he is missing the point. It is not a question of devolution. We all agree with that. The point at issue here is that when there is a difference of opinion between the individual and a local authority surely the appeal should not be backed to one of the parties, but should be to an independent person, who in this instance happens to be the Secretary of State? It is not because he is the Secretary of State, not because he is a central body, but because he is remote and independent that we wish to retain the right of appeal to him.
§ 9.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Lawson
If hon. Gentlemen opposite want more devolution, they must recognise that some local authority must take a decision. What appeal is there from local authority housing decisions? We know of the heartburning in selection for houses, yet local authorities decide these matters. There are safeguards. This is not being imposed out of the blue.
§ Mr. Lawson
When I start speaking, I seem to provoke hon. Gentlemen opposite. I have been sitting here patiently and dumbly all night.
§ Mr. Campbell
The hon. Gentleman has raised an interesting point and should be flattered. It is not so much a question of a reference to the Secretary of State as of having some independent third party. If some independent tribunal were set up for the purpose, we should be 1579 happy. It is the Secretary of State at the moment, and we consider that that is the most convenient way of doing it. No one is obliged to submit a housing application. In this case, someone who has made no application may think that he will be damaged by something planned by the local authority. That is a different matter entirely.
§ Mr. Lawson
The Minister of State is quite right when he keeps telling me to keep my seat because he does not want me to butt in. But I do not accept the arguments of the hon. Member for Moray and Nairn (Mr. Gordon Campbell). I am as concerned as anyone with the protection of individuals from arbitrary authority, but we must be consistent. If there is decentralisation, the local authority must become the final judge, with precautions. If we provided that someone else would judge whether the local authority was right or wrong, it would not be the authority in this respect.
§ Mr. Willis
But an authority might make a decision which its members had discussed, on something highly emotive, like the ring road in Edinburgh. They might take a public position and write to the Press and argue the matter in public. If an inquiry turned down the plan, it would go back to these same people for a decision on whether they would accept it.
§ Mr. Lawson
I take the point of my right hon. Friend.
The Minister of State will reply adequately. He is dealing with something much more extensive and which has been changed. I am talking of local plans which are part of a strategic plan approved by the Secretary of State. We have been concerned about notification, and hon. Gentlemen have tried to insist that every individual be given an individual notice. But there are many precautions to ensure that everyone concerned is informed of what is happening and that due time is allowed before steps 1580 are taken. Under subsections (2) and (3), people can raise matters with the Secretary of State.
If the Secretary of State has any doubt about what a local authority proposes to do, he can intervene. It is no good talking about devolution without recognising the implications. We are discussing one such implication. In the type of society in which we live and which is moving in the direction of devolution, the proposals in the Bill are reasonable, bearing in mind that this part of the Bill follows directly from the consideration given to the matter by an eminent body of people who made recommendations with lucidity.
Hon. Gentlemen opposite are taking the whole issue too far in basing their argument on a possible abuse of the individual. The customary argument in the past was about the abuse of the weak, poor individual who could not afford to hire lawyers to defend him and who did not have friends in high places. He was regularly abused by those in authority. That position has not completely disappeared, but the individual is today less vulnerable.
If things are to be done with reasonable speed, the Clause is necessary. Indeed, one reason for the Bill is to speed up the process of planning decision-making.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. I remind hon. Members that Report stage is rather more formal than Committee stage.
§ Mr. Lawson
I have said enough to make the position clear. I am sure that the Minister of State will go further in making it clear. I hope, therefore, that none of my hon. Friends will speak at this point and waste further time.
§ Mr. James Hamilton
I assure my hon. Friend the Member for Motherwell (Mr. Lawson) that I will not waste the time of the House. I rise simply to make my position clear.
On the basis of my experience of these matters, I agree with hon. Gentlemen opposite. One might say that if a local authority takes a decision and goes through the usual channels, with that decision being returned to the local authority, the authority might as well deal with the matter completely expeditiously by not giving the appellant the opportunity of an inquiry. One could say that the local authority should be in a position to deal with any matter immediately, with no further steps being open to the individual.
We should not forget that the members of local authorities are able to put forward their cases with as much strength as hon. Members of Parliament. An authority may take a decision which is then returned to it by the reporter. It can then consider the matter further, thereby having two bites at the cherry. A good council member, with the power of oratory, can persuade a local authority that a different decision should have been taken in the first place.
Unless the Minister of State can provide me with a better explanation than I have yet heard, I will not be able to support the Government in this matter.
§ Mr. Wylie
The Government are making a radical change in planning procedure in Scotland by this Clause, and it is a change which is wholly and completely contrary to the principles of natural justice. It is one which the Government have not attempted to justify, at least to the satisfaction of my hon. Friends or myself.
The present system in Scotland works perfectly well. There is nothing wrong with it. It is governed by Section 3(4) of the 1947 Act, which gives the Secretary of State the power and authority to decide the development plans which have to be submitted to him. There is nothing wrong with that system. It works perfectly well. There have not been the pressures in Scotland that have resulted in abnormal delays—pressures of the kind that have brought about the change in policy recommended for England and Wales by the Planning Advisory Group.
1582 That is the real reason behind the Government's attitude. It is all very well to quote the recommendations of the Planning Advisory Group, but paragraph 1.29 of the Report makes perfectly clear what the problem is in England. In this respect, this is an English Report, and it is not really concerned with Scotland. Scotland forms only an appendix. Paragraph 1.29 reads:Finally, the attempt to process all these detailed plans through centralised procedure, including provision for objections (of which there may be hundreds or even thousands on a single plan) and public local inquiry, has inevitably led to very serious delays which tend to undermine public confidence in the system.The group then quotes delays in England and Wales of two and three years, and sometimes considerably longer, but paragraph 1.32 states:We believe that the situation calls for a radical reappraisal of the form and function of development plans"—and this is the important bit—and a redistribution of responsibility as between central and local government.The system has broken down in England and Wales: it has not broken down in Scotland. It is disgraceful that we should be seeking to import a radical change of this nature embodying provisions contrary to the principles of natural justice without sound and solid reasons to justify it.
What reporter of any standing or self-respect will take on an inquiry? What person will hold an inquiry, and make recommendations—if these persons are to make recommendations? There is nothing in the Bill to say so. We do not know whether the person makes a report, or to whom he makes it. Apparently, he just holds an inquiry. But, if he is to make recommendations what sort of man will hold that kind of inquiry and make recommendations in the knowledge that one of the parties to the dispute will in any case decide the matter? It is utter and absolute nonsense.
It is even proposed in Clause 8(1)—if I may digress for just a moment, because it is relevant to this issue—that in some cases, as may be prescribed by regulations, the authorities themselves can appoint the person who is to hold the inquiry. How can one possibly achieve that understanding or co-operation between the public on the one hand and 1583 the planning authorities on the other when this kind of procedure is introduced?
I do not want to take up any more time on this issue. I quite agree with the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson) that the time has passed to put this right. We cannot put it right by this Amendment. There were other Amendments which, because of our procedure, could not be selected. The matter was fully argued elsewhere. There was a way of putting this right, but that way was rejected by the Committee, and we are now to pay for it. That being so, I shall advise my hon. Friends to press the issue to a Division, because a major matter of principle is involved. It is disgraceful that these proposals are being forced on the people of Scotland.
§ 9.45 p.m.
§ Dr. Dickson Mabon
With permission, I speak again to respond to the question which was put specifically by the hon. Member for Aberdeenshire, West (Mr. James Davidson). I confirm that in the terms in which he asked the question the answer is, Yes.
The excellent speeches made tonight by the hon. Member for Glasgow, Hillhead (Mr. Galbraith) and the hon. and learned Member for Edinburgh, Pentlands were made in complete ignorance of the Planning Advisory Group's Report. As for that group being an English body, the hon. and learned Member should look at the membership. There were four Scotsmen chosen by the two Ministers who established the group in 1963. The right hon. Member for Argyll (Mr. Noble) and the right hon. Member for Leeds, North-East (Sir K. Joseph), as the Ministers responsible, set up the group and four members of the group are distinguished members in Scottish life today. Anyone reading the Report would realise that it is essentially a British Report.
It is a piece of propaganda by hon. Members opposite to pretend that it is an English Report. We have adapted from the Report some fine parts of the Bill which are not in dispute. That there is a misunderstanding—that is all I can say politely—is no reason to abuse people in this way. The reference in the appendix is to the assessment of the actual planning position in Scotland, and it ends: 1584Because of their smallness and relatively limited resources, they have difficulties in recruitment of staff. The need to economise in planning effort is, therefore, at least as great in Scotland as in England and Wales.That is why many of these recommendations are drawn as they are and why we are trying to recruit more staff.
I have commented about individuals who wish to appeal for local plans to be taken by the Secretary of State. Hon. Members opposite want all local plans to go to the Secretary of State, but I say that some can go to the Secretary of State in the circumstances I have outlined. The Report says:Over and above this the individual retains the right of appeal to the Minister if his planning application is refused, and the right of objection to the Minister against a proposal to acquire his property compulsorily.Those two principles are not in any way affected, although one would imagine from the debate that they are being infringed.
As to the reference to the position in Edinburgh, does anyone believe that Edinburgh would be regarded as producing only a local plan? It is the capital of Scotland and our second largest city. There would be a structure plan which would go directly to the Secretary of State. There is a misunderstanding and I insist that if hon. Members look at this matter closely they will see that an essential principle of the Bill is delegation and devolution as an intrinsic part of this process and it ought to be kept.
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
Before the right hon. Gentleman sits down, will he allow me to interrupt? He quoted from the—
§ Mr. Bruce-Gardyne
The hon. Gentleman quoted from the Report the comment that the authorities in Scotland were smaller and had a more restrictive number of officials and therefore we have to reduce the strain on their planning, but this is an argument for retaining the appeal procedure because of the restrictive nature of the planning staff.
§ Mr. Speaker
Order. We cannot have a second speech from an hon. Member on Report disguised as an intervention.
§ Mr. Gordon Campbell
The Minister of State put a direct question to me about 1585 whether we would repeal the decision if this is passed. Clearly he missed the point. We are trying to change the planning legislation of Scotland. We have all agreed that things need to be brought up to date, but when we are changing legislation we want to get it right. We do not want to have to come back and make changes in two or three years' time.
I agree that those who have to operate this planning legislation mainly planning authorities, should not be unsettled by the prospect of chopping and changing. We want them to have planning procedures which they know will last for some years and with which everyone may become familiar. Therefore, I certainly would not make a statement of this point. When we return to office we shall see what has happened and how the system is operating. We very much hope that we shall not have to make immediate changes on some of these points but if they are proved to be defective we may have to make changes. Our concern now is to get these points right while this legislation is going through in the hope that we shall not need to have further planning legislation for some years and that those who have to work with
§ these new planning procedures can settle down with them and get used to them. Our concern is to get these points right.
§ Appendix A of the Report of the Advisory Group states that the weight of material put forward by Scottish local authorities is relatively less than that or their English equivalents. This confirms our contention. The passage which the Minister quoted about the work which falls upon Scottish local planning authorities and their difficulties in having enough staff, a position which is in any case likely to be changed within the next five or six years, if anything supports our case, because our suggestion would mean less work for the local planning authorities and a little more for the Secretary of State.
§ The Minister appeared to have heard third hand of something which I am supposed to have said in a speech in Glasgow. I assure him that I was only saying what I had said in Committee and what he was fully familiar with.
§ Question put, That the Amendment be made:
§ The House divided: Ayes 125, Noes 176.1587
|Division No. 248.]||AYES||[9.53 p.m.|
|Alison, Michael (Barkston Ash)||Errington, Sir Eric||MacArthur, Ian|
|Allason, James (Hemel Hempstead)||Farr, John||McMaster, Stanley|
|Amery, Rt. Hn. Julian||Fisher, Nigel||Maude, Angus|
|Astor, John||Fletcher-Cooke, Charles||Mawby, Ray|
|Atkins, Humphrey (M't'n & M'd'n)||Foster, Sir John||Maxwell-Hyslop, R. J.|
|Awdry, Daniel||Galbraith, Hn. T. G.||Mills, Peter (Torrington)|
|Baker, Kenneth (Acton)||Gilmour, Ian (Norfolk, C.)||Monro, Hector|
|Beamish, Col. Sir Tufton||Gilmour, Sir John (Fife, E.)||Montgomery, Fergus|
|Bennett, Sir Frederic (Torquay)||Glover, Sir Douglas||More, Jasper|
|Berry, Hn. Anthony||Gower, Raymond||Morrison, Charles (Devizes)|
|Biffen, John||Grant, Anthony||Mott-Radclyffe, Sir Charles|
|Biggs-Davison, John||Grant-Ferris, R.||Munro-Lucas-Tooth, Sir Hugh|
|Blaker, Peter||Gresham Cooks, R.||Murton, Oscar|
|Boardman, Tom (Leicester, S. W.)||Gurden, Harold||Nabarro, Sir Gerald|
|Boyd-Carpenter, Rt. Hn. John||Hall-Davis, A. G. F.||Nott, John|
|Brewis, John||Harris, Frederic (Creydon, N. W.)||Orr-Ewing, Sir Ian|
|Brinton, Sir Tatton||Harvey, Sir Arthur Vere||Osborn, John (Hallam)|
|Bromley-Davenport, Lt.-Col.Sir Walter||Harvie Anderson, Miss||Page, Graham (Crosby)|
|Bruce-Gardyne, J.||Hawkins, Paul||Page, John (Harrow, W.)|
|Bryan, Paul||Heald, Rt. Hn. Sir Lionel||Pardoe, John|
|Buchanan-Smith, Alick (Angus,N&M)||Hiley, Joseph||Pearson, Sir Frank (Clitheroe)|
|Bullus, Sir Eric||Hill, J. E. B.||Percival, Ian|
|Campbell, Gordon (Moray & Nairn)||Holland, Philip|
|Hordern, Peter||Pike, Miss Mervyn|
|Chataway, Christopher||Howell, David (Guildford)||Pounder, Rafton|
|Clegg, Walter||Hutchison, Michael Clark||Powell, Rt. Hn. J. Enoch|
|Cooke, Robert||Irvine, Bryant Godman (Rye)||Pym, Francis|
|Costain, A. P.||Jenkin, Patrick (Woodford)||Ridley, Hn. Nicholas|
|Crouch, David||Jennings, J. C. (Burton)||Rossi, Hugh (Hornsey)|
|Currie, G. B. H.||Johnson Smith, G. (E. Grinstead)||Royle, Anthony|
|Daikelth, Earl of||Jopling, Michael||Russell, Sir Ronald|
|Dance, James||Kimball, Marcus||Scott, Nicholas|
|Davidson, James (Aberdeenshire, W.)||King, Evelyn (Dorset, S.)||Scott-Hopkins, James|
|d'Avigdor-Goldsmid, Sir Henry||Kitson, Timothy||Shaw, Michael (Sc'b'gh & Whitby)|
|Dean, Paul||Lane, David||Smith, John (London & W'minster)|
|Digby, Simon Wingfield||Lubbock, Eric||Stainton, Keith|
|Elliott,R.W.(N'c'tle-upon-Tyne, N.)||McAdden, Sir Stephen||Stodart, Anthony|
|Stoddart-Scott, Col. Sir M.||Walters, Dennis||Wylie, N. R.|
|Summers, Sir Spencer||Ward, Dame Irene||Younger, Hn. George|
|Taylor, Sir Charles (Eastbourne)||Wiggin, A. W.|
|Taylor, Edward M. (G'gow, Cathcart)||Williams, Donald (Dudley)||TELLERS FOR THE AYES:|
|Turton, Rt. Hn. R. H.||Wilson, Geoffrey (Truro)||Mr. Reginald Eyre and|
|Waddington, David||Winstanley, Dr. M. P.||Mr. Bernard Weatherill.|
|Wainwright, Richard (Colne Valley)||Wolrige-Gordon, Patrick|
|Allaun, Frank (Salford, E.)||Font, Ben||Manon, Peter (Preston, S.)|
|Anderson, Donald||Forrester, John||Mahon, Simon (Bootle)|
|Archer, Peter||Fraser, John (Norwood)||Manuel, Archie|
|Ashton, Joe (Bassetlaw)||Freeson, Reginald||Mapp, Charles|
|Atkins, Ronald (Preston, N.)||Galpern, Sir Myer||Marks, Kenneth|
|Atkinson, Norman (Tottenham)||Gardner, Tony||Mason, Rt. Hn. Roy|
|Bacon, Rt. Hn. Alice||Ginsburg, David||Mellish, Rt. Hn. Robert|
|Bagier, Cordon A. T.||Gray, Dr. Hugh (Yarmouth)||Mendelson, John|
|Barnes, Michael||Gregory, Arnold||Millan, Bruce|
|Barnett, Joel||Grey, Charles (Durham)||Milne, Edward (Blyth)|
|Bence, Cyril||Griffiths, David (Rother Valley)||Morgan, Elystan (Cardiganshire)|
|Benn, Rt. Hn. Anthony Wedgwood||Hamilton, William (Fife, W.)||Morris, Alfred (Wythenshawe)|
|Bidwell, Sydney||Hamling, William||Morris, Charles R. (Openshaw)|
|Blackburn, F.||Harper, Joseph||Neal, Harold|
|Blenkinsop, Arthur||Harrison, Walter (Wakefield)|
|Boardman, H. (Leigh)||Hazell, Bert||Ogden, Eric|
|Booth, Albert||Heffer, Eric S.||Oram, Albert E.|
|Bray, Dr. Jeremy||Herbison, Rt. Hn. Margaret||Orbach, Maurice|
|Brown, Hugh D. (G'gow, Provan)||Hooley, Frank||Orme, Stanley|
|Buchan, Norman||Horner, John||Oswald, Thomas|
|Buchanan, Richard (G'gow, Sp'burn)||Houghton, Rt. Hn. Douglas||Owel, Will (Morpeth)|
|Butler, Herbert (Hackney, C.)||Howarth, Robert (Bolton, E.)||Page, Derek (King's Lynn)|
|Butler, Mrs. Joyce (Wood Green)||Howell, Denis (Small Heath)||Park, Trevor|
|Cant, R. B.||Howie, W.||Parker, John (Dagenham)|
|Chapman, Donald||Hoy, James||Parkyn, Brian (Bedford)|
|Coe, Denis||Hughes, Hector (Aberdeen, N.)||Pearson, Arthur (Pontypridd)|
|Coleman, Donald||Hughes, Roy (Newport)||Pentland, Norman|
|Concannon, J. D.||Hunter, Adam||Perry, George H. (Nottingham, S.)|
|Dalyell, Tam||Hynd, John||Prentice, Rt. Hn. R. E.|
|Davidson, Arthur (Accrington)||Jackson, Colin (B'h'se & Spenb'gh)||Price, Thomas (Westhoughton)|
|Janner, Sir Barnett||Probert, Arthur|
|Davies, Ednyfed Hudson (Conway)||Jenkins, Hugh (Putney)||Rankin, John|
|Davies, C. Elfed (Rhondda, E.)||Jenkins, Rt. Hn. Roy (Stechford)||Robertson, John (Paisley)|
|Davies, Dr. Ernest (Stretford)||Johnson, James (K'ston-on-Hull, W.)||Rogers, George (Kensington, N.)|
|Davies, Rt. Hn. Harold (Leek)||Jones, Dan (Burnley)||Ross, Rt. Hn. William|
|Davies, Ifor (Gower)||Jones, J. Idwal (Wrexham)||Ryan, John|
|de Freitas, Rt. Hn. Sir Geoffrey||Jones, T. Alec (Rhondda, West)||Sheldon, Robert|
|Delargy, Hugh||Judd, Frank||Short, Mrs. Renée (W'hampton, N. E.)|
|Dewar, Donald||Keiley, Richard||Silverman, Julius|
|Diamond, Rt. Hn. John||Kerr, Russell (Feitham)|
|Dickens, James||Lawson, George||Small, William|
|Dobson, Ray||Leadbitter, Ted||Spriggs, Leslie|
|Doig, Peter||Lestor, Miss Joan||Steele, Thomas (Dunbartonshire, W.)|
|Driberg, Tom||Lever, Harold (Cheetham)||Taverne, Dick|
|Dunwoody, Mrs. Gwyneth (Exeter)||Lewis, Arthur (W. Ham, N.)||Tinn, James|
|Dunwoody, Dr. John (F'th & C'b'e)||Loughlin, Charles||Urwin, T. W.|
|Eadie, Alex||Lyon, Alexander W. (York)||Varley, Eric G.|
|Edelman, Maurice||Lyons, Edward (Bradford, E.)||Wainwrignt, Edwin (Dearne Valley)|
|Edwards, Robert (Bilston)||Mabon, Dr. J. Dickson||Walker, Harold (Doncaster)|
|Edwards, William (Merioneth)||McBride, Neil||Wallace, George|
|Ellis, John||McCann, John||Watkins, David (Consett)|
|English, Michael||MacDermot, Niall||Watkins, Tudor (Brecon & Radnor)|
|Ennals, David||Macdonald, A. H.||Wilkins, W. A.|
|Ensor, David||McGuire, Michael||Williams, Mrs. Shirley (Hitchin)|
|Evans, Fred (Caerphilly)||McKay, Mrs. Margaret||Williams, W. T. (Warrington)|
|Evans, Ioan L. (Birm'h'm, Yardley)||Mackenzie, Gregor (Rutherglen)||Woodburn, Rt. Hn. A.|
|Fernyhough, E.||Mackie, John||Woof, Robert|
|Fletcher, Raymond (Ilkeston)||Mackintosh, John P.|
|Fletcher, Ted (Darlington)||Maclennan, Robert||TELLERS FOR THE NOES:|
|Foley, Maurice||McNamara, J. Kevin||Mr. Ernest Armstrong and|
|Foot, Michael (Ebbw Vale)||MacPherson, Malcolm||Dr. M. S. Miller.|
§ It being after Ten o'clock, further consideration of the Bill, as amended, stood adjourned.
§ Bill, as amended (in the Standing Committee), further considered.