HC Deb 26 June 1969 vol 785 cc1848-9
Mr. Skeffington

I beg to move Amendment No. 94, in page 33, line 32, after 'section' insert— 'or accepting an undertaking under subsection (2) thereof'. This is an important Amendment. There are two ways in which a part of a building in multiple occupation may be closed, either by a formal Order, or by an undertaking. If it is done by a formal Order, there are the appropriate arrangements for the fire authorities to be consulted, but the Bill as drafted does not provide for the fire authorities to be consulted before an undertaking not to use part of the premises has been reached—it may be the closing of an attic, or something of that kind.

This was not included originally because it was an informal arrangement, and it had not been thought necessary, but both the Government and the local authorities take the view, which I am sure will be shared by the House, that anything that can be done to cut down the risk of fire, and particularly the unfortunate consequences of fire about which we read time and again in the upper storeys of premises, should be done.

The acceptance of the Amendment will mean that the fire authorities will be consulted whenever a portion of a house is to be closed, either by Order or by agreement. We propose to give very full publicity to this provision when the Bill becomes an Act.

I think that without being out of order I might in this connection draw attention to the provision in Clause 71, which places on local authorities a new duty to survey their areas. I hope that the Amendment will be considered in the light of the new powers in that Clause.

Amendment agreed to.

Forward to