HC Deb 24 October 1972 vol 843 cc1113-5

Lords Amendment: No. 164, in page 83, line 30, leave out from "shall" to "in" in line 31 and insert: be subject to the rights of other persons

Mr. Graham Page

I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we to take Lords Amendments Nos. 165 to 182.

Mr. Page

All these Amendments deal with the appropriation of land by local authorities and the disposal of that land. I will take them in groups and the first group is No. 164, No. 176 and No. 181. This deals with the appropriation of land by a local authority. The intention has always been that the basic law relating to the appropriation of land by local authorities should remain as it is under the Local Government Act, 1933, and that we should move those Sections from that Act into this Bill.

The Act provided that any appropriation of land is subject to any covenant or restriction affecting the use of the land, but where compensation is payable under the appropriate Section of the 1933 Act those rights could be over-ridden by the execution of works after the appropriation. On looking closely at Clauses 120, 124 and 129 there seems to be some doubt as to whether we had repeated that power for local authorities. These Amendments put the matter beyond doubt. 9.30 p.m.

Dealing with the group of Amendments Nos. 165, 170 to 173, 175, 177 and 180, the object of the provisions for the appropriation or disposal of land under the Bill of not more than 250 square yards from any park or public open space is to enable these small areas to be used for other purposes without the need for the Secretary of State to give his consent or for special parliamentary procedure. This is giving to local authorities freedom of action over these comparatively small areas. This object could not be realised if the purpose for which the land was appropriated or disposed of could not be carried out because the land was fettered by some trust for the public. These Amendments remove any doubt about this by declaring that appropriation or disposal under the relevant Section frees the land from any trust arising solely from its being held as public trust land.

I come now to Lords Amendments Nos. 166, 167, 168, 174, 178, 182. The effect of these Amendments is that in relation to allotment land appropriation and disposal will continue to be governed by the existing provisions of the allotments legislation. We have announced that we propose in due course to submit to the House legislation amending the law relating to allotments but it is right that we should retain it in the Bill and carry out the reform properly later. These Amendments retain the requirements for ministerial consent as set out in the allotment legislation. They are a little more stringent than if we applied the Bill to them.

Commons are affected by various local Acts, some more some less stringent. To avoid duplication we want to retain those Acts to apply to appropriation or disposal of commons and not to apply the provisions of the Bill.

I come now to the small group of Amendments, 169, 179. Although Section 10 of the Compulsory Purchase Act, 1965—that is the one which makes certain provision for compensation for injurious affection—applies to most enactments under which local authorities acquire land, there are still a few cases to which the old Land Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, applies. Therefore we have had to mention that Act, and particularly Section 68, to retain the law as it is.

Mr. Denis Howell (Birmingham, Small Heath)

May I utter a word of welcome for these proposals? It is right to give local authorities greater freedom and it is even more right to retain the restrictions dealing with allotment land. I have no doubt that the Minister receives a great number of representations from the allotment movement, as I do, which on the whole thinks that it is being badly treated by Governments of both political persuasions. The movement does not have the attention that it deserves, and I was glad to hear the Minister say that legislation is to be introduced.

In the meantime it is important that the rights of allotment holders should be protected and that local authorities and others should not be allowed to use allotment land for other purposes, however desirable. In our urban environment in particular it is important that people should have somewhere where they can dig and grow things and get the joy from doing such things.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords Amendments agreed to.

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