HC Deb 11 November 1975 vol 899 cc1226-8

Lords Amendment: No. 34, in page 52, line 4, after first "Act" insert: in such a way as enables members of the public to inform themselves as to".

Mr. John Silkin

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

Mr. Deputy Speaker

With this we shall take the following Lords amendments:

No. 35, in page 52, line 7, leave out "2.—(1)" and insert "(1 A)".

No. 36, page 52, line 11, at end insert "all".

No. 37, in page 52, line 12, at end insert— 2. As soon as practicable after the making of an order under section 18 of this Act, each of the authorities whose areas include land to which the order applies—

  1. (a)shall publish a notice of the effect of the order in two or more newspapers circulating in the locality, of which one shall, if practicable, be a local newspaper, and
  2. (b)shall deposit a copy of the order at their principal office and shall keep it available there at all reasonable hours for public inspection without payment."

Mr. Silkin

These amendments are all designed to give greater publicity to relevant date orders, that is, the orders that bring in the full duty prohibition provisions of Clauses 18 and 21. Lords Amendments Nos. 34 and 36 strengthen the provision governing the registers of such orders, which the Secretary of State must keep because they are required to be available at all reasonable hours and to be kept in such a way as to enable the public to inform themselves of the details of an order. Lords Amendment No. 27 inserts a new provision requiring each of the authorities affected by an order to do two things—to publish a notice of its effect in the Press and to keep a copy of the order available for free public inspection at its main office at all reasonable hours. Lords Amendment No. 35 is simply a drafting amendment.

These requirements, in addition to those already provided in the Bill—there are administrative arrangements which will be made for regional registers to be kept in the Department's regional offices—should provide all that is necessary to ensure that members of the public have all the information they need about the relevant date orders.

Mr. Graham Page

I do not know what the Minister has in mind as to the way in which the public will inform themselves. Is this to be a register of which there will be something like a requisition for a official certificate of search? Or does it merely mean that the public have to call personally to see it? Is it possible to have some official form which could be sent in, and is there to be a fee for the answer? What is meant? I am sure that it is a very useful phase and leaves the Minister with what he has claimed that he requires throughout the debates on this Bill, and that is flexibility. But flexibility is not always so very helpful to the public. I hope that the Minister is about to get advice.

I envisage personal search—I presume at Marsham Street. If so, on what floor is this register to be kept? As the Minister knows—he is on the 18th floor himself now—when the lifts go out of order, it is almost impossible to reach the 18th floor. If the register were to be kept up there, it would not be in such a way as would enable members of the public to inform themselves. That is just a practical point. If the Minister now has that fortunate piece of paper from along the row, perhaps he can perhaps answer my question.

Mr. John Silkin

How fortunate it is that the right hon. Gentleman and I waited for the answer, because he will be delighted to hear that once again the words are taken from the Town and Country Planning Act 1971. It is a general duty, and we shall consider how best to do it as we approach the point of bringing in the Clause 18 orders. There will be an opportunity to look at it.

Question put and agreed to.

Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.

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