HC Deb 05 February 1985 vol 72 cc909-10
Sir Brandon Rhys Williams (Kensington)

I beg to move amendment No. 1, in page 2, line 8, at the end add 'and any individual dwelling in the building would be enlarged by more than ten per cent.'. I am obliged to you, Mr. Walker, for giving me special permission in the circumstances to move this short amendment in spite of the fact that I was able to table it only yesterday.

It seems that with the Bill as it stands a application could be made for an individual flat within a large structure to be expanded by an amount equal to 10 per cent.—not of its own original volume, but of the original volume of the whole structure. I ask my hon. Friend to examine the possibility of there being a defect in the drafting of the Bill. If he is not happy to accept my wording, which is almost certainly defective, I hope he will ensure that the lacuna is removed from the Bill.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Neil Macfarlane)

My hon. Friend the Member for Kensington (Sir B. Rhys Williams) has a point which he thinks important, but his amendment would not achieve that which he is trying to achieve. In some respects it would destroy what we are trying to do.

I understand my hon. Friend's point, but the Bill is limited to applications which would increase the number of flats in a block. That is what my hon. Friend is worried about. Penthouse extensions which convert the top storey of flats into maisonettes increase the value without increasing the number of units. The Bill provides that compensation is not payable when two conditions are met. The amendment adds a third precondition — that an extension must also relate to an extension of one or more individual flats by more than 10 per cent. before the compensation right is excluded.

That is incompatible with the second condition which I have mentioned. It would mean that compensation would continue to be payable for penthouse extensions which create new units rather than extend existing units. The amendment should have begun with the word "or" rather than the word "and".

I am ready to examine any evidence, and I shall look at the matter once again. It is important, and I want to be fully satisfied. I suggest that we examine the matter later or urge the House of Lords to table an amendment if necessary. I shall write to my hon. Friend on the subject and keep the House informed.

Sir Brandon Rhys Williams

I accept that I should have used the word "or" instead of "and" to convey my meaning. That proves that my amendment is defective. I beg to ask leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause 1 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Clauses 2 and 3 ordered to stand part of the Bill.

Bill reported, without amendment.

Bill read the Third time, and passed.

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