Page 7, line 1, leave out subsection (4), and insert:
("(4) if any applicant for consent is aggrieved by any decision of the highway authority under this section withholding any consent or imposing any condition he may appeal to the Minister who, after consultation with the Minister in charge of any other Government Department concerned, may make such order as he thinks fit, and the decision of the Minister shall be final:
Provided that before determining any such appeal the Minister shall, if required either by the highway authority or by the applicant, cause a local inquiry to be held in public, and in giving his decision upon any such appeal the Minister shall publish a summary of the facts as found by him and of his reasons for the decision.")
§ THE EARL OF PLYMOUTH
My Lords, this requires some explanation. An Amendment was made on the Committee stage in another place that any dispute under Clause 6 between a highway authority and an applicant should be determined by a court of summary jurisdiction, with an appeal by any aggrieved party to Quarter Sessions. The Amendment on the Paper was inserted once again on the Report stage in another place. It restores to the Bill the appeal to the Minister as originally proposed, subject, however, to the very important addition of the proviso. If your Lordships will read the proviso I venture to think you will find that this is a much more satisfactory method of dealing with appeals, and that, with the addition of this proviso, it constitutes a very real protection. I beg to move that this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.
§ Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)
§ LORD HASTINGS
My Lords, the House will remember that this was a hotly contested subject at the time when the Bill was first before your Lordships' House, and that the attempt to displace the final authority of the Minister was 1037 defeated in this House but was successful in Committee in another place, after which the decision was again reversed on the Report stage. There is no intention on the part of those who pressed for it in the first instance to press for it again here, but we would like to draw attention to the proviso which the noble Earl has mentioned. While hardly satisfied that the final appeal should still rest with the Minister, we are must grateful for this proviso, more particularly because it establishes a precedent in a very important matter. Time and again this particular point has been debated in this House. In Bill after Bill it has been sought to diminish the authority of the Minister, which succeeding Bills have always attempted to increase; and not only is this a most valuable proviso for this Bill but, more particularly, it will create a precedent of even greater value still. I welcome the new clause with the proviso attached.
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.