HL Deb 01 August 1935 vol 98 cc1037-40

Clause 8, page 8, line 16. The Commons have re-inserted subsection (1) of Clause 8 (which was formally omitted by the Lords, on Third Reading, as a Privilege Amendment) in the following form:

Compensation for injurious affection under Sections 1 and 2.

(".—(1) Subject to the provisions of this section, if any person having any estate or interest in land which includes any piece of land subject to restrictions in force under Section one or Section two of this Act proves that his estate or interest is injuriously affected by the restrictions, he shall be entitled to recover from the highway authority compensation for the injury to that estate or interest; and any question whether compensation is payable under this section or as to the amount of any compensation so payable shall, in default of agreement, be determined by an official arbitrator under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1019:

Provided that, without prejudice to the power of a highway authority to agree with any claimant as to the payment of compensation, no claim for compensation under this section in respect of injurious affection to any estate or interest shall be entertained by an arbitrator—

  1. (a) unless the claimant satisfies the arbitrator—
    1. (i) that proposals for the development of that land which at the date of the claim to compensation are immediately practicable, or would have been so if this Act had not been passed, are prevented or injuriously affected by the restrictions; and
    2. (ii) that there is a demand for such development;
  2. (b) if within two months after the claim to compensation has been delivered to the highway authority, notice is served on the claimant that proceedings are being taken under this or any other Act for an order authorising the compulsory purchase of the piece of land and notice to treat with respect thereto is, within twelve months after the claim, served by the highway authority in pursuance of such an order, so however that in any case in which notice that such proceedings as aforesaid are being taken is served, the claimant shall be entitled to be repaid by the highway authority the amount of any expense which he may have properly incurred in connection with the preparation and submission of his claim for compensation under this section, and any question as to whether such expense has been properly incurred or as to the amount thereof shall, in default of agreement, be determined by an official arbitrator under the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919.")


My Lords, owing to the question of Privilege it was necessary in another place formally to move into the Bill the words contained in this Amendment. The first subsection differs slightly from the original wording in the Bill itself. There have been incorporated a number of Amendments which appeared on the Order Paper in the names of honourable members in another place. The principle which is followed is, firstly, that there shall be fair compensation for injurious affection arising out of the restrictions under Clauses 1 and 2; and, secondly, that that compensation shall only become payable when the claimant feels the hurt of the restrictions. Those principles were not seriously challenged in any quarter; but doubts were expressed in your Lordships' House whether the conditions we are imposing, as to the time when the claim may be made, did not incidentally involve unfair conditions as to the area to be included in the claim. It was represented, and rightly represented, that the restrictions under either Clause 1 or Clause 2, on the frontage strip of an estate might injuriously affect also the hinterland; and it was suggested that we had shut out all compensation relating to the hinterland.

That was never the intention, and we did not think it was the effect of the Bill. But to minimise the risk that it might be necessary later to ask the Courts to interpret the clause, the Government inserted at Report stage in your Lordships' House a proviso to subsection (4) of this clause, that the arbitrator, in assessing the compensation for restrictions on a piece of land, was not to look at that piece in isolation, but to have regard to its value as a means of access to other lands. After further discussion a better solution was found, and is now incorporated in the clause, which brings in the owner as owner of a whole property, not merely of the particular piece which the restrictions prevent him from developing as he would, and requires the arbitrator to consider, not merely the piece on which the development is being prevented but the whole property. He is to calculate, firstly, the value of the property if there were no restrictions on the piece, and, secondly, the value of the property when the piece is restricted; and he is to base his award on the difference between the two.

Moved, That this House doth agree with the Commons in the said Amendment.—(The Earl of Plymouth.)


My Lords, this Clause 8 is the executive clause of the Bill, and is really far the most important clause in it. Your Lordships may remember that during the Committee stage in this House great efforts were made to induce the Government to widen the basis of compensation for a particular purpose. The fear was felt by myself and many others that the compensation basis, as restricted, could only have one effect, and that was to clash so seriously with the major interest of cheap housing as either to render this Bill non-effective or to hold up completely the housing of the people. There was never any intention on our part to endeavour to obtain for the owner of the land anything in the nature of excessive compensation. Our anxiety was of an entirely different kind. I remember quite well elaborating the difficulty of equipping backland with service roads, and dealing with the matter at a length that it is now quite unnecessary to repeat. The Government did their best to meet us in Committee here, but, as my noble friend has explained, yet better words have been found for dealing with this most difficult matter in another place.

I should like here and now to express the gratitude which the landowning interests feel to the Minister of Transport for the understanding he has shown of this particular matter. It took a long time to explain our point of view but, it having eventually been explained to the satisfaction of the powers that be, the Minister was the first to meet the objection, and proposed the words which are now used in the clause. The clause as it stands may be accepted by the landowning community as not only fair to themselves, but as much less likely to hold up the cheap housing of the people than the clause as originally drafted. For these reasons I welcome the new clause.

On Question, Motion agreed to.