HL Deb 18 May 1939 vol 112 cc1124-8

Order of the day for the Third Reading read.

4.32 p.m.


My Lords, I beg to move that this Bill he read a third time.

Moved, That the Bill be now read 3a.—(Earl De La Warr.)


My Lords, I should be very much obliged to my noble friend if he would give a definite answer to a question which I raised with him in private conversation before the Committee stage. I drew his attention to Clause 7 (Application of Act to Scotland). The noble Earl now says he gave me an answer on the Committee stage. If that is so, I am sorry to have troubled your Lordships, but I was not in the House during the whole of the Committee stage, and I am afraid I have not had time to read the OFFICIAL REPORT.

On Question, Bill read 3a.

Clause 3:

Exemption from building restrictions.

(2) No provision contained in a scheme made under the Town. Planning Act, 1925, or the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, or any enactment repealed by either of those Acts, shall apply to any land acquired, or appropriated, with the approval of the Minister by a recognised company for the purposes of their functions in connection with the construction, maintenance and management of camps, except in so far as the Minister may at any time direct:

Provided that this subsection shall cease to have effect when such land ceases to be used for such purposes.

(3) A recognised company who submit any plans and specifications to the Minister for his approval under subsection (1) of this section shall transmit copies thereof to the council of the county and of the borough or urban or rural district, and to the planning authority, if any, for the area, in which the site of the proposed buildings, elections or excavations is situate, and the Minister, before giving his approval, shall take into consideration any representations which may be made to him by that council or authority within fourteen days after the receipt by them of the copies of the plans and specifications.

In this subsection the expression "planning authority" in relation to any land subject to such a scheme as is mentioned in the last preceding subsection, or to a resolution to prepare or adopt such a scheme, means the authority having power to control the development or interim development of that land.

EARL DE LA WARR moved, in subsection (2), after "Provided that," to insert:

  1. "(a) before giving his approval under this subsection, the Minister shall notify the planning authority, if any, for the area in which the land is situate, of the application for his approval and take into consideration any representations which may be made to him by that authority within fourteen days after the receipt by them o:: such notification; and
  2. (b)"
The noble Earl said: My Lords, I beg to move the Amendment which stands in my name, and at the same time to thank the noble Lord, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, for the help that he has given us in coming to an agreement on this point.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line so, after ("that") insert the said paragraph.—(Earl De La Warr.)


My Lords, I should like to congratulate the noble Earl on his conversion to a point of view which he differed from with such vigour on two previous stages of the Bill, and to thank him for the assistance which he has given in arriving at this arrangement. I should only like to add that the formula which has been found will provide machinery which will be suitable not only for this experiment but for future wider experiments. I do not want to be held down to that view in future, but I think, subject to further consideration, that it will be found that it is an admirable piece of machinery, and I am much obliged to the noble Earl for having moved the Amendment.


My Lords, while this Amendment seems to satisfy, and no doubt does satisfy, the question which was raised by the noble Lord, Lord Balfour, the other day, it provides no answer whatever to the question which I raised, which is, What about the National Trust? As I pointed out then, and do not hesitate to point out again, the National Trust owns many thousands of acres throughout the Kingdom, which have been purchased by the Trust, or have been given to the Trust, to be held by the Trust for all time for the benefit of all the inhabitants of the United Kingdom. Under this Bill the National Trust is liable at any moment to lose some portion of this property and see it converted into camps. It must be remembered that this property was obtained by the National Trust, or given to the National Trust, only because it was of special natural beauty or historic interest, and it would be a great pity if some of these camps were established at places of natural beauty or historic interest. I think the rights of the general public should be safeguarded.

There is no opportunity even for the Executive Council of the National Trust to make any protest, as I understand it. The least the noble Earl could have done would have been to say that the words "planning authority" should include the Executive Council of the National Trust. I do not know that that would be very good drafting, but possibly another subsection might have been added to say that before any property which is national property in the hands of the National Trust is required for camps, an opportunity should be given to those who are responsible for managing the affairs of that Trust to place any such objections as they think desirable before the proper authority. As it is now, they stand in danger of seeing land which has been given to them to hold in trust for ever being taken away, and having camps, however desirable the camps may be, placed upon it, thereby nullifying altogether the objects for which this land was acquired. The noble Earl in charge of the Bill did not, unfortunately, make any reply to the objections which I raised two days ago. It is not too late for him now to make a reply, and I should be glad if, in order to salve my conscience, he would give me some reasons, bad or good—I would prefer that they were good, but I would like to have some reasons—why the National Trust should be excluded from this Amendment.


My Lords, I do not know whether it is in order to discuss this subject on the Amendment, but I did try to deal with a portion of that question on the Committee stage, when I referred your Lordships to page 7 of the Bill, Clause 7, paragraph (c). There is there a provision dealing specifically with land, which I take to be of this character, in Scotland. It is a point that another noble Lord raised with me, asking why that paragraph did not apply to England and Wales also, and I pointed out that in Clause 2 (2) is included the same provision as is laid down for Scotland. I think that deals with the point raised by the noble Viscount.


My Lords, I can only speak again by leave of the House. But I would like to suggest that the land owned by the National Trust must contain many tracts which are eminently suitable for camps under proper safeguards, and that the provision of camps in those places, under proper safeguards, would enable many thousands of people to have access to National Trust property who otherwise would not be able to have access to it.


I think the noble Viscount's point is that the land should not be used for that purpose, but should only be used with the consent of the National Trust, and I hope on that point I have been able to satisfy the noble Viscount.

On Question, Amendment agreed to.


My Lords, the next Amendment, in subsection(3), is consequential, and I beg to move.

Amendment moved— Page 4, line 23, leave out ("subsection") and insert ("section").—(Earl De La Warr.)

On Question, Amendment agreed to.

Bill passed, and returned to the Commons.