§ Order of the Day for the House to be put into Committee read.8
§ Moved, That the House do now resolve itself into Committee.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Motion agreed to.
§ House in Committee accordingly:
§ [The EARL OF ONSLOW in the Chair.]
§ Clause 1 agreed to.
§ Clause 2:
§ Refusal and postponement of interim development applications.
§ 2.—(1) The proviso to subsection (3) of Section ten of the principal Act (which requires that applications for permission to develop land made under an interim development order must in certain cases be granted or granted unconditionally) shall cease to have effect.
§ (3) So much of subsection (3) of Section ten of the principal Act as provides that any application for permission to develop land made under an interim development order shall be deemed to be granted unless it is refused within the period specified in that subsection shall cease to have effect, and any such application shall be deemed to be refused at the expiration of two months from the date of the receipt thereof unless within that period—
- (a) notice has been given to the applicant that the application has been determined by that authority or has been referred to the Minister for decision in accordance with the subsequent provisions of this Act; or
- (b) the consideration of the application has been postponed by a notice of postponement under the last foregoing subsection;
§ Provided that—
- (i) any such period of two months may, at any time before the expiration thereof, be extended by agreement in writing made between the interim development authority and the applicant;
- (ii) where a notice of postponement served with respect to any application is cancelled by an order made by the Minister or by a court of summary jurisdiction under this section, this subsection shall have effect in relation to the application as if for the reference therein to the date of the receipt of the application there were substituted a reference to the date of the order.
§ LORD HEMINGFORD moved, at the end of subsection (1), to insert:
- (a) where an application made to an interim development authority for permission to develop land is refused, or is granted on conditions, and but for this subsection such
9 permission could not have been refused or such conditions could not have been imposed, the applicant shall, if he makes a claim within twelve months after the date on which his application has been refused or is deemed to have been refused, be en titled to recover as compensation from the interim development authority the amount by which his property is decreased in value by the refusal or the imposition of the conditions and in the case of property on which he has carried on a trade, business or profession the amount of any resulting injury to that trade, business or profession;
- (b) in construing the provisions of this proviso for the purposes of this section, a building which was standing at the outbreak of the present war against Germany shall be deemed to be an existing building and the date of the passing of this Act shall be deemed to be the date of the resolution to prepare or adopt the scheme"
§ The noble Lord said: I rise to move the Amendment to this clause which stands in my name, and I will try my best to put the point very shortly. The object of the Amendment is to ensure that where an owner is refused permission to rebuild—as in the case for instance where a house has been destroyed by a bomb—or permission is only given subject to conditions, the owner should then have an immediate right to compensation. The whole principle of this Bill, as I understand it, is to give a fair compensation to those who suffer through war damage in the national interest. But the difficulty which I want to try and get the Government to meet here is the difficulty arising through payment being delayed to a time which, for all practical purposes, destroys the value of it to the claimant for the compensation. The Government answer, as I understand —the question was discussed at consider able length in another place on a somewhat similar Amendment—is that until the final scheme of development is settled the compensation cannot be satisfactorily assessed. That may be so, but that is looking at it purely from the Government point of view. I ask the Committee to look at it from the point of view of a claimant who, I will suppose for the sake of argument, is a small shopkeeper, carrying on business in a shop on this particular site, which is his sole living, and possibly a very good living, and whose home is in the upper part of the same building. That building is destroyed. By reason of what is thought to be intended, it is not proposed to allow that site to be used for such a purpose when the planning scheme is in 10 operation, and therefore his application for immediate compensation is refused, and he does not receive it.
§ It may well be twenty years or more before the time comes when such compensation as he is entitled to under the Bill as it now stands can be given. The State may live for ever, but the ordinary individual does not; and the man I have in mind, whose premises have been destroyed, may have only twenty years to live, and the whole of those twenty years may pass before his compensation can be satisfactorily decided on. It is a little hard on him that he should be debarred for the remainder of his life from rebuilding his premises, simply because of what are thought to be the lines that the planning scheme may follow. I can quite under stand that the Government, from their point of view, may say that it is impossible to give the man immediate compensation because the amount of the compensation cannot be assessed. That may be an unanswerable proposition from a one sided point of view, but it would be difficult to persuade the suffering subject that it was unanswerable. If it is admitted that until something is settled he is going to suffer, surely he is entitled to some compensation. It is not for the Committee but rather for the Government to say how that should be dealt with. If the result is going to be that he gets compensation in excess of what he would receive when the time comes when it can be satisfactorily assessed, so much the better for him; but unless he gets some compensation, justice is not done to him. His case under the Bill as it stands at present is a hard one, and is really quite contrary to all the principles of compensation under this Bill.
§ I should like to add this. This is, of course, only an interim Bill. It must be followed by another Bill or Bills, and this point is almost certain to come up later if it is not dealt with in this Bill. It is a difficult and thorny question, but I venture to think that the Government ought to deal with it and to take some steps at once on this Bill to see that some provision is made to assist the unfortunate land owner for whom I have been speaking. It is true that the Government have power, under Section 10 (4) of the Act of 1932, to give immediate compensation in the kind of case to which I have referred, but the subject has no right to it; it is only a power which the Government have. If the Gov- 11 ernment cannot see their way to accept the Amendment which I have proposed, or something rather like it, and if they are not prepared to do their best to devise some better Amendment to the same effect, we should at least be given an assurance as to the way in which Section 10 (4) of the Act of 1932 will be used and acted upon in a case such as that which I have described. I beg to move.
Page 2, line 8, at end insert the said proviso. —(Lord Hemingford.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My noble friend has put before the Committee, with his usual moderation and persuasiveness, the point which he wishes to urge. I think, however, that he used expressions which show very clearly that he realizes fully the difficulty of giving effect to his suggestion. He spoke of the principles of compensation under town planning legislation, and I will call attention to them; but it is not the case that the proposal which my noble friend makes is in accordance with those principles. Indeed, if we were to adopt his proposal we would, as I hope to show in two or three sentences, completely contradict the principle which is in fact applied. My noble friend wishes to secure that in the case where the owner of ground desires to rebuild premises in substitution for those which were previously there, and which may have been destroyed by bombing, if he does not get permission so to do without any conditions he should then and there be entitled to compensation.
That is not the principle of compensation in town planning at all, for a very practical reason which I will point out. The principle of compensation under town planning is that when the planning scheme is approved, and it is possible to see the effect upon various private rights, compensation shall be paid. If your Lordships are interested in the subject, and will turn to Section 18 of the principal Act, I can remind you of what is provided on this point. Let me read you a few words. The Act provides that any person—whose property is injuriously affected by the coming into operation of any provision contained in a scheme, or by the execution of any work under a scheme … or who suffers damage by reason of any action taken by a responsible authority12 under another section of the Act, is en titled to compensation. It is also pro vided that—… in the case of property on which be has carried on a trade or business or profession, the amount of any resulting injury to that trade or business or profession, or the amount of his damage, or, so far as it was reasonably incurred, the amount of the abortive expenditureshall be included.
The Committee will see, therefore, that the compensation is assessed and paid when the scheme is adopted. As a practical matter, it cannot be assessed at the earlier date which my noble friend suggests. The fact that permission is not given to re-erect a particular building does not in itself furnish you with any materials for knowing what would be the compensation that is due to the individual. It may be that when the scheme is made it will appear that after all he can rebuild, and in that event the utmost that he has suffered is a certain postponement of use. It may be that the scheme when adopted will positively benefit his property, giving it an additional security of prospect, or whatever it may be. That again you cannot know until the scheme is worked out and established. It follows necessarily, therefore, that you cannot compensate an owner of land because, with a view to a sub sequent scheme, he is refused permission to rebuild his premises, as you have no means of knowing how to arrive at the compensation which he should get. It is when you find that the scheme does in fact do him an injury that you can measure the compensation and pay him accordingly. And as I think my noble friend mentioned, with his usual fairness, you can even include in that compensation anything which is due to him in addition owing to the fact that he has been held up by a refusal to build in the meantime. Those who have studied this thing know no other way in which it can be done, and that is the way in which the principal Act, the Act of 1932, does it.
What is it that my noble friend is pro posing? He is not proposing to alter that system generally. He recognizes, I am sure, that as a practical matter you cannot assess the amount of damage that people have suffered at the earlier stage. It must depend on knowing what the scheme is. But he says there is one 13 special case in which he wishes to suggest that there should be (if such a thing is conceivable) earlier compensation, and that is the case in which the clause he is seeking to amend would apply—namely, the case where for the first time we propose to claim a right to withhold authority for rebuilding, even though the ground was previously occupied by a building. Now consider whether or not that pro vision in itself is not really one of the most meritorious provisions in the Bill. The air raids on London have created large spaces—around St. Paul's for ex ample. If we consider the public interest, and the ultimate public purpose of planning, can it be doubted that the owners of that land ought not to be entitled, merely because they had buildings on it before, to say "Very well, I have a right to erect my building here and now, and I snap my fingers at any scheme you may choose to make for the City of London"? Surely it is right to put the public interest first, and therefore we are providing in this clause that he no longer has a right to rebuild merely because he had a building there before.
§ LORD HEMINGFORD
That point I have fully admitted, but it does not answer the case of a man suffering from a scheme which has been completed and approved to a certain extent, under which he cannot rebuild his premises. It is the man's loss and not the public interest which is here involved, and it is a case of compensation to him, not a question of giving him the right to enforce the power to rebuild.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My noble friend, I am afraid, may not have quite appreciated what I was about to say. I was going to say in my very next sentence that my noble friend recognizes the validity of that. He is not seeking to upset that; he says it is quite right to prevent people from rebuilding on bare ground, even though it has been made bare ground by the action of the enemy. But, he says, you must at the same time compensate the owner of the ground as soon as he is refused permission to rebuild. I am afraid you cannot do that because there is no way in which you can ascertain how that compensation should be measured or what it would be. It may very well be that some people whose ground has been bared by air attack will find a little later on 14 that, instead of having suffered from a future planning scheme, they have gained by it—gained by it quite considerably because there will be adjoining properties which will be kept free from building and they will be able to build with a splendid frontage or an open view. It is therefore, as a practical matter, not easy to see how you can make a scheme of compensation for this particular case because, as my noble friend has very clearly shown, he is not proposing any such plan in general.
For these reasons I am sorry that I cannot recommend the Committee to accept my noble friend's Amendment, but I should like to say this—which indeed was, I think, running through a good deal of what my noble friend said. I believe it is very generally recognized that the compensation provisions of the Town and Country Planning Act are not satisfactory, and they do require a general review. If anyone has any suggestions to make on the particular point which my noble friend has raised, I am sure the Minister and those who act with him will be very glad, but surely it would be quite improper and very undesirable, pending a better scheme of compensation which applies to all proper cases, to alter the general system in respect of this one particular case, which has no special feature, except that there was a building on the site before and there is no building on the site now. I hope therefore that my noble friend will recognize that it is not out of obstinacy, but it is because there really is no other course, that we are unable to accept the proposal to provide a man with compensation in this case as soon as he applies to rebuild and is told that he cannot build, because we do not know—and I am sure nobody knows—how such compensation can be measured. It may be, as he says, that there are cases in which under Clause 4 assistance might be given. I am not in a position to give a special declaration as to the principles on which that should be done, but we all of us desire this legislation to work in a reasonable way and with proper regard for private rights, though, at the same time, it cannot be worked unless we put the public interest foremost.
For these reasons I would ask my noble friend to withdraw his Amendment. I have called the special attention of the Department to its terms. I have discussed with those of the Department whom I 15 have seen this difficult subject of compensation, and I share the view that there is a great deal to be done before this whole subject is made satisfactory; but we cannot proceed piecemeal by picking out this particular instance and, in conflict with the general provisions of the main Act, provide for a special case on principles which I feel it is impossible to work out.
§ LORD HEMINGFORD
I do not see that there is likely to be any object in wasting your Lordships' time in discussing this matter further after the Lord Chancellor has taken up the position he has done, but at the same time, in asking your Lordships' leave to withdraw my Amendment, I must say that I do not regard the reply as being entirely convincing. With regard to the difficulty which seems to be the main one he alleges, it is that the proper compensation cannot be calculated until the scheme is settled. I give him this one case as an example in which it can be settled, and that is the case of the small shopkeeper where it is quite possible to assess his loss yearly by the amount he loses through the dispersal of his business and the loss of his good will. I can only again repeat that I sincerely hope that the Government will give this matter very careful attention. I am sure they will after what the noble and learned Viscount has said; but I would ask particularly that they should try to see if they cannot, on the basis of what the man is losing in the meantime, try to compensate such a person as the small shopkeeper. I beg leave to withdraw.
§ VISCOUNT MAUGHAM
Will your Lordships permit me, having regard to what the Lord Chancellor has said with reference to his desire to reconsider these questions as to compensation, to refer to a particular point which I should like him to consider, because I am not sure that the object of the Government in the matter is completely carried out by the terms of the Bill. My difficulty is this. It has been suggested on behalf of the Government that the provisions of Section 10 (4) of the Act of 1932, regarding compensation in respect of any loss or injury suffered by an applicant, would enable a case where there was real damage sustained to be met if the authority thought fit by the payment of compensation ex gratia. That is under the principal Act, the Town and Country Planning Act of 1932. I should 16 like the Lord chancellor and his advisers to consider whether the terms of Section 10 (4) of that Act really carry out the object which they suggest would be carried out by the provision in question:In any case where an application under the last preceding subsection is refused or is granted subject to conditions, the authority may, if they think fit, make a contribution, the payment of which shall not be unreason ably delayed, towards any damage or expense, …and so on. My doubt is this, and this is what I should like to know has been carefully considered by the Government— namely, whether that applies at all to a case where there may be, not a refusal of an interim development order, but a constantly renewed desire to postpone its consideration.
The system of dealing with these requests will be entirely altered by the terms of this Bill. Everything in it appears to be changed. Under Clause 2, which we are considering, there is a possibility that the interim development authority, under subsection (2), may postpone the consideration of any development application, either generally or during such period as may be specified in' the notice. What I am afraid of is this, that in a great lumber of cases the authority will quite properly say, "We cannot deal with the matter now because it forms part of a larger consideration which is before the Government, and all sorts of things may be done with regard to planning on a national scale". Suppose the consideration is postponed; and it may be postponed again and again by the words on page 3, lines 5 to 9, and it may go on being postponed for years. Yet there may be no refusal which would, under Section 10 (4) of the principal Act, give the right to apply for compensation. I confess that I think if a man finds his land is, so to speak, frozen so that he cannot use it for a large number of years, it is right that he should have some compensation for that limitation on his right to use his property.
I quite agree with my noble friend Lord Hemingford that the Government of the country, under these Bills, ought to have the power to do what they like with that land, and if necessary to freeze it for ten years, but at the same time I cannot agree that the owner should be left without compensation in such an event. I cannot myself see that he has such right under 17 the original Act as altered by the present Bill, and, at any rate, I cannot see that there is any power under such a pro vision as Section 10 (4) of the original Act to give any compensation if the authority thinks he ought to have such compensation. I am only asking the noble and learned Viscount, bearing in mind what he has already said in refusing to consent to the Amendment moved by Lord Hemingford, to consider that aspect of the case, and see whether there are not a large number of people who may be within the grievance which I have suggested, and whether the Bill before your Lordships deals with that grievance at all.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
In reply to the important criticism which has just been made by my noble and learned friend, it is not very easy to find one's way about this legislation, and therefore I walk a little delicately. My noble and learned friend has probably not given weight to a phrase on page 2 of the present Bill, in lines 13 to 15, which limits the right of the interim development authority to postpone. The interim development authority may serve a notice of postponement, either generally or during such period as may be specified in the notice, "unless the applicant shows to their satisfaction that the proposed development would be carried cut immediately if the application was granted." My understanding of the legislation is that, although there is this right to postpone, that is not a right that can be used vis-à-vis an applicant who says: "Here am I, ready to build and I now want your leave." In these circumstances, as I under stand it, although I am not sure that I am right, the interim development authority is not at liberty to say "Post pone." The only cases where they can postpone is where the application is of a more general kind, and where it may be in the interests of everybody that there should be more mature consideration. That is my belief. I agree with my noble and learned friend, assuming the case is one that is legitimately postponed, I do not myself think that the words to which he first referred, providing for the possibility of compensation, would apply. If I may, I shall take what he has said into further consideration and will consult the Department, but I think that what I have said is the explanation of the language of the Bill.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The next three Amendments in my name are really drafting Amendments. I shall offer an explanation of them if it is desired, but your Lordships would probably prefer that we should make these Amendments without speeches as there are one or two important matters coming later.
§ Amendments moved—
§ Page 3, line 7, leave out from ("within") to ("notice") and insert ("those two months")
§ Page 3, line 17, leave out ("by") and insert ("in proceedings instituted before")
§ Page 3, line 21, at end insert ("of the Minister, or, as the case may be, to the date of the final determination of the proceedings").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendments agreed to.
VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE moved to insert at the end of subsection (3):
(iii) the interim development authority shall, in any case in which no such notice as is referred to in paragraph (a) of this subsection and no notice of postponement under the last foregoing subsection shall have been given, within one month after receiving a request in writing from the applicant (made at any time after the expiration of two months from the date of the receipt of the application) state the reasons for the refusal of his application.
§ The noble Viscount said: The Amendment standing in my name has been put on the Paper at the request of the Central Landowners' Association which, as your Lordships know, is a body composed entirely of agricultural landowners. I may say that their attitude to this Bill is one of entire sympathy. All that they desire is to see that it works smoothly and with mutual confidence on the part of the interim development authority and beneficent and far-sighted public-spirited landowners in their area. The noble and learned Viscount just now very truly said it is not easy to find one's way about this Bill. It would be difficult to imagine a Bill of more complicated phraseology; it is a Bill of a very aggravated type of legislation by reference. I only hope that in the few words I have to say in explanation of my Amendment I may at any rate make the position 19 clear. Under Section 10, subsection (3), of the principal Act, the Act of 1932, a development authority is deemed to have granted an application unless within two months of its receipt they give notice to the would-be developer that they have not done so, at the same time stating their reasons for the rejection of the application. The process under this Bill, as my noble and learned friend Lord Maugham indicated just now, is the exact reverse. An application is deemed under this clause to be refused unless within two months some action is taken by the interim development authority as indicated in paragraph (a) or paragraph (6) of subsection (3) of Clause 2. That again, put shortly, is either what is called determination of the application, reference to the Minister, or postponement.
§ In the result the applicant will be left entirely in the air. After making his application and getting no response from the authorities to it, his application is impliedly refused without any indication whatever of the reasons for such refusal. I will only say in passing that that would not appear on the face of it to oil the wheels of desirable development. After all, in the past, as everyone must admit, there have been many quite enlightened landowners, particularly what I may call the typical old-fashioned country squires who have been only too anxious to see desirable development take place on their estates or in the neighbourhood of their estates, and they have worked in thorough harmony with any far-sighted and intelligent local authority. But if such persons in the future are going to put up schemes of desirable development involving the future user in the public interest of part of their properties, and if on an application being made to the development authority they get no reply and as a result under the Bill it will be assumed that their application has been refused without any reasons being given for such refusal, I may say in passing that that does not seem to spell equity, and it certainly does not seem to conduce to harmonious co operation between a local landowner and the development authority. His only way, apparently, of discovering ultimately the reasons for the implied rejection of his application is by lodging an appeal to the Minister under subsection (4) of this clause. I do not know that I can say anything 20 else in support of my Amendment because it seems on the face of it so desirable from the point of view not only of equity to the individual but of advantage to the local public. If any precedent requires to be cited I would refer to the provision in the Restriction of Ribbon Development Act, 1935, which compels the Minister when deciding an appeal against a refusal of consent under Section 1 or Section 2 of that Act to state his reasons for the decision, and that provision has been found very useful in practice where exactly the same principle is involved. I beg to move.
Page 3, after line 21, insert the said new subsection.—(Viscount Bledisloe.)
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
My noble friend has very accurately, if I may say so, stated the law as it stands at present and he is quite right in saying that this Bill now before the Committee makes an important change, but in order to see the difficulty in adopting his proposal I think I must shortly go over the ground which he himself has explored. Broadly speaking, this is a Bill which transfers to a central authority, to the Minister, the effective discharge of responsibilities which under the previous measure resided to a much larger extent with the local authorities. It is the carrying out of the conception of a central planning authority. As the law stands at present this is the position. The landowner applies to the local authority for consent to develop land which is under restriction in consequence of a resolution which covers the area. In some cases great numbers of such applications are made and to deal with them all thoroughly and carefully is a serious undertaking. The landowner makes application to the local authority and unless the local authority gives assent (which in some cases of course it will do and the whole matter proceeds smoothly without any further trouble) within two months after the application was made then silence gives consent. That is the existing law. A refusal by the local authority within the two months is not in itself enough to bar the action proposed for the land owner for, as my noble friend has reminded us, the local authority must give the reasons why it refuses.
I do not think that anyone well acquainted with this subject matter thinks that the existing system works 21 Well, and of course my noble friend is not seeking to reverse the provision of the Bill which alters it, not at all. I think he probably will agree it is well to make a change. In particular it does not work well under present conditions, where you have an overworked authority which has lost, it may be, most of its expert staff and has got, it may be, great numbers of these applications put before it, and the two months may go by either intentionally or sometimes almost by accident without the local authority having pronounced its conclusion. You may also have remiss local authorities, though I am far from suggesting that that would be so in the case of the authorities with which my noble friend is familiar. The result is that you may get this two months' silence which gives consent and thereupon there is the erection of a wholly undesirable building which is an eyesore and a reproach to all our best ideas and may in the end have to be pulled down again because it is contrary to a scheme. That is one reason.
There is a second reason of very considerable importance which I think my noble friend will agree does affect a good many people. In very many cases the landowners, if they are going to build on their land, want to get financial assistance from the bank or from some institution that will lend. Of course the willingness of the bank or the other institution to lend will a good deal depend on whether there is to be a building erected on the site because that will be the security for the mortgage. Therefore the lender will say: "Have you got the leave of the local authority?" In many cases the answer will be "No, I cannot say we have the leave but the two months have gone by and therefore the law gives the leave." It has been found in practice that in many cases this is a very serious obstacle in the way of an individual builder because the banker naturally says: "Show me a piece of paper which says you may build and then I will lend on the opportunity." For that and other reasons the general scheme is changed and the real responsibility rests with the Minister. My noble friend says, "Yes, but if the local authority to whom I first apply is going to refuse me, surely it ought to give the reasons." Where are the sanctions for it? What is the penalty if the local authority does not? All that happens is that if the 22 local authority does not do anything for two months then it follows, and must follow, that the Minister becomes the person responsible because the matter is transferred to the Minister.
If my noble friend thinks it out I think he will see that this is one of those cases in which you cannot apply sanctions unless you go back to the old system and say the local authority must give reasons, whereas the whole essence of the new plan is that the local authority may have a preliminary survey and in some cases may see no objection and give authority. But in cases where a man wishes to go on he appeals to the Minister. We may be quite certain that where a local authority really has examined the case and really has good reasons for objection it will be likely to offer the reasons, because it does not suit the local authority or anyone else to have unnecessary trouble. If, on the other hand, the thing gets to the Minister, the Minister himself certainly will be concerned without loss of time to consider the matter, to hear what it is the applicant has to say, and not only to decide but to give reasons why. There is no advantage otherwise in a system of silence at all.
Those who have framed this provision believe that this arrangement is really not going to cause the inconvenience and difficulty which my noble friend Viscount Bledisloe and others who have spoken fear. They feel quite confident that the powers of the Minister as the Bill stands really will be such as to secure information being promptly given in all proper cases. The Minister—I am authorized to say this—will take the necessary steps to instruct local authorities to give their reasons for refusing in every case where they have considered the matter and have decided that they should refuse. If, of course, they have not decided the matter, it would be idle to ask them for reasons because they have no reasons. The powers conferred in the Bill are quite sufficient to ensure compliance with the instructions to local authorities. As regards the case where an application is refused by default the procedure of appeal to the Minister is such that the applicant will become aware at a very early stage, before he has incurred any considerable expenditure, whether the authority have any observations which might affect his decision.
23 I appreciate that I am meeting my noble friend's very reasonable inquiry partly by offering an assurance, but it is the class of assurance that is very proper because it is an assurance of the intention of the Minister when exercising his powers. There is no desire to deny to any owner of land information which he naturally would wish to have, but I do not think there is any means by which we can force a local authority within two months to give reasons when all that the local authority has to do is to lie low and say nothing whereupon automatically the matter will go to the Minister. That is the reason why the Bill is drawn as it is and I really do not see how you can introduce my noble friend's proposal because I do not know how you would get any sanction for it and obviously the whole position is determined by the local authority giving no decision at all.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I do not pretend to be entirely convinced by the speech of my noble and learned friend. Personally I should like to see something specific put into the Bill because I think it would oil the wheels of desirable development. My noble and learned friend gives an assurance, which is good so far as it goes, that the Minister will give instructions to local authorities to offer reasons to anyone who in the absence of any affirmative acceptance will have had impliedly his application refused, but one cannot have lived the life of a country squire for some thirty or forty years without appreciating how the machine works and how it can best work smoothly. I would venture to suggest that the simplest procedure would be for some reason to be given for the refusal of such an application. The intending developer would then be able to proceed to prepare some other development proposal and you would get an acceleration of local development in the public interest. If he has to wait for a matter of two months or more without any reasons being given the whole of the local development scheme may be hung up. I am not convinced, but my noble and learned friend is good enough to say he will consider the argument and that being so I beg leave to withdraw my Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ Clause 2, as amended, agreed to.24
§ Clause 3:
§ Temporary permissions for interim development
§ (4) The period for which any such permission was granted as aforesaid may be extended by the interim development authority on application made at any time before the expiration thereof; and the provisions of subsection (5) of Section ten of the principal Act (which relates to appeals to the Minister) shall apply to any such application as they apply to interim development applications.
§ (5)For the purposes of this Act permission shall be deemed to have been granted for a limited period if it was granted subject to conditions requiring the building or work to be removed, or the use to be discontinued, at some future time; but permission shall not be deemed to have been so granted by reason only of the imposition of conditions requiring any building or work to be begun or completed within a specified period.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (4), after the first "of," to insert "Section six of this Act and of". The noble and learned Viscount said: I think I had better, in a few sentences, state the object of this Amendment although it is of a technical character. The object of this subsection is to enable the period for which temporary permission has been granted to be extended where circumstances have altered since the original grant of permission, and the procedure for obtaining an extension is the same as that for obtaining permission for development—namely, application to the interim development authority with the right of appeal to the Minister.
§ There is, however, one type of case where this procedure might be open to abuse. It is not impossible that in future temporary permission may be granted by the Minister upon an application taken over by him under Clause 6, and it may be that the interim development authority would have been ready to grant permission for a longer period or to grant per-mission subject to no period. Therefore the developer, having obtained from the Minister permission to put up a building to be removed at the expiration of ten years, might apply for an extension and obtain an extension perhaps for thirty or forty years. Such cases are not, of course, likely to be common, but if one did occur there is no method of putting the matter right under the existing legislation or under the Bill. In order to meet that difficulty this Amendment enables the Minister to take charge of applications for extension of time in the same way as, 25 under Clause 6, he can take charge of original applications for permission. I realize that this is not the most amusing speech which has been made in your Lordships' House, but it may be as well that it should be on the records of the House, because there are many people who are deeply interested in the details of this subject.
Page 4, line 27, after the first ("of") insert ("Section six of this Act and of").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, in subsection (5), to leave out all words after "Act" down to and including "time," and insert "where permission for the erection, construction or carrying out of any building or work, or for any use of any building or land, has been granted subject to any condition or agreement for securing the subsequent removal of the building or work, or the subsequent discontinuance of the use, the permission shall be deemed to have been granted for a limited period only."
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: This is an Amendment which is hardly more than drafting. It is designed to bring within the scope of Clause 3 two types of temporary permission not clearly included under the clause as it stands. I think that it is more for the purpose of removing doubts than to make any fundamental change, but if these two additions are made, I do not think there will be any doubt as to the full extent and application of the clause.
Page 4, line 30, leave out from ("Act") to the end of line 34 and insert the said new words.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 3, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 4 [Revocation and modification of permissions for interim development]:
Page 5, line 4, after ("him") insert ("for his consent").—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 4, as amended, agreed to.26
§ Clause 5 [Power to enforce interim development control]:
Page 6, line 7, leave out from ("any") to the end of line 7.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved to add to the clause:
(7) For the purposes of this section and of Section ten of the principal Act, the use of any land for the deposit of waste materials or refuse shall be deemed to constitute development of the land, notwithstanding that it is comprised in a site which is already being used for that purpose, if the effect of the further use is to (extend the superficial area of the deposit.
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: I beg to move this amendment.
Page 7, line 9, at end insert the said new subsection.—(The. Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD HEMINGFORD
I should like the Lord Chancellor to consider a matter which I have already mentioned to him— namely, the question of the use of the words "waste materials or refuse." In ordinary times we know pretty well what is meant by "waste materials," but waste materials at the present time may be of great importance. Take, for example, what we are accustomed to call "waste paper." That is now sometimes extraordinarily valuable. I am somewhat afraid that the use of the phrase which is employed here may be misleading. I should like to hear what the Lord Chancellor has to say on the subject, and whether he would agree to replace the words "waste materials or refuse" by the simple word "materials" or some alteration of that kind, so that there might be no difficulty or doubt arising from the use of the words "waste materials." It might be said that something which had a very definite pecuniary value was not waste material.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
May I make one or two observations upon the suggestions which my noble friend has put forward? He was good enough to write me a note about this matter, and I looked at these words and took advice from the Department. If I had had an opportunity of doing so, I should have been glad to have told him privately what the consideration is which makes us think 27 that the words as I have moved them are better than the suggested change. First of all it should be noted that this phrase "waste materials or refuse" already occurs in the principal Act, and it would be rather unfortunate to use a different phrase in the amending Act, though I do not say that the thing aimed at is exactly the same in the two cases. The phrase "deposit of waste materials or refuse" occurs in Section 53 of the principal Act. The object of the Amendment (and it is a very important object) is to enable interim development authorities to control the extension of existing dumps of refuse or waste. I think that the words as they stand are really the best.
My noble friend, in writing to me, raised the question whether or not the word "materials" might not be better than "waste materials." But of course the more you extend it for one purpose, the more risky it becomes at the other end. The word "materials," I suppose, would even cover dumps of coal in a coal merchant's yard, and we could not extend it to things of that sort. I think that the present words are the best. The other alternative which my noble friend suggested was the word "salvage." That would exclude a great deal which is pure waste and is not salvage. I think we may assume that the phrase already on the Statute Book will be reasonably construed —I hope so. I think, in the circumstances, I would not advise your Lordships to change the wording.
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I cannot help stating that it is a shock to my mind and conscience that your Lordships should be responsible for introducing into this Bill a statement to this effect—I will leave out immaterial words—that the deposit of re-fuse shall be deemed to constitute development of land. It seems to me shocking that we should put that on the Statute Book. I venture to hope that, if not in the Bill, at any rate in the construction and application of the Act when passed, this will not be acted upon if there is any less fertile land or land not suitable for productive purposes that can be utilized for such purposes. The idea that to put refuse upon land is land development, I am bound to say, shocks both my mind and my conscience.
§ VISCOUNT MAUGHAM
I am not sure, but perhaps the objection in the mind of 28 my noble friend Viscount Bledisloe would be removed if after the words "deposit of waste materials or refuse" some such words were added as "in the course of the development of the land under the interim development order." In other words, if it is necessary for developing the land to deposit on part of it what are described as "waste materials and refuse" it would be permissible, but not otherwise.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I think that that does not, perhaps, quite take into account the language which is being used in this legislation. I sympathize very much with Lord Bledisloe when he objects to things being described as "developing" or as "not developing," as they are in this legislation; as I said on a previous occasion, I do not like it when first-class agricultural land, which is being most skilfully cultivated to produce first-class crops, is described as "undeveloped," because there is a sense in which it is being developed very well. I should like to say to my noble and learned friend Lord Maugham, however, that the key to this is Section 10 of the principal Act, which says that there can-not be development without consent. The object of saying that "the deposit of waste materials or refuse shall be deemed to constitute development" is to provide that you shall not increase the deposit of waste materials or refuse on land unless you get consent. It is not that the material or waste comes from building: I should think that most of it is spoil out of mines, and things of that sort.
§ LORD HEMINGFORD
I should like to refer to one very small point with reference to the matter which I raised origin-ally. My suggestion for the use of the word "salvage" was not that it should be used instead of "waste materials or refuse," but that it might be used in addition to them. It is a term which is well understood in these days, and its use would certainly get rid of the difficulty which led me to make my first suggestion. The Lord Chancellor will perhaps consider that between now and the Report stage.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 5, as amended, agreed to.
§ Clause 6 agreed to.29
§ Clause 7:
§ Compensation for abortive expenditure in certain cases.
§ (3) For the purposes of this section any expenditure incurred in the preparation of plans for the purpose of any work, or other-wise in matters preparatory thereto, shall be deemed to be included in the expenditure incurred in carrying out that work.
Page 8, line 21, leave out from ("land") to ("is") in line: 22.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
Page 8, line 36, leave out from ("or") to ("matters") and insert ("upon other similar")—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, at the end of subsection (3), to insert "but except as aforesaid no compensation shall be paid under subsection (2) of this section in respect of any work carried out before the date on which the permission was granted, or in respect of any liability arising under a contract made before that date." The noble and learned Viscount said: Perhaps I had better say a word on this. Its inclusion in the Bill is proposed in view of some comments which were made by important bodies such as the Association of Municipal Corporation. It has been pointed out in another place that it is necessary to make this matter clear. Suppose you have the owner of a built-up site who first clears the site by demolishing all the buildings which are on it and, having cleared the site, he then applies for permission to erect new buildings. Let us suppose that he gets that permission, but that the permission is subsequently revoked under Clause 4 of the Bill. Compensation should certainly be paid in respect of all expenditure incurred after the grant of the permission; that will be what the Bill calls "abortive expenditure." In such a case, however, compensation ought not to be paid in respect of the expenditure incurred in clearing the site before permission was ever applied for. That is the kind of case which it was felt ought to be specially provided for by the Amendment. 30 I can give further details if desired, but I think 1 have said enough to show the nature of the proposal.
Page 8, line 38, at end insert the said new words.—(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clause 7, as amended, agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after Clause 7, to insert the following clause:
§ Interim protection of trees and woodlands.
§ ".—(1) If it appears to any interim development authority that it is expedient, having regard to any provision proposed to be inserted in the scheme in accordance with Section forty-six of the principal Act, to make provision for the preservation of trees or woodlands during the period pending the coming into operation of that provision, they may for that purpose make an order (in this section referred to as an 'interim preservation order') with respect to such trees, groups of trees or woodland areas as may be specified in the order or as may for the time being be designated by the interim development authority in accordance with the order; and, in particular provision may be made by any such order—
- (a) for prohibiting the cutting down, topping, lopping or wilful destruction of trees except with the consent of the interim development authority, and for enabling that authority to give their consent subject to conditions;
- (b) for securing the replanting of any part of a woodland area which is felled in the course of forestry operations permitted by or under the order; and
- (c) for the imposition of pecuniary penalties, recoverable in a court of summary jurisdiction, in respect of contraventions of the order.
§ (2) An interim preservation order shall not take effect unless it is approved by the Minister, and the Minister may approve any such order either without modification or subject to such modifications as he thinks fit, but shall not approve any such order unless it contains provisions satisfactory to him—
- (a) for securing that any person aggrieved by the refusal of any consent required under the order, or by any condition imposed upon the grant of any such consent, is entitled to appeal to the Minister; and
- (b) for enabling the interim development authority, upon the refusal of any consent required under the order, or upon granting any such consent subject to conditions, to make a contribution towards any damage or expense likely to be suffered or incurred by reason of their decision.
(3) Regulations shall be made under Section thirty-seven of the principal Act with respect to the submission and approval of interim preservation orders and the publication of notices thereof, and the Minister, before approving any such order, shall take into account any objections made in accordance with the regulations and not withdrawn:
Provided that where it appears to the Minister that any such order should take effect immediately, he may approve the order provisionally without complying with the requirements of this subsection with respect to the consideration of objections, but any order so approved shall cease to have effect upon the expiration of the period of two months from the date of the approval unless within that period it has been confirmed, with or without modifications, after compliance with those requirements.
(4) The compensation payable under subsection (1) of Section eighteen of the principal Act in respect of injurious affection of property by the coming into operation of any provision included in a scheme in accordance with the said Section forty-six shall include compensation in respect of any additional injurious affection of the property by the coming into operation of an interim preservation order under this section:
Provided that subsection (2) of Section twenty-three of the principal Act (which specifies matters to be taken into account in assessing compensation under that Act) shall have effect as if the reference in paragraph (iii) of that subsection to a contribution made under the provisions of that Act relating to interim development orders included a reference to any contribution paid in accordance with the interim preservation order.
§ (5)Without prejudice to any exemptions for which provision may be made by an interim preservation order, no such order shall, while the Emergency Powers (Defence) Acts, 1939 and 1940, remain in force, prohibit or restrict the carrying out of any operations authorized by any government department in accordance with Regulations made under those Acts.
§ (6)The power to make interim preservation orders under this section shall include power to revoke or vary any such order by a subsequent order."
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: I am proposing after Clause 7 the insertion of a new clause, and I may say, for the information of the Committee, that this is the interesting part of the Bill. It deals with the interim protection of trees and woodlands. Proposals under this head have been discussed at various stages, and the necessity for making some provision will be clear when I remind your Lordships that the clearance of trees, for example, is not development, but the preservation of trees and the protection of woodlands can be dealt with when a planning scheme is in operation under the principal Act, and usually a planning scheme contains model clauses, in any case where there are trees, which secure that the trees will be preserved and the woodlands protected. The intention now is that orders of the same sort may be made under this legislation by an interim development authority.32
For the benefit of those members of the Committee who have not the proposed new clause before them, I will read what is the principal provision:
(1) If it appears to any interim development authority that it is expedient, having regard to any provision proposed to be inserted in the scheme in accordance with Section forty-six of the principal Act, to make provision for the preservation of trees or wood-lands during the period pending the coming into operation of that provision, they may for that purpose make an order (in this Section referred to as an 'interim preservation order') with respect to such trees, groups of trees or woodland areas as may be specified in the order or as may for the time being be designated by the interim development authority in accordance with the order; and, in particular provision may be made by any such order—
§ There is a further provision that an interim preservation order of this kind shall not take effect unless it is approved by the Minister, and he must be satisfied that it contains provisions satisfactory to him
- "(a) for securing that any person aggrieved by the refusal of any consent required under the order, or by any condition imposed upon the grant of any such consent, is entitled to appeal to the Minister; and
- (b) for enabling the interim development authority, upon the refusal of any consent required under the order, or upon granting any such consent subject to conditions, to make a contribution towards any damage or expense likely to be suffered or incurred by reason of their decision."
§ I need not delay the Committee by reading the rest of the proposed new clause, but I hope that the general scheme of what is proposed will be approved and regarded as a valuable addition to the present Bill. I would only add that the Minister, in the exercise of his powers under the clause, will be guided by the advice of the Forestry Commission, and I would also say that the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries and the Forestry Commission have been consulted about the clause, and they agree, subject in the case of the last-named Department to the 33 stipulation that the exercise of powers of control under the Bill shall be reconsidered if effect is given by legislation to the proposals in their recent Report on Post-War Forestry Policy.
After Clause 7, insert the said new clause.— (The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD NATHAN
As the noble and learned Lord Chancellor has said, this is a most attractive proposal, and my noble friends wish highly to commend it. There is one point, however, to which I desire to direct the attention of the Lord Chancellor, so that he may, if he thinks fit, have an opportunity of considering it between now and the Report stage. It is a small point, and does not go to the substance of the clause, but it is not, I think, without its importance. This new clause creates a new offence of a criminal or quasi-criminal character, and it empowers the interim development authority, with the consent, as the clause reads, of the Minister, to impose pecuniary penalties. In general principle, is it considered wise that the definition of penalties in respect of a newly-created criminal or quasi-criminal offence should rest with the interim development authority or with the Minister? Where it is a question of imposing penalties for such an offence, ought they not, at any rate as to their maximum, to be prescribed by Parliament?
THE EARL OF MANSFIELD
The noble and learned Viscount has admitted that this not very large Bill is partly in the nature of a maze. That is largely caused by its being unfortunately one more example of the detestable vice known as legislation by reference. I should like to follow up what the noble Lord, Lord Nathan, has said in regard to the way in which the penalties are to be imposed for these new and somewhat peculiar offences. This new clause, of course, interferes even a little more with the landowner's right to deal as he wishes with his own property, and what I wish to be assured by the noble and learned Viscount is that compensation of an adequate sort may be available and forthcoming in certain cases which may very well arise, the complexity of which will not be readily apparent except to those who are intimately concerned with the management of woodlands.
34 First let us take the question of the cutting down of a wood. This interim authority, rightly or wrongly, decides that a wood should be left standing for amenity reasons. The owner may well have been counting upon cutting that wood and upon the proceeds that he would get from it. Now if he is to be prevented from cutting a wood, and that wood, whether hard wood or conifer, is nearing the ordinary span of life of that particular variety of tree, it may well be that in the course of a few years a great many of those trees will be blown down, injuring themselves and others in their fall and thus reducing their value. Furthermore, such trees will deteriorate rapidly if left where they have fallen, and should it be, as is very likely, that the area in question is some wooded dell or deep ravine, no wood merchant is going to make an offer for trees because it is too expensive to get them out in small numbers. Will compensation in that case to the owner, whose asset may be very largely destroyed, be forthcoming?
Then there is subparagraph (b)—for securing the replanting of any part of a woodland area which is felled in the course of forestry operations permitted by or under the order.Here we have an extension of the principle of interference. We do not stop someone from doing what he likes with his own, but we compel him to do something which it may not be his intention to do at all and which may render him liable to very serious expense. As I have already indicated to your Lordships, many of these attractive wooded dells and similar places are, from a silvicultural point of view, absolutely absurd. They are long, narrow and winding. If then the owner is to be compelled to replant, he is also probably going to be compelled, if the replanting is not to be a farce, to fence the young trees at considerable expense against stock and ground vermin in cases where very often the wood would be left unplanted, or left merely to the mercies of natural regeneration. If therefore an owner can be called upon to replant such a wood, which may only have brought him in a comparatively limited amount and the replanting of which may cost many times that amount, is there any pro-vision whereby such expenditure can be recovered, and if there is not, will the noble and learned Viscount undertake to 35 see that some such provision is made, in fairness to the unfortunate landowner who is thus being interfered with?
§ VISCOUNT BLEDISLOE
I really wonder whether my noble friend who has just spoken has studied sufficiently Section 18 of the principal Act and the extension or modification that is contemplated in the compensation subsection of this Amendment. I should have thought that reasonable safeguards in the matter of compensation were provided for the owner, but it is a matter on which the agricultural landowning community would naturally be somewhat sensitive, and I hope that the noble and learned Viscount will look into the matter before the Third Reading of the Bill. But there is one word in this to my mind otherwise excellent Amendment about which I am very doubtful, and that is the word "wilful." In particular, says the Amendment, provision may be made by any such orderfor prohibiting the cutting down, topping, lopping or willful destruction of trees except with the consent of the interim development authority …I fancy it is going to be extremely difficult for the authority to prove in every case that this cutting down, topping or lopping was wilful. At any rate for my part I do not see any great objection to leaving out that word "wilful" altogether, especially in view of what occurred after the last war, when a quite considerable number of immature wood-lands, at any rate in the West of Eng-land, passed, owing to the indigence of the owners, into the hands of speculators, and those speculators proceeded to clear the whole of the woodland they had purchased, making no doubt a considerable profit upon their purchase without regard to the amenities of the countryside, and without any regard to the attractiveness of that woodland as a feature in the landscape. It seems to me it is going to be an unnecessary burden on the activities of the interim development authority if they have to prove that the injury was wilful
I would like to ask the Lord Chancellor about a small matter. Will the normal procedure be that when a development scheme is being drafted the Forestry Commission will be consulted? And will the owner of the 36 woodland be expected to make any protest of his own motion, and will he be informed by the Forestry Commission or the development authority of their proposals?
§ VISCOUNT MAUGHAM
With reference to what fell from Lord Bledisloe, you have to remember that not all the cutting down of trees is a wrongful act. Anybody who has any property with trees hanging over or close to the high road, knows that he may have to cut down trees to prevent danger to the public. Not all the topping or lopping of trees is against the interests of the public. There may be trees which it is the habit to top or lop, according to the custom of the country. There are willows that are constantly lopped, and it is the same with other trees. I am only interposing these few sentences because I should like the noble and learned Viscount to consider before the next stage whether something should be inserted in sub-paragraph (a) so that we may, at the risk of greater prolixity, be a little bit clearer as to what is really intended. I have no other object in inter-posing with regard to a clause which everybody agrees is in general intention a very wise and prudent provision.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
In answer to my noble friend Lord Mersey I feel confident the working out of this will be that the owner of the woodlands will know what is proposed and will have an opportunity of putting forward his own views. I do not say he will be told by the Forestry Commission. I think the Minister of Town and Country Planning is the authority, but if one reads this right through, one sees that there is an arrangement for objections and consideration of objections. As regards the point of compensation raised by the noble Earl (Lord Mansfield) my impression is that the answer given by my noble friend Lord Bledisloe is correct; but the point is a very important one, and I shall certainly see that it is looked at further before we finally pass the Bill. I am obliged to Lord Maugham for his suggestion. It is a question whether you can, even by further words, get (a) so that it is just as wide as it is now. A particular case may call for one set of provisions, and a different case for different provisions. Therefore you have to take powers in slightly wider terms than you expect them always to be used. I shall look at the matter again if I may.
§ LORD RANKEILLOUR
May I ask whether Clause 10 applies to interim preservation orders? The words in the clause are that interim development orders may be negatived by Parliament. I do not know whether an interim preservation order would be regarded as an interim development order or not.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
I do not like to answer the question straight off. If I may, I shall see that it is looked at. There was a question put across the Table by my noble friend Lord Nathan, about the provision under which the interim development authority would, in effect, prescribe the pecuniary penalty. I have a good deal of sympathy with his point of view. There are, of course, cases where, as he knows, local authorities make by-laws which impose penalties, but it is true that, as a rule, there is a maximum beyond which they cannot go in a particular case. The real reason why this is put in is, perhaps, curious. If you take the principal Act and look at Schedule 2, paragraph 18, you will find that a corresponding provision is made. One of the things there mentioned for carrying out the provisions of the Act and for enforcing schemes is:imposing pecuniary penalties for breach of or failure to comply with schemes, and making provision for the recovery thereof in a court of summary jurisdiction.The draftsman no doubt felt that having avoided being hung for a sheep, he might get away with this lamb. However, I shall look into it.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Clauses 8 to 10 agreed to.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR moved, after Clause 10, to insert the following clause:
§ Special provisions as to London.
§ ". Where an interim development application made to the London County Council is referred to the Minister for decision under the provisions of this Act, and the application is one of which notice is required by subsection (3) of Section fifty of the principal Act to be given to the council of a metropolitan borough, the notice, if not previously given, shall be given on the application being referred to the Minister, and the Minister shall, in dealing with the application take into account any representations made 10 the London County Council by the council of the borough."
§ The noble and learned Viscount said: This is the last of the Amendments I have to ask the Committee to make, and it can be briefly explained. In fact, it 38 speaks for itself. In another place, the Minister promised to give consideration to this point raised on behalf of the London County Council. The point is that under Section 50 (3) of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, the London County Council, as the interim development authority, are required in certain cases specified in the general interim development order to give notice to the metropolitan borough concerned, and take into account any representations made. The Minister on appeal must also take into account any representations so made. This new clause which I am now moving, and which is agreed to by the London County Council and the Standing Joint Committee of the Metropolitan Borough Councils, preserves the right of the metropolitan borough council concerned to make representations if the Minister deals with the application himself under the provisions of Clause 6. I beg to move.
After Clause 10, insert the said new clause. —(The Lord Chancellor.)
§ LORD JESSEL
I should like to thank the Lord Chancellor for the insertion of this clause. I know it has been the subject of a great deal of discussion, and I am sure the bodies concerned will be gratified by the decision of the Government. On the other hand, I am not quite clear about the wording as far as the borough councils are concerned. It only operates if any application is sent. How are they to get knowledge of the procedure? It is not quite clear, and perhaps the Lord Chancellor can explain.
§ THE LORD CHANCELLOR
The last words put an absolute duty on the Minister to take into account any representations made by the council.
§ On Question, Amendment agreed to.
§ Remaining clauses agreed to.
§ Schedules agreed to.