HL Deb 25 November 1959 vol 219 cc919-20

2.39 p.m.


My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.

[The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider legislation requiring street numbers to be made clearly visible, at street level, on all buildings used for commercial purposes in, at least, cities of above a determined population.]


My Lords, local authorities already have the power to require the display to their satisfaction of the street number of each building. My right honourable friend the Minister of Transport has no formal responsibility for street numbering, but he would welcome the clearer display of street numbers. He is prepared, if there is a demand for guidance, to issue recommendations on the subject comparable to those on the street name plates, which were contained in a circular from his Department to local authorities in 1952.


My Lords, could the noble Lord give an indication on this question of the function of the Minister of Transport? It would appear that the matter would more properly be dealt with by the Home Secretary, so far as the Government are concerned, as against the local authorities.


My Lords, I do not know whether the noble Lord was unable to hear my reply, but I have just said that the matter does not come under my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport. The noble Lord may like to know that local authorities outside London derive their powers under the Towns Improvement Clauses Act of 1847, Section 64, as incorporated in the Public Health Acts of 1875 and 1925. In London the London County Council are responsible under the London Buildings Acts (Amendment) Act, 1939, Section 11.


My Lords, would Her Majesty's Government consider the state of affairs that reigns in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal, whereby anybody in almost any part of any street can tell exactly what street he is in, and will Her Majesty's Government use their influence with the London County Council to get street names themselves more frequently and usefully displayed in London?


My Lords, as I have just said, this matter is not the responsibility of my right honourable friend; it is that of local authorities. We should be pleased to make further efforts to draw to their attention the importance of this particular matter. Unfortunately, I am not conversant with Vancouver and other Canadian cities, though I believe that the situation there is very much better. We are now considering whether it would be appropriate to make further recommendations.


My Lords, my supplementary question to the noble Lord dealt with the difference between the Ministry of Transport and the Home Office. Is it right to understand that, if there should be any thought on the part of Her Majesty's Government of taking action towards those local authorities, a move would come from the Ministry of Transport and not from the Home Office?


My Lords, so far as I know it would be a question for the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, because certainly my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport has no formal responsibility in the matter and can do no more than recommend.