HL Deb 12 June 1969 vol 302 cc773-5

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

Moved, that the Bill be now read 3a.—(The Earl of Listowel.)


My Lords, forgive me for raising this matter at such a late stage. However, this is a Private Bill and it is one that I am afraid I did not know about until it had reached Third Reading stage. My point concerns only Clause 46 of the Bill, and this relates to provisions regarding self-operated laundrettes. I have bored your Lordships for a sufficient number of occasions in the past for it to be known that I have an interest in "Coin-Ops", but, may I hasten to add, none in Dudley.

Briefly, the provisions lay down that notice may be given to require owners to install sanitary conveniences in self-operated laundrettes. Although this Bill covers only Dudley, there is another Bill in another place which has this clause in it, and I believe that others also may contain it. Therefore I should like to bring it to your Lordships' attention. At first sight this may appear to be a laudable effort to improve public amenities, but in fact this is far from the case, for the following reasons. Many of these establishments are unattended, and experience has shown that it is essential that the whole of the premises open to the public should be in full view of the street. Hidden corners provide resting places for drug addicts and vandals and many other undesirables. A well-lit open laundrette is far less prone to attract these unpleasant elements in society. Should lavatories be installed with locking doors they would be an absolute haven for these people and could attract more sinister types who in some areas have made public lavatories places of danger for children and other young people. This may sound overdramatic, but I can assure your Lordships that these remarks are not overstatement. On an entirely practical note, I would add that these provisions would probably involve the removal of machines to provide sufficient room.

I believe that the Ministry of Housing were somewhat concerned by these provisions, and I know that the attention of the Home Office has been drawn to the police aspect of the dangers I have mentioned. At this stage of a Private Bill it would obviously be most improper to table an Amendment deleting Clause 46, but I should be grateful if the Government would take note of these observations so that consideration can be given to the advisability of deleting this clause when the Bill is in another place.


My Lords, it would not be proper for me to reply to the arguments of the noble Lord, and I am sure he would not expect me to do so. But I am certain that his arguments will be noted both by the promoters of the Bill and by the Government Departments concerned, and that they will reply to these arguments, if given an opportunity to do so, when the Bill passes on from this House to another place.

On Question, Bill read 3a, and passed, and sent to the Commons.