§ TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1971.")
§ —(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 102KK:
Page 286, line 20, at end insert:
(" 7A. The local planning authority who are to be treated by paragraph 4 of Schedule 7 as having adopted any street authorisation map mentioned in that paragraph shall be the county planning authority.")
§ The noble Viscount said: This is an Amendment of ultimate sophistication. Street authorisation maps are so rare that neither my advisers nor I have ever seen one. Nevertheless, there is provision for them in the Town and Country Planning Act. They relate to streets. Under this Bill they will be a county council function as highway authority; they are now dealt with under local plans. It is therefore right that we should assimilate the procedure under local plans for the county council to deal with them in these extremely rare cases. It is really a drafting matter. I beg to move.
§ LORD ROYLE
In view of the fact that I have Amendments down a little later on the question of streets and roads, I was wondering whether the noble Viscount was being a little premature—because my Amendments, if carried, might alter what he is about to do.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I very much doubt it, because I suspect that this is a subject which, although it is there in the legislation as it exists, has been resorted to so rarely (if ever) as to have very little practical importance. Nevertheless for propriety of drafting it ought to be brought into the Bill. It is now dealt with under local plan regulations. That is the modern way but there may be cases, as there have been in the past, where it has to be carried over into the 1971 Act, as consolidated, which brings in local plans. For this transitional purpose, therefore, one must have this provision in the Bill. I do not think that the noble Lord, Lord Royle, 910 is going to be prejudiced in the matters that he will wish to raise.
§ 4.47 p.m.
LORD GARNSWORTHY moved Amendment No. 102A:
Page 290, line 19, at end insert—
("17A. The Secretary of State shall include in a development order under section 24 provision enabling a county planning authority to impose restrictions on the grant by a district planning authority of planning permission for development relating to land within a conservation area.")
§ The noble Lord said: I beg to move Amendment No. 102A which stands in the names of my noble friends and myself. In speaking to this Amendment I think it may be to the convenience of the Committee if I spoke also to Amendments Nos. 102B, 102C, 102D, 102E, 102F, 102G and 102H since they are all concerned with giving county councils concurrent powers with district councils in the field of planning and control, particularly in regard to historic buildings and conservation.
§ Amendment 102A would enable county planning authorities to direct a district planning authority to refuse an application for development relating to land or buildings within a conservation area or alternatively to direct them to impose specific conditions should they decide to grant permission. Amendments 102B and 102E would give county planning authorities concurrent powers as now in London in relation to the service of building preservation notices and would enable a county to bring to the notice of the Secretary of State a building which was threatened and which in their opinion should be placed by him on the statutory list but in respect of which the district were not prepared to take action.
§ Amendment 102C would extend to the rest of the country as between the new counties and the new districts the arrangements which now exist in London between the Greater London Council and the London borough councils. New subparagraph (3) would, however, enable the Secretary of State to exempt from these arrangements any district planning authority able to satisfy him that they themselves had such advice available as would make notification to the county an unnecessary step. Amendment 102G would give county planning authorities 911 concurrent powers in relation to the determination and designation of conservation areas so that a county may act in relation to a particular area which is of wider than purely local interest but which for purely local reasons the district are not prepared to designate. Amendments 102F and 102H are mainly consequential Amendments, although the latter is important as it will ensure adequate prior consultation between county and district before the county acts.
I think the Committee will appreciate that the subject of these Amendments is one of very considerable importance, and I hope that in the course of the debate which I am sure will ensue there will be one or two noble Lords who will speak with considerable authority. I hope that not least I may receive some support from my noble friend Lord Kennet who has such a distinguished record in this field. This is the sphere in which the Minister, Mr. Graham Page, speaking on February 29 in Standing Committee D, said:
It is surely the intention of this Committee that we should bring to bear all the expertise that we can to ensure the preservation of some of the greatest assets, historical and traditional, which this country has."—(col. 1985.)
I think I cart claim that the subject matter of these Amendments is not a Party issue. Certainly the Amendments in the names of my noble friends and myself would seem to command a large body of public opinion as expressed through the County Councils' Association and the Joint Committee which speaks for the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Georgian Group, the Victorian Society and the Civic Trust. In a letter dated September 12, the Joint Committee said:
The Committee is deeply concerned at the provisions in this Bill relating to listed buildings control and conservation areas. It is unanimously of the opinion that they constitute a grave threat to historic buildings and towns in this country.
§ The County Councils' Association have noted and welcomed the support which is being given to Amendments Nos. 102A to 102H by the Joint Committee, and I rely on them for saying that the views of the Committee are known to be shared also by the Council for British 912 Archæology, the Ancient Monuments Society, the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute, the Council for the Protection of Rural England, and the National Trust. That, my Lords, is a pretty impressive list.
§ When the matter was before another place the Minister accepted that the Amendments relating to listed buildings consent would provide a flexible and an acceptable basis for dealing with applications; but he felt bound to resist them in the form in which they had been put. They were therefore withdrawn, the Minister having expressed the hope that he would subsequently be able to offer the right solution. In relation to conservation area powers the Minister said that again he was not convinced that the right solution had been found, and he would examine the matter further. It is in the absence of any such solution from the Government that these Amendments have been tabled. The Amendments reflect the advice given to the Government by one of their own Working Parties appointed to assist in the preparation of the Stockholm Environmental Conference held earlier this year and chaired by Lady Dartmouth. I refrain from quoting at length but will content myself with a very brief quote from the recommendations of that Working Party, No. 19, in which it asked the Government to reconsider that part of the new legislation which removes all historic building powers from the county councils.
§ If we are to have two levels of local government there are spheres of activity where there is need for checks and balances. This holds good in planning and especially so where conservation and historic buildings are concerned. Under this Bill, ail power is given to the districts and one is bound to ask, "Why?", for it is seen by those in a strong position to judge as a first big step backwards. Indeed, it is regarded as likely to prove a calamitous move if carried out. It is no part of the case that historic building and conservation powers should be given exclusively to county councils; on the contrary, it is recognised that the involvement of the district councils is essential if conservation policies are to be successful. However, the professional skills and expertise that are equally essential are at present 913 in desperately short supply and need to be concentrated into larger units than most of the new district councils would be able to support.
§ Since 1967 many county councils have built up conservation teams and have gained much experience. It would be irresponsible if those teams were to be broken up as a direct result of this Bill; but the County Councils' Association fear that this must be the result if county councils are not given at least concurrent powers, because in an increasingly cost-conscious environment no county council would be able to justify to its ratepayers the retention of a team of experts against a mere possibility that one or more district councils might wish to make use of its services under agency arrangements. Concurrent powers for the county councils in relation to conservation areas, together with some involvement in relation to applications for listed building consent or for permission for development in conservation areas, as in Amendments Nos. 102A to 102H, would warrant the retention of existing county teams and encourage the establishment of further county teams in appropriate areas in the manner hoped for by the Government.
§ Such powers would also give counties a financial interest in the conservation areas within the county, many of which will require financial support beyond the resources of even the larger district authorities, and this support will be much less readily forthcoming if counties have no direct interest or involvement in these matters. To give these concurrent powers to county councils for conservation areas and listed building application, and limited powers in relation to planning applications affecting conservation, would not—certainly need not—diminish the interest and activity of the district council which we all recognise to be an essential and important part of conservation. Rather by maintaining the existing beneficial involvement of county councils both in terms of staff and also of financial support it will establish at all levels the most effective and necessary means of conserving what is in many cases a national as much as a local concern; that is, our architectural heritage and all that goes with it.
§ 4.58 p.m.
§ LORD MOLSON
I can be extremely brief, because the noble Lord, Lord 914 Garnsworthy, has covered the subject completely. I think that he has made out what I would venture to say to the Government is a quite unanswerable case. I will not attempt to repeat anything that he has said except in order to emphasise two points. It is not often that there is agreement between the amenity societies and those who are concerned with administration in matters of this kind, but here we have an impressive unanimity among all the voluntary bodies concerned with the preservation of our environmental and architectural heritage who are anxious that this Amendment should be accepted, if not in the letter at any rate in spirit. At the same time, we have the County Councils' Association of the same opinion. This is not an attempt on the part of the County Councils' Association to exclude the district councils from participating in this important work. It can be successfully carried out only if there is the fullest co-operation between the two.
I have had a good deal of experience of the difficulties of preserving ancient buildings. The number of architects who have the necessary qualifications is strictly limited. It would be most unfortunate if it came to be thought necessary for every enlightened district council to try to engage its own staff for this purpose. if the district council wishes to take action, it would be far better for it to co-operate with the county council and use the staff which the county council would have available. Buildings which require to be preserved are of many different ages and kinds. The expert on one particular kind of ancient or beautiful building is not necessarily an expert upon another. Therefore it is extremely desirable that the area of his activity should be reasonably large. I believe that in giving concurrent powers to the county councils and to the district authorities, and attempting, so far as Parliament can, to ensure that there will be co-operation between the two, is the best way in which we can be assured of the preservation of our heritage. The last Government and this Government have both shown a consciousness of the greatly increased public interest in the preservation of our buildings. I hope, therefore, that the Government will be prepared to accept this Amendment.
§ VISCOUNT AMORY
The noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, and my noble friend Lord Molson have put the case for this Amendment so well that I, too, can be brief. When one realises that the interest in our national heritage is broadening and growing at a tremendous rate throughout the country, one sees that this is a matter that is more important than may at first sight appear. It is in the light of this fact that we have to make our plans. The preservation of historic buildings and conservation areas often lies at the centre of good planning. As the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, said, the Minister in another place left the impression that he was going to produce a solution to this problem, but nothing has yet come to light; and that of itself, I feel, requires some explanation. I hope that in this case we can help the Minister to come to a sensible conclusion, and the sensible conclusion must be, as I think, that it is right here to give the county councils and the district councils concurrent powers. After all, success here depends upon maximum co-operation leading to a maximum effort, because so often to get the result is by no means easy.
There are three reasons why I think concurrent powers should be given. First of all, the preservation of buildings and conservation areas so often goes far wider than purely the local interests: in fact, in some cases, as one knows, locally things are often taken too much for granted. The further one gets away from something, the greater the genuine interest tends to be. This situation has been very greatly increased by greater mobility. The second reason is that sometimes the second-tier council, while it will agree that a particular preservation or a particular step in this direction is desirable, will feel that it has not the money to carry it out. I have heard local councillors say, "We should like to do it, and it ought to be done, but frankly we cannot afford it. Our priorities prevent us from doing it. "That is another strong reason for bringing in the county council and involving it in the responsibility, because then the county council, with its greater means, may be able to help financially; but it will be unlikely to do so if the responsibility lies entirely elsewhere. As my noble friend Lord Molson said so succinctly—and the noble Lord, 916 Lord Garnsworthy, also referred to this—the opinions of the expert bodies in this matter are unanimous, and that is a point to which we should attach great weight. Then there is the question that has been referred to already of the limited number of experts that exist at the present time. It really makes good sense to concentrate those experts where their advice can be most effectively used.
Lastly, I fear that if concurrent powers are not given, the result will be that the Secretary of State will find himself inevitably drawn into these matters much more than he otherwise would be, and in a way that I think he would prefer not to be drawn in. If the county council cannot deal with matters of more than purely local interest, then there will be appeals to the Secretary of State to do so, and lie in his turn will have to keep expert staffs dashing round the country and looking into these matters. For those reasons, I very much hope that my noble friend, when he comes to respond to this debate, will respond sympathetically. I am sure your Lordships will be right to exert a great deal of pressure on him to be sympathetic, and I am sure his inclination will be to be so.
§ LORD KENNET
I think the case has been put with such fulness, as every speaker has said, that there is nothing left for me to say, so I will say it, I hope even more briefly than other noble Lords. I can imagine that there would be reasons against writing the district councils out of the Bill. I can think of sound arguments against transferring to the county councils the powers given in the Bill to the district councils, but I cannot think of a single argument against the concurrent powers proposed by the Amendment. Everything that has been said seems to me to be true, and I can think of nothing on the other side which would make it a bad plan. I have been asking around and thinking in my own experience whether there is an occasion on record when a district council desired and was able to preserve something when the county council desired to knock it down or to adopt an incorrect policy towards the preservation. I have heard of one case, and one only; I am not at all sure that it is authentic, because it was told to me by the borough council concerned, and I am sure that the county council would hotly dispute it. Cases on the other side, 917 as anybody who has been concerned with the administration of this matter knows, are legion.
It is really a question of probabilities. What destroys a fine old building, so fat as planning law is concerned, is generally a combination of philistinism and economic short-sightedness on the part of the planning authority. I would go so far as to say that it is more likely in a given case that the second-tier council may temporarily, and by a piece of bad luck, have fallen into a phase of philistinism and economic short-sightedness rather than that the county council should have. Of course it is extremely unlikely that in any given place both of them should have done so. And the proposal in the Amendment has the enormous advantage of belt and braces, without, so far as I can see, the commonest disadvantage of the belt and braces approach, namely, double expenditure: that does not seem to be there. If both tiers have the power, while only one tier maintains the staff—and I am sure that this is what will happen—then it does not cost any more and you get your belt and braces. Therefore I hope that the Government will be able to accept this Amendment: indeed, unless there are some arguments that neither I nor anybody else has thought of, I am confident that they will.
§ VISCOUNT RIDLEY
May I add a very few words in support of the Amendment? The argument may be that it is wrong to have a concurrent power because it means that one side passes the responsibility to the other, and the other then passes it back again, and so on. I should like to give one instance where this is not the case. This is a matter of reclaiming land and not conserving historic buildings, where current powers exist and a very happy partnership also exists between the district and the county council with a sharing of expenses; and the result is highly satisfactory.
§ 5.11 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I have had the pressure duly exerted upon me from all sides and I must now attempt to answer what, according to my noble friend Lord Molson is the unanswerable, and explain to the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, that there really is another side to this matter of which perhaps, even 918 with all his experience, he has not yet thought of. Whether I shall convince him is another matter, but I will try to do so, at any rate for the benefit of those who have spoken in the Committee in general.
First of all, I am entirely in agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, that we should deal with these Amendments together; but I think we should make absolutely certain that we know exactly what they are about because there are slight variations in emphasis, as I think the noble Lord will agree. We have, first, what is in effect a right of veto in Amendment 102A on the grant of planning permission for development within a conservation area—a grant of veto over the district council, which is prima facie the planning authority for that purpose. Then in 102B and E we have another power, which is to serve a building preservation notice, even though the district council does not want it. That being so, the building preservation notice is a short term emergency measure by which you preserve a building not on the statutory list and not dealt with under Section 8 of the Town and Country Planning (Amendment) Act 1972 as being a conservation area. During that time my right honourable friend the Secretary of State decides whether or not the building should be listed, and meanwhile it is treated for the purposes of this building control as if it were listed. If at the end of that time, or sooner, the Secretary of State says, "No, it is not listed", the whole thing lapses and you can pull the building down. So that is not a power of veto but a current power to serve building preservation notices.
Then we have a rather complicated Amendment, 102C, which is modelled on the London Government Act. This one deals with district building control. Here again, I think we have a right of veto in the county planning authorities, although the matter would prima facie be dealt with by the district council. Fourthly, we have the designation of conservation areas where we have concurrent powers. If the district council, who would normally deal with it, do not think it is a good idea, then we have powers in these Amendments for the county authority to I deal with it instead.
919 Those are the detailed provisions, and I am very happy that we should discuss them altogether because they arise certainly in the same context. In another place my right honourable friend said that he would look at this matter again; and lie consulted with a number of people, including the existing, local authority associations. It is perfectly true that the County Councils' Association and a large number of amenity societies thought that the county councils should have some sort of power. On the other hand, the organisations—and is this altogether surprising?—which tend to be identified with what will be the district councils thought that this was a very bad idea and that the district councils should have the power. That is the reason why there was no consensus, as has been indicated so far; but there have been two sides on this and it is not an easy question to decide. The Government have therefore left it alone. Your Lordships will probably have a chance to decide or at least to make some impact on the matter in a moment.
When the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, talks about "grave threats" and "steps backwards", we have to remember that under the provisions of the Planning Acts, with which everybody in this field is very familiar, there are only two sorts of authorities which have powers to deal with conservation areas, listed buildings and their control, building preservation notices and so on. One sort are the county councils and the other sort are the county borough councils, who are the planning authorties. I would challenge anybody in this Committee who said that some of the county borough councils who control cities and towns of the greatest possible historical importance have been other than at the forefront in looking after the fabric of the buildings, the ambience in which they stand, and the whole concept of conservation. Indeed, it is not only county borough councils, but even some borough councils who have been pretty good at this.
But of course in the context, where one is familiar with the old planning authority, which is usually the county council—and that is an idea which goes forward in this Bill, because the new county councils are really not such different creatures 920 from the old county councils, whereas the district councils are something quite novel—I am not altogether surprised that some people, having considered this, are suspicious about the new district councils and think that perhaps they will not be so good at this as were their predecessors. The district councils will in many cases be centred on some of these very cities that have so far distinguished themselves in this field, and I am bound to say that in the case of one or two of these, whereas the county borough in the centre (which will become the district council) has been very strong on conservation, the county council in the surrounding area—possibly because it has not had the same weight of problems concerned with buildings and conservation to deal with—has had a comparatively weak team on this subject. There is therefore no uniform practice across the country as a whole which shows that in the present local authority set-up county councils are in fact the "strong men" of the conservation world.
Perhaps I may give an example of a case of this sort. As the Committee may know, there is a provision under the existing law whereby in the case of alterations to historic buildings a planning permission specifically for the alteration, which is accompanied by the detailed plans of what is supposed to be done, acts as a listed building consent for the alteration of that building. There is a procedure whereby my right honourable friend in every case has to have submitted to him the applications that are made for listed building consents, to pull down or to alter listed buildings. This is something which the noble Lord, Lord Kennet, will know very well because it arose from the Bill which he piloted through this House. There are exceptions to this in the case of alterations of the sort that I have just mentioned, where planning permission counts as Ministerial consent, where because of their special expertise 13 local planning authorities have been exempted from even having to tell my right honourable friend about these applications. There are about a dozen such cases; three-quarters are county boroughs, which will be district councils, or the nucleus of district councils; only three, or thereabouts, are county councils. This is an indication of the way in which this has so far worked. One has to look at this against the background of the way 921 in which the ordinary planning will work under this Bill. In the case of the ordinary function, unless a county matter is concerned (and I do not think that in the case of historic buildings this could possibly arise), it will be the district council which issues the planning consents or the planning refusals.
Let me first of all take conservation areas. The designation of a conservation area may be of national importance, in the sense that it is a place which the nation requires should be conserved. But it is in essence a local matter, and, what is much more important, the actual designation of the conservation area itself does not do anything. What matters is the procedure that follows when planning applications are considered for changes of use within that area and for demolition of buildings if they ought to be treated as if they were listed under Section 8 of the 1972 Act. The county council can designate the conservation areas to its heart's content, but under this Bill, as it stands at the moment, even if that is done it is still the district council which grants planning permission. If the district councils do not co-operate in the designation of a conservation area, if it is done over their head—as could be under one of the Amendments which the noble Lord has put down—is it really to be supposed that they are going to cooperate in the planning control which they will subsequently have to exercise over the design of buildings and the uses of buildings? In the case of the designation of conservation areas, the designation and subsequent planning control are absolutely tied together and there cannot be any possible doubt that the same authority ought to be in charge of both.
§ LORD KENNET
Will the noble Viscount allow me to interrupt, because I know he wishes to present the effect of the Amendments as fully and accurately as he can? If there was a lack of co-operation between the county authority and the district authority on planning applications within a conservation area it would be possible for the county authority to direct the district authority what to do about the application—the veto.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I am very much obliged to the noble Lord I think that is right. We have the veto, but we also have a very un- 922 helpful and unhealthy situation as between the district council and the county council. I do not think that this is something that we ought to encourage.
I am dealing at the moment only with the immediate legal impact of these matters. Much the same applies to building preservation notices and listed building consents. Certainly in the case of a building preservation notice it is true that the matter is one of an emergency; one has to remember that this particular point will relate to a building which is not on the statutory list. The Committee will know that my right honourable friend and his team of independent experts are going round all the time updating these lists and including in them a number of buildings which a little while ago would certainly not have been listed. We have now reached the stage where not only Victorian buildings are being listed, but also buildings put up in the 1930s—I am sure, for all I know, perfectly correctly. This is the present state of affairs and it is going on all the time. The chance of a really good building being unprotected by listing is decreasing as time goes on.
We therefore have the case where a local council is put under some pressure by a group of its populace in respect of a building of which they are very fond, but which in fact is of no merit whatever, and the local council may be induced to put on a preservation notice until my right honourable friend the Secretary of State can decide whether or not to confirm it. Buildings which are not on the national list ought to be left to a district council. The usual context is one of development control, and one where the district council will be the local authority that has to decide whether or not to give planning permission to something in place of the building.
When we come to existing listed buildings we reach a situation where my right honourable friend has to be told in the case of any application for a listed building consent to pull down any building on the statutory list. It is not just a matter of the district council running roughshod over the wishes of everybody; there is this safeguard in my right honourable friend and in those skilled people who advise him.
923 Now let me see if I can deal with the points that have been made. I am in entire agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, that this is not a Party issue at all: it is one in which all bodies ought to pull together. What we have to do is see what is the best way to do it and how it is going to be handled under this Bill. My noble friend Lord Amory made a number of points, and he said that in many cases the interest is wider than simply one of pure locality. This leads me to the positive side of the measure which might have been overlooked by some Members of the Committee, though do not suppose it has been overlooked by the noble Lords concerned.
If noble Lords will look at page 292 of the Bill, in paragraph 23(2) of Schedule 16 they will see that it says:The Secretary of State may from time to time direct a district planning authority to submit to him for his approval within a period specified in the direction the arrangements which the authority propose to make to obtain specialist advice in connection with their functions under …a number of sections, which are the listed building ones. I have seen to it that the same thing is in in relation to the new Amendment to Schedule 16 with regard to Section 8 of the 1972 Act. The same provision applies. In practice, what is going to happen is that there will be, district by district and county by county, a very large variety of situations that have to be dealt with. In some areas there will be a tremendous richness of historic and architectural buildings which have to be conserved and looked after—conservation areas and matters of that sort. In others their incidence will be very much more sparse. In the Bill there are a number of very flexible arrangements that can be made about the sharing of functions and the sharing of staff to carry them out.
There are already in prospect for the purposes of this particular subject, listed buildings, a number of different schemes which different authorities have in mind. One county, and the districts within it, have in mind, as it were, a touring team of experts who will be available to all the districts. Others have in mind one district council which is likely to have a particular problem in this respect and 924 which will provide the staff, but these will be available to other districts for advice and on loan, if necessary. In some cases it may be suitable for the county to take part and retain some of the staff they have now. All these things will be possible under the Bill. As soon as this Bill becomes law a circular will be sent to all the authorities—certainly to all the district authorities, and I am certain that the new county councils will receive it too—setting out a whole list of ways in which the district council can tackle in a practical way this particular problem.
One of the things I cannot understand about these Amendments is the argument that they should be incorporated in the Bill when at the same time—and this is perfectly right—there is a very limited number of experts in this field and we must do all that we can to conserve them so that they can do all they can to conserve the buildings. If there is a concurrent power on conservation matters and a veto power on development control, is it not inevitable that every district which will have to deal with the planning side of it, the development control, will require its team; and so will every county? How can they avoid this? There will be this veto power in the county councils. The noble Lord, Lord Kennet, is frowning in puzzlement. But if there is to be a power of veto in the county council, and there are to be concurrent powers, it presupposes that there must be experts for both authorities. I cannot understand how this is going to economise on these valuable staff. If the noble Lord can explain to me I shall be grateful to him.
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ LORD KENNET
I should have thought that if there were no veto, and no concurrent powers, that would mean that every district authority would desire, or should desire, to have its experts; and we all know that this will not be possible because there are not that number of experts in the country, so that some authorities will have to do without them. If, on the other hand, there is the concurrent power and the veto power then I should have thought it likely—and my experience confirms me in the belief—that the experts would be employed permanently by the counties in proper teams and could be used by the districts 925 as and when they wanted. I should have thought the existence of the veto was a very good guarantee that they would be so used.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I think that in that case we really are getting into a situation where in effect the whole of this planning control is going over to the county councils. If that is a disguised method of doing it, then so be it; but I think the Committee ought to realise that that is the sort of realm into which we are getting.
§ LORD KENNET
If my noble friends had wished to produce that effect they would have put down Amendments to say so, which would have been a good deal simpler than these Amendments.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I was going to refer a little later to paragraph 23 (2) of Schedule 16 which was mentioned. What conceivable incentive can a county have to organise a team of experts, which I suppose most of us would have thought would be the desirable thing to do in all the circumstances, if the county has no powers at all? How can a county possibly justify it?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
The background of this matter which I am trying to explain to the Committee is that there is no pattern. There is no universal practice at this moment. It would be all very well supposing everyone was talking about ordinary development control. At the moment, every county council and every county borough council has a development control team; that is part of their standard, everyday functions, and they are all, I consider—and I hope that the Committee will consider—qualified and expert people. But the amount and calibre of the work they have to do on listed buildings varies very much as between authority and authority. Therefore, we do not have a consistent pattern across the country. This is exactly what I have been trying to explain to the Committee. It is all very well to say that the county councils would have no incentive. Some have not a team now, and there is no particular reason why they should form one simply because this Bill is passed. What I am saying is that, where we have a good county team now, there is nothing to prevent it either from staying with the county under the Bill as it stands or 926 being shared by the districts in accordance with the arrangements that they think fit—there is nothing to stop this at all; this is what is being proposed and thought about—or indeed, I suppose, being taken over by one of the districts and available to others, if they should so wish.
§ LORD KENNET
The noble Viscount is being extremely forbearing. He has twice now made great play with the fact that there are some county councils at the moment which do not have a preservation team. I think it would help the Committee a great deal if he could name them, because noble Lords will well know that there are some counties which do not have very much in the way of historic towns and buildings to preserve.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I refrain, I think, from the invidious task of naming them. I will tell the noble Lord outside, but I do not think I ought to cast too many aspersions on some of the county councils. It may well be that the reason why they do not have a large and skilled team is the very one that they do not have within their county a particular problem in this respect. But it does not follow that there may not be inset into that county, a county borough, as it is now, a town of the greatest possible historic and architectural importance which in future will become part of the county. That is probably the repository in that area of the expertise on historic buildings. That may well be why the county council has not got one. I can give the noble Lord some examples of this, and I think probably he will agree with me.
§ LORD MOLSON
If I heard my noble friend aright, he said that in the case of a county council which had a team of experts on this subject they might under the new Bill remain with the county council or they might be broken up among different district councils. I imagine that he would regret their being broken up among the district councils because obviously their scope of activity would then be very much narrower. If therefore he would wish them to remain with the county council and co-operate, would it not be wise to incorporate provisions in the Bill which would facilitate that and recognise it?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I do not think so. If I did I apologise to the Committee; it was certainly not what I meant. What I said was that they could go to one of the district councils or they could go as a travelling team available to a number of district councils.
§ LORD MOLSON
Does the noble Viscount mean that they should not be broken up but that the whole county team should go to one of the district councils?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
Yes; in some cases that would be most suitable—most suitable indeed. I think of examples where this might be very valuable, but not solely so that they are necessarily available to that district by itself but so that their advice can be spread throughout the county as well.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
Can the noble Viscount inform the Committee who is to decide that the district council is going to take over the existing county team? Counties will be made up of a number of districts. Everybody knows that there is a very limited number of experts in this field. A great many Members of the Committee have experience of local government, and I think we are seriously disturbed at the line of thought that the noble Viscount is putting across, because we see tremendous difficulties. I should be grateful if he could give some indication how, unless the Bill specifically makes provision, the suggestions he is making are in point of fact going to be put into effect.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
By the process of consultation which is at the moment going on. I am not talking in theory; I am talking about things which are being actively worked out at this moment.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
I would remind the noble Viscount that the new district councils of which we are talking have not yet been elected, so nobody can be having discussions with them.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I appreciate this, but there are people involved in this particular world who are capable of thought about this matter and they are thinking, and these are the things they are thinking about. That is what I am trying to tell the Committee. The converse of what the noble Lord is saying is this. I agree with him that there is a shortage. His Amendment carries with it the implication that it may not be the county councils who are to be the sole arbiters but that they, under these Amendments, are to be encouraged to remain as the only authority with a team. This is going to be the effect of it. I cannot see how, in view of what the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, said to me a little while ago, one can avoid that particular conclusion; because if he says that there is a county team now, and the best thing would be if it were to stay with the county, it means to say that the district councils are going to have no people of this expert calibre at all to deal with the problems that are before them.
There is one other point I ought to mention which was raised by my noble friend Lord Amory on the question of money. On the whole the question of money is not a matter which comes directly into this. It does if you reach the stage of having a listed building purchase notice. I know there have been one or two celebrated and extremely expensive cases where this has occurred. But the vast majority of conservation area and listed building control does not involve the expenditure by local authorities of money. They have powers to give grants, it is true, but they are not required, except in extreme cases, to buy the buildings which they refuse to have knocked down or to buy the buildings which make up the conservation area. I have been dealing with this for a very long time when I was not a member of the Government and I have a good deal of background experience of this. I have not come across cases where building preservation notices have not been served, or listed building consent has been given, just because the local authority finds itself financially embarrassed. The opposite is the case. What I have found has happened is this—and it really is the belt and braces argument carried one stage 929 further and it refers to the fourth of Lord Amory's points. He says he hopes that my right honourable friend the Secretary of State will not be drawn in, but of course this is what has happened in the past and this is what I think will continue to happen in the future. If there is, as there very often is nowadays, an outcry in the case of a listed building consent application from amenity societies and others interested in the area, there is frequently a call-in.
Many have been the instances when I have been to a public inquiry where perhaps the local planning authority was minded to grant listed building consent, but on the contrary the local conservation societies and architects protested. My right honourable friend knew about those protests, called the matter in and there was a public inquiry. This is a very real safeguard. The Committee should not forget this; nor should they forget about the expertise of those who consider this matter and advise my right honourable friend when he is coming to a decision. This is not a decision whereby the district councils will be left entirely on their own with complete discretion whether or not to allow beautiful old buildings to be knocked down. There is an automatic reference to my right honourable friend and he can step in if he so wishes.
I hope that I have explained that we are in a position where there will be a flexible use of valuable support tailored to the needs of the particular areas concerned. I hope that I have convinced the Committee that this is a matter which has to be supported and underpinned by the ordinary planning functions of the district council. I am strongly suspicious that the carrying of these Amendments would deprive the district councils of their teams of experts because the county councils would insist on keeping them. I remind the Committee of the provisions for co-operation and the final power of direction in paragraph 23(2) of Schedule 16 which my right honourable friend has if in the end he is still not satisfied that the proper expertise is available to the district authorities and his longstop power in the case of any application which is put in. I suggest that these reasons are not only an answer but a good answer to the question of whether we should keep the Bill as it is. 930 Although it is very impressive to listen to a list of authorities who support these Amendments, there are others which take a contrary view and I hope that view will be shared by your Lordships.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
All those, unlike the County Councils Association, who are likely to be concerned with district councils.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
The noble Viscount will appreciate that I gave a list of organisations, not local authority associations, but associations and organisations who take a particular interest in historic buildings and in conservation—and not only take a particular interest, but are recognised throughout the world as being expert bodies. Now could we have a list of organisations of equal standing?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
No, my Lords; we cannot. I tried to deal with this point earlier, but I have made such a long speech that I am not surprised if the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, has forgotten what I said at the beginning of it. I am surprised that what I might call amenity societies, being familiar with the existing role of county councils and county borough councils, should wish to maintain that system. They may not have thought of county councils as county district councils. Maybe that has escaped them when they came to their conclusion on some of the arguments I have been talking about.
§ 5.45 p.m.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I hope that my noble friend Lord Garnsworthy will deal with the detailed points in reply to the noble Viscount, Lord Colville of Culross, but as one of the supporters of this Amendment I cannot let the opportunity pass without saying something to the noble Viscount. After his last speech he has gone down terribly in my estimation. I always regarded him as one who would be, I should say, on the side of the Angels; but now he seems to be nothing more than a clever lawyer. This is a deep disappointment to me. I had hoped for better.
931 I hate so say this, but I regret for once that the noble Viscounts, Lord Amory and Lord Ridley, took part in this discussion because it makes it appear as if it is the County Councils Association versus the rest. I hope the Committee will appreciate that in these particular circumstances that is not really so. I quite understand that the noble Viscount, Lord Colville, can produce nothing, except, as he said, that people would be concerned with district council administration in future, in favour of the Government. He has not been able to produce any body which has day-to-day experience in these matters of conservation, and the people who have to take the initiative in the localities know the frightful trouble one has to go to when trying to maintain either a listed building or, what in some ways is much more difficult, a conservation area. A listed building is not always so difficult, in the sense that sometimes one can raise public opinion in a much more general than local sense, and he said that his right honourable friend has a long-stop. I have been trying to work out what this means. I suppose it must be belt, braces and buttons as the third method.
I am deeply concerned at the fact that the Government seem to have stuck on this in spite of what we sincerely took to be, not exactly an assurance but an assurance of very considerable further thought that was given in another place. I do not think the speech of the noble Viscount this afternoon has been in the least adequate in the circumstances in which such remarks were made in another place where, as he knows, there was considerable discussion on this matter. Nor can I follow his logic in a number of respects. He says that because there is no consensus between the respective districts and counties, therefore the Government will do nothing. This is not true of other matters. The Government are happy to give rubbish to the county councils, but when it comes to our historic heritage they think that the districts are entirely adequate for this.
The noble Viscount was at great pains to emphasise that the situation is different in different parts of the country. That is entirely true. In my country, Wales, unfortunately we do not have 932 very many historic buildings worth preserving. This means that the few we have are all the more precious. It also means that the authorities there would not have a great deal to do under this Schedule. The noble Viscount said that there is no pattern, that in some places at present the county borough would obviously be the focal point but that in others the county council has been the active authority. That is quite right and we entirely agree with him. But surely the logical conclusion to draw is precisely that which is drawn in our Amendments, because they would give the flexibility and variety needed. It may well be that in one area the county should be responsible, and that in another it should be the district council which is the nub of the matter for that neighbourhood. Under our arrangements we are not proposing to take powers from the district, but we are saying that in some circumstances it is better for the county to have some say, whereas under the Bill as it stands, except for a little continuing authority over matters on which they have already declared themselves, the county will have no say. This does not make sense.
When the noble Viscount spoke about Section 23(2) and amenity teams I appreciated what he said about his experience in the law, but I found it very hard to believe that he has had a great amount of experience of how local government works. How can an authority which has no power justify employing a team of experts? It just will not happen. There may be a few counties which, because they have had exceptional experience in this field and have a particular team of very well qualified people, who for quasihistorical reasons would be able to carry on for a little time. But does the noble Viscount suppose that in any other circumstances the county would take on responsibility of a team of this kind without themselves having a real say and would employ people who would be advisory to the district councils that have executive power? In terms of power politics this makes no sense. I feel deeply disturbed that the noble Viscount could seriously put forward such a proposal. In many areas it might well be that the county team would be in a very good situation and could work in with the district so that one did not necessarily have the kind of confrontation which the 933 noble Viscount seemed to anticipate. It does not always happen in that way.
He then spoke about money, and said that money really was not part of the matter. In the strict sense of the purchase price of a building, I entirely agree with him: it does not happen very often. But in another sense, my goodness! how money talks. When it comes to central area redevelopment or changing the face of a small country town, examples of which we can all think of, was that not money? Of course it was. It was the profits or advantages which interested people, quite understandably, who hoped to gain by entirely changing the character of their town or city. This has happened and we can all think of examples, so in that sense, money is crucial.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
That is true, but certainly in the case of smaller conservation areas it would not be local authority money; it would be private money. It was in the terms of local authority money that my noble friend Lord Amory was speaking.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Yes, but we ought to get this straight. One of the main reasons for saying that it is the more widely based authority which should have some say in the matter is that they are at one remove from the immediate local pressures which are upon the smaller authorities. The smaller authorities may be of some considerable size, but speaking in relative terms they are tremendous pressures for redevelopment. They may be exerted in perfectly good faith by people who cannot see what they are doing to certain places. It is for all those reasons, in addition to the technical argument of my noble friend Lord Garnsworthy, that I feel deeply disappointed in the speech we have heard this afternoon, and I hope that other noble Lords in all parts of the Committee who are really concerned about these matters will accept that there is a tremendous volume of informed opinion which is in favour of the more flexible proposals in the Amendment and against the rigidity of the Government's suggestions.
§ LORD MOLSON
I listened to my noble friend's speech with surprise and, I may say, profound disappointment. I do not think that it was at all in harmony 934 with the tone of Mr. Graham Page's speech in Committee in another place, where he said that although he felt bound to resist the Amendments in the form in which they had been drafted he hoped he would subsequently be able to afford the right solution. I do not accuse the Government of going back on any undertaking because that obviously was not an undertaking, but as I listened to my noble friend's speech this afternoon it appeared to me that his outlook upon the problem was entirely different from that of the Minister of State in another place. I said in my opening remarks that I thought the case made by the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, was unanswerable. I am more than ever convinced that it is unanswerable. My noble friend, with his dialectical skill, has devoted a great deal of time to trying to answer it, but I am bound to say that I do not think there has been any answer at all. I hope the Government will give further thought to this matter. In your Lordships' House, when there is a matter of this kind which is not a Party issue (as I think my noble friend agreed) and where all the amenity societies and the County Councils' Association are in agreement about it, and where the Government have said at an earlier stage that they hope to come up with the right solution, I think your Lordships might give them a nudge by carrying these Amendments, and then on Report stage it might be possible for the matter to be looked at again. I really do not feel that it is possible to accept the arguments that have been put forward this afternoon.
I will refer only to two of those arguments. My noble friend said that there was a great variety in the efficiency of these proposals throughout the country. There is of course a great variety. If under this new legislation we do what we can to ensure that each district council is to have its own advisers and the county councils are not to have any, then obviously there will be a different standard in the case of each district instead of perhaps a different standard in the case of the counties. I refer again to my noble friend's remarks when he corrected me, when I said that he had spoken of the breaking up of the teams that at present are with the county councils. He went on to say that the whole team might go to one of the districts. If there are five districts in a county and 935 one of those districts—perhaps the richest and most enlightened—takes over the whole of the county team, what is going to be the position of the other four district councils? I should very much regret it if we had to go to a Division on this matter. I only ask the Government to give an assurance that they will come up at the Report stage with the right solution, but I am bound to say that unless the Government are able now to go a great deal further than my noble friend the Minister of State at the Home Office has been able to do, if the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy, divides the Committee I shall find myself obliged to vote in the same Lobby with him.
§ LORD REDCLIFFE-MAUD
I must admit that I see a certain similarity in the discussion which we have had on this Amendment and the one on which we supported the Government over the question of refuse disposal. In the case of the refuse disposal I felt very strongly and I was glad that that view prevailed in the Division. That was something which, in spite of what had happened in another place, we had to look at on its merits and not as something which was, as it were, a competition between types of local authority.
This seems to be another far too important matter for the future of the country and the quality of life of the people who are going to live in this country long after all of us have died, that we should allow it to be in any way confused with the dispute and the quite natural anxieties of the Government to see that one type of new authority does not feel that it is going to be "done in" by another type. I have felt all the way through that the hope of this reform working was that the various people who are in local government to-day should stop thinking of themselves as being destroyed, except in the form of the structure and that the various types of authority that exist were all equally going to be destroyed but that new types of council would come.
I am sure it was the last thing that the noble Viscount meant to do when he was replying to the debate, but at times he gave the impression that he was thinking of the county boroughs as becoming 936 districts. Of course that is far from true. The county boroughs are disappearing just as the urban and the rural districts are disappearing, and the county boroughs as they are to-day are giving place (with the counties as they are today) to the completely new counties, and in this respect I am thinking in particular of the county of Avon. My birthplace of Bristol is not going to become a district. In fact, in the first instance it is going to have a district council and its boundaries may perhaps be modified, but I look forward to the contribution of Bristol and the contribution of Bath to be made to the whole work of the new county of Avon, and in particular to its planning work, vision and imagination in preserving all that is best in the new county of Avon, which in my opinion largely centres on Bath. In the same way the districts, though they will have primary responsibility for local planning and preservation, will be only a part of the instrumentality through which the future of the wider area of the county and of the country as a whole is preserved and enriched.
It is from that point of view that I hope the Government will re-examine this matter. Indeed, I should dearly like to think that the Government will say, "Do not let us vote on this question this afternoon. In the light of this debate, further thought will be given to the matter. "In that way some accommodation can be given to the views which noble Lords have expressed, but which frankly have not been met either to-day or in another place, which debate I read with great care in the OFFICIAL REPORT. Further thought should be given to the simple argument that if a county is from one point of view the strategic planning authority for the whole of its area, including perhaps 14 districts, it is the right authority to have a share of the very scarce and able people who should be the judges in these matters.
I appreciate that the Secretary of State is the last resort, but we are here reforming local government so that the Secretary of State shall have as little as possible to do. Do not let us in this new Bill insert provisions by which the Secretary of State may call things in and refer them to his advisers in Whitehall. Local government is being reformed so that there is less rather than more need for 937 issues to come to Whitehall and Westminster. I sincerely appeal as a Cross-Bencher to the Government to give a more encouraging response than we have had so far.
§ LORD NUGENT OF GUILDFORD
I wish to add my plea to my noble friend the Minister to take this matter back and give it further thought. I apologise for not being in my place during the earlier part of the debate; I was called away to deal with some domestic business of your Lordships' House. I returned with surprise to hear my noble friend giving such an uncompromising answer. I had thought that I was away in safety and that my noble friend would be accepting these Amendments. As that has not been the case, I appeal to him, without rehearsing again the arguments that have been so well deployed, to be kind enough to take the matter back and give it further thought.
§ 6.3 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I must of course respond to the comments that have been made, but I wish to preface that response by making some comments to the noble Lord, Lord Redcliffe-Maud. I am entirely with him that we want to get away from the old organs of local government, whether they be county or county borough. What I meant to indicate—perhaps I was rot sufficiently clear in my remarks—was that where one has an immensely famous historical town, such as York, or Norwich, which has magnificent teams concerned with the preservation of ancient and historic buildings of architectural importance, these people will probably be the nucleus of the district team and will continue to operate in the district which includes that geographical area. It would be insane to suppose that one would wish to send those people, who are familiar with the particular details and history of the town, away from that area and not allow them to continue as the district team in charge. That was the idea I was trying to get across while at the same time trying to get away from the idea that all expertise resides in the county councils.
As for the "button" power of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State—this is in addition to the "belts 938 and braces"—the fact of the matter is that if the local planning authority, county or district, is minded to refuse a listed building consent then it is true that the matter has to be referred to my right honourable friend and there is inevitably an appeal, if the applicant wishes it, to him. Thus whenever there is a refusal one must have a right of appeal and my right honourable friend must have power to determine it in the end. It is not so widely known that although there are cases where the first authority, the planning authority, is minded to consent to a listed building being pulled down, the local people can make their voice heard. They can persuade my right honourable friend to call in the decision and in those circumstances there is a public inquiry and the issue goes to him for decision. It is no use trying to get away from this. In both sets of circumstances he is there and the machinery is such that one cannot avoid his being there. I wanted to draw that to the attention of the Committee.
I am asked to take this matter away and consider it again. Plainly I must do so, whether or not there is a Division. However, if there is a Division—I have not bothered the Committee with this fact—we shall be faced, if these Amendments are put into the Bill, with a situation when we shall have some drafting arguments of very considerable disorder, if I may respectfully put it that way. Analogy with the London Government Act simply will not do. But even if the Government won in a Division I cannot believe that my right honourable friends and my noble friends would wish to ignore the weight of opinion that has been expressed in the Committee this afternoon. I therefore feel sure that it would be right for us to take this matter away and look at it again.
The noble Baroness, Lady White, said the Government's attitude was rigid. If there was one thing that I obviously failed to explain to the Committee it was the flexibility of the provisions that can be made, and particularly those under Clause 111, which allow the staff of one authority to be loaned to another. I emphasise that there is enormous flexibility here and that the provisions are not rigid in the way the noble Baroness suggested.
§ BARONESS WHITE
Would the noble Viscount agree that there would be greater flexibility still if he accepted our Amendments?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I was coming to that. The flexibility of which I am afraid is that if the Amendments were accepted there would be, in the absence of staff of the calibre required, a danger that the county councils, having got as it were a supervisory position under these Amendments—a veto or concurrent power—would feel that they must be equipped with the staff to exercise it. That would mean that they would have the staff and there would be none for the districts. That is what I fear might happen, particularly in view of the result as it was highlighted by the noble Lord, Lord Garnsworthy.
I do not think the supporters of these Amendments would want that to happen, particularly as they have emphasised that in their view this power should be concurrent; and "concurrent" surely means that staff must be available to all the local authorities, both county and district. To have vetoes and concurrent powers depriving district councils of the necessary staff might result in, for example, the county council of Norfolk wishing to have the' present county borough staff of Norwich to advise the whole of the new Norwich council, taking the staff away from the new district centred on Norwich. I should have called that flexibility the wrong way round. If noble Lords want me to take this matter away they must do so on the understanding that that sort of thing would probably be as retrograde as they believe our present arrangements to be.
I will not say that further thought will mean a capitulation to the point of view that has been put forward, because I am not sure that we have enough staff to be able to do it or that it would be desirable from other points of view. However, I certainly do not wish to preclude further thought being given to it. Noble Lords may still wish to take the matter to a Division, because I am obviously not in a position at the moment to say which way these thoughts will go; and maybe I have indicated that we have thought and have not changed our minds far. Nevertheless, I will take the 940 matter back and give it further thought, but without giving any undertaking that I can meet the point—at any rate that which is put down in these Amendments. Possibly there is some other way of doing it. But certainly I do not think that this is the right one.
§ LORD GARNSWORTHY
May I say that the last thing I want to do is to divide the Committee? When I first rose I had no wish to divide the Committee, and as I listened to the noble Viscount when he was replying earlier I shared the disappointment of the Committee itself. I would draw attention to the fact that no one who has spoken has supported the line taken by the noble Viscount. He spoke in isolation. Any one of those who joined in this debate—and I am most grateful to them—could have made a more powerful case than I did. I consider that it was a tremendous privilege to have an opportunity of speaking this afternoon—and not, I would make clear, as the spokesman of the County Councils Association. I am not a spokesman for the County Councils Association, and perhaps in that sense it was a good thing that I did move the Amendments. I certainly made the best use I could of the information which the County Councils Association made available to me.
Not only was I disappointed at the earlier reply but I felt very sad because my concern is not with the county councils as such, or with the district councils; I am concerned with our national heritage. The things of which we are speaking this afternoon are not merely the concern of the districts in which they are located. These areas represent a great deal of our true wealth as a nation. Let them go and they are irreplaceable. I thank the noble Viscount for the careful scrutiny he gave my Amendments. I listened with great care to him, but I do not think he added anything to what I tried to say when I was moving them. However, I am very grateful to him for the great care he took in examining them, and also for the lengthy reply that he gave. I have already said that he saddened me, as I think he saddened the whole Committee. But if he will take to his right honourable friend the very deep feeling that has been exhibited here unanimously this afternoon I feel sure that his right honourable friend will 941 appreciate that, if he cannot accept the words of these Amendments, he is beholden—if this House serves any useful purpose at all—to accept the spirit of them and to bring back at Report stage something that will satisfy those who care for the best traditions and the richness of this country that lie in our historical buildings and in our areas of great beauty and value. In the circumstances, I beg leave to withdraw the Amendment.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.
§ 6.14 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 102LL:
Page 291, line 29, at end insert—
("21 A. Elsewhere than in a National Park the functions of a local planning authority under section 44 (completion notices) shall be exercisable by the district planning authority, except that where the relevant planning permission was granted by the county planning authority, those functions, so far as relating to that permission, shall be exercisable by the county planning authority and also by the district planning authority after consulting the county planning authority.")
§ The noble Viscount said: This is a technical point. There is a procedure whereby when a planning permission, which is of course now subject to a time limit, has got partly under way but does not look like ever getting finished, the planning authority may serve a completion notice. This is essentially something that will be done by district councils as part of their ordinary development control, and this Amendment is required in order to give them the power and to put right an omission from the Bill. I beg to move.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 102MM:
Page 292, line 10, at end insert ("or section 277 (designation of conservation areas)").
§ The noble Viscount said: Despite what everybody has been saying about subparagraph 23(2) of Schedule 16 which gives the power to direct a district authority to tell the Secretary of State how it supposes it is going to get enough expertise—and people do not seem to be very happy about it—under the Bill at the moment the position is such that they have to do that for listed buildings. We shall shortly include in that requirement when they are dealing with unlisted build- 942 ings in a conservation area under Section 8. They also ought to do it for the purposes of the designation of conservation areas, and this Amendment would add that particular function to those over which my right honourable friend gets surveillance under this paragraph of the Schedule. I beg to move.
THE DEPUTY CHAIRMAN OF COMMITTEES
Amendment No. 102NN: I am advised that if this Amendment is agreed to I cannot call Amendment No. 102E.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 102NN:
Page 292, line 21, leave out sub-paragraph (1).
§ The noble Viscount said: This is really a drafting and technical matter. There are a number of powers dealt with in this first sub-paragraph, but of course they concern matters where there will be concurrent powers. As you do not have to say that because it is said in Clause 177(2) that the powers are to be concurrent except where the contrary is stated, so you do not have to say it again in the Schedule in relation to these matters. We can safely leave that out. It has no practical effect except that it is much tidier to do so. I beg to move.
§ BARONESS WHITE
I should like to know, again as a matter of consistency, why the noble Viscount thinks it is proper to have concurrent powers for tree preservation but not for building preservation?
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
I have not the faintest idea. The only possible thing I can do is to find out.
§ 6.18 p.m.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
Amendments Nos. 102PP, 102QQ and 102RR are purely technical. What we are doing is to insert the brief description of the section in the Act to which we are referring, as is done in other places. I should like to move No. 102PP, and 10200, as Manuscript Amendments putting brackets round the words "default powers" and "enforcement of duties as to replacement of trees". They seem to have got lost in the printing of the 943 Marshalled List. In order to be consistent, the words should have brackets. Perhaps it could be done simply as a matter of printing. I beg to move.
Page 292, line 28, after ("276") insert ("(default powers)").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
Page 292, line 31, after ("103") insert ("(enforcement of duties as to replacement of trees)").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
§ BARONESS WHITE
We on this side are delighted to accept the brackets as well as the belts, buttons and braces.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS moved Amendment No. 102RR:
Page 292, line 43, at beginning insert ("Not-withstanding anything in paragraph 23(1) above").
§ The noble Viscount said: If one looks at the provisions about advertisements in Schedule 16, which is something one does not want to do if one can avoid it, one will see in paragraph 23(1) that Section 109 of the 1971 Act (Control of advertisements), is to be exercised by the district planning authority. When we get down to paragraph 27 we shall see that in areas of special control we have concurrent powers; and there I can explain to the noble Baroness why it is necessary to have concurrent powers, because areas of special control may be much wider than districts. If the words in this Amendment are not inserted at the beginning of paragraph 27 there could in law be a conflict between these two provisions. This Amendment puts it right. I beg to move.
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
This is purely technical. It attracts the provisions whereby you cannot challenge on vires not only the legal proceedings but the public inquiry as well. Therefore it brings sub-paragraph (ii) into line with sub-paragraph (i) of paragraph 39. I beg to move.
Page 296, line 8, leave out ("court of law") and insert ("such proceedings").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
Page 296, line 19, after ("In") insert ("this Part of").—(Viscount Colville of Culross.)
VISCOUNT COLVILLE OF CULROSS
This is Part II of Schedule 16, which I explained earlier. I beg to move.
Page 296, line 21, at end insert:
§ ("PART II