HL Deb 30 June 2000 vol 614 cc1269-70

5.52 p.m.

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton rose to move, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 8th June be approved [21st Report from the Joint Committee].

The noble Baroness said: My Lords, I beg to move the Motion standing on the Order Paper in the name of my noble friend Lord Whitty.

The purpose of this order is to allow local authorities in London to charge for making stopping up orders. Part X of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 enables the Secretary of State to make certain types of order relating to highways. These regulations concern three types of order. Section 247 enables orders to be made to authorise the stopping up of a highway to enable development to be carried out in accordance with planning permission. By "stopping up a highway", I mean extinguishing the right of the general public to pass and repass over the highway.

Not all such orders involve closing off whole lengths of road. They may involve stopping up small slivers of highway or, for example, areas of only a few square feet to enable piers to be constructed to support an overhanging building. Where a highway is extinguished altogether, an alternative route will be provided unless it is not necessary, and the order-making procedure enables members of the public affected by proposed orders to object and for public inquiries to be held. It by no means follows that, because a proposal involving the stopping up of a highway has obtained planning permission, an order will necessarily be made.

The other kinds of order that these regulations concern are orders under Section 248 (to authorise the stopping up of a highway which crosses or enters the route of another highway to be constructed under planning permission) and orders under Section 249. These latter orders extinguish the right of vehicles to use a highway—that is to say, they pedestrianise the highway—where a local planning authority has adopted a proposal for improving the amenity of the area.

Regulation 3 provides a general power to impose charges for considering an application for a stopping up order and for taking all the steps required for the making of the order, whether or not the order is actually made.

Regulation 4 provides for the charges to be payable by the applicant for the stopping up order.

Regulation 5 makes provision for the amount of the charges. It is for each authority to come to a decision on the actual amount after taking appropriate account of its relevant administrative expenses and general staff costs and overheads. But the charge would, of course, have to be a reasonable one in the light of all these factors. I commend the regulations to the House.

Moved, That the draft regulations laid before the House on 8th June be approved [21st Report from the Joint Committee].—(Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton.)

Lord Brabazon of Tara

My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Baroness for explaining the regulations, to which we have no objection. I say only that it would have been better to have dealt with the regulations immediately after the Second Reading debate on the Bill of my noble friend Lord Peyton as the regulations deal with the stopping up of highways. Also, "Peers" cannot be constructed; they are either born or they are created!

Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton

My Lords, I take the point about "Peers"! All I can say in response to the noble Lord is that the hour would have been later had the regulations been dealt with immediately after the business of the noble Lord, Lord Peyton.

On Question, Motion agreed to.