HC Deb 15 December 1950 vol 482 cc225-7W
Mr. Harold Davies

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his attention has been drawn to the fact that Section 62 (1) of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, and Section 59 (1) of the corresponding Scottish Act, produce inequitable results in relation to certain claims made under those Acts; and what action he proposes to take to overcome this anomaly.

Mr. Gaitskell

The Chairman of the Central Land Board has reported to me that examination of the claims under Part VI of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, discloses that one of the provisions of Section 62 (1) is giving rise to serious anomalies in some cases.

It may happen that a piece of land, owing to its proximity to land developed in a particular way, such as an isolated factory, may have had a high value before the Act for the purpose of extending that development, but, apart from the prospect of that special development, had little value save for the purposes to which it was actually being put.

Subsection (1) of Section 62 of the Town and Country Planning Act provides that Rules (2), (3) and (4) of the Rules set out in Section 2 of the Acquisition of Land (Assessment of Compensation) Act, 1919, are to apply in computing values under Part VI as they apply in relation to the compulsory purchase of interests in land. Rule (3) provides, among other things, that the special suitability or adaptability of land for any purpose shall not be taken into account if that purpose is one for which there is no market, apart from the special needs of a particular purchaser. Where, on the appointed day (1st July, 1948), a piece of land was, in fact, held by the owner of the adjoining land to whom, and to whom alone—it possessed this special value, the effect of Rule (3) is to reduce to little or nothing the development value disclosed by the claim, despite the fact that a substantial development charge may be incurred if the piece of land is, in fact, developed in this very likely manner.

I have, therefore, requested the Central Land Board, when valuing claims under Part VI to proceed on the basis of disregarding the provision in Rule (3) referred to above, in cases where the land was held before the appointed day by the claiming owner for the purpose of development in connection with his business carried on on adjoining land. Before the scheme is finally made, amending legislation will be needed to give effect to the arrangement which I am now describing, but from now on the Central Land Board will, at my request, proceed on the amended basis.

The arrangement which I have described will apply to claims of owners of land held for the extension of their own factory. It will also apply, in some cases, where a building or a plot of land adjoining a commercial property was held before the appointed day for incorporation within that property. It will not apply to any case where the land was not owned on the appointed day by the person to whom it had this special value. Moreover, it will not apply to cases where it is claimed that a dwelling-house might be extended over its garden; or to increase the unrestricted value of a part of a building above that which it would have in the open market, apart from the needs of the owner of the remainder.

It would not be practicable at this late stage to allow further claims to be made on the £300 million, even though potential claimants deliberately omitted to put in claims within the time limits prescribed by the Act and regulations, because they were of opinion that the application of Rule (3) would render a claim fruitless. I cannot at present—before the scheme to be made under Section 58 has been drafted—say what steps it will be necessary to take to meet cases of hardship which may be found to have arisen from this cause. If any such cases are notified to the Board, although no action with regard to them can be taken at present, they will be carefully recorded for such consideration as it may be decided to give to them at a future date. The same difficulties arise under Section 59 (1) of the Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act, 1947, and will be dealt with in the same way.

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