I beg to move, in line 4, to leave out the word "approved'' and to add instead thereof the words:
Referred to a Select Committee of four Members appointed by the Committee of Selection for their Report, which shall state whether in their opinion Section 7 (1) B of Part 2 of the First Schedule of the Order should be omitted; that the proceedings of the Committee "to which the Order is referred shall be conducted in like manner as in the case of a Provisional Order Confirmation Bill under Standing Order 151, and opponents of Section 7 (1) B of Part 2 of the First Schedule shall be heard, provided that a statement of objection shall have been deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office of the House of Commons before the fourth day sifter the date of this Order, but an opponent shall only be heard on the objections which have been specified in the Statement.
I move this Amendment with the concurrence of the Board of Trade, and after protracted negotiations.
I beg to second the Amendment.
I hope the House will accept it. The difficulty is entirely one of site. This is a case where a gas company proposed to dump down a gasometer, against the wishes of the parish council and the rural district council, on a site where it would seriously affect the amenities of a small village. We hope that the House will protect the interests of this small community, and not allow the gas company to override the wishes of the local residents.
As the Member for the constituency in which the company's works are situated I would like to say a few words. In the first place, I would thank the hon. Member for East Norfolk (Mr. Neville) for agreeing to withdraw his original Amendment and to substitute that which is now before us. My position in the matter has been a little bit difficult, for two reasons. As the Member for Great Yarmouth it was naturally my duty to try to support the gas company in their endeavours to shed a little light upon the dark places of the constituency of my hon. Friend. At the same time my interests are somewhat divided, because the constituency for which my hon. Friend sits was the first constituency which I had the honour of wooing, in the sense that it was my first political love. I must admit that I lost the election. It is said that "Tie better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all." My sympathies, therefore, were very largely with the hon. Member.
Secondly, Caister is a place adjacent to my constituency, and only a tram ride distant. The two constituencies are so situated that the amenities are often shared by them, and in fact the golf course at this place is called the Great Yarmouth and Caistor Golf Club. Speaking on behalf both of my present constituency and of the one which I once wooed and lost, I am glad this compromise has been reached. With regard to a remark of the Seconder of the Amendment, I do not think it was quite fair to the gas company. The gas company have committed no crime. They wanted to supply gas to the neighbouring districts, and they complied with every regulation and gave all the necessary notices, and no objection was taken, cither by the district council or the parish council at any of the ordinary stages at which such objection should be raised. I am not blaming these bodies, but that is the fact. It was only on the very eve of this matter coming before the House in August last, that objection was raised by the parish, and that objection was naturally brought before the House by my hon. Friend. I do not think any blame therefore attaches to the gas company, and I fed certain an honourable compromise will be arrived at by which neither the constituency of the hon. Member nor the gas company in my constituency will suffer.
The attention of the House ought to be called to this particular form of Resolution dealing with these Gas Orders. Those who were in the House in 1919 and 1920 will remember that the Act referred to here under which this Order is made, establishes an entirely new form of procedure under which these Orders require the positive approval of Parliament. This particular form of Amendment is intended to deal with, disputed cases, and its effect is to send these Orders back to go through the ordinary Private Bill procedure. There is a point in connection with this Amendment which I hope its promoters have carefully considered. It only refers to the committee the limited question of whether a particular section is to be included in the Order or not. Are they certain that this covers all that is desired? I warn the House of the danger of doing otherwise than remitting these Orders as a whole to these committees. Only a few months ago I had to move a similar Amendment but under the threat—if I may so call it—the Minister in charge was good enough to meet my wishes, and he agreed to accept a long string of Amendments to the Order. These were largely consequential, and merely meant the leaving out of one district, and they were settled most carefully by the Government Department. Ultimately, however, it was ascertained that if the Order had been passed in that form, they would have created chaos, and it was only the fact that the town clerk of Watford discovered these mistakes which caused the matter to be put right in time. I. therefore, urge the House that in the case of opposed Orders the matter should be sent back under the Private Bill procedure, and I respectfully suggest that, as a general rule, the whole Order should be sent back in the widest possible form.
That the draft of a Special Order proposed to be made by the Board of Trade under Section 10 of the Gas Regulation Act, 1920, on the application of the Great Yarmouth Gas Company, which was presented on the 10th July and published, be referred to a Select Committee of four members appointed by the Committee of Selection for their Report, which shall state whether in their opinion Section 7 (1) B of Part II of the First Schedule of the Order should be omitted; that the proceedings of the Committee to which the Order is referred shall be conducted in like manner as in the case of a Provisional Order Confirmation Bill under Standing Order 151, and opponents of Section 7 (1) B of Part II of the First Schedule shall be hoard, provided that a statement of objection shall have been deposited in the Committee and Private Bill Office of the House of Commons before the fourth day after the date of this Order, but an opponent shall only be heard on the objections which have been specified in the statement.