Oral Answers to Questions — Petroleum (Consolidation) Act (Appeals).

– in the House of Commons on 10th December 1931.

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Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

26.

asked the Home Secretary if he is aware that at a public inquiry held into an application for a licence for storage of petrol at Acre Lane, Wallington, Surrey, the inspector of the Home Office there stated that, in arriving at a decision, he would not be influenced by any questions of amenities, depreciation of property, or sentiment; and whether this statement was made with the authority of the Home Office?

Photo of Mr Herbert Samuel Mr Herbert Samuel , Darwen

The answer is in the affirmative. I am advised that the Home Secretary has no power to take these matters into consideration when deciding appeals under the Petroleum (Consolidation) Act, 1928, and the inspectors when holding investigations are necessarily confined within the limits of the statutory power under which they are acting.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Is it essential that the Home Office should overrule the decision of the district council?

Photo of Mr Herbert Samuel Mr Herbert Samuel , Darwen

Not, so far as I am aware, on grounds which come under the Petroleum Act. If other questions of amenities arise, they must be dealt with under the Town Planning Act, and the question should be addressed to the Minister of Health.

Photo of Sir Francis Fremantle Sir Francis Fremantle , St Albans

Does the right hon. Gentleman recognise that his decision is directly at variance with the whole future of town planning, and, consequently, that he is making it permanently bad for town planning? Could the right hon. Gentleman not get into touch with the Minister of Health in order that this matter may be considered, and will the Bill which is to be introduced by the Minister of Health deal with this question?

Photo of Mr Herbert Samuel Mr Herbert Samuel , Darwen

I have no authority to deal with these matters. The Act simply deals with danger from fire, and the inspector cannot enlarge the inquiry to general amenities.

Photo of Mr John Jones Mr John Jones , West Ham Silvertown

Is not a question which deals with human life more important than the amenities of the public?