Orders of the Day — Housing Bill. – in the House of Commons on 17th May 1935.
(1) The provisions of the sections fifty-three and fifty-four of this Act shall not have effect in the case of premises comprised in a clearance order or compulsory purchase order confirmed by the Minister under Part I of the Act of 1930 or in the case of premises comprised in a re-development plan approved by him.
(2) Where proposals are submitted to a local authority under section fifty-three or fifty-four of this Act in relation to premises not comprised in such an order or plan so confirmed or approved as aforesaid but comprised in an area which has been defined as a clearance area or as a proposed re-development area, the authority may, in lieu of proceeding as mentioned in that section, transmit the proposals to the Minister, and the Minister shall deal with the proposals in connection with the consideration by him of the clearance order or compulsory purchase order, or of the re-development plan, as the case may be, as if the proposals had been objections to the order or plan made on the date on which the proposals were submitted to the authority, and if, in confirming the order or plan, the Minister excludes the premises from the clearance area or the re-development area, the authority shall thereupon proceed in relation to the proposals as mentioned in the said section and the provisions thereof shall have effect accordingly.—[Sir H. Young.]
I beg to move, "That the Clause be read a Second time."
The Clause has been introduced by the Government in order to carry out a promise which was given on the Committee stage to meet certain criticisms which were put forward. The House will remember that there are important provisions in Clauses 53 and 54 of the Bill. Clause 53, with which we are particularly concerned, has this effect. The local authority has extensive powers under the Bill for re-developing areas that are overcrowded or contain broken-down wage earners' dwellings. The Clause gives somewhat similar powers for the development of owners' land, which are strengthened, at any rate, in the hands of the actual owners, in this form, that they are given the opportunity of putting forward their own development schemes to effect the same things as those effected by re-development schemes of a local authority. It was said that there must be some limitation of time as regards the power of owners of the land to put forward their own re-development schemes, and that when the matter got to a certain stage in the hands of the local authority it should not be open to the owners at the eleventh hour, or even after the eleventh hour, or after the twelfth hour to hold up proceedings by putting forward their own proposals. I think it was agreed that it would be reasonable to say that the schemes should not be put forward by the owners after the clearance order or the compulsory purchase order necessary for the purpose of a re-development scheme had been confirmed or approved by the Minister, and that is the effect of Sub-section (1) of the Clause. Upon that there was no difference of opinion; at any rate none was known to me.
The second part of the Clause deals with a different aspect of the same matter. It is really an amplification of the Bill in order to simplify procedure. It contemplates the conditions when the owners shall have put forward their proposals after the land in question has been comprised in the scheme of the local authority, and before the order has been confirmed. It says that in those circumstances the local authority shall have the option either of following the normal procedure under the Bill of considering the proposals of the owners and then passing on to their own proposals, or they shall be able to short-circuit the procedure in a manner which is practicable and reasonable, by referring the proposals of the owners directly to the Minister of Health in the nature of objection to their own proposals. That introduces a more business-like procedure from the point of view of local authorities, and from the point of view of the owners it has the following advantages. It gives expressed recognition to what is otherwise definitely implied in the Bill, that the Minister has the opportunity of considering the proposals of the owners when he is passing judgment on the proposals of the local authority. That posi- tion thus obtains express recognition in Sub-section (2). In those circumstances, I think that the Clause can be added to the Bill as fulfilling the undertaking which was given in Committee.