Clause 57. — (Power of local authority to order demolition of obstructive building.)

Orders of the Day — Housing Bill. – in the House of Commons on 20th May 1935.

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10.6 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

I beg to move, in page 47, line 28, at the end, to insert: (3) This section shall not apply to a building which is the property of statutory undertakers, unless it is used for the purposes of a dwelling-house, showroom, or office, or which is the property of a local authority. This is the Clause which gives power to the local authority to order demolition of obstructive buildings. It was suggested upstairs in Committee that, for instance, a gas company having put up a gasometer ought not to be in danger of having it demolished as an obstructive building. The Amendment is, I think, in accordance with the general scheme of our legislation in these matters.

10.7 p.m.

Photo of Dr Christopher Addison Dr Christopher Addison , Swindon

I think that we are entitled to a little more explanation on this Amendment. As I understand the exemption which he is proposing should be inserted in the Clause, a gasometer, for instance, could not by any means be removed. It might mean that a clearance proposed by a local authority and the replanning of the area would be completely sterilised and made almost impossible if a veto of this kind were inserted in the Bill. While it is clearly right and proper that some fair provision should be made for dealing with cases of that kind, and for providing alternative plans in a convenient place or convenient to the new plan, it does seem to be rather unreasonable that a complete exemption of this kind, without any qualification and not subject to any inquiry or appeal, should be inserted in the Bill. I think that it would be useful if the Solicitor-General could give us some further explanation.

10.10 p.m.

Photo of Mr Donald Somervell Mr Donald Somervell , Crewe

The right hon. Gentleman, I think, is familiar with—I hesitate to remind him of—the proviso of Section 64 of the Housing Act, 1925, which excepts from compulsory powers in effect the property of statutory undertakings. Surely if it be right to except them from compulsory acquisition, you should also except them from a Clause which enables them to be demolished. It is simply bringing into this Cause the limitation of compulsory powers which already exist in Section 64 of the 1925 Act. It is reasonable that offices and showrooms should not be given the same protection which the more essential parts are given. I do not want to delay the House, and I think that the right hon. Gentleman will realise that the Amendment is really in line with other parts of our housing legislation which give compulsory powers.

Amendment agreed to.