I beg to move, in page 1, to leave out lines 15 to 21.
Under the existing law as contained in Section 10 of the Town and Country Planning Act, 1932, provision is made in regard to the interim development of land within an area to which a resolution to adopt a planning scheme applied and that Section gives some but not sufficient control to the planning authorities in regard to developments that may take place prior to the actual making of a planning scheme. The defect in the Section is that a person can still develop land notwithstanding the planning authority's refusal of consent if he is prepared to risk the inclusion in the scheme as eventually made of a provision depriving him of compensation in respect of the building which has been erected contrary to the development. It is suggested that no serious hardship is experienced by landowners by reason of the interim control of development given by Section 1o, as all decisions of the planning authority may be the subject of an appeal to the Ministry of Health. The purpose of this Clause 1 (1) of the Bill is to bring those parts of the country which are not already the subject of a town planning.resolution within the scope of the interim development control, and it provides that areas in which a town planning resolution is not already in force shall be deemed to be subject to such a resolution, that is,
that it shall be deemed to have been duly passed by the local authority for the district in which the land is situated.
These words, of course, mean the local authority by virtue of the provisions of the Act, namely, as respects the City of London the Common Council of that City, as respects the County of London the
London County Council, and elsewhere the councils of county boroughs and county districts. The expression "county districts" means urban rural districts and non-county boroughs. We put this Amendment forward largely on behalf of the Urban District Councils Association, whose view is that interim development control should be exercised by the local authority as defined and that it should not be open to the Minister to make an order transferring the responsibility to another local authority or to a county council or to a joint committee. There is no provision in the Act of 1932 for a compulsory transfer of this kind. There are provisions for voluntary transfer, and* it is difficult to see why the Minister should wish that different provisions should be applicable to the interim control which is exercisable under the Bill.
Under Section 2 (2) of the Act, the council of a county district may at any time by agreement relinquish in favour of the county council any of their powers or duties under the Act. There have been many cases of relinquishment of this kind. Under Section 3 two or more local authorities may appoint a joint committee for the purpose of acting jointly in the preparation or adoption of a scheme, and they may delegate to that committee any powers under the Act other than the power of borrowing money or levying a rate. Again, under Section 4, the Minister, where it appears to be expedient that two or more local authorities should act jointly in the preparation or adoption of a scheme, may, at the request of one or more of them, by order provide for the continuance of a joint committee for that purpose. We propose largely that those things should be continued. We feel that in this proviso you are taking away the voluntary association of various councils with the desired object in View. It cannot be said to be in the nature of a default power, as the local authority could not be said to be in default merely because Clause i operates in regard to land which has not already been the subject of a standing resolution. If it should be suggested that the proviso is only operative where there is something in the nature of default, the answer is that these powers are already contained in Section 36 of the Act of 1932. The omission of the proviso has already been proposed to the Minister by the Urban District Councils Association. The
Ministry, while not replying to the Urban District Councils Association, has sent a letter to another association, and if that were made applicable generally, it would be accepted. The Ministry wrote:
As you are aware planning powers in respect of areas which have already been planned have in some cases been relinquished under Section 2 (2) and 3 (1) of the Act of 1932 to the county council or delegated to a joint committee, and in others are being exercised by a neighbouring authority. In such cases it may be convenient that a new area coming under planning for the first time under the provisions of the sub-section should also be planned by the county council or the joint committee or other authority as the case may be. The only object of the proviso is to enable the Minister by order to give a direction accordingly.
If such an assurance embodied in those words could be put into the Bill, the Urban District Councils Association would be satisfied, but without it the proviso is wide enough to permit of an Order being made by the Minister transferring the power to an entirely different local authority in respect of a part of the district, although in the rest of the district the existing powers are being discharged by the local authority itself. While I am ready to admit that present conditions may warrant any great interference with the Minister having new powers, we should endeavour to get as much local agreement as possible. I therefore move this Amendment and ask the Minister for some assurance on the matter.