Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Bill

Part of Ways and Means – in the House of Commons on 25th May 1943.

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Photo of Mr Lewis Silkin Mr Lewis Silkin , Camberwell Peckham

I think that would be convenient. The real criticism of town planning areas at the present time is that they are far too small. I had hoped that in this Bill my right hon. Friend would have done something about the reorganisation of local government, at any rate from a town planning point of view. If he were not able to do that—and possibly it is asking a great deal to reorganise local government in a town planning measure—I would have liked him to take far greater powers to amalgamate areas or to substitute areas one for another for town planning purposes than he has done. May I quote the example of the Metropolitan traffic area? In that area there are 117 town planning authorities. One can well imagine the kind of patchwork of planning which one could expect if each authority were to prepare a scheme for itself based entirely on its own needs, or what it regards as its own needs, regardless of conditions outside. I regard this proviso as the bare minimum which the Minister ought to be empowered to carryout. If I may refer to my Amendment, before the Minister brushed any local authority on one side he ought at least, as a matter of courtesy, consult it and give reasons why in his view it would be better for some other local authority to carry out its functions. I do not object to the principle. All I suggest is that the Minister, as I am sure my right hon. Friend would wish to do, should pay the local authority the courtesy of consulting it before he takes any action.