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 John Dugdale Mr John Dugdale , West Bromwich

I beg to move, in page 2, line 3, at the end, to add: (3) Any local authority required by the Ministry to prepare a scheme shall also prepare a schedule of buildings of architectural and historical merit which are deemed to be worthy of preservation. We have been discussing means of preserving one of our national heritages, our green fields. I wish to discuss the possibility of preserving another, namely. buildings, many of them constructed in a bygone age, of architectural or historical value. The Amendment is very small, and I fear it will not go far towards achieving the result which many of us want: But as it is small I hope the Minister will be able to accept it. Under the principal Act local authorities have been empowered to prepare schedules of buildings which are deemed to he worthy of preservation. Such schedules do not in fact ensure that the buildings will be preserved. They merely ensure that there shall be a list which can be referred to, and that the local authority itself, by the very preparation of the schedule, shall be cognisant of every individual building in its district worthy of preservation. I understand that the new Bill, when it becomes law, will refer in the main to local authorities which I think I might call backward in so far as they have not previously prepared schemes of their own. It cannot be assumed that those authorities which have been backward before will, in fact, prepare schedules simply because they are asked to do so. I would submit that they must be told it is their duty to prepare schedules such as have been prepared by the L.C.C. and many other local authorities. I would ask the Minister, if he cannot accept this precise form of words, whether he will not do something which will compel all local authorities to prepare these schedules in the same way as some have already prepared them, so that we may at least know what buildings there are in the land worthy of preservation, whether or not we do preserve them.