Public House Land (Court Case)

Oral Answers to Questions — Agriculture – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 2nd August 1951.

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Photo of Mr Robert Crouch Mr Robert Crouch , North Dorset 12:00 am, 2nd August 1951

asked the Minister of Agriculture whether his attention has been drawn to the decision of the Court of Appeal, Dunn v. Fidoe, 1950, whereby a brewery company leasing a public house, with land attached, on a yearly tenancy, is adjudged to have acquired a title to the land in perpetuity subject only to an appeal to him under Section 25 (1, d) of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1948, and that this title can be assigned to another company; and whether he will take action to remedy this anomaly.

Photo of Mr Arthur Champion Mr Arthur Champion , Derbyshire South East

My right hon. Friend is aware of the decision of the Court of Appeal, to which the hon. Member refers, which was that on the facts of that particular case the public house concerned, and the land attached to it, comprised an agricultural holding for the purposes of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1948. Since before the proceedings were taken, the Agricultural Land Tribunal had withheld their consent to the operation of a notice to quit given by the landlord to the tenant, such notice is now ineffective.

It is not true, however, to say that the tenant has thereby acquired a title to the land in perpetuity. The nature of the tenant's interest is entirely unchanged by the Court's decision that the holding is an agricultural holding for the purposes of the Act. The tenant is only entitled to such security of tenure as that Act gives to tenants.

Photo of Mr Robert Crouch Mr Robert Crouch , North Dorset

Has the attention of the Minister been drawn to cases on similar lines? Will he see that in such cases the public house and the land can be vacated without encountering the difficulties which were encountered in the case to which I have referred?

Photo of Mr Arthur Champion Mr Arthur Champion , Derbyshire South East

If the hon. Member is thinking in terms of removing what appears to him an anomaly in this connection, my reply is that that can only be done by amendment of the Agricultural Holdings Act, 1948. Any alteration on these lines can only be done by amendments to that Act.

Photo of Mr Robert Crouch Mr Robert Crouch , North Dorset

I hope that in the near future we may have an amendment to that Act on these lines.