Housing and Planning Bill - Report (5th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 7:15 pm on 25th April 2016.

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Photo of Lord Cameron of Dillington Lord Cameron of Dillington Crossbench 7:15 pm, 25th April 2016

My Lords, I rise to support the second amendment in this group, Amendment 128YAR, on the duty of care where compulsory purchase powers are involved. I do so from personal experience. Some 25 or 30 years ago, I had the Ilminster bypass through my farm. It was part of the improvements to the A303, which I strongly supported. I still strongly support more improvements to the A303 and hope we shall get them. As a supporter, I expected to be an equal partner in the process, the scheme and the negotiations, but I was left in no doubt that, it being a compulsory purchase, I had little or no say in the way the project was developed over my land. I am talking not about engineering schemes, although I disagreed with it being downgraded from a dual carriageway to a very dangerous three-lane single carriageway, but about things such as on-site planting and off-site planting, where, as a fairly knowledgeable forester, I was definitely considered inferior to their expert and largely ignored. There needs to be rebalancing with an obligation on the purchasing agents and the acquiring authority to treat their customers with care. There is a very real danger of property owners, who include householders, businessmen, farmers and others, being bullied and bulldozed by the acquiring authority. It is not necessarily always an agent of the state; it can be a privatised authority. In essence, as an owner, you are over a barrel. Everyone knows it and that whatever the acquiring authority wants, it can pretty well get, whatever the views of the owner or householder involved. To avoid the acquiring authority riding roughshod over those it should be treating as customers, we need this duty of care to be introduced.