HC Deb 26 June 1964 vol 697 cc825-7

12.24 p.m.

Mr. Martin Maddan (Hitchin)

I beg to move, in page 1, line 5, to leave out from beginning to "shall" in line 12 and to insert: (1) Any order under section 1 of the New Towns Act 1946". I think that it would be convenient to discuss my other Amendment at the same time, in line 16.

Mr. Speaker

If that is convenient to the House.

Mr. Maddan

I am obliged, Mr. Speaker.

The Amendments have a very simple intent. They tidy up the drafting of the Bill and have some consequential effects. Ever since the New Towns Act, 1946, it has been the practice of the Ministry of Housing to make designation orders by Statutory Instrument. The first Amendment merely ensures that that practice will continue whether the orders relate to new towns or to large or small extensions. It also leaves out what was included previously in the Bill, namely, a reference to Section 19 of the New Towns Act, 1946. That Section merely defines the powers contained in Section 1, and since the orders are made under the powers contained in Section 1, there is no need to refer to Section 19 in this Bill.

The second Amendment provides some neater drafting, for which I am indebted to the usual sources, and defines more clearly what extensions are covered in the Bill and what are not. In particular, it makes clear that the definition of size refers to the size of all extensions within a particular order. There might be extensions in different quarters of the compass; which are all contained in the same order.

Amendment agreed to.

Further Amendment made: In page 1, line 16, after "if", insert: (a) the order it contains is one designating an area as the site of a proposed new town or designating an additional area of not less than five hundred acres which would extend the area of a new town by not less than ten per cent.; and (b).—[Mr. Maddan.]

12.27 p.m.

Mr. Maddan

I beg to move, That the Bill be now read the Third time.

I want to take this opportunity of thanking my right hon. and hon. Friends on the back benches, and hon. Members opposite, who have co-operated in securing the passage of the Bill. I also wish to thank my right hon. Friend the Minister and my hon. Friend the Parliamentary Secretary and their Department for all the help that I have received from them, and also the Clerks in the Public Bill Office.

The procedure contained in the Bill, which makes designation orders for new towns and major extensions subject to annulment by either House of Parliament, will not, in practice, have any delaying effect on the designation of new towns and, after their designation, getting them going. That is because, as I explained on another occasion, the first procedures which have to be taken—appointing the Chairman of the corporation and its members—can continue during the 40 Parliamentary days while the order is subject to a Prayer.

In practice, what we are doing will not hold up any development. But the Bill will make the Minister—who, in respect of a new town, is the initiator, financier, planner, developer, decider and, indeed, the final judge on appeal—directly accountable to both Houses of Parliament for the decisions he makes on designation orders. The Bill will, therefore, enable Parliament to do what I am certain the public regards as its proper job in respect of new town designation orders.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.