§ Lords Amendment: No. 7, in page 51, line 4, after "permission" insert "(a)".
§ 5.30 p.m.
§ Mr. Deputy Speaker
With this amendment we shall also discuss Lords Amendment No. 8, in page 51, line 5, after "force" insert—or(b) would be so granted but for a direction given under the order.and Lords Amendment No. 9, in page 51, line 7, after "is" insert "or would be".
§ Mr. Oakes
These amendments arose from the point raised in the Lords in Committee, when Lord Sandford questioned whether paragraph 1 of Schedule 1, as originally drafted, covered the case of development which would normally be permitted under the general development order, but where, for special reasons, an Article 4 direction had been made requiring express planning permission to be applied for in respect of that development. It was always intended that in such cases the development should remain within exempt development.
But the original drafting did not achieve this. The present amendments remedy the defect, and ensure that the definition of exempt development remains the same in all areas even if there are Article 4 directions in force in some.
§ Mr, Rossi
I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for that explanation and also for meeting the point raised by my noble 1183 Friend in the House of Lords. Can the hon. Gentleman enlighten the House by explaining what is an Article 4 direction? It is nothing within the contemplation of this Bill and must therefore emanate from other legislation. For the purpose of the record, it would assist the explanation if it could be defined.
§ Mr. Graham Page
Will the hon. Gentleman personally supervise the reprinting of this paragraph? Since we have inserted two paragraphs, (a) and (b), in line 5, which contains the words "which is carried out," I would suggest that a fresh line should be begun there so that those words qualify both paragraphs. If the printing is not altered, it will look as though the last few words qualify only the new paragraph (b), whereas I believe that they will qualify both paragraphs. I am sorry to be pedantic about the printing, but this is something that will assist those who have to put this measure into operation.
§ Mr. Oakes
I will certainly look at that point. It is essential that a measure such as this should be correctly drafted and easily understood. I am certain that we shall eventually achieve that. I take note of what the right hon. Gentleman has said.
An Article 4 direction is made very rarely. It is made by the Secretary of State to exempt from a general development order a particular development in an area because of the nature of the development. Since becoming a Minister, I can recall only one. It related to agricultural development. It was in an area where development was taking place as very marginal agricultural development to such an extent that it altered the planning conditions of the area. An Article 4 direction was made in that case.
The amendment cures a defect in the original Bill. It was always intended that the development should remain within exempt development. If an Article 4 direction were made in some areas, as the Bill stood it could come out of that category. The amendment cures that defect and ensures that the definition of "exempt development" remains the same in all areas even if an Article 4 direction is in force in one of those areas.
§ Question put and agreed to.1184
§ Subsequent Lords amendments agreed to.
§ Lords Amendment: No. 11, in page 51, line 11, leave out from "dwelling-houses" to end of line 15.
§ Mr. Oakes
I beg to move, That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said amendment.
The amendment deletes the restriction on the definition of "agriculture or forestry" in paragraph 2 of Schedule I which excludes from "exempt development"operations for the erection, improvement or alteration of buildings used for the purposes of market gardens, nursery grounds or timber yards or for other purposes not connected with general farming operations or with the cultivation or felling of trees".The problem of horticultural buildings was raised in Committee in some detail by the hon. Member for Buckingham (Mr. Benyon), and he returned to the matter later on Report. I agreed to look at whether we had the exception right in its new context.
The Opposition returned to the point in another place and carried this amendment deleting the restriction on paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 and thus bringing horticultural buildings within exempt development. This change is acceptable to the Government so far as its effect on the scope of the acquisition power is concerned. They were, however, bound to resist the amendment as originally presented because it would also have brought the value of the ability to erect horticultural buildings within the definition of current use value in Clause 25. However, in the other place the Opposition themselves recognised that the current use value implications were unacceptable, for they brought forward an amendment to Clause 25 which would have the effect of restricting the current use value implications of Schedule 1 to paragraph 1, which deals with GDO development alone. On this basis, the amendment to paragraph 2 of Schedule 1 is acceptable, and the Government are prepared to accept it.
At the end of the day, therefore, though it has taken the hon. Member for Buckingham a long time, he has won the principle of his argument.
§ Mr. W. Benyon (Buckingham)
I cannot refrain from thanking the Minister for this sensible solution. I recall that 1185 on Report there was a long and inconclusive discussion on this subject between the Minister and the hon. Member for the Isle of Wight (Mr. Ross). In the other place, their Lordships got to the heart of the matter to a much greater degree. I am sure that this outcome will be greatly welcomed by the farming community.
§ Mr. Stephen Ross (Isle of Wight)
I cannot understand why the hon. Member for Folkestone and Hythe (Mr. Costain) is missing from the Chamber at this very important moment.
I welcome the Government's decision, though perhaps I may be allowed to ask the Minister one question. I presume that glasshouses in excess of 10,000 sq.ft. will come under this Bill and into the definition of "exempt development". However, I presume also that they will still come under the planning requirements and have to go through the normal planning controls, even though they are exempted under this clause. This was a point which I raised on Report. I do not know that it has ever been answered. However, I have no wish to be awkward at a moment when the Government are