§ Mr. Ewing
The effect of Amendment No. 347 is to disapply the wordsor fuel or field garden allotmentin the application of Clause 39(1) to Scotland. Clause 39(1) sets out the circumstances under which the Secretary of State may acquire land in addition to that needed for public service.
Amendment No. 347 is consequential.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendment made: No. 347, in page 36, line 24, at end insert—
'In the application of this subsection to Scotland the words "or fuel or field garden allotment" shall be omitted. '.—[Mr. Harry-Ewing.]
§ Mr. Oakes
These Government amendments arise from an undertaking which 1239 was given in Committee when Opposition Members were concerned about the point. Perhaps I can briefly explain them. Any use of the acquisition powers extended by subsection (2) will be founded on a basic requirement for land for public use, for example, Government offices. Only when such a requirement exists will the question arise whether other developments not actually required for public service use ought to be combined with the public service development. Although the motivation for the acquisition and development will be the needs of the public service, it does not follow that in all such cases the public service will need to occupy the greater part of the development in physical terms.
In future, when a public service development is proposed and the local authority indicates, in the course of its normal consultation procedure, that it considers a mixed public and private development as the most suitable approach for the area, the effect of this amendment comes into operation. It is basically in response to an undertaking which we gave in Committee.
§ Mr. Sainsbury
We are back with the consequences of my old friend the Commission of Works Act 1852 about which I remember writing reports a long time ago.
In Committee we suggested the word "primarily" instead of "partly". The helpful notes with which we have been supplied suggest that this change in wording is to meet the point raised in Committee that this kind of development should be where the majority of the accommodation would be for the public service. I am not clear from what the hon. Gentleman said that using the wordsnot only for the public service but alsomakes that absolutely clear, although it is implied in the notes. Is there any precedent for using the wordsnot only for the public service but alsowhich implies that the majority of the development must be for the public service, as was the point in the debate in Committee and as is implied in the notes on the effect of the amendment?
§ Mr. Graham Page
I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Hove (Mr. 1240 Sainsbury). The intentions may be very good and laudable in endeavouring to meet the point raised by my hon. Friends and myself in Committee, but I cannot see how they have met that point.
We were seeking to ensure that an authority should not take over land ostensibly for use for the public service and then develop it for other purposes—perhaps keeping one room as a Government office and disposing of the whole of a 20-storey block for commercial purposes.
In Committee I suggested that if we said that land should be acquired primarily for the public service but could be used for other purposes, that would meet the case. The wording in the amendment,it is proposed to use not only for the public service but also",does not seem to meet the point at all. I wonder why the Minister did not adopt the obvious phraseology of saying that the public service should be the primary purpose and instead chose the words now in the amendment which do not alter the position about which we were complaining in Committee.
§ Mr. Oakes
I think that the words do alter the situation. That was their intention.
The original Opposition amendment in Committee proposed that the land should be used primarily for the public service or mainly or any words meaning or implying more than 50 per cent.
The Government's amendments approach the matter in a different way, emphasising, by positioning the words,it is proposed to use not only for the public service but also",before paragraphs (a) and (b), that the acquisition for use for other purposes must be justified by the factors set out in those paragraphs. That is why this subsection is amended in the way that is proposed.
The mixed development will usually be in the form of Government offices on top of public amenities such as shops, other offices, a restaurant, and so on. The public service element in that type of development would be the major element in physical terms. However, this will not necessarily be so in all cases of mixed development. For example, a small Government office might be required in a particular location where, for economic and 1241 environmental reasons, it is necessary to develop to a much greater extent. In that situation, the public service element would not predominate in physical terms, but would be no less essential concerning the siting of the office.
§ Amendment agreed to.
Amendment made: No. 230, in page 36, line 31, leave out:
'it is proposed to use partly for the public service and partly'.—[Mr. Oakes.]