|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
Lord Livsey of Talgarth: My Lords, obviously I respect what the Minister said about devolution, and I agree that the National Assembly will consult on this very issue. However, even before consultation, direct elections are ruled out as a possible solution to the membership in Wales. I made what I hope was a pretty forthright statement on that tonight because I believe that it is wrong that it does not consider that option as well as all the other options. All it will do is consider what kind of nominees it will have, and that sort of thing. I accept the Minister's frown; I understand the reason for it, and I agree with her. However, the National Assembly must take this issue very seriously, because the model that it is using at the moment is not perfect. I totally accept the nomination of 25 per cent of members in the national interest; indeed, I am bound to do so as I am associated with the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales, for example. There is, however, a balance to be achieved between communities that are directly affected by planning decisions taken by unelected people. That is a very important principle, which is what I wanted to draw to the House's attention tonight. Therefore, in respecting the devolution settlement, I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I am advised by the Table that if the House makes its
20 Mar 2006 : Column 75
opinion clear on Amendment No. 135, it is up to the Government to take that into account with regard to Amendment No. 134B.
Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer: My Lords, I checked with the Table whether I should next move my amendment and test the opinion of the House on it, or whether, as I would prefer, we should first test its opinion on Amendment No. 135, should the noble Lord, Lord Chorley, decide to do so. I was told that if the House agreed to Amendment No. 135, we would be left with two Clause 59s, unless I sought to divide the House on my amendment as well. It would then be for the Government to choose whether to delete their own Clause 59, which would be superfluous.
Baroness Farrington of Ribbleton: My Lords, while I consider that, I should point out that proposed new subsection (4) of Amendment No. 135 would apply the 25 per cent to Secretary of State-appointed membership in England but not in Wales. There would be no minimum content in proposed subsection (3) of Amendment No. 134A, which does not apply the 25 per cent. If Amendment No. 135 were agreed to, we would have to come back to Amendment No. 134B at Third Reading. Does that help the noble Baroness?
"( ) If the use of a road by mechanically propelled vehicles has been removed by a traffic order and there no longer exists a carriageway appropriate for those vehicles, the use shall not be revived by revocation or amendment of that order, and a new carriageway and its use by mechanically propelled vehicles may only be permitted in accordance with the legislation that would apply if the carriageway and a public right of way for that use had never existed."
The noble Lord said: My Lords, I will now divert your attention to an entirely different subject, which might be to your relief. In Committee, I moved an amendment concerning the "Sloane Square" amendment. It was grouped with many other amendments and did not receive adequate consideration.
I shall address the effect of amending legislation on traffic regulation orders on rights of way issues and why I believe an amendment to the present regulations is necessary. The particular example giving rise to the amendments is in Sloane Square, although it may well not be unique. In the late 1920s, the original crossroads in Sloane Square were converted into a roundabout by means of a traffic regulations order made under the London Traffic Act 1924. Its effect continues under a consolidated traffic regulation order made for the whole of London in 1965. The former Chelsea borough council at first intended to seek a justice's order for the extinguishment of the original highways across what is now the central island. It then realised that that would result in the site of the roads reverting to the freeholder of the adjacent lands; namely the Cadogan Estate.
There were then no planning controls which could have prevented the owner allowing any use that suited it and there was considerable pressure for converting the island into a car park, which the council rightly considered undesirable. It therefore decided to leave the highway rights over the island for pedestrians only
20 Mar 2006 : Column 78
and in 1930 laid it out with the previous small adjoining islands as a paved public garden with trees, removing all indication of the original carriageways.
More than 75 years later, this oasis in the middle of the busy but not unattractive square and conservation area is enjoyed by local residents and visitors from all over the world. However, after what is considered by many to be a wholly inadequate non-statutory public consultation, Kensington and Chelsea Borough Council wish to revert to a carriageway on its original line across the island, dividing it into two sections and making other alterations which will provide some improvement for pedestrian traffic but gravely diminish the amenity and recreational value of the island and the character of the whole square. But because the affected land remains a highway, the existing traffic regulation order can be undone by a new order made by the councildelegated to its relevant cabinet memberwith no need to use the planning Act procedures except for minor details. The traffic regulation order procedure provides only limited mechanisms for public intervention, which can largely be ignored by the council; there is no right of appeal if that procedure has not been properly carried out.
The amendment seeks to set down grounds under which a traffic regulation order might be the subject of proper consultation and proper democratic procedures, so that people can make their objections and their views felt and that it will not be possible to override a traffic order which has been placed over a particular square, or anywhere else, by the limited intervention of a cabinet member of the local authority involved. I am sorry that this is a complicated matter and I ask that unless the Minister has an answer to it, he takes it away and gives it proper consideration. Although this is a small issue, it raises a rights-of-way matter where a traffic regulation order was placed a long time ago and can now apparently be set aside for relatively minor considerations. I beg to move.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|