Local Government (Planning and Development) Bill, 1973: Committee Stage (Resumed).

Question again proposed: "That section 22, as amended, stand part of the Bill."
Question put and agreed to.
SECTION 23.

I move amendment No. 60:

Before section 23 to insert a new section as follows:

"No lease, conveyance or building contract shall be valid unless it is in conformity with planning regulations."

This is a simple amendment and it may not be in correct legal terminology. It was put down to try to bring in behind the planning regulations the force of law. Not being a lawyer I am not aware of the complications that might be involved in the amendment but I would be interested to hear the Minister's views on it. The object is clear, to try to introduce into the regulations a policing power to ensure that when the planning authority is not there, when the office has closed down in the evening, anything done contrary to the planning regulations should or could be deemed to be contrary to the lease or conveyance of the structure being erected.

The amendment is unacceptable. The immediate effect would be to introduce confusion and uncertainty in normal commercial transactions. The provision would be unworkable because planning authorities would be snowed under with requests for certificates or other verifications that thousands of transactions were in order. They have enough to do already making development plans or touring development sites without an added burden which would involve the creation of a new system of verifications, plans and so on. Many leases and conveyances relate to property where development was carried out prior to the introduction of planning or where no change of use or development is proposed. The amendment is defective in its reference to planning regulations.

There is no provision in the 1963 Act, or in the Bill, which imposes a requirement with which leases, conveyances and building contracts have to conform. I presume the Deputy has in mind the purpose for which property is leased or conveyed.

That is a separate matter and it could not be settled at this time. As regards building contracts many of these would relate to exempted development. It is not acceptable and I do not think it is workable.

I appreciate that but my object was to get the planning authority out of the difficulty where there is deliberate infringement of planning regulations.

I accept that point.

It was put forward by me in order to get the Minister, and his advisers, to look at the matter.

Would it not be desirable to have such an amendment in a case where the land is purchased and planning permission has been applied for? As a result of the High Court decision in the Frascati case local authorities state that the person must own or have the consent of the owner to the getting of planning permission before he gets planning permission. They are writing in a clause which makes planning permission conditional on the consent of the owner being given. This puts a lot of people in a difficult position where they have made an arrangement for the purchase of land or have completed the purchase. There is something here that should be tidied up.

That is an entirely different matter. I am sure Deputy Brugha would agree with me. The idea of the amendment appeared to be to make it more simple for planning authorities, and the information I have is that it would do the direct opposite because of complications. Deputy Cunningham is talking about a different matter, but he must remember that planning permission is given to the person who owns the land. I know of people who have applied for planning permission, out of malice, for land which they did not own. If the person who owns the land does not like or does not want to do that——

I will withdraw the amendment.

I should like to explain fully what is meant by this.

The Minister is holding up his own Bill. The Minister wants to hold up the Bill; he is wasting time unnecessarily, good planning permission time.

If the Opposition withdrawen bloc about 30 amendments which make no sense——

We cannot withdraw them if the Minister insists on talking on them.

Deputy Cunningham insists on talking about something he knows nothing about. Even Deputy Brugha admitted that he was not defining the same thing as Deputy Cunningham.

When Deputy Kelly intervened in this debate he put a lot of innuendo on the record of the House. I should like to put some facts on the record. Fianna Fáil were asked to agree to a debate——

(Interruptions.)

On a point of order, if there is any explanation to be given the person to give that explanation is the Whip. Let the Fianna Fáil Whip give an explanation if he wishes. We are listening to people over there giving explanations about things they know nothing about.

We were asked to accept this Bill for debate tomorrow without exercising our right to vote if we wished to oppose sections. It was the denial of our democratic right suggested by the Government which we decry.

The Fianna Fáil Whip is the person to give any explanations. Deputy Molloy should not talk about something he knows nothing about.

Puff, puff, from the Minister will not change a fact.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

I move amendment No. 61:

In subsection (1), page 14, line 38, after "other person" to insert "who can show reasonable cause".

The same principle applies here as applies in relation to cases where there are vexatious appeals to the Minister or, in future, to the board. While I recognise that applications to the High Court in these circumstances will be less frequent than appeals against permission granted by the planning authority, nevertheless it is important that we should ensure that vexatious applications are curtailed, while at the same time ensuring that provision is made for reasonable and proper applications to the High Court.

I also would like to refer here to the question of costs. Is there any precedent by which we can judge how costs will be apportioned if an individual makes an appeal to the High Court and (a) he should win and (b) he should lose?

Progress reported; Committee to sit again.