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Draft Commonhold Bill

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Lord Chancellor (Lord Mackay of Clashfern): No discussions were held. However, published material about similar forms of title in other countries was taken into account.

Lord Williams of Elvel asked Her Majesty's Government:

    How many responses they have received to the consultation process on the draft Commonhold Bill and (a) how many of that number were critical of the draft Bill and (b) what were the main criticisms put forward.

The Lord Chancellor: There were 60 consultation responses. Most supported the principle of commonhold and raised helpful practical points. The main concerns expressed were about:

(a) the restriction of length of lease on a commonhold unit to a maximum of 25 years;

(b) the commonhold association's power to sell a unit to recover unpaid service charges without the requirement of a court order;

(c) whether the Bill should compel freeholders to consent to conversion to a commonhold;

(d) the lack of an alternative dispute resolution process;

(e) too great a reliance on secondary legislation for the details of the system.

Public Record Office

Lord Denning asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Further to the Answer of the Earl Howe on 31st October (col. WA 27), whether the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane was built, executed and used by the authority of a public statute--namely the Public Records Act of 1838--and was for the purpose of keeping safe the public records including the records of the Chancery of England in the custody of the Master of the Rolls and whether those documents should have been retained in that building and not removed from it except by a new Act of Parliament.

The Lord Chancellor: The Public Record Office Act 1838 (1 & 2 Vic c 94) placed the records of the Chancery of England in the custody of the Master of the Rolls, and empowered him also to take into his custody other records belonging to Her Majesty. These records were at the time located in many different buildings, and the Act permitted the Master of the Rolls to move them from one place to another. The Act additionally said that a Public Record Office should be created as soon as possible and directed the Treasury to provide (Section 7):

    "such suitable and proper or additional Building or Buildings as may be required for the Reception and safe Custody of all the Public Records".

The Rolls Estate Act 1837 (1 Vic c 46) vested the Rolls Estate in Chancery Lane (which had previously been granted to successive Masters of the Rolls) in Her Majesty. It also authorised the Commissioners of

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HM Woods, Forests, Land Revenues, Works and Buildings to appropriate (Section 4):

    "any Part or Parts which they may think proper of the ... Rolls Estate to or for the Purposes of any of the Courts ... or for a Depository of the records of the Court of Chancery ... or other Public Records, or for any other public Purpose connected with the Administration of Justice or the Custody or Preservation of Records or Documents".

In neither of these Acts was there any requirement that the records of the Chancery of England be preserved in the Chancery Lane building, which did not exist until some years later. Instead, they were both permissive: the Rolls Estate Act provided a site in case it should be required and the Public Record Office Act gave the Master of the Rolls and the Treasury authority to select a suitable site and build a record office. In the event they did choose the Chancery Lane site and that part of the Rolls Estate now occupied by the Public Record Office was appropriated, work commencing on the construction of the new building in 1851.

The Public Record Office Act was repealed in its entirety by the Public Records Act 1958 (1958 c 51), which similarly contains no requirements about the location of the Office or the records. The Rolls Estate Act was repealed by the Statute Law (Repeals) Act 1975 (1975 c 10), with the exception of Section 4, which contains the provisions for appropriation quoted above.

Since there is no statutory requirement about the location of the office or the records, there is no need for a new Act of Parliament for the removal of the records from the Public Record Office in Chancery Lane.

EC Volatile Organic Compound Directive

Lord Pearson of Rannoch asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they believe that the view of the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Trade and Industry (Lord Strathclyde) expressed in a letter of 3rd May 1993 to the European Communities Committee that the effects of a volatile organic compound directive "will give the United Kingdom the maximum flexibility in implementation, and allow the Government to ensure that small rural petrol stations will not have to bear unreasonable cost" has been justified, and, if so, why.

The Minister of State, Department of the Environment (Earl Ferrers): The EC "Stage 1" Directive on the control of volatile organic compound emissions during the storage and distribution of petrol, referred to in the question, was transposed into British legislation by statutory instrument last month. I fully share the view, which was expressed by my noble friend Lord Strathclyde in 1993, that the derogations which the United Kingdom successfully sought to be included in the directive have given us flexibility in its implementation and will ensure that small rural petrol stations will not have to bear unreasonable costs.

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Service stations with an annual throughput smaller than 100 cubic metres are exempt altogether. Those with an annual throughput between 100-500 cubic metres, and which are located in a geographical area or on a site where vapour emissions are unlikely to contribute significantly to environmental or health problems, may also be exempted.

We intend to make full use of this derogation for existing service stations, although at the request of the petroleum industry we have delayed defining the exempt areas until nearer 2004 when the regulations will come into force for stations of that size. This is to ensure that they are identified on the basis of the best scientific information which is then available. The regulations already specify exempt areas for new stations of that size. These are located in rural parts of northern Scotland.

Gypsy Caravan Sites

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    What was the expenditure on the grant aid to local authorities for gypsy caravan sites in each of the years 1992-93 to 1995-96, and how this compared with the forecast in the public expenditure review for each of those years.

Earl Ferrers: The grant aid paid to local authorities in the United Kingdom for gypsy caravan sites, compared with original and final provision for each of the years 1992-93 to 1995-96, was:

£ million

Original provisionFinal provisionExpenditure

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

    Whether they will publish a list of the gypsy caravan sites for which Stage II approval has been given but which were not yet built, given for each site the number of pitches, at the time of the January count in each of the years 1992 to 1996 inclusive.

Earl Ferrers: At January 1996, there were 110 uncompleted schemes in the United Kingdom with Stage II approval (or equivalent), which would provide 1,907 pitches. Of these schemes, 51 (813 pitches) were new sites. The remaining 59 (1,094 pitches) represent refurbishment of existing sites. A list of these sites is attached.

I regret that to provide this information for preceding years would entail disproportionate cost.

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Site(N)ew / (R)efurbNumber of pitches
Corbriggs, ChesterfieldR16
Daneshill, NottinghamshireN16
Meynells Gorse, LeicesterR20
Roundlands, Boston, LincolnshireN4
Bignalls Corner, HertsmereN15
Blackwell, MerewayR10
Chiltern View, Easton BrayR25
Dyes Lane, StevenageN14
Earith Bridge, CambridgeshireR40
Elizabeth Way, EssexR21
Felsted Ph2, Uttlesford, EssexR10
Fenland Way ChatterisR12
Fernhill Lane, HarlowN23
First Drove, BurwellR8
Gammon Field, Grays, EssexN21
Hovefields, Courtauld RoadR25
Kessingland, Waveney, SuffolkN20
Long Marston, Tring, HertfordshireR6
Mansion Lane, Iver, BuckinghamshireN12
Mile Cross Site 1, NorwichR19
Newbridge Lane, WisbechR24
Oxney Road, PeterboroughR24
Paston Ridings, PeterboroughR40
Pepperstock, LutonR10
Ridgwell, EssexN12
Romany Way, Bury St. EdmundsR26
Seadyke Bank, CambridgeshireN12
Ship Lane, Thurrock, EssexR21
Swaffham, Castle Acre Road, NorfolkN23
Wapsey's Wood, BucksR17
Copperkins Lane, Amersham, BuckinghamshireR6
Bottoms Walton, South BuckinghamshireR10
Stopsley, LutonR20
Gapton Hall, Great YarmouthR19
Saddlebow, Kings Lynn and West NorfolkR8
Costessy, NorwichR18
Mile Cross 2, NorwichN20
Woodham Walter, EssexN20
Civic Centre, Wood Green, LondonN6
Durnsford Road, London SWR15
Lonesome Depot, Leonard Way London SW16N15
Castlehaven Road, CamdenR1
Dalby Street, CamdenR3
Clyde Road, HaringeyN4
Folly Lane, Waltham ForestN17
Thistlebrook, Abbey Wood, London SE2R40
Ash Bridge, GuildfordN13
Green Lane, Outwood, TandridgeR14
Hever Road, Edenbridge, KentR12
Polhill, Sevenoaks, KentN7
Sandford, South OxfordshireR16
Standlake, West OxfordshireN16
Sundridge Hill, Cuxton, KentR15
Swan Farm, Sevenoaks, KentN35
Vauxhall Road, CanterburyR18
Wheatley, South OxfordshireN16
Withy Patch, Lancing, West SussexR12
Swan Barn, East SussexR5
Polly Arch, East SussexR6
Windmill Lane, Tonbridge and Malling, KentR14
Durrants Farm, Tunbridge Wells, KentN4
Ashfield Farm, Rudgeway, Northavon BristolN20
Berkley, Berkley Lane, SomersetR15
Bonnie Park, Trowbridge Road, Bratton WiltshireR6
Boscarn Parc, Camborne, CornwallN31
Chiseldon, Near Swindon, WiltshireR30
Culkerton, New Barn Farm, GloucestershireN4
Haylane, Wroughton, SwindonR37
Middlezoy, Bridgewater, SomersetN20
Otterford, Culmhead, Near TauntonR18
Patchway, Highwood Lane, BristolR17
Piddlehinton Camp, Near DorchesterR16
Showborough Common, TewkesburyN10
Thornicombe, Near Blandford, DorsetR12
Wheal Jewel, The Pound, St. Day, RedruthN24
Winterbourne, AvonN17
Failand, AvonN1
Dairyhouse Bridge, Salisbury, WiltshireR18
Odstock, Salisbury, WiltshireR50
Watery Lane, HerefordN11
Evesham Road, WychavonN8
Offerton Lane, WorcesterR21
Blackmore Park, Malvern HillsN5
Cemetary Road, Newcastle, StaffordshireN17
Houndsfield Lane, BromsgroveR26
Linehouses, Stoke-on-TrentR24
Linton Tileworks, Malvern HillsN14
Lower Heath, Stourport-on-Severn, Wyre ForestR39
Madley, HerefordN17
Tinkers Corner, Bosbury, Malvern HillsN7
Showell Road, WolverhamptonR16
Hipton Hill, WychavonR22
Pinvin, WychavonR15
Bedford Street, HullN10
Conesby Quarry, ScunthorpeN20
Hallfield Road, Foss Islands, YorkN20
Harland Way, Cottingham, BeverleyR27
Harrogate GS, Harrogate Southern BypassN20
Newington Street, HullN10
Smithies Lane, BarnsleyR29
Springs Lane, Bickerton, North YorkshireN21
Thirsk, Thirsk BypassN16
Tinsley Park, SheffieldN14
Wincolmlee, HullN27
Woldgate, BridlingtonN27
Craigforth, StirlingN20
Forrest Street, AirdrieeN16
Mossend, MotherwellR20
Torlochan, Argyll and ButeR10
Monagh Wood, West BelfastN21

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