Historical changes to Local Planning

This is an appendix to the way that local building regulation changed in the beginning of the 20th century to explain the difficulty often experienced in determining house history.

The overall national scene.

Although there had been legislation from before the second half of the 19th century requiring local authorities to have building control bylaws and a surveyor, this was primarily aimed at improving the health and standard of living and the availability of housing for the urban working class In rural areas such as Chalfont St Giles there was great reluctance to use the complex standard urban model set of bylaws, the local authority could and did use their own bylaws or even opt out completely.

The 1894 Local Government Act enacted the formation of civil parishes in place of the previous vestry parishes and formation of Rural District councils including Amersham RDC which took over the role of the Local Boards of Health. This brought about greater stringency in the application of building control laws .

There was much continual controversy about what the bylaws for rural areas should include. In 1901, 1903 and 1905 the Local Authority Board, the central government department overseeing local authorities, issue a number of different versions of Rural model bylaws which rural authorities were pushed to adopt although they were still not mandatory.

The Public Health (Amendment Act) 1907. Introduced stricter control by RDCs on application of the latest bylaws.

Housing and Town Planning Act 1909 introduce yet more centralised control and extra duties on local authorities. However National mandatory byelaws did not come into being until 1964.

Source: A History of Building Control in England and Wales 1840-1990. By, A. J. Ley. RICS 2000.

The situation in this district.

Chalfont St Giles came under Amersham Rural District Council. The Amersham RDC did not have a building committee prior to June 1904. New buildings were occasionally mentioned in the minutes of the main council but only to the extent that a "water certificate" had been issued to say that a satisfactory supply of water was available. They probably had a surveyor but his records from before 1915 do not survive. They clearly had continual problems with enforcement and with houses being built without formal approval as they issued a public notice as late as 1914 saying it was mandatory to have plans approved prior to work commencing!

JD 21/12/2013

------------------------------------------   May 2015

REFERENCES. Unless otherwise specified, all references given above refer to catalogue references at the Centre for Buckinghamshire Studies at Aylesbury. (County Record Office)

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John Dodd ©2015   www.chalfonthistory.co.uk