From the mid-Victorian period onwards, neither private- nor public-sector-backed developers have been free to alter the quality of life and the attractiveness of the surroundings of the British public without having to account for themselves. In the past this was done through representation during the passage of a private parliamentary bill which enabled individuals, corporations or public bodies to acquire private land (at a fair price) or to run a business (a railway or a power station). Nowadays the private parliamentary bill is more of a rarity, for it is cumbersome and very expensive on both opponents and proponents alike, though it is still used for particularly large projects.
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