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Volume 416: debated on Thursday 29 November 1945

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asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that No. 4, Thurton Street, Denham, Norfolk, has been empty for some time except for one-person occupying only three of its 15 rooms; and will he see that this house and others like it in this neighbourhood are requisitioned and made habitable for the use of those who are in deed of homes.

If, as I assume, the house to which the Question relates is 4, Theatre Street, Dereham, about which my hon. Friend has written to me, I am aware that part of this house has been occupied since the end of June. The house was requisitioned but upon consideration of representations made by the owner the local authority decided to release it for occupation by him. I shall be prepared to make inquiry with regard to any other houses which my hon. Friend has in mind.

asked the Minister of Health how many empty houses and cottages there were in the Swaffham rural district at the end of October for which a rebate or exemption of rates was in operation; whether he has any information to show the number for which no rebate was claimed; and if any steps have been taken to requisition such property in this district for people in need of homes.

At 1st October, the latest date for which a figure is readily obtainable, there were 90 unoccupied dwellings not charged with rates, and the local authority estimate that 17 other dwellings also are unoccupied. Many of these dwellings are farm cottages or are in a bad state of repair, but I am asking the council for a report on the availability and suitability of any of them for requisitioning for general housing needs.

:asked the Minister of Health if it is his policy to continue to requisition houses in which the owners are residing or which they desire to reoccupy immediately if habitable.

I have not authorised local authorities to requisition houses occupied by owners and it is not customary for them to requisition unoccupied houses if the owners desire to reoccupy them; in this latter case, however, the house may be requisitioned if it is needed for the rehousing of persons rendered homeless by enemy action and if it would otherwise be under-occupied.