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Terrace Houses, Regent's Park

Volume 436: debated on Monday 28 April 1947

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29.

asked the Minister of Works how long he will take to repair the Nash houses in Regent's Park.

The work of repairing and adapting some 200 Nash houses in Regent's Park for temporary use as Government offices will, I hope, be complete before the end of the year. In addition a certain amount of repair work is being done for the Office of Crown Lands in respect of 186 houses occupied by private tenants, but I cannot yet say how long this work will take.

Will the Minister give an assurance that Government Departments will be more zealous in getting rid of the dry rot than they were in preventing it from occurring?

The prevention of dry rot did not fall to my Department, because the properties were under the control of the Office of Crown Lands and not of the Ministry of Works.

When these 200 houses are repaired, how long will it take to free them from the 5,000 civil servants who are to be housed there?

That all depends on how soon other accommodation can be provided for the 5,000 civil servants, or how long the necessity arises for their work to go on.

Can the Minister say whether the conversion to Government offices which has been undertaken is such as to make it quite easy for these houses to be available for private residences when the Government no longer need them?

I would not say that it would make it "quite easy," but it would add no difficulty whatever to the conversion which would be necessary.

Is the Minister satisfied that the progress of dry rot is being arrested in the houses being occupied by the civil servants, because there is some doubt about that?

I would not like to give a positive assurance that it was being absolutely arrested, but we are doing everything we can for the period during which we are responsible for occupation.

Can the Minister say whether the type of treatment now being given by his Department is of a more or less permanent kind, or whether it is merely the temporary emergency treatment referred to in the Committee's Report?

The occupation for which I am providing is only of a temporary character; my responsibility does not arise for permanency.