asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning if he is aware that the populations of London and Greater London are increasing at the rate of 45,000 persons a month; that the 1938 population will be exceeded by the end of this year; and how he proposes to check this excessive flow of people to the London area which promises to negative the intentions of the decentralisation proposals of the London plans.
I am aware that this was the rate of population increase in the Greater London area during the last three months of 1946, but I understand that the rate decreased somewhat during the early months of this year. The Government have, of course, no powers to prevent people returning to London if they so choose. The Government are, however, restraining the overall increase of population by examining critically any proposal for industrial expansion in Greater London and by encouraging industrial development in other parts of the country which are in need of additional employment.
Can the right hon. Gentleman say how an overall increase of population differs from an increase of population?
Daccombe Valley (Use)
asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether his attention has been called to the proposed use of the highly fertile Daccombe Valley as a housing estate by the borough of Torquay; and what steps have been, or will be, taken by him to ensure the preservation of this valley for agricultural purposes.
I would refer the hon. and gallant Member to the reply given to him yesterday by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. No formal proposal has so far been submitted to my Department by the Torquay Borough Council. In considering any proposal for development, whether for housing or other purposes, full regard will be had to agricultural interests.
Does the right hon. Gentleman know that this comparatively small piece of land produces 76,000 gallons of milk and 630 tons of food annually; will he remember that we shall need every bit of food we can grow in the future; and will he nip this project in the bud when it is referred to him in order that the present occupiers may go forward and increase their production in full confidence?
I will bear these and all other material considerations in mind if and when an application is made to me.