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Mauchline Road Church, Hurlford

Volume 446: debated on Tuesday 27 January 1948

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31.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if the housing components and fitments built within the Mauchline Road Church, Hurlford, to accommodate the Women's Land Army during the war, were handed over to the Church of Scotland Trustees.

When possession of Mauchline Road Church and hall, Hurl-ford, Ayrshire, was given up on 11th November, 1945, the furnishings and fittings provided for the purpose of making the premises suitable for use as a Women's Land Army hostel passed into the ownership of the proprietors, the Mauchline Road Church of Scotland Congregation, Hurlford, in consideration of a suitable adjustment in the amount of compensation.

In the case of this building, if it ceases to be used for housing purposes, will the Secretary of State consider, in view of the shortage of housing material, the requisitioning and removal of that equipment?

That is a hypothetical question which had better be considered only should the situation arise.

32.

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if an eviction order is being sought by the Church of Scotland Trustees against six families living in Mauchline Road Church, Hurlford; and if he will take action to prevent these families being rendered homeless and suitable housing accommodation being used for non-housing purposes.

I do not consider that I would be justified in requisitioning this property in order to give protection to persons in illegal occupation of it. In informing the county council to this effect I have, however, asked them to consider the possibility of alternative measures to avoid hardship.

Is the Secretary of State aware that this church, although it is rather a misnomer to call it a church—has been derelict for 16 years; that its sudden attractiveness to the Church of Scotland is due entirely to the expenditure of the State during the war; and will he reconsider his decision and save these six decent families from this un-Christian action?

I am sure my hon. Friend will agree it is rather difficult for the Secretary of State to interfere in what is a local dispute between two bodies. I have asked the county council to look at the matter from the point of view of their duty to provide housing accommodation for these families. I think myself that if houses or housing accomodation can be found, it will be much better than this unsatisfactory dwelling in a church.

Is the Secretary of State aware that in the adjoining parish to this, in my constituency, there is a house in which 12 people live in one room; and that there is absolutely no hope of solving these problems until he goes ahead with the housing programme?