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Ministry Of Works

Volume 462: debated on Monday 7 March 1949

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New House Of Commons (Oak Panels)


asked the Minister of Works if he will provide for the inspection of Members two or three panels of oak similar to that which it is suggested shall be used in the new Chamber, which were treated five or ten years ago with the same grey stain now proposed to be used in the House.

There are no panels of oak which were treated five to ten years ago with the grey stain now proposed to be used in the House. Samples of oak recently treated have already been exhibited but I will arrange with the authorities concerned for them to be shown again. I am assured by experts that no appreciable change of colour is to be expected other than that which would be normal to the wood.

Is not the Minister aware that treatment similar to this was applied many years ago, that the oak today looks entirely different and cannot be cleaned, and that it becomes spotted if that is attempted? We do not want to make the Chamber look like a Hollywood cathedral.

The scientists who have been dealing with this matter assure me that that will not take place with this particular oak.

Council Hall, Caister-On-Sea


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware that the parish council of Caister-on-Sea, Norfolk, have been endeavouring for two years to reconstruct the platiform and stage of the council hall, which is the only large building available for public meetings, entertainments and other communal activities in this parish of 4,000 inhabitants; that, meanwhile, a temporary platform has had to be constructed of fish boxes; that the state of the building is discouraging to local civic activity; and if he will now give further consideration to the granting of the necessary licence.

This application was originally refused because of the quantity of softwood required. My licensing officer suggested the use of hardwood, which is less scarce, for part of the work. This has been accepted and a licence has now been issued.

Middleton Hall


asked the Minister of Works whether, in view of the acute housing shortage in the Morecambe and Lancaster district and of the fact that the house in question is no longer required by the Minister of Supply, he will de-requisition Middleton Hall, Middleton, Lancashire.

Middleton Hall is not held on requisition but is Crown freehold. The question of its future use, including the possibility of using it for housing, is now being considered.

Kington Camp


asked the Minister of Works whether, in view of the release by the War Office of the Kington Camp, Herefordshire, he will now release a portion of this camp for the relief of the housing shortage in the district.

I am consulting the Ministry of Health and other Government Departments so that the future use of the camp can be settled as soon as possible.

When are the various Ministries going to make up their minds what they want to do with this camp? Squatters are already taking possession of some of it, and if the right hon. Gentleman does not make a quick decision they will take possession of the lot.

This camp has only recently been declared by the Department concerned to be redundant. I am asking the Ministry of Health and other Departments concerned to let me have a quick reply.

Finsbury Park


asked the Minister of Works if he is aware of the large area still held under requisition by different Government Departments in Finsbury Park; and if, in view of the shortage of open spaces in North London, he will take steps to restore this part to its former condition.

I understand that only the War Department holds land under requisition in Finsbury Park, and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War will deal with this matter in reply to the further Question which has been placed on the Order Paper by the hon. Member.

Frensham Little Pond


asked the Minister of Works whether he will take early steps to secure the restoration of Frensham Little Pond to its pre-war condition.

The owner's proposals are now being considered in detail. It is hoped to give him authority very shortly to put the necessary works in hand.