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Premises, Plymouth (Business Use)

Volume 463: debated on Tuesday 29 March 1949

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35.

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning, whether he will make a statement concerning the decision, under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, not to allow Mr. Foxford, of 48, Bernice Terrace, Plymouth, to carry on his business as a snobber in the garage adjoining his property; and what alternative accommodation has been offered to this man for the purposes of his business.

I understand that Mr. Fox-ford is carrying on a business without having obtained planning permission in an area which is allocated for residential purposes. The City Council accordingly have decided to take action under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, to stop this contravening use. However, in order to enable Mr. Foxford to find suitable accommodation in a business area, the City Council propose to suspend any formal action for a year. Mr. Foxford's solicitors have been so informed.

Has my hon. Friend seen the rather garbled account of this incident which appeared in the "Evening Standard" of 16th March last in an article contributed by the hon. Member for Rugby (Mr. W. J. Brown), and has his Department taken any steps to correct the misunderstandings that have been caused by the publication of the article? If not, is anything going to be done about it?

I have seen the article in question. The Public Relations Officer of my Ministry wrote to the paper to correct a misstatement in it, and a portion of what he wrote appeared in the paper.

Arising out of that supplementary question, may I ask the Minister whether he is aware that there was not a single statement contained in the article referred to which had not been published as a news item in the "News Chronicle" of 8th March, to which there had been no correction issued by his Department; and may I ask him what his Public Relations Officer was doing?

It is apparent that we cannot be wholly aware of all statements published throughout the Press, and that, if we were to contradict every false statement that appeared in the Press, we should have to be busier than it is, in fact, possible to be. But we did make a point of correcting a gross misstatement in the paper in question.

Was my hon. Friend aware before this, that the "Evening Standard" relied for its news service on the "News Chronicle"?