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Ministry Of Works

Volume 464: debated on Monday 2 May 1949

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New Buildings (Government Leases)


asked the Minister of Works how many premises consisting of offices are being erected or have been licensed for erection on the understanding that, when completed, they will be let or leased for use by a Government Department or by a nationalised industry or undertaking.

Nineteen buildings are being erected for lease to the Government as offices and two more have been licensed. One building for lease to a nationalised industry has been licensed.

Can the Minister say what conditions are imposed as to the terms of these leases, and whether an economic rent is paid in all cases?

I cannot, without notice, give the exact terms of the leases, but I understand that in all cases an economic rent is paid.

Will the Minister say what percentage this building is of the total office building which is taking place in London?

Factory, Feltham


asked the Minister of Works whether he can now make a statement on the future of the factory of General Aircraft, Ltd., Feltham, Middlesex.

Consultations are still continuing and I am not in a position to make any statement at present.

Can the Minister say what kind of consultations are taking place; and at the same time can he refute the statement which has been made recently that this factory is to be taken over by the American authorities?

Consultations are taking place between myself and my colleagues. I can make no further statement on other matters.

Does the Minister agree that it would be a pretty poor piece of planning to convert a factory in which many hundreds of locally resident skilled mechanics have been employed into a mere store for his Department?

Hyde Park (Bathing)


asked the Minister of Works why he attempted to prevent bathing in the Serpentine, at Easter.

The normal date for opening the mixed bathing season in Hyde Park is the last Saturday in May, and there has been no demand in previous years for earlier opening. Safeguarding the lives, health and property of bathers necessitates a number of arrangements, including the recruitment of a staff of attendants, erection of canvas shelters and chlorination of the water. These arrangements take about three weeks to make.

Will the right hon. Gentleman give an assurance that in future years he will take to heart the lesson which he was taught rather forcibly this year, and make the necessary arrangements in time for the first public holiday?

No, Sir. I think that it would be absolute waste of money to make these arrangements three weeks in advance and then for no use to be made of the service.

Surely the Minister realises that in this exceptionally warm weather the public are entitled to bathe? Does he think that anyone but a Government Department would give such a ridiculous answer?

I am not preventing anyone from bathing. All I am saying is that it would be unwise to make these preparations more than three weeks before the date which has been the normal date for the opening of the bathing season.

Could not members of the public who wanted to bathe have been allowed to go in at their own risk? What is there to be said against that?

I do not know that any people have been stopped. All I say is that preparations for mixed bathing could not have been made in time.

Richmond Park


asked the Minister of Works whether he is now in a position to say when the road in Richmond Park between Robin Hood Gate and Pen Ponds carpark will be re-opened to motor traffic.

The road between Robin Hood Gate and the Pen Ponds carpark was opened to motor traffic on Saturday, 23rd April.

Requisitioned Premises, Bristol


asked the Minister of Works if he will give an approximate date when the Ministry of Food will vacate the premises 39–45, Victoria Street, Bristol; and if he will arrange to erect temporary premises on the spare ground adjoining these premises if he is unable to find alternative accommodation, so that the offices and showrooms can be returned to the owners who have been denied the use of them for seven years.

Proposals are under consideration for a new building to house the Ministry of Food office. Until negotiations are completed I shall not be able to give a date for the release of the premises at 39–45, Victoria Street. It has not proved possible to lease the adjoining land in order to erect a temporary building.

Will the Minister do all that he possibly can to hurry up the evacuation of these premises so that the owners can use them for their legitimate purposes?