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Kensington Square, London

Volume 466: debated on Tuesday 28 June 1949

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asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning on what grounds he has decided to uphold the findings of the inquiry set up to consider the dispute between Messrs. John Barkers and the London County Council regarding the destruction of the house of W. M. Thackeray in Kensington Square; and whether this and other architectural features of the area will now be demolished.

The development allowed by my decision following the inquiry into Messrs. Barkers' appeal does not involve the demolition of Thackeray's House or of any other building other than an annexe of no architectural merit at the rear of No. 45, Kensington Square. I am unaware of any proposal to demolish houses either in Kensington Square or Young Street.

Does that mean that the square will in no way be spoiled or affected by the works which are to be undertaken?

Does the right hon. Gentleman not think that something better ought to happen to Thackeray's house than merely not being demolished; ought we not to preserve that house in the same way as Dickens' house in Doughty Street is preserved, in view of the fact that some of the best works in the English language were written in it?

That may be so. All I can do under this appeal is to make certain that it is not destroyed.

Will the right hon. Gentleman accept at any rate my thanks for his activity; and may I express the hope that he will carry on along those lines?

In this instance also, in the event of development will the London County Council pay the development charge to the Central Land Board?

There is no question of development by the London County Council. It concerns Barkers.