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Crichel Down Inquiry

Volume 529: debated on Thursday 1 July 1954

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asked the Minister of Agriculture what sum of rent has been paid by the tenant for the first six months at Crichel Down.

£510 has been paid. This is half of £1,020 which is, under the agreement with the tenant, the rent for the first year.

How long will this arrangement go on, and was this arrangement made with the tenant by Mr. Thompson? Was my right hon. Friend personally made aware of the fact that £2,000 rent was bid for the bare land, which was £100 less than the present tenant has agreed to pay after £34,000 has been spent on the property?

I have answered the Question on the Order Paper. Under the terms of the tenancy the tenant is to pay £1,020 for the first year and £2,150 thereafter. There is to be an abatement of the full rent to an amount to be agreed if the land is not equipped by Michaelmas, 1954, which it can now hardly be.


asked the Minister of Agriculture if he will publish the evidence given at Sir Andrew Clark's inquiry into the disposal of land at Crichel Down.

The transcript of evidence and the accompanying bundles of correspondence are bulky and I do not feel that publication of them would be justified. I am, however, arranging for sets of the documents to be placed in the Library.

Does not my right hon. Friend think that, in view of the possible controversy which may arise between the evidence which was taken and the nature of the Report and between the Report and his own conclusions, it would be a good thing if the evidence were made more widely available?

I will certainly consider that. The evidence was taken in public. There are 425 foolscap sheets of it, and the correspondence takes another 500 sheets, making about 1,000 in all. For the convenience of hon. Members, I propose to make three sets of the papers available in the Library. Perhaps that will be sufficient for the present.