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Imber, Wiltshire

Volume 640: debated on Wednesday 17 May 1961

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asked the Minister of Transport when a public inquiry is to be held into the proposals to close public roads and rights of way in the area occupied by the Army at Imber, Wiltshire.

Progress has been made towards the satisfactory settlement of a number of the objections to the proposed order which I hope to refer to the War Works Commission before the end of June. It will then be for the Commission to fix the date of any inquiry they decide to hold.

The Minister will be aware that in the whole of Wiltshire and throughout the country there is very great anxiety about this whole problem of Imber. Apart from the arrangements which he is making about an inquiry, will he have a talk with his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War and those immediately concerned in the Government to see whether the whole question cannot be looked at again?

We are trying to meet the objections. Fifteen objections were received during the objection period of three months. I think we shall go some way to meeting the majority of those objections. Then it is up to me to send the case to my right hon. Friend, when the War Works Commission will be holding an inquiry.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the hon. Member for Westbury has had talks with his right hon. Friend on this subject and that I think matters are progressing satisfactorily?

I am obliged to my hon. Friend. I am sure that is so, because he has from the beginning taken a great interest in this question.