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Air Raid Shelters

Volume 648: debated on Thursday 9 November 1961

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asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he will review requests for the dismantling of air-raid shelters which have been previously refused.

My right hon. Friend is always prepared to consider whether in individual cases there are compelling grounds for authorising removal of air-raid shelters remaining from the last war. If the hon. Member has in mind any particular case and will send me particulars, I will gladly have inquiries made.

Is the hon. and learned Gentleman aware that while removal is permitted only where there is a danger to health, there are many other serious grounds, for instance, in cases where the shelter occupies the whole of a backyard or blocks nearly all the window space, or attracts cats, dogs, insects and obnoxious smells? As shelters are useless against radioactive fall-out, will he reconsider the whole matter?

I cannot accept that these shelters would be useless against radioactive fall-out. Outside the area of complete devastation they would give very useful protection, which is why we leave them. There are three grounds on which consent for demolition is given. One is that mentioned, the danger to health; but in addition there are unsound structural conditions and hardship to the occupier of the premises. I think that the hon. Member will find that most of his complaints come under those three headings.