asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the circumstances which led to the erection of a wire fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth.
Some three years ago MOD (Navy) asked PSA to erect fencing on the legal boundaries to HMS Cambridge to improve security. This proposal was later shelved at the instigation of MOD (Navy). The circumstances which led to the request for the fencing is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment how high is the fence which has been erected around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth; how many yards of barbed wire have been used for the fence; and what is the cost of the fence to the taxpayer.
Some 80 posts, 2·4 high, have been erected over a distance of 260 m at a cost of approximately £8,000. Work was halted before any fencing or barbed wire was erected.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why a wire fence was erected around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, before a decision was made on planning consent by the South Hams district council.
At the time the original request was received, copies of plans for consultation with the local planning authority were proposed but were not submitted because the project was shelved. Following the installation of sensitive equipment by MOD (Navy), PSA was recently asked to reactivate the project. Work was put in hand in the mistaken belief that approvals had been obtained when the proposal was mooted earlier. I can only express regret for this omission, which arose out of the "stop-go" history of the proposal and changes in personnel in the interim.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to halt all further erection of fencing at HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, until the final determination of the planning consent by the South Hams district council.
As soon as it was discovered that the planning authority had not in fact been given an opportunity to comment, work was halted. The section of incomplete fence has now been made the subject of a formal planning submission in accordance with established procedures.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what steps he is taking to divert a well-established footpath along the heritage coastline resulting from the newly erected fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth; what procedures have been followed; and if he will ensure that the footpath will riot be truncated.
Steps to divert footpaths at MOD establishments are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultation he had with (a) the local parish council, (b) the district council, (c) the county council and (d) the National Trust before the erection of a wire fence at HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth.
No formal consultation took place before the posts were erected but MOD (Navy) gave a detailed presentation on its proposals to members of the local parish council in December 1986.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why Mr. O. W. Richards of the Property Services Agency in Plymouth stated to Wembury parish council in a letter of 8 May that he would not attend a public meeting on 20 May at Wembury to discuss the question of fencing around HMS Cambridge until a parliamentary question had been tabled and answered; and if he will make a statement.
Mr. O. W. Richards, an assistant estate surveyor in PSA's Plymouth office, knew that inquiries had been made of a Minister in connection with the proposed fence around HMS Cambridge and mistakenly believed that these related to a parliamentary question. In accordance with normal convention, he was obliged to decline to comment publicly on the matter until the Minister's reply was made known.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what consultations the authorities from HMS Cambridge had with his Department prior to the erection of a wire fence around the base.
As indicated in my earlier response, a fence has not been erected around HMS Cambridge but work was started on a section of security fencing. During the period April 1985 to April 1986, five meetings were held between PSA and the authorities from HMS Cambridge at which the subject of this fencing was discussed.
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment, with reference to the erection of a wire fence around HMS Cambridge at Wembury, Plymouth, what consultation HMS Cambridge had with his Department about the diversion of the public footpath; and what reference was made to the fact that the area is one of outstanding natural beauty, of great landscape value and on the heritage coastline.
As indicated in my earlier response, any proposals for diversion of footpaths at MOD establishments are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence. If such proposals were mooted they would be dealt with under either the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 or the Land Powers (Defence) Act 1958 which contain full provision for public representation and, if necessary, a local inquiry.