HC Deb 25 May 1860 vol 158 cc1715-6

said, he rose to ask the Secretary of State for War, Whether the Land, or a portion of it, which has recently been bought at a high price by Government for the defences of Portsmouth, was not formerly in the possession of Government, and sold by them a few years back at a comparatively cheap rate; whether there was not, at the time of selling such Land, an official Flan for the defence of Portsmouth, embracing such Land, in the hands of Government, or of the Military Authorities; and, whether he will lay upon the Table of the House a Return of the price at which the Land was sold, the price at which the laud has been re-bought, and the name of the Official who sanctioned the sale?


said, he had sent to Portsmouth to inquire into the facts of the case, and was therefore prepared to state what had occurred. About twenty years ago, some land at Stokes Bay belonging to the Government was sold for £8,000, which was its full market value at that time. It had since been re-bought at intervals for small sums, and in sec- tions; and the whole sum paid for it by the Government (£28,000) was no doubt greatly in excess of the sum for which it had been sold in 1839. There was no plan for the defence of Portsmouth at that time the adoption of which would have necessitated the retention of the land in question, except the old plan of the Duke of Richmond, made in Mr. Pitt's Administration. The sale was made by the Master General of the Ordnance of that Day.