MR. HENRY J. WILSON (York, W.R., Holmfirth)
I beg to ask the Secretary to the Local Government Board whether he is aware that a letter from the Denby Local Board, dated 2nd July, was not answered or even acknowledged till 24th July; and whether he will give directions that letters shall beacknowledged more promptly if they cannot be immediately answered?
§ THE SECRETARY TO THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD (Mr. LONG, Wilts, Devizes)
It is the case that a letter which was received by the Local Government Board from the Denby Local Board on the 3rd of July was not answered until the 24th of July. The letter asked the Board to direct a local inquiry into a scheme for water supply, and into certain statutory objections with regard to the works proposed. The letter enclosed a copy of an agreement made with the owner of the property on which the works were to be constructed, the indenture being a lengthy document of 10 brief pages; a statutory declaration as to certain notices which had been given by the Local Board under Sections 32, 53, and 54 of the Public Health Act with regard to the execution of works outside their district, and the construction of a reservoir to contain 2,000,000 gallons of water; a statutory objection served on the Local Board with reference to the proposed works; testings of the flow of water from various sources which were proposed to be made available by the Local Board; and seven other documents. Three days later the Board received a further communication, enclosing a copy of an agreement of five brief pages with reference to certain rights of way. These communications involved the consideration of questions of law and engineering, and it was necessary for the Board to consult their legal adviser and their Chief Engineering Inspector. The Board, after consideration of the several questions, determined to direct a local inquiry, and on the 25th of July the Local Board were informed accordingly. It is not the usual practice of the Board to send mere acknowledgments of the letters received from a Local Authority in the ordinary course of correspondence when there is reason to expect that a reply can shortly be sent.