§ MR. COBB (Warwick, S.E., Rugby)
I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that, notwithstanding that the hon. Member for the Rugby Division called attention to the subject by a number of questions on the 15th of August last, hardly any allotments have since been procured by the Banbury Rural Sanitary Authority, although' the unsatisfied demand for 424 them in a number of villages is admitted; whether he is aware that, although the Local Government Board wrote to the Sanitary Authority in December last inquiring as to the then situation of the allotment question, when this letter was named by the clerk at a meeting of the Authority on 2nd January, the chairman told the clerk to reply to the Local Government Board that it was just in the same position as it was at the date of their last letter, whereupon another guardian said, "as you were," which was followed by laughter; whether the Local Government Board will permit the Banbury Rural Sanitary Authority to treat their communications in this manner; whether the Board will consider the advisability of sending a special inspector to confer with, the Sanitary Authority upon the cases of, and to visit, all villages where there still exists an unsatisfied demand for allotments, and especially the cases of Farnborough, Mollington, and Claydon, and make a special report to the Board; and whether there will be any objection to the hon. Member for the Rugby Division accompanying the inspector on his visiting the various villages?
§ MR. RITCHIE
I have no information as to what observations were made at the meeting of the Banbury Rural Sanitary Authority on the data referred to. The communication received by the Local Government Board on the 3rd January was to the effect that on the 19th December the Authority had resolved to take three fields in Clay don for allotments which had been offered to them by the owner, but that upon inquiries being made respecting the land with a view to the preparation of a lease, the owner declined to carry out his proposal. In reply to a further letter, the Board were informed on the 31st January that the Sanitary Authority would use every endeavour to provide land for allotments as occasion might arise. I have received a further communication from the Authority in which it is stated that although no land has been taken since the 15th August last directly by the Authority, the Allotments Act has been of great service by inducing landed proprietors to let land for allotments, and that the Authority have not ceased in their endeavour to obtain land.; but 425 they have experienced great difficulty in procuring suitable land for allotments near to the dwellings of the labouring class. I cannot undertake to direct an Inspector of the Board, accompanied by the hon. Member for the Rugby Division, to visit the several villages in the district where an unsatisfied demand for allotments is alleged to exist; but as the hon. Member is aware it is my intention to introduce this afternoon a Bill giving a right of appeal to persons who consider that the Sanitary Authority have failed to discharge their duty in respect of the provision of allotments.