§ MR. C. ROUNDELL (York, W.R., Skipton)
I beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works whether he is aware that the Vestry of Westminster are in favour of appropriating a portion of the 801 vacant Millbank Prison site for the purpose of a public open space, in preference to an increase of buildings in the already overcrowded district, and that for that purpose they have announced their readiness to contribute a sum of £10,000, as well as to endeavour to raise a similar amount; and whether, having regard to the fact that the only existing public open spaces in the district are the garden by the Victoria Tower (1½ acre) and the disused burial ground of St. John's, Horseferry Road (1 acre), as well as to the fact that the opinion of persons of great authority in such matters, on economical and other grounds, coincides with that of the Local Authority, Her Majesty's Government will be willing to entertain proposals for securing a portion of the site in question as an open space?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER or WORKS (Mr. SHAW LEFEVRE, Bradford, Central)
It has already been explained to the House on several occasions that the Government has felt itself under an obligation, arising from a clause in the Housing of the Working Classes Act of 1885, to offer whatever part of the Millbank site is not required for Government purposes to the London County Council for the erection of Artizans' Dwellings. That offer is now under the consideration of the London Council. The facts stated by the hon. Member with regard to St. John's parish are no doubt accurate; but it should also be added that Battersea Park and St. James's Park are within very easy distance, and the Thames Embankment itself forms a most valuable breathing space for the district. It may well be that the London Council will consider that under these conditions, in comparison with other districts, the erection of Artizans' Dwellings is of greater importance than the provision of an open space.