MR. HERBERT ROBERTS (Denbighshire, W.)
I beg to ask the hon. Member for the Eye Division of Suffolk, as Church Estates Commissioner, whether his attention has been drawn to the circumstances attaching to a long lease of eighty-four acres of land recently granted by the Ecclesiastical Commissioners at Shepherd's Bush for the purpose of an exhibition, and to the absence from the lease of any covenant prohibiting the lessee from applying for a licence to sell beer, wine, or spirits thereon; whether he is aware that licences have been applied for to sell such liquors on forty-four places on the land; And whether he is in a position to give on behalf of the Commissioners, any explanation as to the omission from the lease of any such condition, and an assurance that in future all leases granted by them shall contain cither a restrictive or prohibitive covenant in connection with such applications.
§ MR. STUART WORTLEY (Sheffield, Hallam)
May I be allowed to answer 790 this Question? The facts relating to this letting were given to the hon. Member in answer to his Question on the same matter in May last in the following terms: "The Ecclesiastical Commissioners have agreed to let an area of about eighty-four acres of land at Hammersmith for a long term of years for the purpose of an exhibition similar to that at Earl's Court or at the Crystal Palace. As regards the lands used for exhibition purposes, the Commissioners do not think it practicable to prohibit any application by the lessee for licences for the sale thereon of wine, beer, and spirits in connection with the supply of refreshments. The recent application to the licensing justices to which the Question refers was made by the intending lessee, and the Commissioners had no knowledge that any application was about to be made or as to the number of places in which it would be asked that liquors might be sold." In addition, I am now able to say that the Ecclesiastical Commissioners have received notice that a fresh application will be made by the lessee to the licensing magistrates in the present month, and it is the Commissioners' intention to be then represented. The Commissioners are informed that the application will be for a licence in respect of eleven places only within the Exhibition and grounds. With regard to the last part of the Question, it is the policy of the Commissioners to limit the number of licences on their building estates in accordance with the real needs of the neighbourhoods, but within that limit they deal with any application of their lessees for permission to acquire a licence as they deem most reasonable having regard to all the circumstances.