MR. HERBERT ROBERTS
To ask the hon. Member for the Eye Division of Suffolk, as Church Estates Commissioner, what is the total number of leases granted by them in or since 1890; how many of these leases have contained a restrictive covenant in respect of the sale of beer, wines, or spirits; and how many have contained a prohibitive covenant in respect of such sale.
MR. HERBERT ROBERTS
To ask the hon. Member for the Eye Division of Suffolk, as Church Estates Commissioner, what was, in 1905, the number of places upon the estates of the Ecclesiastical Commissioners licensed for the sale of beer, wine, or spirits; how many of these places were on estates directly managed by the Commissioners, and how many on land leased from them; and what was the aggregate rent received by the Commissioners in respect of the former.
(Answered by Mr. Stuart-Wortley.) I regret that it is not possible to give full replies to these several Questions, as the requisite information could not be obtained without a careful review of all the transactions of the Ecclesiastical 604 Commissioners in relation to their building estates during the last sixteen years. For over twenty years, however, it has been the practice of the Commissioners to insert in new leases granted by them covenants absolutely prohibiting the sale on the demised premises without their licence of beer, wine, or spirits, except in cases of lettings expressly for hotels or licensed houses. In 1905 the leases (not agricultural or mineral) granted by the Commissioners were, renewals included, upwards of 600 in number; at short notice I am unable to say precisely how many have been granted during the whole of the last sixteen years, but the number given for 1905 is probably something like an anuual average. In or since 1890 the number of leases (other than renewals) granted expressly for licensed houses on all parts of the Commissioners' estates throughout England and Wales probably does not exceed eight, and in a few cases lessees of shops have been allowed to apply for licences for the sale of wines, etc., not to be consumed upon the premises. During the same period the Commissioners have suppressed (on the expiration of leases) sixty-two fully-licensed public houses on their estates, and in regard to a number of others, of which leases are at present running, have determined that their use as licensed premises shall cease with the expiration of the leases, and they will accordingly be suppressed voluntarily and without compensation. The Commissioners suppress all beerhouses as leases expire; but no record has been kept of the number so suppressed during the last sixteen years. The number of these must, however, be considerably greater than that of the fully-licensed houses suppressed as above mentioned. From the Commissioners' rental it appears that in 1905 there were on the estates vested in them for the purposes of their common fund or upon special trusts, or managed by their estates committee, 336 public houses, of which twenty-nine were held on yearly or short tenancies, and the remainder for the residues of terms of 999 years and under. (The aggregate rents of house property and ground rents alone received by the Commissioners for the year exceeded £625,000.) The rents of the twenty-nine houses on short tenancies (chiefly village or country inns) amount to about £1,300. I am not able to say that these figures include all the licensed 605 houses on such estates, as a large number of estates at the time of their becoming vested in the Commissioners were subject to leases (still unexpired) granted by the Commissioners' predecessors. In many of these there would probably be no covenant against the sale of wines, beer, and spirits, and consequently lessees may have obtained licences, although the premises were not expressly demised with that intention.