§ Mr. J. WARD
I beg to ask the Postmaster-General whether final arrangements have been made with the North 83 Staffordshire Railway Company for the erection of the proposed new general post office at Stoke-on-Trent; whether there are any special reasons for the delay of over ten years since the proposal took definite shape; have the plans and estimates been arranged, or are there still outstanding questions to be settled; and whether, in case of still further dilatory proceedings by the railway company, he will consider the advisability of scheduling the land in the next Sites Bill with a view to the building being put immediately in hand by his own Department.
§ MR. SYDNEY BUXTON
The site of the present post office belongs to the railway company, and the fact that the company required the site for their own use was first made known to the Department in November, 1902. The post office must be close to the station, and the orginal proposal was for a new post office to be built by the Department on ground belonging to the railway company. Plans for this scheme were first sent to the company in October, 1903; but the company demurred to the proposals, and after considerable correspondence it was at length agreed that the railway company should build the premises themselves, and let them to the Department. Plans were drawn up, and in January last the scheme was approved by the Treasury. The draft agreement for lease has been settled, and specifications for the building are now being prepared by the company. I have represented to them how important it is that the office should be completed as rapidly as possible.