HC Deb 25 August 1909 vol 9 cc2092-3

asked the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if he will state the grounds or the provision of law under which the Board of Agriculture last month refused to sanction an advance of £2,000 by the General Drainage and Land Improvement Company to Sir Anthony Cope, Baronet, for the clearing and cultivation of 2,000 acres of forest and woodland in Bramshill Park, North Hampshire, recently devastated by fire, and which had been previously reserved for game; and whether the Board will reconsider its veto in this case?

Captain NORTON (Lord of the Treasury)

The Board were not satisfied that the work proposed would permanently increase the value of the land by an amount equal to the rent charge which would have been payable, and they were, moreover, advised that it was doubtful whether the proposed work could be regarded as an improvement for which an improvement charge can be sanctioned by the Board under their existing statutory powers. In view of the fact that rent charges created under the Improvement of Land Acts take priority over all existing charges, the Board would not be justified in giving their sanction unless it is clear that the statutory requirements are duly satisfied, but we shall be glad to discuss the matter further with the applicants if they so desire.


May I ask whether, before this decision was arrived at not to permit this advance by the company, any local inquiry was made by the Board of Agriculture; and whether, as a matter of fact, this land is very valuable and able to bear a rent charge?

Captain NORTON

I would ask the hon. Member to put down another question.