HC Deb 01 November 1909 vol 12 c1436

asked the hon. Member for South Somerset, as representing the President of the Board of Agriculture, if the Commissioners of the Board have conferred with the county council of the Soke of Peterborough upon the question of providing small holdings for the applicants at Newborough who have been approved by the small holdings committee, and whose approval has been confirmed by the Board's Commissioners but refused by the Council; if the council has at the conference between it and the Board's Commissioners agreed to withdraw its previous refusal, and, if it has not agreed to withdraw such refusal and provide small holdings, if the Board now propose to undertake the provision of land for these approved applicants and charge the expenses upon the defaulting council?

Captain NORTON (Lord of the Treasury, for Sir E. Strachey)

A meeting of the county council took place on the 20th inst., at which one of the Small Holdings Commissioners was present. We have since been informed by the clerk that the council have every desire to provide small holdings and that at the present time they are proposing to purchase 92a. Or. 31p. of land in Newborough and Eye for such purposes, and as soon as other suitable land comes in the market it will be acquired to satisfy the existing demand. The council are not, however, disposed to exercise compulsory powers for the purpose of obtaining land, and they inform us that as there is not at the present time a sufficient quantity of land procurable by voluntary means, they cannot forthwith satisfy the present demand made by the inhabitants of Newborough. The views thus expressed by the council are inconsistent with their statutory obligations in the matter, and the Board propose therefore at once to adopt the measures prescribed by law in such circumstances for dealing with cases of the kind.