HC Deb 02 November 1909 vol 12 cc1644-5

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has received a protest from the Norwich Town Council against the granting of a licence to the Consolidated Petroleum Company, Limited, to store 12,000 gallons of petrol in a tank, and 2,000 gallons in a store on land the property of the Great Eastern Railway Company, on the ground that the site is unsuitable for the purpose by reason of its proximity to residences and to a public highway and in consequence of the danger to the citizens in general by the storage of large quantities of inflammable and explosive spirit within the city confines; whether he is aware that ample facilities exist for such storage on marsh land near the city which would only involve the company in question in a slightly increased cost of distribution; and whether, having regard to the resentment manifested against the deliberate decision of the town council having been overridden and the risks apprehended by the citizens of Norwich, he will reconsider the matter with a view to an arrangement being made which will meet the objections and apprehensions thus entertained?

The SECRETARY of STATE for the HOME DEPARTMENT (Mr. H. Gladstone)

I received a protest against my decision in this matter from the city council two days after notice of this question appeared on the Paper. The company appealed to me from the refusal of the Norwich City Council to grant them a licence to store petrol. The chief inspector of explosives visited Norwich, and reported that the proposed site and storage arrangements were such that there was no reasonable fear of any danger to the public if the licence were granted. I was aware that there were other sites available on the marshes near the city, but I could not compel the company to select one of these for their store in preference to a more convenient site which they had chosen, and which I was advised was a safe one. I am assured by my advisers that there is no reason whatever to apprehend any danger.