HC Deb 04 June 1912 vol 39 cc91-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That a sum, not exceeding £86,750, be granted to His Majesty, to complete the sum necessary to defray the Charge which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1913, for the Salaries and Expenses of the Office of the Commissioners of His Majesty's Works and Public Buildings." [Note.—£50,000 has been voted on account.]


May I, on this Vote, ask for an answer to the remarks which I made a short time ago, and which I believe are more appropriate to this Vote.


There are other questions which can be raised on this Vote, and one is with regard to the proposed reconstruction of the quadrant end of Regent Street. This is a subject of immense importance to the future of London. People come here from our Colonies and from other parts of the world in spring and summer for the purpose of doing their shopping, and a great deal must depend on how the Com-missioner of Works treats this subject.


I think this point would come under the Vote for the Commissioners of Woods and Forests.


Yes; I am under the impression that this matter is under the control of the Commissioners of Woods and Forests and not of the Office of Works, and it is not therefore in order.


Is it not a fact that the architect of the Office of Works is dealing with this question?


No, he is not engaged on these buildings. It is not a matter connected with the Office of Works.

Captain JESSEL

I am glad to see that the Secretary of State for the Colonies is present, because I wish to put a question which came under his notice when he was First Commissioner of Works, and I wish to ask why a pledge given in this House two years ago has been dropped and nothing has since been heard of it. I wish also to review the policy of the Office of Works in regard to the treatment of public buildings in London. There has been a good deal of complaint about the divergent replies which have been given to questions regarding the way in which public buildings are being put up. I need hardly refer to the objections made with regard to the Admiralty buildings. It seems to me it would have been much better if they had been carried out completely in stone like the Foreign Office. Then I am inclined to agree with my Noble Friend who criticised the policy of placing these great central buildings in Whitehall, and who pointed out that much cheaper sites could be secured in other parts of London. I do hope when this question is more fully considered these new buildings in Whitehall will not have the effect of depriving London of open spaces.