HC Deb 12 July 1915 vol 73 cc656-7

asked the President of the Local Government Board whether any decision has been come to with respect to the application by the Corporation of Cardiff for a Provisional Order for the widening of Duke Street, Cardiff; whether he is aware that there is an increasing body of opinion in the city who view with anxiety the secret negotiations which have taken place with the landowner, as disclosed in the printed minutes of the Cardiff Corporation; whether he is aware that a definite pledge was given to the representative ratepayers' associations of the city that they should be heard by the Duke Street Improvement Committee before that committee put forward any scheme to the city council, which pledge has been ignored; whether he is aware that the scheme was referred back to the above committee on the 7th June instant for further information; whether the scheme has since been approved by the city council and, if so, when; and whether he is prepared to order a public inquiry into the whole circumstances, and so meet the wishes of the main body of the ratepayers of the city?


The Provisional Order referred to is included in the Local Government Provisional Orders (No. 6) Bill, which has been read a second time in another place. A local inquiry was held by an inspector of the Local Government Board before the issue of the Order. I have no information as to the second, third and fourth points raised in the question. The scheme was approved by the town council on the 28th ultimo, but my right hon. Friend thought it his duty to require an independent investigation by a valuer nominated by him, of the proposals involved and their financial aspects before making himself responsible for the scheme to the extent of allowing the Provisional Order to come before Parliament as an unopposed measure. My right hon. Friend has received the report of the valuer, who is satisfied that the scheme is a fair and equitable bargain. In the circumstances I see no necessity for further inquiry.


Will the Local Government Board, in view of the serious cleavage of opinion both on the council and in the city, take further steps to protect the interests of the community?


My right hon. Friend has already stated in reply to the hon. Member that he sees no occasion for any further inquiry. It is obvious that at the present time Local Government Board sanction is necessary for further proceedings under the Provisional Order. I understand that the town council are ready to acquiesce in that. The Local Government Board will be applied to for further sanction before anything is done under the Provisional Order.