HC Deb 04 July 1916 vol 83 cc1351-2
27. Mr. KING

asked the Under-Secretary for War whether he can state the terms on which the common land used for the formation of Bramshott Camp, Hants, has been taken over by the War Office; to whom, and for how much, has any payment been made; for how many years is it arranged that this camp, if desired by the War Office, can be maintained; whether any compensation has been or will be offered to the commoners for the loss of their rights; and whether pending legislation is intended to give to the War Office or other Government Department greater powers over the land of Bramshott Camp?


The common was taken over at an early stage of the War under emergency powers. The commoners at a meeting held in December, 1915, passed a public-spirited resolution promising to assist the War Office as far as possible on the understanding that the camp was for war purposes only, and that when it was given up the buildings would be removed and the ground restored as far as possible to its former condition, compensation being paid for actual damage. The Lord of the Manor's claim to compensation in respect of his common rights and military occupation of his freehold land has been dealt with by the Defence of the Realm Losses Commission who awarded him payment at the rate of £165 per annum, the bulk of this being in respect of his freehold land. The question of reinstatement on termination of the occupation was reserved. The Defence of the Realm (Acquisition of Land) Bill is not intended to give the War Office or other Government Departments any increased powers over Bramshott Common beyond specifying the maximum period during which this camp can be used after the War.


In view of that reply, will the Government agree to the insertion of some provision which will absolutely safeguard the common and the commoners?


I think my hon. Friend will have an opportunity of raising this question in Debate to-morrow, and I hope a satisfactory explanation will be forth-coming.