HC Deb 06 August 1919 vol 119 cc366-7

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether his Department has given ten days' notice to allotment-holders at Union Road and Clapham Road, Wandsworth, to quit their holdings; whether this land is stated to be required for the erection of a laundry; whether he is aware that if these notices take effect £350 worth of foodstuffs will be lost; whether the erection of a laundry is of greater national importance at this time than the production of food; why the Wandsworth Borough Council did not issue the notices to quit seeing the council was in session on 30th July, the date when the notices were issued by the Board; and whether, in view of the hardship which will fall on these holders, the need for saving this food to the, community, and the appeals made by the Prime Minister and the Food Controller for increased production, he will secure that these holders are allowed to remain till the end of the present season at least?


Notices, dated 30th ult., and expiring on the 11th inst., have been issued by the Board to certain allotment-holders on the land referred to which is required for the immediate erection of a laundry, which is to cost £50,000, and to employ 150 people. The Board made every effort compatible with national economy to defer relinquishment of possession as long as possible. The builders were anxious to commence before the plans had been passed, and were prepared to take any risk in so doing in order to take full advantage of the long hours and fine weather. The Board would not agree to give up the land until the 12th inst., which is as far as the Department could go without incurring a heavy risk of liability to pay the lessors, lessees, and the builders, very substantial sums in compensation. The Board were advised on the 27th ult. that the cultivation committee of the local authority would not meet again until October, and, in view of the urgency of the matter, the notices in question were served under the Seal of the Board. I regret the necessity of disturbing the allotment-holders, but, on the other hand, the Board are not prepared to pay large subsidies from public funds where allotment-holders cannot otherwise be maintained secure in their holdings. The allotment-holders will receive full compensation for their crops and labour.