HC Deb 12 March 1919 vol 113 cc1287-8

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether a statement was made to allotment-holders early in the year that allotments should continue as such for a period of two years after the end of the War; whether allotment-holders have now been warned that the cultivation of parks and open spaces under the control of the London County Council must cease on 1st January, 1920; whether the Board of Agriculture have decided that questions of compensation cannot be considered after that date; and whether steps will be taken to inquire into the expediency of the action taken by the London County Council, with the apparent concurrence of the Board of Agriculture?


The statement that allotments would be retained for two years after the end of the War, except in certain specified cases, related to land of which possession had been taken by the Board or the local authorities acting as their agents under the Defence of the Realm Regulations. In providing allotments in the parks and open spaces, the London County Council were dealing with land already in their possession under the special provision in Regulation 2l enabling them to arrange for the cultivation of the land on their own behalf and at their expense, and the Board cannot override the decision of the county council as to the period for which this land shall continue to be used for allotments. I may add that, in the opinion of the Board, the council are justified in their view that a small minority of the ratepayers cannot reasonably expect to monopolise the use of land which was provided for the benefit of all and to which all ratepayers have to contribute. The Board are considering the question of the position of allotment holders with regard to compensation after the 1st January, 1920.

71. Sir A. WARREN

asked the Parliamentary Secretary whether he is aware that compulsory powers will be needed by local authorities if a great proportion of the vacant land now in use for allotments under the Cultivation of Lands Orders is not to become derelict again; and whether any provision is being made in the Land Settlement Bill to give local authorities suitable powers to restore idle lands to production?


I must ask my hon. Friend to await the introduction of the Bill.


Is the hon. Member aware that considerable anxiety is felt by allotment-holders who have given both time and money to this particular question, and could not some definite step be taken?


It is a question of the powers we have got. I hope in the Bill shortly to be introduced that our powers will be greatly strengthened, which will enable us to deal with this case.


Can the hon. Gentleman say when the Bill will be introduced?


I hope very shortly.