HC Deb 17 March 1919 vol 113 cc1711-4
30. Sir R. COOPER

asked the Parliamentary Secretary if he will obtain from the county councils of England and Wales information which will enable him to lay upon the Table a statement showing the number of ex-Service men who have actually been settled on the land up to the 1st March, and also the number to the same date in regard to whom negotiations are in progress?


The county councils have been asked to supply information on these points, and I hope shortly to be able to supply the particulars desired by my hon. Friend.

Major WOOD

Will the hon. and gallant Gentleman also consider the advisability of giving particulars of that land provided by land owners directly without the intervention of the county council?


I will consider that.

37. Mr. MORRIS

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture the number of discharged soldiers and sailors in England and in Wales, respectively, who have applied to the various county councils and to the Board of Agriculture for land for settlement purposes; what is the total acreage represented by such applications; and what steps have been taken in England and in Wales, respectively, by the county councils and the Board of Agriculture to meet the applications?


Six thousand six hundred and thirty-five applications have been received by county councils in England and 436 in Wales. The acreage applied for is, approximately, 121,400 acres in England and 8,000 in Wales. The Board have received 441 applications for land on their land settlements. The amount of land required or arrangements to acquire which have been concluded is, approximately, 18,815 acres. Additional land is being acquired every week.


Will the right hon. Gentleman say how many of the 7,000 applications have been successful, and how much land has been granted?


In order to give complete figures, I should like to have notice of that question.


Are there any?



31. Sir K. WOOD

asked whether forty allotment-holders of the Sunbury and District Allotment Holders' Society have received notice from the council of Sunbury to quit their allotments situated in Lower Sunbury; and whether he will take steps to see that these men are secured in the tenure of their allotments for at least two years after the War?


Inquiries have been made into this case and it appears that the district council gave notice to quit to the allotment-holders under a misapprehension as to the powers of the Board. The position has been explained to the council, and the notices to quit will be withdrawn.

32. Sir K. WOOD

asked whether a number of allotment-holders cultivating land at Sharlston Road, Mortlake, have received notice from the urban district council of Barnes to quit their allotments; whether this particular piece of land had been lying unused for twenty years before it was taken over for food production, was very rough, necessitating much hard work and time by the cultivators, and has been in cultivation under the Cultivation of Lands Order only for the past year; for what purpose this land is required; and whether, should the land be required for some purpose of greater necessity than the production of food, the allotment-holders will be allowed to cultivate it until it is actually required for that purpose and will, on dispossession, be provided with an equivalent amount of land in substitution?


I am glad to say that the Board have decided that the allotment-holders at Sharlston Road shall not be disturbed at present. If later on the land is required for building purposes, every endeavour will be made to provide them with other land.

33. Sir K. WOOD

asked whether, seeing that the Circular of the Board relative to the tenure of allotments under the Cultivation of Lands Order and Regulation 21, dated November, 1918, expressly provides that certain particulars must be proved to the satisfaction of the Board before allotment-holders are dispossessed, and in view of the necessity of continuity of policy in these cases, he will secure that the Board's policy in this respect shall be carried out; that local authorities shall be instructed to remit to the Board all cases of proposed termination of tenancy of allotments; and whether, in view of the anxiety among allotment-holders at the present time in regard to their tenure, some machinery will be set up to enable allotment-holders to have a voice in the interpretation of the conditions under which allotments have to be surrendered in the public interest?


The intention of the Board is to retain possession in all cases except where the compensation would be excessive or when the land is situated in parks and open spaces. Each case has to be considered on its merits, and absolute uniformity of treatment is impossible. Local authorities have been instructed to submit their proposals to the Board for approval. The Board are always glad to consider representations from allotment-holders, but they cannot delegate their responsibility of deciding what land shall be retained or not.


Would my hon. and gallant Friend consider the desirability of asking for further powers for his Department in respect of the Cultivation of Land Orders, so as to protect the interests of allotment-holders?


If my hon. and gallant Friend will await the introduction of the Land Settlement Bill, I think he will see that further powers will be asked for.


asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether there is a keen desire on the part of the members of the Maypole and District Allotment Holders' Association, Bexley, to secure a lease of the land they are at present cultivating, with a view to obtaining more adequate security of tenure than they have at present; and, as the Board have recommended allotment-holders to lease ground wherever possible, whether he will make representations to the urban district council of Dartford to effect a lease of this land or, failing that, a lease of other land in the district to satisfy the demand for allotments?


The Board have no special information about this case, but inquiries will be made with the object of giving the association all possible assistance in obtaining land for allotments on lease.


Will greater power be taken with regard to security of tenure for these allotment-holders?


I think that my hon. Friend had better wait for the introduction of the Bill.