§ 25 and 26. Viscount CURZON
asked the Minister of Health (1) whether, before giving his approval to the erection by the London County Council of five-story dwellings containing about 537 tenements, with accommodation for over 3,200 persons on a site of about eight acres at East Hill, Wandsworth, a scheme involving the erection of approximately 67 houses to the acre (based on the ruling of his Department that in calculating the number of houses per acre each tenement is to count as a house), his attention was drawn by the Wandsworth Ratepayers' Association to the Ministry of Health Circular 3,886 of 15th March, 1924, expressing the opinion that the density of approximately 12 houses to the acre represented a desirable standard, and that, as a general rule, a local authority should not approve the building of more than 20 houses on any one acre, and also to the Ministry's manual on unfit houses and unhealthy areas, in which it is stated that the self-contained cottage system would be the normal policy of the Ministry of Health; and, if so, whether the Ministry of Health now propose to allow local authorities to disregard the requirements of Circular 3,886 as regards the density of houses per acre, or whether an amended circular will be issued for the future guidance of local authorities;
(2) on what grounds he gave his approval to the erection of blocks of five-storey tenement buildings on the East Hill, Wandsworth, housing estate of the London County Council, and to the construction of roads of a less width than 40 feet and of a steeper gradient than one in 20, which are the minima prescribed by the London Building Act, 1894, seeing 2044 that serious local objections have been raised to the London County Council's proposals?
§ The MINISTER of HEALTH (Mr. Wheatley)
The scheme in question was approved before I assumed office. I understand it is the intention of the London County Council to use this site as a rehousing site in connection with schemes for the clearance of insanitary areas. In view of the scarcity of suitable sites for rehousing in the county of London, and of the altitude and open situation of the site in question between the river and a large common, it was considered that some departure from normal standards could be justified. This decision was reached after full examination of the objections raised, including those to which the Noble Lord refers.
§ Viscount CURZON
Does the right hon. Gentleman's answer mean that the present Government have no responsibility for what has been done?
§ Mr. WHEATLEY
The answer simply means what I said—that the decision was made before I assumed office.