HC Deb 23 February 1926 vol 192 cc285-6

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he is aware that for two or three years past about 1,000 people have taken up their residence on private property on or about the shore between Cardross and Helensburgh, and more especially between Ardmore Bay and Helensburgh; that they live in wooden structures and in bell tents, some staying all the winter, others only during summer months; that these people are householders in neighbouring towns; that at the spot in question there are no sanitary arrangements, drains, or water supply other than polluted burn water, and that, accordingly, there is risk to public health; that the structures erected for occupation do not conform to the regulations of the County Council of Dumbarton; and what proceedings he is prepared to adopt to put an end to this menace to public health?


In reply to the first two parts of the question, I am informed that in 1924, 667 persons, including 194 children, took up residence on the shore between Cardross and Craigendoran under the conditions indicated. In 1925 the number so in residence was 391, including 149 children. I understand that the majority of these people usually reside in neighbouring towns. I am informed that the local authority have issued special instructions as to the sanitary accommodation, and that there is no ground for complaint under this head, the necessary conveniences having been provided. The main water supply is suitable for domestic purposes; the local authority have from time to time directed attention to the risk of taking Water from certain places and the Scottish Board of Health are at present keeping the matter under close observation. With reference to the penultimate part of the question, only two quasi-permanent structures come within the scope of the local authority's building byelaws, the other coming under the byelaws for tents, vans and similar structures. Convictions for contravention of the building byelaws have been obtained in the case of the two quasi-permanent structures and the Board of Health are at present in communication with the local authority with reference to the demolition of these structures. With regard to the last part of the question I am informed that the local authority's byelaws for tents, vans and similar structures are being reasonably enforced. I may point out that the local authority have no power to prohibit the use of such structures unless coming within the ambit of the building byelaws and also that the occupation of private land is not a question with which the local authority have power to deal.