HC Deb 04 December 1928 vol 223 cc994-5

asked the Secretary of State for War upon what principle does his Department justify demanding 100 years' purchase of an annual rent of £1 for a short dainage easement over a certain strip of common land at Strensall camp, near York; whether this sum of £100 has been arrived at as an arbitrary one or is founded upon any independent expert advice; and will he explain the reasons for this excessive demand?

The SECRETARY of STATE for WAR (Sir Laming Worthington-Evans)

My hon. Friend is under a misapprehension. The annual sum of £1 paid for a temporary easement, which included road, water pipes, gas pipes, sewer and electric cable, was not a rent but only an acknowledgment, and, the licence to maintain these services was subject to termination at any time on summary notice, the licensee being then liable to remove the road, pipes and cable and to restore properly the land. The sum of £100 is a considered valuation for sale of a permanent easement and was made by the Department's competent officer.


Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that under precisely similar circumstances, as lord of the manor, I make a charge of 1s. per annum for an easement of this sort, and does he not think that under the circumstances, after a man has built his house on a payment of £1, that for a Government Department to charge £100 for joining up his drains to the public sewer on Strensall Common, is both unjust and oppressive?

Lieut.-Colonel WATTS-MORGAN

Are we to understand that this increased price is due to the de-rating proposals?


I do not think that it is unjust. The owner of the land in question has made a profit on the neighbouring plot of over £150 an acre by reason of being able to get this easement, and I see no reason why, when I am advised that £100 is a fair price, I should not insist upon it in the interests of the taxpayer.