HC Deb 24 June 1937 vol 325 cc1369-70
51. Mr. De Chair

asked the Minister of Health whether he is aware that the Surrey County Council propose to exercise compulsory powers to acquire Merrist Wood Hall, Worplesdon, for a lunatic asylum; and whether he will refuse his consent to such action, which is against the wishes of the owners, who are elderly, and will impose hardship upon the employés and dependants on this estate?

Mr. Bernays

The answer to the first part of the question is in the affirmative. With regard to the second part, I can assure my hon. Friend that, if a compulsory purchase order is submitted for my confirmation by the county council, a public inquiry will be held at which objections would be heard, and my right hon. Friend would carefully review all the circumstances before coming to a decision in the matter.

Mr. De Chair

Since when has it been possible for the welfare of elderly people, and the employés and dependants of elderly people, to be of less importance than that of a few lunatics?

Mr. Bernays

I could not answer the question without knowing the people whom the hon. Member has in mind.

Mr. Ede

Will the hon. Gentleman assure the House that, in reaching his decision, he will have regard to nothing but the evidence taken at the public inquiry, and especially not to representations made in the House by persons who are relatives of the owners?