HC Deb 15 March 1939 vol 345 cc395-6
41. Mr. Sorensen

asked the Minister of Transport whether, in the sanctioning, planning, or reconstructing of highways, he accepts as a primary necessity the preservation of places and buildings of aesthetic and antiquarian value; whether he is aware that some of these have been unnecessarily endangered, injured, or destroyed; and whether he will make a statement respecting the disputes over Old Oxted and the Devil's Punch Bowl?

Mr. Burgin

Every care is taken to safeguard existing amenities and to preserve buildings of antiquarian value. I am not aware of the circumstances mentioned in the second part of the question, nor of any dispute on aesthetic and antiquarian grounds at Old Oxted. My officers are at present negotiating with the National Trust in connection with land required at the Devil's Punch Bowl for the widening of a section of the London-Portsmouth trunk road.

Mr. Sorensen

Is not the Minister aware of the statements in the Press to the effect that there is a great deal of unnecessary demolition of property of historic interest; and will he look into the matter, so that the best of our historic places may be preserved?

Mr. Burgin

I am not aware that that is the case, but the answer I have given shows that the very considerations that he mentions are borne in mind in determining the line of the road.