HC Deb 10 December 1941 vol 376 cc1515-6
33. Mr. Silkin

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he is aware that there are more than 300 applicants for allotments in the city of Westminster who are unable to secure a plot to cultivate; and whether, having regard to the urgent need to grow food, he will consider allocating land in Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens for allotments?

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings (Mr. Hicks)

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. In regard to the second part, careful consideration has been given to the possibility of releasing further land for allotments, but, in view of the numerous other war-time encroachments and the great importance of maintaining the Royal Parks as open spaces for the pleasure and recreation of the public, it is not proposed to allocate additional allotment space. I should add that a quarter of the total area of Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens is allocated to war-time encroachments, of which 14 acres are allotments and 133 acres are devoted to defence purposes. The total area of all the Royal Parks in London is 5,370 acres and more than a half of this area is already alienated to war-time encroachments, including 340 acres for food production.

Mr. Silkin

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware of the numerous appeals which are being made to people to take up allot- ments? Is he aware that it is useless to make these appeals if no allotments are being provided?

Mr. Hicks

I am aware of the requests which are being made. I can assure my hon. Friend that the proper use of parks has been sympathetically considered, but, under the circumstances, we feel that any further encroachment would not be justified.