HC Deb 18 February 1942 vol 377 cc1784-6
29. Mr. Hannah

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether his attention has been called to the cost of removing railings and other ironwork from old graves; and will he undertake the expense of clearing churchyards of unnecessary metal and making good any damage so caused where the rector or vicar and church-wardens desire to have this done?

Mr. Hicks

The arrangements which my Department has made for the taking of unnecessary railings cover railings and other unnecessary metal in churchyards. Making good so far as labour and materials are available is part of these arrangements.

Mr. Hannah

The local vicar and churchwardens are not called upon to pay any expenses involved in that case?

Mr. Hicks

We make a reimbursement in respect of any damage done.

33. Sir William Davison

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether he will inform the House of the method by which freeholders who have had railings scheduled for removal which protect land purchased by them or their predecessors for purposes of recreation can obtain compensation for the loss they will sustain in being no longer able to make charges for admission; and, alternatively, will be inform the House of the statutory powers which permit of the taking of property without compensation as above?

Mr. Hicks

Owners of land from which railings are taken under the authority of the Defence General Regulations, 1939, are entitled to claim compensation under the provisions of the Compensation (Defence) Act, 1939. Forms are obtainable from the appropriate local authorities. The second part of the Question therefore does not arise.

Sir W. Davison

Does the Minister know that the local authorities complain very much that they have no discretionary powers as to advising the Ministry, except in cases of artistic merit and danger to the public, and will he look into this matter? Is he also aware that railings have been taken away in certain London parks without the military authorities being consulted, and that barbed wire and iron posts have had to be put up in place of the railings, and that this has taken more metal—apart from the time involved—than was obtained from the railings?

Mr. Hicks

The local authorities are asked, in the first instance, to schedule all railings that are unnecessary. The local authorities have full authority in that matter. Anyone who is disappointed with regard to the schedule may make an appeal to a local tribunal or to the Ministry.

Sir W. Davison

Is it not the case that, except in the case of artistic merit or danger to the public, the local authorities have no discretion in regard to the scheduling of the railings?

Major-General Sir Alfred Knox

Who decides whether railings are necessary or not? Is the Minister aware that this is sometimes left to girls from the Women's Voluntary Service?

Mr. Hicks

The local authorities have to decide, in the first instance, whether the railings are necessary. Eventually the matter comes to my Ministry.

Mr. Leach

Have the Ministry got hold of Lord Baldwin's railings yet?

Mr. Hicks

We must not anticipate events.

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