HC Deb 29 July 1942 vol 382 cc486-7
22. Mr. Barr

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning the grounds for issuing a licence for materials to rebuild a public-house at Westham, Dorset, while refusing to licence the rebuilding of a sub-post office and grocery store in the same place, although less materials were required for the latter?

Mr. Hicks

The Royal Adelaide Hotel suffered damage to one end of the building which affected the foundations and roof. A licence was issued on 25th February for the partial reinstatement of the building, the primary object being to permit the existing roof to be tied and to prevent gales lifting the roof and causing damage to the remainder of the building. The licence restricted the work to what was necessary to render the building safe. The cost of the work allowed was one-half of that proposed in the original application and less than one-third of the estimated value of the building. In the case of the grocery store and the sub-post office I understand that the damage to the premises was so extensive as to render it necessary for the authorities to condemn them as unsafe The application proposed the demolition and rebuilding of the whole premises at a cost in excess of the original value of the building. A licence was refused on 28th May in accordance with the usual policy of this Ministry not to permit the erection of new buildings unless they are considered necessary for essential war purposes.

Sir Francis Fremantle

Is it not the case that a public house is an essential part of the community?

Mr. Hicks

I was going to reply that as my hon. Friend is a doctor, I would accept his advice upon it.

Mr. George Griffiths

Is not a sub-post office of more importance than a public house?