HC Deb 07 October 1942 vol 383 cc1207-9
42. Mr. Tinker

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning how many machines are in use to remove the broken ends of iron railings that have been left embedded in masonry; where they have been used; and whether effective or not?

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

Two hundred and fifty stump extracting machines have been delivered to the Regional Offices of my Department for use by the men engaged on the recovery of railings. They have been used throughout the country but the experience so far gained is not conclusive. Satisfactory results have, however, been obtained where the curbs or copings are of granite or other hard stone.

Mr. Tinker

If I give my hon. Friend information where these machines have been tried and have failed, will he take further steps to remove these broken ends, as they are a danger to the inhabitants?

Mr. Hicks

I tried to indicate that they are not always successful, especially where stone has been exposed for some time and has deteriorated, in which case the machine tears it away and damages it. With regard to the other point I will look into it.

44. Sir William Davison

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning, whether he can now state the result of the re-examination by the Special Headquarters Appeal Panel of their recommendation to the Minister that the railings in Campden Hill Square, which were scheduled for removal by the Kensington Borough Council, should be retained; and what person or body originally lodged an appeal for the retention of these railings after they had been scheduled for removal by the Kensington Borough Council?

Mr. Hicks

I am not yet in a position to report the result of the deliberations of the Headquarters Appeal Panel, but I hope to be able to do so next week. No appeal was made in respect of the railings in Campden Hill Square nor was it necessary as the Panel quite properly on its own initiative recommended the retention of these railings as well as other examples of notable ironwork.

Sir W. Davison

Is it not very unusual for an appeal tribunal to appeal to themselves against the decision of the local authority, and is it not especially undesirable when I understand a member of that tribunal is himself a resident in the square in question? Is the Minister also aware that in the case of Kensington Square, which is a square of incomparably greater historic interest than Campden Hill Square, the retention of the railings was refused, and that they have been pulled down?

Mr. Hicks

The answer is that in the first instance they have not appealed against themselves yet. I am asking them to review their previous recommendation in view of the urgent need for metal. Secondly, the member of the tribunal who resides in the square was not on the panel at the time the decision was arrived at. Thirdly, the panel has the right to recommend to the Minister the retention of railings of historic value or artistic merit.

Sir W. Davison

Has the Minister seen those railings? They are of very poor character, nothing like the wrought iron railings in Kensington Square which have not been preserved, and is it not very undesirable that the appeal tribunal should appeal to themselves and refuse all information to the local authority as to the reason for their action in spite of repeated requests from the Royal Borough Council?