HC Deb 14 October 1942 vol 383 cc1625-7
40. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning whether he will take steps to obviate the present difficulty of communicating with officials and contractors charged with the work of scheduling and removing iron railings, gates, etc., owing to the addresses of such officials and contractors not being published; and is he aware that in some cases contractors are still arriving to remove railings without previous notice to their owners, and also of the dissatisfaction caused owing to dumps of old iron not being cleared, whilst railings and gates in the same district are being torn down?

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

Instructions have been issued that formal notice should be served before railings and gates are removed. That notice shows the address of my Department, to which any communications should be forwarded. Certain dumps of scrap metal are held by the Ministry of Supply as an essential reserve, but if the hon. and gallant Member will inform me of any other dumps of which he has knowledge, I will have inquiries made.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is my hon. Friend not aware that individuals and local councils were asked a very long time ago to collect scrap iron and to make dumps in villages and other places, that many of those dumps have not been collected, and that this fact causes great dissatisfaction to people who have had their railings, gates, and other useful articles removed?

Mr. Hicks

Yes, Sir. I have stated to the House on several occasions that the dumps in villages will be collected in the county drives. There is one such drive to be initiated in the hon. and gallant Members county, and the dumps in that county will be collected, as they have been in many other counties.

Sir A. Southby

Will the hon. Member look into the existence of large numbers of dumps of derelict motor cars, which might be cleared up and used?

Mr. Hicks

There is a Question on the Order Paper on that subject, to which I will reply later.

41. Sir G. Jeffreys

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning, whether he is aware that in certain districts young women are going round scheduling for removal iron railings and gates, additional to those scheduled by local authorities; what are the powers of these women; to whom are they responsible; and to whom can appeals against their proposals be addressed?

Mr. Hicks

Yes, Sir. These officers of my Department prepare lists of railings, gates, etc., which appear to have been omitted from the original schedules in error. Decision to act or not on these supplementary lists is taken by the headquarters staff of my Ministry, after notice has been given to the local authority. Representations may be made in respect of such cases to my Department at Lambeth Bridge House.

Sir G. Jeffreys

Is my hon. Friend aware that many of these young women are quite unqualified to judge the value of iron, either from an artistic or a useful point of view, and that they are acting apparently without any responsibility to anybody?

Mr. Hicks

The progress of the fair sex in the art of camouflage may have deceived my hon. and gallant Friend, but I can assure him that none of the ladies is under 30 years of age, and they are capable of scheduling iron railings and are working under an officer.

Mr. Naylor

Is my hon. Friend aware that these persons are not only losing their railings, but they are also losing their heads?

43. Mr. Parker

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Planning whether steps will now be taken to reverse his earlier decision and to take all railings unnecessary for public safety round Kensington Gardens and the British Museum?

Mr. Hicks

The retention of the whole of the railings which remain round the British Museum is considered necessary for reasons of security. I am having the question of the Kensington Garden railings re-examined.