HC Deb 17 February 1944 vol 397 cc329-31
31. Mr. Hugh Lawson

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what steps he proposes to take to see that the temporary homes to be built under the Government's two year plan are laid out in accordance with the most advanced principles of town planning and not allowed to add to the existing problems by building more vast housing estates on the outskirts of large cities.

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. W. S. Morrison)

My Ministry will be consulted on layout in every case. I would also remind the hon. and gallant Member that, as stated by my noble Friend the Minister of Works, all temporary houses under the plan referred to will be publicly owned and removed at the end of a limited period.

Mr. Lawson

Can we have an assurance from the Minister that these temporary houses will not be laid out so that we have millions of acres of sprawling suburbs, and is he aware that we have just revised our ideas on density zoning?

Mr. Morrison

Yes, Sir, that will be our idea.

32. Mr. Hugh Lawson

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning if, in view of the Government's plans on post-war housing, he will make known the Government's views on the location of post-war industry and the question of the ownership of land, compensation and betterment; and whether he is aware that indecision on these subjects will frustrate the plans of the Minister of Works.

Mr. W. S. Morrison

I am aware of the importance of these questions, but cannot, at present, add to the answer which I gave to the hon. and gallant Member for Penryn and Falmouth (Major Petherick) on 30th November, 1943, and to earlier answers and to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the President of the Board of Trade on 8th December, 1943. In answer to the last part of the Question, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works and I will co-operate to ensure that the execution of plans is not delayed.

Mr. Lawson

Is the Minister aware that this delay of not months, but years, is giving the impression that the Government are really incapable of producing any plans at all for the purpose of the location of post-war industry?

Mr. Morrison

I cannot be responsible for all the erroneous impressions of the people.

Mr. Shinwell

Is not the impression that the Government are delaying their decision on the Uthwatt and Barlow Reports correct, and is it not the case that these reports have been in the hands of the Government for a long time, and is it not desirable that we should have some decision from the Government?

Mr. Morrison

It is not the case that the Government are delaying decisions on these matters. These weighty problems are proceeding towards solution and an announcement will be made on them at the earliest moment.

Sir Herbert Williams

Is it not a fact that there have been ceaseless representations made to His Majesty's Government and that neither municipalities nor private builders can make any plans whatever at this moment owing to want of decision on the part of the Government?

Mr. Morrison

No, Sir, that is not the case. Some excellent plans have been made and there is plenty to do for everybody.

Sir H. Williams

How can one plan on land which is frozen as a result of the Town and Country Planning Act?

Mr. Morrison

It is not frozen in that sense.

Mr. Stephen

Is it not the case that the inactivity of the Government is responsible for these impressions and that they are not erroneous?

Mr. Morrison

There is no inactivity on the part of His Majesty's Government.

Mr. J. J. Lawson

Is not the Minister aware that we are much obliged to him for the new term he has used and that it is at any rate an improvement on "urgent consideration."?

Mr. Shinwell

As the Minister has referred to plans, will he satisfy the natural curiosity of hon. Members and tell us something about those plans?

Mr. Morrison

On a suitable occasion, I shall be glad to give the House all information at my disposal, but if hon. Members will consult the planning authorities in their own areas, I think that many of them will be surprised at the amount of excellent work that is being done