HC Deb 10 December 1946 vol 431 cc949-50
2. Mr. Geoffrey Cooper

asked the Secretary of State for War what steps he is taking to relinquish immediately the gun site at Middlesbrough, particulars of which have already been sent to him, required urgently as part of an industrial development area of that town.

The Secretary of State for War (Mr. Bellenger)

The question of an alternative site is now being discussed by the Middlesbrough Corporation and the regional planning officer of the Ministry of Town and Country Planning. Until an alternative site is found and approved, I am not prepared to relinquish the present site which is owned by my Department.

Mr. Cooper

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this matter has been before his Department since last July and that no satisfaction has been obtained by the local authority who require this land for industrial purposes? Is he further aware that this is not an isolated example in his Department, and will he see that this sort of obstruction is removed and that the dead hand of bureaucracy is not allowed to obstruct in this manner?

Mr. Bellenger

I do not know what type of obstruction my hon. Friend refers to We own the land, certainly, and I think we had better leave it to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning to assist us in this matter.

Mr. Alfred Edwards

Does my right hon. Friend realise that the Government have spent large sums of money in these areas, and that inaction in his Department is holding up development in this area in Middlesbrough which is set aside for industrial development? Is my right hon. Friend also aware that another Department is lounging in luxury in a maternity home, so that the proper people cannot get into this home? Will my right hon. Friend set a good example and get rid of these people without any further delay? There is no excuse whatever.

Mr. Bellenger

All I can say is, the War Office are not lounging in luxury on this particular site.

Mr. Cooper

Is my right hon. Friend aware that employment in Middlesbrough in the future will be affected by this decision of his Department, and can he not hasten the relinquishment of this site?

Mr. Bellenger

I will do all I can to help.

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