HC Deb 09 July 1946 vol 425 cc215-7
23. Mr. Sidney Shephard

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Clumber Estate, recently purchased by the National Trust, is still a prohibited area, the greater part of it being requisitioned for military purposes; and, since this estate is urgently required for public recreation, what steps he is taking to vacate the area and return the estate to the present owners.

20. Mr. Champion

asked the Secretary of State for War why the position at Clumber Park is being aggravated by the further depositing of ammunition upon this property.

Mr. Lawson

As I explained on 7th June, in reply to a Question by my hon. Friend the Member for East Nottingham (Mr. Harrison), Clumber Park is required for the storage of considerable quantities of ammunition and I regret that it must remain closed to the public for some time to come. This depot is largely sited on non-productive land, and is more compact and easier to control than many others. Ammunition is occasionally moved into the depot on arrival from overseas, or on transfer from areas which must be released quickly.

Mr. Shephard

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this is one of the most beautiful parks in the Midlands and that it was only quite recently acquired by public subscription to supply an amenity for many thousands of people in the Midlands? When he is thinking about this matter will my right hon. Friend see whether he can park all this ammunition where it is not in the way?

Mr. Lawson

I will have to look at the question again; but I must say that this question of storing ammunition is a very difficult one. I neither like to take up land that is used for agriculture nor land for possible buildings, nor land where people who live in the cities can have some recreation. I will have a look into this matter again.

Mr. Skeffington-Lodge

Will my right hon. Friend boar in mind that this case is one of many examples of the fact that the War Office is hanging on to the countryside and is preventing people going there and enjoying it?

Mr. Lawson

Yes, Sir, that is true. That is where the difficulty arises. As a matter of fact there are hundreds of thousands of tons of ammunition hanging on to me, as a result of the war.

Mr. Harrison

May I ask the Minister, in his reconsideration of the matter, not to transfer any of the ammunition to public roads or paths where it might be a source of danger and obstruction to the travelling public?

Mr. Lawson

I recognise that.

Mr. Cocks

Will the Minister consider moving this ammunition to one corner of the estate and releasing the rest of it? Is he aware that this matter is imperilling the position of his own Financial Secretary in Nottinghamshire?