HC Deb 11 July 1946 vol 425 cc552-4
8. Mr. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Health if he is aware of the dissatisfaction caused by his refusal to approve the granting of licences to private builders in 23 out of 25 cases recently submitted to him by the Saint Faiths and Aylsham Rural District Council; and if he is prepared to give fresh consideration to this matter, in view of the shortage of houses in the rural areas of Norfolk.

12. Mr. Gooch

asked the Minister of Health whether he will issue building licences to private persons in the St. Faiths and Aylsham district of Norfolk, in cases where land has already been acquired, and some cases where building contracts have been entered into, in accordance with representations made to his regional office at Cambridge by the St. Faiths and Aylsham Rural District Council.

Mr. Key

The St. Faiths and Aylsham Rural District Council had issued 121 licences to private builders by the end of May; and effort must now be concentrated on the building of houses to let for those in greatest need. My right hon. Friend is not, therefore, prepared to agree that further licences should be issued for the time being, though there may be exceptional cases. The council have made a good start with their own building programme and have more land available; and the best way for private builders to assist in overcoming the housing shortage in this area is for them to build houses for the council, in appropriate cases under the terms of Circular 92/46, of which I am sending each of the hon. Members a copy.

Mr. Medlicott

Is the Minister aware that each of these cases submitted by the St. Faiths and Aylsham Council show the most desperate urgency and need? Is he further aware that at the same time that authority was refused permission for these houses to be built, at the other end of my constituency authority was given by another Department for the building of a grandstand at a greyhound racing track?

Sir Waldron Smithers

Is the Minister also aware that very similar and strong complaints come from the Orpington area?

Mr. Key

There are a number of councils who have exceeded the number of private licences in comparison with the erection of houses to let, which makes it essential, in order that the accommodation may be distributed according to need, to restrict houses for sale in order that houses to let may be built.

10. Mr. Medlicott

asked the Minister of Health how soon he anticipates being able to authorise the Saint Faiths and Aylsham Rural District Council to issue a building licence in favour of Corporal C. Land, who wishes to build a house for his own occupation at Taverham, Norfolk.

Mr. Key

I understand that the application of Corporal Land will be considered by the council today. If the council think that the case is one in which a licence should be issued, they will so inform my right hon. Friend, but as I have already indicated in replying to an earlier question put by the hon. Member, this is a district in which effort must be concentrated on the building of houses by the local authority.

Mr. Medlicott

In such cases where the hon. Gentleman prevents the building of houses by this means, can we be assured that he is doing all that is possible to ensure that some other houses are erected in their place?

Mr. Key

The reason for the non-issue of licences is in order that the available labour and material may be used for the building of houses to let.

Mr. R. S. Hudson

Are the hon. Gentleman, and his right hon. Friend, certain that these houses to let will be occupied by agricultural workers, which the others would have been?

Mr. Key

Not necessarily by agricultural workers.

Mr. Lipson

May I ask the hon. Gentleman whether he thinks his Department is really treating local authorities fairly when he gives them authority to grant licences to build houses and then when they decide, after reviewing all the facts, to grant licences, his Department revokes them?

Mr. Key

As with other organisations, there are some local authorities who do not use their powers with due discretion. What we have asked them to do is to use their licensing powers in conformity with their own building programme, so that their own building programme for houses to let is not injured by their licensing for other purposes.

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