HC Deb 21 May 1946 vol 423 c173
23. Mr. Dye

asked the Secretary of State for War when he will be able to make a statement on the future use or derequisitioning of the battle-training area near Thetford, Norfolk; and whether, before giving up the whole area, it will be possible to relinquish the church at West Tofts which is just inside the boundary.

Mr. Lawson

Until the other Government Departments concerned have completed their examination of the schedule of land required by the Army for postwar training, I cannot make any statement about the future of any particular area which may be affected. I regret that it would not be possible to relinquish West Tofts church without undue interference with the value of the area for training purposes.

Mr. Edgar Granville

In view of the specific undertaking which was given to these dispossessed individuals—agriculturists, farmworkers and so on—at the time of the dispossession, does the right hon. Gentleman think it is a question of honour for the War Office to see that this decision is expedited?

Mr. Lawson

I would like to know the exact nature of the promise that was given and the circumstances in which it was given. There are several instances of this kind.

Mr. Hare

Is the Minister aware that there was an undertaking given not only by his own Department but also by the Regional Commissioner? They were given in very definite terms Is the Minister prepared to reconsider his decision?

Mr. Lawson

I was, at any rate, a Deputy Regional Commissioner myself and I had to give many promises which I thought held at the time. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."] Yes. The word of an important person of that kind ought to be taken into consideration. I certainly will take it into consideration.