HC Deb 18 November 1946 vol 430 cc508-9
46. Mr. Medland

asked the Prime Minister if he' is aware of the concern caused in the county of Devon by the decision of the War Office to acquire the whole of the areas used as battle training grounds on Dartmoor during the war; and if he will take steps to ensure that local authorities in the county, including the Devon County Council, the Exeter City Council and the Plymouth City Council, are enabled to submit representations to the Service Land Requirements Committee before any decision is reached.

The Prime Minister

Dartmoor is one of the areas still being considered by the Committee. I would refer my hon. Friend to the reply I gave on 6th November to the hon. Member for Twickenham (Mr. Keeling), relating to land acquired under the Defence Act.

Mr. Medland

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the representations which may be made, I understand, to the Service Land Requirements Committee can be made on the spot, in Devonshire, instead of in London, so that, we can get this Committee to have some local colour and see Dartmoor?

The Prime Minister

I will look into that point.

Mr. Charles Williams

Will the right hon. Gentleman give more careful attention to the matter on the spot, and to local representations, than has already been given?

The Prime Minister

As to representations on the spot, I cannot pretend to be able to be there myself.

Mr. C. Williams

Why not?

Mr. Heathcoat Amory

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that if this land is taken it will be the end of the scheme for a national park in the South-West, and that if that happens great disappointment will be caused to many hundreds of thousands of people in every part of the United Kingdom?

The Prime Minister

All these points are being carefully considered.

Mr. Michael Foot

Can my right hon. Friend say whether the response to these representations will be made public before a final decision is taken, and whether, in the event of the War Office still taking the wrong decision, he can give an assurance that there will be a Debate on this subject in the House of Commons before Dartmoor is stolen from the people?

The Prime Minister

The hon. Member is mistaken. This decision must be taken by the Government, and not by any special Department.

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