HC Deb 17 March 1947 vol 435 cc151-2

Motion made, and Question proposed, That a sum not exceeding £28,000,000, be granted to His Majesty, to defray the expense of works and lands, which will come in course of payment during the year ending on the 31st day of March, 1948.

Mr. Driberg

I wish to ask my right hon. Friend about the new barracks and marriage quarters for which increased provision is made under the Vote. He said something earlier in the evening about amenities in these new barracks, but I do not think I heard him say anything about a point which is also of some importance in the public interest—their architecture. Can he tell us anything about the kind of architects now being appointed to design these barracks? Is that a matter on which he shares some central architectural advice with the other Services? It is rather important that they should be good, really modern designs, and I would like some assurance on that.

Mr. P. Noel-Baker

I believe that architecturally the work has been done by the architects of the Air Ministry Works Department. My hon. Friend may take it as certain that every consideration has been given to the use of modern materials. As I said in my opening speech, the whole design has been done with a view to reducing to a minimum the materials and labour required, so as to reduce to a minimum competition with civilian housing demands. I think that if my hon. Friend is familiar with the architecture of the old Air Force barracks block, he will agree that they are not at all bad and I am certain that there will be an improvement.

Mr. Driberg

They may be not at all bad, but they are not all good. A reduction in the amount of materials used does not necessarily mean that the design will be good from the æsthetic point of view.

Mr. Noel-Baker

I agree that there is room for improvement, and I will look into the matter. From the point of view of Air Force barrack blocks on permanent stations, they compare favourably with other people's barracks.

Question put, and agreed to.

Resolutions to be reported Tomorrow; Committee to sit again Tomorrow.