HC Deb 02 March 1948 vol 448 cc179-80
2. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning how soon he will be able to announce the results of the deliberations of the Services Land Requirements Committee with regard to training areas on Cannock Chase.

The Minister of Town and Country Planning (Mr. Silkin)

I regret that, at the moment, I am not in a position to indicate a date.

Mr. Swingler

Can the Minister say how long these deliberations will be going on? Can he forecast any date for the public local inquiries that are to be held?

Mr. Silkin

I cannot do so at the moment, because we have not received all the applications from the Service Departments, and it is desirable to deal with the Cannock Chase area as a whole.

Mr. Swingler

Does the Minister mean that there are still some further proposals from the Service Departments in regard to Cannock Chase of which we have not yet heard?

Mr. Silkin

I am not sure whether or not they have been heard of, but some have not been considered by the Inter-Departmental Committee.

3. Mr. Watkins

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what instructions have been issued to the Regional Officer for Wales, after consultation with the Secretary of State for War, as to the holding of joint consultations conferences in Wales respecting Services land requirements; what other Ministries are to be represented; whether consultations will take place with the county councils and planning committees as to who should be invited; and whether proper notices of such conferences will be sent to interested parties.

Mr. Silkin

Under the standing procedure laid down, the object of the meetings referred to is to assess the extent to which the difficulties can be solved by detailed modifications in the areas under consideration. They are distinct from the public local inquiries, which form a further and final stage when required. In accordance with that procedure, it is the practice to invite the interested Departments, the local authorities and planning committees concerned, and such other bodies as are in a position to contribute effectively to the discussion of detailed modifications in the particular case. My hon. Friend will appreciate that, in the circumstances, it would not be appropriate to invite to these meetings all those interested parties who may desire to attend the public local inquiry.

Mr. Watkins

While I fully appreciate the reply, will my right hon. Friend give further consideration to the question of holding consultations with the people on the spot as to who should be invited to these conferences?

Mr. Silkin

The people who are invited are decided upon after consultation with people on the spot.

Mr. George Thomas

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is dissatisfaction when there is not wide representation at these local hearings, and that there are indications that an arbitrary decision has been taken in this case?

Mr. Silkin

I was not aware of any dissatisfaction. On the contrary, I have had nothing but praise for the way in which these conferences are held.