§ 9. Mr. Skeffington-Lodge
asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether he has considered the apprehensions expressed to him by the hon. Member for Bedford and others at his decision, following the public inquiry into the proposals of Messrs. Earles to extend their cement works in the Hope Valley; and whether, in view of its adverse effect on the amenities of a potential national park as well as on farming interests in the district, he will reconsider his verdict and in the meantime make a public statement.
§ Mr. King
The decision to allow an extension of these works was taken after very full consideration of all points of view and after a local inquiry lasting three days. My right hon. Friend is fully satisfied that the expansion of the works is necessary in the interests of national cement production, that the new works will in many ways be an improvement on the existing works, and that the conditions imposed for the landscaping and after-treatment of the land will minimise the adverse effects, if any, on the amenities of the area.
§ Mr. Skeffington-Lodge
Is my hon. Friend aware that the reply he has just given will not satisfy large numbers of people in the country who believe that the decision of the Minister is a definite and heavy blow at the National Parks movement? Is he further aware that to make the top end of the Hope Valley derelict for 117 years, as will be the case if this project goes through, is an extremely anti-social thing?
§ Mr. Molson
Has the Minister issued, or if not, will he issue an explanation of the decision he has come to; a reasoned statement of why he has arrived at this conclusion after the inquiry?
§ Mr. Lipson
Can my hon. Friend say whether there was any alternative put forward to this factory which would have produced the cement required? Also, could he not place in the Library a copy of the evidence given by both sides at the inquiry, because there is great concern, and hon. Members would like to form their own judgment?
§ Mr. Henry Strauss
Has the hon. Gentleman considered the representations made by the National Trust, and is he aware of the grave anxiety that the National Trust entertains on this matter?
§ Mr. Keeling
is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that in deciding to destroy the beauty of this lovely valley for ever, the Government did not even give reasons for rejecting the alternatives? Does he think that is fair and just?
§ Mr. Skeffington-Lodge
Owing to the very unsatisfactory nature of the reply, and in spite of the fact that I am sailing to America tomorrow for some long time, I beg to give notice that I will raise this matter at the first opportunity on my return.