HC Deb 26 July 1949 vol 467 cc2235-6
34. Mr. Nield

asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning whether any estimate has been made of the total overspill from Manchester which it is necessary to accommodate in the surrounding counties; and what is the approximate allocation to each county.

Mr. Silkin

Several estimates have been made by committees of local authorities in the area. All estimates on such a difficult matter are necessarily tentative, but on present information I think it may ultimately be necessary to provide accommodation in the surrounding counties for as many as 300,000 people from Manchester and the immediately adjoining towns. As far as I can see, about half this number would have to go to Cheshire and half to Lancashire. I hope it will shortly be possible to say something more definite about the scale on which provision should be made in the development plans to be submitted by 1951.

Mr. Nield

Is it not a fact that the Cheshire County Council has itself produced a plan for accommodating some 300,000 people from Manchester and the near districts with the minimum damage to agriculture? In such circumstances, is it necessary to seek to accommodate some 25,000 people at Mobberley on the best agricultural land in the country? Will not the right hon. Gentleman consider this again? I too should like a straight answer.

Mr. Silkin

The hon. and learned Member always gets a straight answer. I have seen the proposals of Cheshire County Council and have given them very careful consideration. I am not satisfied that they can accommodate anything like 300,000 people. In my view it is about half that number.

Lieut.-Colonel Bromley-Davenport

Is it not a fact that the proposal put forward in black and white by Cheshire County Council definitely allowed for an overspill population of 300,000 people from Manchester alone? Why does the Minister talk such poppycock?

Mr. Ellis Smith

Is it not also a fact that thousands of people in the Manchester area have for generations been living under scandalous conditions, and will my right hon. Friend give an indication that their needs shall have priority over everything else? Can I have a straight answer to that question?