HC Deb 15 March 1950 vol 472 cc1071-3
33. Mr. Osborne

asked the Secretary of State for Air why he still refuses to give Mr. G. F. Sleight, Hillside Farm, Brigsley, permission to plough up the 100 acres of grassland near Waltham aerodrome as the Grimsby Corporation have no intention of using the aerodrome; and what steps has he taken to treat this question as a matter of urgency as he undertook to do on 16th November, 1949.

The Under-Secretary of State for Air (Mr. Crawley)

I have now been informed by my noble Friend the Minister of Civil Aviation that he has no flying requirement for this airfield. There is, therefore, now no objection to the land being ploughed up as far as the Air Ministry are concerned, but I am in consultation with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture as to the best method of making full agricultural use of the whole airfield site.

Mr. Osborne

Now that the Minister has agreed that this land is not to be used for civil aviation, cannot he give the farmer permission to plough it up immediately instead of waiting and losing this next spring harvest? We have been waiting 12 months for his decision.

Mr. Crawley

This decision does not only affect my Ministry now; it affects both the Ministry of Agriculture and the Grimsby Corporation, who have not said, finally, that they have no flying use for the airfield. The Minister of Agriculture is now in consultation with the Corporation to find out whether or not they are going to use the airfield, and we hope that a decision will be taken in time for it to be cultivated this year.

Mr. Stanley

Cannot the hon. Gentleman give a guarantee that a decision will be taken in time for the ploughing? It seems quite ridiculous that because of arguments between Ministries 100 acres should be wasted for 12 months.

Mr. Crawley

This is not an argument only between the Ministries. The Grimsby Corporation were the original owners, and the statement in the Question that they have said they do not want the airfield is not true. They have only said that they will give no decision until the land reverts to them. The Minister of Agriculture is now in consultation with them to see whether it shall revert to them or whether it can be used for agriculture.

Mr. Osborne

As the answer is so unsatisfactory, I give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment at the earliest opportunity.