HC Deb 21 March 1951 vol 485 cc2397-8
14. Mr. Hurd

asked the Secretary of State for Air if, in consultation with other Ministers, he will reconsider the proposal to place a heavy bomber base on Green-ham Common within one and a half miles of the town of Newbury, in view of the representations made to him.

Mr. A. Henderson

As I informed the hon. Member on Monday when I received representatives of the local authorities concerned, I am giving careful consideration to the representations which they made to me about the use of this airfield and will communicate with the hon. Member as soon as possible.

Mr. Hurd

May I thank the Minister for that sympathetic reply and ask him, further, if he will consult with the other Ministers in the Cabinet who are also involved?

Mr. Henderson

Yes, Sir, I will.

Mr. Donner

Would the right hon. and learned Gentleman give an assurance that the 40,000 people concerned, particularly the unlucky inhabitants of Enborne Valley, will have an opportunity of making representations before any irrevocable decision is taken, since their lives and property are bound to be adversely affected if this proposal proceeds?

Mr. Henderson

The representatives of all the local authorities concerned have had that opportunity.

Mr. Godfrey Nicholson

Does the right hon. and learned Gentleman realise that another aspect which should be borne in mind is the commoners' rights on this very extensive area? Is he aware that there is great uneasiness in the neighbourhood of Newbury over this proposal and that the statement which he proposes to make, as a Cabinet decision, will be much welcomed?

Mr. Henderson

I realise the feelings of all those who are affected by this proposal, but I remind the hon. Gentleman that the runway was laid down in 1940.