HC Deb 19 May 1953 vol 515 cc1860-1
31. Brigadier Peto

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he is aware that the rebuilding of Lynmouth is being held up by the failure of his Department to approve the plan which has been submitted some months ago by the local planning authority; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Macmillan

Emergency works of clearance and restoration costing £100,000 have already been carried out. Proposals for the permanent reconstruction and protective works in the Lynmouth area were received from the Devon County Council on 2nd March last. They entail a major scheme embracing the river works, roads, bridges, coast protection, sewerage and the demolition of buildings, at a total estimated cost, including works outside Lynmouth itself, of more than £700,000.

The matter is, of course, of great consequence to the future of Lynmouth and the proposals call for careful study. They have been examined by the Departments concerned as a matter of special urgency and the Government hope to be in a position to give the necessary decisions very shortly. In the meantime, so that urgent work may proceed quickly, I have already agreed that tenders may be obtained for the reconstruction of the harbour arm and the Rhenish Tower, and detailed proposals for a section of the river works have also been prepared and submitted by the Devon River Board. I hope my hon. and gallant Friend will agree that the action taken has been expeditious and effective.

Brigadier Peto

Several points arise, but I want to put only one now. When the Minister finally approves the plan, will he at the same time inform the coast protection authority and the planning authority—the county council— to what extent the grant will be made to them so that they are capable of assessing how much, if anything, has to be borne by the rates?

Mr. Macmillan

I thought the most important thing was to study what ought to be done, to get it done as rapidly as possible, and to start on some part of it even before we had formal approval of the whole—that we have done. All these matters will come along in due course, and I am glad to have my hon. and gallant Friend's suggestion, which I shall try to follow.