HC Deb 26 January 1954 vol 522 cc1579-80
9. Mr. Stokes

asked the Minister of Works whether he will reconsider the decision to acquire the whole of Carlton House Terrace for rebuilding as a new Foreign Office; and whether, in view of the fact that it has now been found practical to rebuild as flats and other premises without altering the Nash front, he will so develop it himself or dispose of the site to a commercial enterprise who will.

Sir D. Eccles

No, Sir; the Foreign Office needs a new building near Whitehall. As regards the right hon. Gentleman's suggestion about flats, the Commissioners of Crown Lands, who own the site, consider, and I agree, that the best use for the site would be as offices.

Mr. Stokes

Is it not a fact that this decision was entered into at a time when it was thought that it was impracticable to do anything with this building commercially without pulling down the front? Surely it has now been found practicable to alter the building and make proper commercial use of it, and is it not therefore absurd to have one of the most valuable sites in the world occupied by rows and rows of clerks opening unceasing telegrams?

Sir D. Eccles

I do not agree with the right hon. Gentleman that it is now accepted that this building could be used commercially. I do not think it could. In any case, the Foreign Office is scattered about London now, and it would be greatly to the advantage of their work if we could concentrate them in one place.

Mr. Assheton

Am I right in understanding the Minister to say that it is intended to pull down Carlton House Terrace?

Sir D. Eccles

The façade will be preserved.