HC Deb 19 October 1954 vol 531 cc1021-2
36. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Works if he will make a statement on the conversion of Gosfield Hall, Essex, into

because it would destroy confidence in the practitioner.

Following are the figures: The years in which the two doctors were excluded from practice were 1950 and 1953, and the years in which the four dentists were excluded from practice were 1951 (two dentists), 1952 and 1953. The occasions when sums were withheld from remuneration were distributed as follows:

a home for aged people; and what sum is to be paid for this purpose from public funds.

The Minister of Works (Mr. Nigel Birch)

Gosfield Hall is an historic house which was acquired by the Essex County Council. The Wayfarer's Trust proposes to use the building as a nursing home for old people. The estimated cost of conversion is £30,000 and a public appeal for this money has been launched. No contribution towards the cost of conversion is being given from public funds.

In order to preserve the house, structural repairs are also necessary and, on the advice of the Historic Buildings Council for England, a grant of £17,000 has been offered on condition that the scheme to put the house into use is carried out.

Mr. Driberg

While congratulating the hon. Gentleman, if I may, on his elevation and on being able to announce in his first answer the preservation of an historic house which we all welcome, may I ask whether we can take it that he is satisfied that this house will not be disproportionately costly to adapt and maintain and that it will be suitable for the purpose?

Mr. Birch

The adaptation is not a matter for my Ministry, but for Essex County Council. What we are satisfied about is that the money we are allocating for the preservation of the house will be well spent.