HC Deb 26 March 1957 vol 567 cc960-1
33. Mr. Short

asked the Secretary of State for War on what date the purchase of Warcop Hall, Westmorland, was completed; what was the purchase price; for what purpose it has been used since it was purchased; and what are the future intentions of his Department as to its use.

The Under-Secretary of State for War (Mr. Julian Amery)

The purchase of the Warcop Hall estate was completed on 1st June, 1955. It would be contrary to Government practice to disclose the price paid. The estate was needed as part of a firing range.

Mr. Short

How much longer does the Under-Secretary of State intend to keep on repeating this silly reply? This House is in the middle of a large and populous village. How on earth can he say that it is part of a range? Will the Minister say to what use the hall is being put, and why was it necessary for his Department to purchase this manor house, which is one of the most beautiful manor houses in this part of the country? Why does not the War Office either sell it or find a tenant for it? And why all the secrecy about the purchase price? Can the hon. Gentleman imagine what some of his hon. Friends would say if the Coal Board or the Central Electricity Authority had been concerned?

Mr. Amery

The hall was bought as part of a package deal, and arrangements have now been made to sell it to a private purchaser.