HC Deb 01 April 1958 vol 585 cc1014-5
14. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware of the difficulties existing in certain areas in regard to caravan sites; and what administrative action he proposes to take.

Mr. Bevins

I would refer my hon. Friend to the Answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Rye (Mr. Godman Irvine) on 18th March.

Mr. Remnant

That is quite useless as an Answer. Is my hon. Friend aware that the law dealing with refugee caravans is being flouted to such an extent that the whole countryside will be littered with illegal caravan sites unless he takes some action? He has already had one letter from me pointing this out. What does he propose to do about the situation?

Mr. Bevins

I am very well aware of my hon. Friend's views, but there are many diverse views towards this problem in the House. My right hon. Friend is perfectly willing to consult any local authority on its own particular problems.

Mr. Shinwell

Does not the hon. Member realise that if the Minister does not provide houses we must have caravans?

15. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he will call a conference of the counties of Surrey, Middlesex, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, and Hampshire to reach an agreed policy in regard to caravan sites.

Mr. Bevins

My right hon. Friend's Department is always ready to confer with any planning authority on this subject, and has in fact conferred with some of those named, but both their circumstances and their local Act powers vary and I do not think a joint conference would be useful.

Mr. Remnant

Is my hon. Friend aware that three of these local authorities are those which are banning caravan sites entirely so that all the refugee caravanners are moving into the neighbouring authorities' areas? Is not it fair and proper that they should reach an agreed decision between them? Will not my hon. Friend reconsider this matter?

Mr. Bevins

One of the difficulties here is that all the counties concerned have different powers which they operate, and it is quite useless to consider a conference of various local authorities in those circumstances. We are perfectly willing to confer with any particular county.

Mr. Ede

Does not the hon. Member realise that where contiguous counties have different policies it is highly desirable that an effort should be made to get a joint policy so that these wretched people are not pushed out of one county which does not want them into another?

Mr. Beresford Craddock

Will my hon. Friend take steps to encourage local authorities to establish municipal sites for caravans, such, for example, as that which the Sunbury Urban District Council has opened with very great success?

Mr. Bevins

My right hon. Friend will certainly bear that suggestion in mind.