HC Deb 23 March 1965 vol 709 c315
33. Mr. Atkinson

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government if he will issue a circular to all local authorities and housing development corporations emphasising the desirability that henceforth all new housing development should have their underground supply services, such as gas, electricity, water, telephone, radio, heat, etc., carried through underground concrete ducts filled with easily-removed covers, thus eliminating the digging and filling-in of the roadway when breakdowns occur.

Mr. Mellish

No, Sir. There are technical difficulties in laying services in a common duct, and these can be overcome only at considerable expense. My right hon. Friend is not satisfied that any advantages to be obtained would be worth the extra cost.

Mr. Atkinson

I appreciate that Ministers do not habitually accept technological change without a fight, but would my hon. Friend agree that there is sufficient reason for carrying out an extensive survey into this problem in order to inject some scientific understanding into our building methods which is so badly needed in the building industry? Would he have another look at this matter so as not to disappoint his grandchildren who are expecting this technological Government to do a great deal from the point of view of change?

Mr. Mellish

The Ministry of Public Building and Works is studying this among other methods, including a simplification of site works. But the Answer which I gave concerned the immediate question of cost, which is very important.