HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1524-5
14. Mr. Cormack

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take steps to make all historic sites the subject of special preservation orders.

Mr. Amery

I appreciate my hon. Friend's concern, but I would rather rely in the first place on voluntary agreement and good will rather than on compulsory powers.

Mr. Cormack

But would my right hon. Friend not agree there is very considerable anxiety about the time element here and that we must do something to prevent developers covering up the traces of very valuable sites before they have been properly excavated? That is really the purpose of my Question.

Mr. Amery

Indeed. As I say, I share my hon. Friend's concern. I think he will have seen the text of representations made by my hon. and learned Friend the Member for Dover (Mr. Peter Rees). We were in good time to stop anything going wrong with the classis Britannica fort. I am sure that if hon. Members are vigilant, we can be sure of avoiding any major mistake of this kind.

Mr. Dalyell

In cases like that of Baynard's Castle, have not voluntary agreement and good will been remarkable by their absence?

Mr. Amery

My latest information is that great responsibility has been shown by the City of London Corporation. I do not think that anything has been done to which the hon. Gentleman could take exception.

Mr. Kenneth Lewis

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the whole of the County of Rutland is an historic site and that draft proposals have been put forward which would amalgamate us with the pie country of Melton Mowbray? This is wholly unacceptable to us. Will my right hon. Friend put a preservation order on the County of Rutland?

Mr. Amery

If there were any danger of these boundary changes affecting my hon. Friend, I would put a preservation order on him. Further questions on this matter should be addressed to my hon. Friend the Minister for Local Government and Development.