§ LORD KINGSDOWN
said, that in the course of the autumn formal notices had been served upon all proprietors and occupiers of premises in Spring Gardens and New Street, with a view to obtaining a site 747 for new offices in connection with the Admiralty. He had lately heard that the intention of building those offices had been either suspended or entirely abandoned. It was a considerable hardship for anybody to be turned out of a house that suited him; but if the public convenience required it, individual inconvenience must be submitted to. The hardship, however, was, still greater, to have an eviction of the kind he had alluded to hanging over one's head—and to be kept in a state of uncertainty whether it would or would not be executed. A man could under such circumstances neither lay out money on his house, nor dispose of it, nor provide himself with another, and he thought Government ought not to serve such notices unless they had fully determined to act upon them. He wished, then, to know from the noble Duke at the head of the Admiralty, whether he had made other provision for the accommodation of his officers, or, at all events, whether or not the scheme for building new offices on the site in question had been abandoned?
§ THE DUKE OF SOMERSET
said, the Admiralty had determined to bring all their detached offices into close contact with the Department, as they believed that such a step would contribute to efficiency and economy in the transaction of the great mass of business which the Admiralty had to perform. The Admiralty had therefore pressed the question of new offices on the Treasury and Board of Works; and while the subject was under consideration, he requested the Board of Works in the autumn to give notices to the inhabitants of New Street and Spring Gardens that their houses would be required, so that if they came to a conclusion upon the matter, the purchase might be completed without delay. The matter, however, did not rest with the Admiralty, and the sum that would be taken for the new buildings would be brought forward in the Estimates of the Board of Works. Upon consideration of the subject, the Board of Works thought that the plan would admit of some improvement before Parliament was asked for any money, and therefore some delay had occurred in the matter. He could not, however, give the noble Lord the assurance that the matter would not come before Parliament in another year. The close connection of the several branches in the War Office Department had materially contributed to the despatch of public business, and a similar advantage would be obtained 748 for the Admiralty when all the departments were brought under one roof.