§ Sir KINGSLEY WOOD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture how much of the £20,000,000 estimated in connection with the provisions under the Land Settlement (Facilities) Bill it is proposed should be allocated for the purpose of acquiring and extending allotments?
Sir ARTHUR BOSCAWEN
No estimate can be given at present of the proportion of the funds provided under the Bill that will be devoted to the provision of allotments. The £20,000,000 is confined to the provision of loans to county councils, and will be partly available for their expenditure in acquiring land to be let to parish councils for allotments.
§ Sir K. WOOD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether forty-three allotment-holders at Barlby Road, Kensington, have received notice to vacate their allotments; whether the reason given is that the Royal borough of Kensington desire to convert this land into a recreation ground; whether this land had been lying derelict for about fifty years before it was taken over for the purpose of allotments; whether the recreational needs of the community are adequately catered for at Little Scrubbs and Wormwood Scrubbs, situated about 100 yards from the allotment ground; and whether, in these circumstances, he will represent to the Royal borough of Kensington the 2407W necessity of their retaining the land at Barlby Road for the purpose of permanent allotments?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The allotment holders in question have received notice to vacate their allotments, having a total area of 2 acres 1 rod 16 poles, on the 31st December next. This notice should enable the holders to avoid the planting of crops which will not mature until after the end of the year. The Board are informed that the land was acquired in 1902 by the Great Western Railway Company for the site of a housing scheme, but as the demand for housing was small the scheme was varied, with the approval of the Local Government Board, in 1907. An agreement was signed on the 13th February, 1915, between the company and the Kensington Borough Council whereby the land was conveyed to the council for the purpose of a children's recreation ground, the company paying £1,000 to the council towards the expense of laying out the land. The agreement providedinter alia that the council should forthwith lay out and maintain the land as an open space. The War prevented the council carrying out this work, and the land was temporarily let in allotments. The council are of opinion that the recreative needs of the district are not adequately met by the Little Scrubbs and Wormwood Scrubbs, which are distant nearly quarter mile and half mile respectively from the land in question. Moreover, the establishment in the vicinity, of the Clement-Talbot Motor Works, which has led to a large increase of motor traction in the streets, renders it 2408W very essential that a recreation ground should be provided for this populous district, to avoid the children playing in the streets. The fact that the land was undeveloped prior to its being let in allotments does not, in the circumstances, affect the question, and the Board are not prepared to interfere with the decision of the council in the matter.
§ Sir K. WOOD
asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture whether a number of allotment-holders cultivating land at Strathbrook Road, Streatham, have received notice to vacate their allotments; what assurance has been obtained that this land is required immediately for some urgent public purpose; whether he will secure that the allotment-holders have continuous occupation of this land until it is required for a more necessary purpose than food production; and, in that event, will he represent to the Wandsworth Borough Council the necessity of providing any allotment-holders dispossessed with an equivalent amount of land?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The Board are aware of the circumstances to which my hon. Friend draws attention. Before the Wandsworth Borough Council gave notice to quit to these allotment-holders, they required and obtained an undertaking from the owner that he would use the land for building or purposes incidental thereto as soon as he obtained possession. With regard to the last part of the question, the authority responsible for providing land for permanent allotments is the London County Council, whose attention will be drawn to the position at Wandsworth.