§ Mr. RONALD McNEILL
asked the Secretary of State for War if he is aware that the camp at Westbere, near Sturry, Kent, has never yet been vacated by the military and restored to its owners, although notice has been given by the Disposal Board of the Ministry of Munitions that the buildings thereon, with the exception of the horse lines, are 949W to be sold by auction at short notice; that, notwithstanding statements to the contrary by officials interested in continuing the military occupation of the land, it is known in the locality that no use whatever has been made of the camp for many months, while some six acres of valuable land has been kept out of cultivation until it is too late to use it for agricultural purposes during the coming year; in view of these circumstances and of the fact that rent, rates, and taxes have had to be paid all this time, that the huts on the land have been unrepaired and are rotting, and that civilian officials from London, as well as military officers, have from time to time paid visits to the camp at the Government's expense, whether he realises that Westbere Camp is being widely quoted as an example of Government waste; and whether he can give any information on the subject to justify the conduct of the Government in this matter?
I have been asked to answer this question. The camp was handed over by the War Office to the Ministry on the 31st December last, and arrangements are now being made to hold an auction sale at an early date. I would point out that the land cannot be restored to the owners until this sale has been completed and the land cleared.