asked the Secretary of State for War why it is necessary to retain about 100 acres of good agricultural land at Kinlet, near Bewdley, which has been unoccupied for over 12 months and which is lying ungrazed and derelict, and for which compensation rent at the rate of £2 per acre is being paid; and whether he is aware that a caretaker is being paid £2 per week for supervising this unoccupied site.
§ Mr. Lawson
This land, with the hutting, has hitherto been retained pending investigation as to its suitability for another Army requirement. It was used as recently as May last for storage purposes. Efforts to let the grazing since that date have been unsuccessful, owing to the amount of fencing needed. A part-time caretaker is employed to look after the hutting, sewage works, etc. I understand that it was decided a few days ago that the site was not suitable for the purpose 1271W intended and that release is under consideration, subject to arrangements being made regarding the hutting and other works.
§ Lieut.-Colonel Hare
asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state the amount of land which is now held by his Department for training purposes and give some estimate of the proportion of this acreage which is now superfluous to present and future training requirements.
§ Mr. Lawson
Approximately 5,000,000 acres including, roughly, 1,000,000 acres held solely because of the presence of unexploded missiles, which must be cleared before the land is safe to hand back, and 1,000,000 acres in process of release. Of the remaining 3,000,000 acres at present held for current training, the public is excluded from 345,000 acres only, apart from the permanently owned War Department land. The total holding will be decreased further as and when possible, but, as I have previously stated, I cannot say at present what the Eventual requirement will be.
Lieutasked the Secretary of State for War the number of men to be repatriated from abroad for demobilisation and under the various leave and home service schemes; with the extent to which these arrangements are behind time.
§ Mr. Lawson
I am not sure what the hon. and gallant Member has in mind in the first part of the Question. The numbers due for immediate release, repatriation, or leave vary from day to day and, while I lay down general rules, "the detailed arrangements are made locally, in Commands. It would be impossible for me to provide any useful figures. But the arrangements are not behind time, except in the case of repatriation from the Far East on completion of overseas tour, which, as I have previously stated, is expected to be up to date by the end of this month.