HC Deb 28 November 1945 vol 416 cc1491-2W
Colonel Stoddard-Scott

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies what are the plans for the development of Bathurst, Gambia; when is the rebuilding likely to commence; what will be the cost; will Bathurst be rebuilt on a new site; has a site for the new aerodrome yet been decided; and, in view of the prevalence of malaria and yellow fever, have the medical authorities been fully consulted.

Mr. George Hall

The Bathurst-Kombo development plan as originally envisaged has proved, after full consideration, to be beyond the financial means likely to be available for this work within the next ten years. It has therefore been decided to plan a series of stages in the undertaking to be carried out during the ten-year period which would not involve a waste of money if it were impossible within that time to proceed to the next stage. It is hoped to undertake these works as soon as the necessary technical staff, materials, and shipping space become available. It is not possible to say how soon this will be but every effort is being made to expedite execution.

It is hoped, that it will be possible to make available for the Bathurst-Kombo plan a sum in the neighbourhood of one million pounds, including the amount to be allocated under the Colonial Development and Welfare Act. I am still in correspondence with the Governor regarding the contribution to this total that the Gambia can be expected to make from its own surplus funds and also by way of loan. As regards the fourth part of the Question it is not intended to transfer the town of Bathurst to a new site. The plans do, however, provide for relieving the pressure of population upon Bathurst by establishing a satellite town in the area of Kombo St. Mary.

As regards the last two parts of the Question, the whole question of the development of Yundum airfield for use by international civil air services has been exhaustively considered in consultation with my Noble Friend the Minister of Civil Aviation from the operational, techical and financial points of view. The medical authorities have also been consulted throughout. The problem is now being reviewed in the light of the observations of the survey party which recently visited Yundum in the course of their flight to South America and back. Before a final decision is reached it is desirable that account should be taken of the views of the British operator who will be responsible under the policy recently announced by my Noble Friend the Minister of Civil Aviation for the service to South America.