HC Deb 16 October 1945 vol 414 cc956-9W
Major Boyd- Carpenter

asked the Secretary of State for War the number of houses still held on requisition by his Department in the boroughs of Kingston, Surbiton and Maiden, respectively, and in each case the number of such houses actually occupied by troops.

Mr. Lawson

The number of houses still held under requisition by the War Department in Kingston is five, in Surbiton nine and in Maiden nine. All these houses are occupied, except two at Maiden, which are being relinquished by the War Department.

Mr. E. P. Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that the Denge Marsh area of Romney Marsh is still evacuated, and when he expects to be able to derequisition it so that the evicted fishermen may return to their homes and their fishing.

Mr. Lawson

This area is in process of being derequisitioned, and it will not be long before the inhabitants are able to return to their homes and to their fishing.

Mr. T. Reid

asked the Secretary of State for War why Glenwood at Swindon, containing about six bedrooms, requisitioned for some six years as a military emergency reception hospital cannot be derequisitioned as there is hospital accommodation nearby at Stratton and at other hospitals in Swindon and the war in Europe is over.

Mr. Lawson

This house is in full use as a camp reception station for 20 patients, a central medical inspection room for the district, and as the dispensary for the provision of medicines and medical supplies to outlying medical inspection rooms. It is also the medical board centre for the district. These facilities are needed in Swindon to meet present requirements and although the local military authorities have made every effort, they have been unable to find suitable alternative accommodation. Camp reception stations do not fulfil the same functions as general hospitals and are required in addition to normal hospital accommodation which, in this instance, is in any event too far from Swindon. In the circumstances I regret that the property cannot be derequisitioned so long as existing conditions remain.

Lieut.-Colonel Byers

asked the Secretary of State for War in view of the shortage of places in secondary schools at present and the shortage of teachers, why it is necessary to retain Sherborne Castle for the Army, thereby depriving a considerable number of pupils of the possibility of education at Sherborne School for Girls where they could be taught without requiring extra staff.

Mr. Lawson

Although the unit at present in occupation is likely to move out at the end of this month it is necessary to retain Sherborne Castle for re-accommodating a unit now occupying small dwelling houses in Southend, which will in consequence be released. The possibility of releasing Sherborne Castle will be kept under constant review.

Mr. N. Smith

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he is aware that corporation land in Beechdale Road, Nottingham, chosen by the local A.A. command for a permanent gun site, is, in the opinion of the civic authorities most inappropriate for the purpose; and whether, seeing that the site is urgently needed for housing, he will order its immediate derequisitioning.

Mr. Lawson

This site will shortly be derequisitioned.

Mr. John R. Thomas

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he can indicate the date of release of the land at South Foreland and St. Margarets-at-Cliffe now in the possession of his Department.

Mr. Lawson

I cannot give a complete answer at present. Some defences have already been removed, enabling about 600 acres of land to be released. It is hoped to make further releases before the end of the year. Certain sites and heavy constructional works must be retained until future requirements are determined, or until arrangements for removal of the works can be made; the local mortar range is still in constant use for training purposes.

Major Bruce

asked the Secretary of State for War whether he will state the number of flats and houses at present requisitioned by, or on behalf of, his Department in the city of Portsmouth; the number at present unoccupied and the number it is proposed to derequisition as a consequence of non-occupation; and whether, in view of the grave shortage of housing in Portsmouth, resulting from exceptionally heavy air-raid damage and of the housing needs of returning Service men, he will take every step to ensure that his requirements in Portsmouth are reduced to a minimum.

Mr. Lawson

There are no houses or flats in the City of Portsmouth remaining under my Department's requisition.

Mr. Willis

asked the Secretary of State for War if he will give the number of houses in Edinburgh requisitioned by his Department during the war and the number that have since been derequisitioned.

Mr. Lawson

I regret that the information could not be obtained without considerable research into past records. This work would fall on officers who are already busily engaged in the task of derequisitioning. There are at present 167 houses under requisition by my Department in Edinburgh, of which 49 are in process of being released. During the past six months 21 houses have been derequisitioned in this city.