Orders of the Day — Surrey County Council Bill.

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons on 17th February 1931.

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Photo of Major-General Hon. Sir Newton Moore Major-General Hon. Sir Newton Moore , Richmond (Surrey)

I also welcome the Bill and I am very gratified at the reception which the House has given to the Measure. The only criticisms directed against it have been upon matters which can be very well dealt with in Committee. Reference has been made to the rural amenities of Surrey which are, in my opinion, being violated in many districts and I only hope that the county in which I live, namely Sussex, will soon bring forward a similar Measure with a view to preserving its amenities. Anyone who knows the towns along the Kingston by-pass road and down as far as Horsham, must be aware of the many incongruous and unsightly buildings which are being erected and the indiscriminate spread of houses of the bungalow type which is taking place all over the country and by which the scenery is fast being destroyed. In Sussex near Horsham there is a huge brick factory right alongside the road, destroying the appearance of the countryside. I hope that the good example set by Surrey will be followed by other counties.

I observe on the Order Paper a Notice of Motion which proposes that there should be an Instruction to the Committee to leave out Part IX of the Bill. This is a matter which particularly affects the district in Surrey which I have the honour to represent, and I wish to say that the Bill has the full and unqualified support of all the local authorities in that division, namely, the Richmond Borough Council, the Barnes and Mortlake Urban District Council and the Ham Urban District Council. The Barnes Council particularly is naturally in favour of the provision in Part IX which deals specifically with their area. Conferences have taken place in regard to this Measure with local authorities throughout Surrey. Its provisions have been carefully examined and the various committees of the local authorities are thoroughly in accord with the proposal to grant these powers to the county council. I am at a loss to know why there should be any opposition to the provision which particularly affects Barnes. It was carried, I think, by 24 votes to one at the Barnes Urban District Council and it proposes to effect an urgently needed reform. The medical officer has had the opportunity of inspecting the district which will be affected, and it is proposed that instead of a narrow winding road, varying from 5 feet in width to 25 feet, there shall be a proper roadway 50 feet wide through a congested part of the district.

There is a school in that area, and at present it is not possible to get near it with a carriage or a car. If this improvement is made it will provide a very desirable open space for the children who attend that school. Having had the opportunity of inspecting this locality I realise that many of the buildings there almost bring it within the category of a slum area. Those buildings will be wiped out, but the people will have the opportunity of obtaining suitable houses. I understand that something like £68,000 expenditure will be made in connection with this reform, and of that sum, the Barnes Council will provide £25,000 for housing, while £10,000 will come from the general rates towards the making of the road. It is a most desirable improvement, and at the same time it will afford a certain amount of employment. No doubt this matter will be discussed in Committee, but I take this opportunity of expressing the hope that the hon. Member who has put down the Notice of Motion for an Instruction, will not persist in it, in opposition to the wishes not only of the local council, but of the people of the neighbourhood, as Part IX is, in my opinion, one of the most desirable parts of the Bill.