Oral Answers to Questions — Railings (Removal).

– in the House of Commons on 25th February 1942.

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Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings what arrangements have been made for weighing the iron railings removed from any particular property so that the owner may be able to claim compensation in respect of the same, as the owner himself is unaware of the weight of the railings in question; will the Ministry be responsible for the accuracy of the weights; and will the owner be advised as to the weight of the railings which have been removed from his property?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

An estimate of the weight of railings taken from each house is made and checked by the weighing of each load. A copy of the schedule of the weight of railings taken from each house is lodged with the local authority so that it may deal with claims from owners for compensation. My Department is responsible for the accuracy of the weights but owners who require to know the weight of the railings which have been removed should apply to the local authority for this information.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that information gained from certain authorities seems to show that the railings in a street are broken up together and taken away in lorries and that no separation is made of the railings of a particular house notwithstanding that the owner very often wants the value of the material taken from his property in order to replace the railings removed with a wooden substitute?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I am not aware of that but I am sure that my hon. Friend will agree that it is difficult to weigh the railings of every house. They have to be weighed by the lot. On an average the weight of railings for an ordinary house is about two cwts. We know the quality of iron and I think we can tell the amount to within a few ounces.

Photo of Major-General Sir Alfred Knox Major-General Sir Alfred Knox , Wycombe

What do you pay the owner? Half a crown?

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Works and Buildings whether the military authorities were consulted before the removal of the railings in certain London parks, which were of military importance in connection with the defence of London; and whether he is aware that in order to replace the railings in question large quantities of barbed wire with iron posts have had to be erected, involving waste of time and expenditure of metal?

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

The answer to the first part of the Question is in the affirmative. In regard to the second part, I am advised that the barbed wire is not in replacement of the railings. It is a necessary part of the defensive arrangements of the area, and most of it would have been erected even if the railings had not been removed.

Photo of Sir William Davison Sir William Davison , Kensington South

Is my hon. Friend aware that I am advised that the barbed wire was put up because the railings were removed, and was not put up till after the removal of the railings? Is it not a terrible waste of metal and man-power to remove the railings, and to put up hundreds of yards of barbed wire, with metal posts, in their place?

Photo of Sir Percy Harris Sir Percy Harris , Bethnal Green South West

Will my right hon. Friend look into this matter. If he goes to the Green Park, Piccadilly, he will see this sort of thing with his own eyes.

Photo of Mr George Hicks Mr George Hicks , Woolwich East

I can assure the hon. Member that I have seen it.

Photo of Mr William Leach Mr William Leach , Bradford Central

Has my hon. Friend any information about the fate of Lord Baldwin's railings?