Town and Country Planning (Interim Development) Bill

Part of Ways and Means – in the House of Commons on 25th May 1943.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mr Ian Hannah Mr Ian Hannah , Wolverhampton Bilston

Nearly 300 years ago Sir Christopher Wren proposed something of this sort for London, but his ideas were entirely neglected. I wonder how many of us now regret the treatment of Wren. No one feels it was a good thing that he was not allowed to carry out that plan. Very few large towns exist around which some green fields cannot be found. The hon. Member for East Wolverhampton (Mr. Mander) has pointed out that there are big places in the Black Country where no green belts can easily be provided, but I do not think there is a town, even in the Black Country, where there are no fields within five miles. Very likely between Wolverhampton and Dudley there is comparatively small scope for leaving still unbuilt upon such agricultural land as exists, but there is some, even there. In the area of Sedgley, where I happen to live, there are still green fields and farms, and it is half-way between those towns. North of Wolverhampton and West of Dudley there are beautiful stretches of country, a bit spoiled perhaps, still not absolutely ruined by modem industrialism. Round West Bromwich, and Eastward at any rate, there is similar country. It is of vast importance that we should preserve our heritage and make provision for preventing gradual ribbon development and the spread of ugly industrial building, unplanned, over the countryside. As a piece of English literature the Amendment, it is possible, might be improved upon, but in its spirit and ideas it is perfectly admirable. I ask the Minister to give it that sympathetic and friendly consideration for which he is so justly famous in this House and beyond.