Aerodromes (Agricultural Land)

Oral Answers to Questions — Royal Air Force – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 6th June 1945.

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Photo of Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Cook Lieut-Colonel Sir Thomas Cook , Norfolk Northern 12:00 am, 6th June 1945

asked the Secretary of State for Air how many acres of former agricultural land in Norfolk are at present being used for aerodromes; and when he proposes to release part of this area for farming.

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

The answer to the first part of the Question is, approximately, 24,400 acres, of which nearly 5,000 were in use as airfields before the war. Approximately 1,450, acres are at present let to farmers. With regard to the second part of the question I would refer the hon. Member to the reply given by my predecessor to the hon. Member for Maldon (Mr. Driberg) on 28th February last. Meanwhile, there should soon be substantial increases in the acreage let for agriculture from these airfields.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

How soon can we expect a statement from the right hon. Gentleman's Department about the future use of this kind of land?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

The hon. Gentleman will recognise that it requires very careful consideration of the whole defence and strategic position of the future, and he would hardly expect me to make that investigation at the present time.

Hon. Members:

Why not?

Photo of Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare Mr Geoffrey Shakespeare , Norwich

Will the right hon. Gentleman remember that there are thousands of families homeless in Norwich, and that there is aerodrome accommodation available in the vicinity of Norwich?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

Yes, Sir. We will make every possible effort to make every alleviation consistent with strategic needs.

Photo of Mr Oliver Simmonds Mr Oliver Simmonds , Birmingham Duddeston

Will the right hon. Gentleman see that his officers at these various aerodromes discuss this matter with individual farmers, so that in cases where the complete aerodrome cannot be passed back, yet those parts which could be released can be handed back for agricultural purposes?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

That is being done. That is the increased land released for agricultural purposes.

Photo of Mr Tom Driberg Mr Tom Driberg , Maldon

Has the Minister started his careful examination of the defence and strategic considerations involved?

Photo of Mr Harold Macmillan Mr Harold Macmillan , Stockton-on-Tees

These matters are, of course, under consideration by the post-war planning authorities of the Service Departments.