asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning for what reason he has delayed for six months an announcement of his decision on the appeal of John Barker & Co., Ltd., against the refusal of the London County Council to permit them to drive a roadway through an eighteenth-century house in Kensington Square; whether his decision has yet been taken, and when it will be announced; and whether he is aware that pending the conclusion of these protracted proceedings seven dwelling houses in this square and the adjacent Young Street, which might be used as such, are being kept empty or used by Barkers for casual storage.
Delay in reaching a decision was due in the first instance to the complexities of the issues raised and many interests involved. Messrs. Barkers have now asked my right hon. Friend to defer his decision because they wish to examine with the authorities concerned the possibilities of a different scheme to ease the traffic difficulties. My right hon. Friend is in communication with the London County Council and subject to what they have to say he proposes to accede to Messrs. Barkers' request. I am not aware that the use or otherwise of any houses has been affected by the absence of a decision on the appeal.
Is the Minister aware that this very long delay of six months is holding up planning and, even if it is not holding up housing, as I think it is, it is holding up other proceedings which are pending against Barkers? When Barkers asked for a decision to be delayed, were the other parties immediately asked if they would agree, or was this only done after the Question had been put down?
My Department is fully aware of the architectural interests involved, and they are doing their utmost to safeguard them. Messrs. Barkers may now put forward different proposals, which I should have thought was a good solution.