London Airport (Extension)

Oral Answers to Questions — Civil Aviation – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th June 1952.

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Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Hayes and Harlington 12:00 am, 25th June 1952

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation if he is aware that hard ship is caused to those resident owners of property within the area affected by the proposed extension of London Airport, due to the fact they cannot sell their property if compelled to leave the district; and what steps he is taking to alleviate this hardship.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I realise and regret the inconvenience caused to householders by the inevitable uncertainty as to the future, but according to my information there is a good demand for houses in this area as elsewhere. As to any questions of personal hardship, the hon. Member will appreciate that I am bound by existing legislation of general application.

Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Hayes and Harlington

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation on what basis the owners of businesses within the area affected by the proposed extension to London Air port ill be compensated for the loss of such businesses.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

The owners of businesses whose premises are acquired for the extension of London Airport and who may suffer loss through having to leave these premises will receive compensation in accordance with the provisions of Section 31 of the Civil Aviation Act, 1949.

Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Hayes and Harlington

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether, in view of the prolonged anxiety caused to residents and property-owners within the area affected by the proposed extension of London Air port because of the uncertainty of the compensation provisions, he will appoint a committee of inquiry to consider the problems of compensation involved and make recommendations.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

No, Sir. There is no uncertainty in the existing provisions.

Photo of Mr Walter Ayles Mr Walter Ayles , Hayes and Harlington

In view of the obvious injustice that is being done to residents and businessmen in this district owing to the depreciation of the value of their houses and businesses, does the Minister not think it right to ask for an inquiry so that there may be some satisfaction on both sides? The Ministry would know that they were doing the right thing by these people and, on the other hand, residents and businessmen might feel that they were getting fair compensation.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

Many people are disturbed and inconvenienced by essential national developments, and I am very sorry for those affected. In this case we have already stated that in assessing the value of compensation in this area no account will be taken of depreciation in value due to the proximity of the airport. In addition, that Section of the Town and Country Planning Act which, as the hon. Gentleman, may know, applied a notional lease to the value of the compulsorily acquired house, will no longer be operated by the time, if at all, we have to take over the houses.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Is the right hon. Gentleman guaranteeing that there will be no extension of the provisions of that Act?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

No, I am not guaranteeing it at all. The Act was passed by the late Administration with full knowledge of likely developments, and under that Act my powers in this matter are strictly limited.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

As the Minister is not guaranteeing that the Act will not be extended, how can he say there is no uncertainty in the area? Will he look into this matter again, because he is grossly misinformed if he thinks that there is no uncertainty as to the compensation these people will get?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I shall be very glad to discuss the matter with the hon. Gentleman, but for a long time the possible development of London Airport has been known in the neighbourhood. I do not think that any further legislative powers will be necessary. Under existing powers I have the right to do certain things and the obligation to do others, and these I shall try scrupulously to discharge.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

Can the Minister say with certainty whether these people will be rehoused within the urban district?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I could not give that sort of undertaking in response to question and answer.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

But that is one of the matters upon which they want to be reassured.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

asked the Minister of Civil Aviation whether, in view of the fact that, if the proposed extension to London Airport is carried out, the area of demolition involved will be greater and the problems of compensation different in size and character from anything the present legislation is intended to cover, he will set up a special committee of inquiry now to consider those problems and make recommendations as to special legislation required to meet possible hardship.

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

No, Sir. I do not agree that the problems of compensation involved in the extension of London Airport are any different in principle from those arising from other development schemes under the existing legislation.

Photo of Mr Frank Beswick Mr Frank Beswick , Uxbridge

If the Minister receives a deputation of representative people from this area on compensation, will he guarantee to give them a definite answer to any questions that may be put to him?

Photo of Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd Mr Alan Lennox-Boyd , Mid Bedfordshire

I think I had much better say that I am quite ready to receive a deputation, and that I will hear what their questions are before I give an answer.