Those houses, of course, are unlikely to be inhabited again. They were in an area scheduled for road improvement and which was due to change its nature from residential to commercial and industrial use. The city has now had second thoughts, and some of the houses will be reoccupied.
That is an absolute tragedy. I suspect that it cost the ratepayers many hundreds of thousands of pounds and that that action destroyed perfectly adequate housing. I spoke to the residents there, many of whom bought their properties on leaving the Services after the last war. That tragedy could be repeated. The hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts) mentioned Redbridge, and there are other areas of which hon. Members will know.
At one time I wished to see a ban on demolition in this country unless it had the consent of the Secretary of State. I thought that we had reached that point. We have a real housing crisis in the South of England and we need to keep all property that is in reasonable structural condition. I would have thought that there was something in the amendment that would appeal to the Department of the Environment and the Minister for Housing and Construction, who I realise is not here at the moment.
If there is a way in which something like this can be incorporated into the legislation, I believe that it would be worth while. I congratulate the hon. Member for Bootle for bringing the matter forward.