§ 21 and 22. Mr. ELLIS DAVIES
asked the Secretary of State for War (1) how many acres of land have been acquired by the War Office in Wiltshire during the last 12 months and for how many acres are they in treaty at present;
(2) how many acres of the land acquired by the War Office during the last 12 months in Wiltshire were corn land; and how many farmers and how many farm labourers will be displaced in consequence?
§ The FINANCIAL SECRETARY to the WAR OFFICE (Commodore Douglas King)
Some 6,300 acres in Wiltshire have been acquired, or are in course of acquisition, by the War Department, of which approximately 2,500 are arable land. Twelve farms are in course of acquisition, but they will be re-let, subject to military requirements, to the farmers at present in possession, and in the circumstances, I trust that any immediate disturbance of the labourers will not be necessary.
§ Lieut.-Commander KENWORTHY
How is it that with our much smaller army we require all that extra land?
§ Mr. HURD
In view of the strong feeling on this subject in Wiltshire and Hampshire, and, following the precedent established in the case in Surrey in which the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Carnarvon Boroughs (Mr. Lloyd George) and the right hon. Gentleman the Member for Colne Valley (Mr. Snowden) were concerned, would the War Office be willing to confer with a strong representative local body from those two 1162 counties, so that the amenities of the district may be preserved and no more land taken than is realy required?
§ Commodore KING
I can assure the hon. and gallant Member for Central Hull (Lieut.-Commander Kenworthy) that we shall certainly not acquire more land than is necessary. As was stated by the Secretary of State for War on the Estimates, this is part of a comprehensive policy of the sale of land which is not required, and the acquisition of more land, so as to obtain adequate facilities for the training of the Army.
§ Commodore KING
If my hon. Friend will see me, I will see what can be arranged in the matter, but I believe that local opinion has already been obtained.