Negotiations regarding price are not yet complete. After the accommodation was approved in November, 1958, the architects and surveyors had to prepare sketch plans, make working drawings and draw up specifications. In a project of this size, these operations must take a considerable time.
There is no doubt that they must take a considerable time in view of the fact that the interval since the college was first proclaimed in this House as having first priority until the day it is opened will be ten years. For the past two years, the Secretary of State has told me in answer to Questions that the delay is due to a hold-up in relation to the purchase of the land. Was it because nothing was done about it that two and a half years is now required from the time the land was purchased in November, 1958, until the work starts in 1961? This is shocking.
It has been very complicated owing to the difficulties concerning the site. Had a suitable one not been found in Kilmarnock, different arrangements would have been made. It was not possible to have everything cut and dried and ready until the question of the site was settled.