Land (Recreation Purposes)

Oral Answers to Questions — Land and Natural Resources – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 10th May 1965.

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Photo of Mr Thomas Urwin Mr Thomas Urwin , Houghton-le-Spring 12:00 am, 10th May 1965

asked the Minister of Land and Natural Resources if he will take steps to enable local authorities to acquire land for recreation purposes.

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

Local authorities already have full powers to acquire land for recreation purposes, either by agreement or compulsorily. However, I am aware that some local authorities are discouraged from buying land for open space by the price that they will have to pay for it, but for any solution of this I must ask my hon. Friend to await the introduction of legislation for the Land Commission.

Photo of Mr Thomas Urwin Mr Thomas Urwin , Houghton-le-Spring

While thanking my hon. Friend for that reply, may I sincerely trust that he will keep in his right hon. Friend's mind the necessity to enable land to be procured at much cheaper prices than have hitherto obtained in this respect?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

That is very much in the Government's mind, as I expect my hon. Friend knows.

Photo of Mr Frederick Corfield Mr Frederick Corfield , Gloucestershire South

Will the hon. Member give an undertaking that his words do not imply that we shall go back to a two-tier system of prices by which the price is determined by who buys and not by the inherent value of the land?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

I think I must ask the hon. Member to await the legislation and the White Paper.

Photo of Mr George Jeger Mr George Jeger , Goole

Is my hon. Friend aware of large tracts of land, particularly in industrial areas, which are disfigured by spoil heaps? Is he aware that if some initiative were taken by the Government in having talks with the National Coal Board and local authorities it might well be that some of this land could be reclaimed at a reasonable price for recreational purposes?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

This is one of the matters which is being considered by the Ministry.

Photo of Mr John Wells Mr John Wells , Maidstone

Will the Minister bear in mind the particular difficulties of areas of Kent near Maidstone and Greater London about which I have written to him recently?

Photo of Mr Arthur Skeffington Mr Arthur Skeffington , Hayes and Harlington

We will bear that very much in mind.