Large Estates (Sales)

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 17 November 1965.

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Mr. Buchan:

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will refer to the Highlands and Islands Development Board recent sales of large estates, such as the Ben Alder Estate of 22,300 acres in Inverness-shire, with a view to using their powers to have such estates taken over by the Board and developed in the interests of the people of the Highlands.

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I think that the initiative in this matter can appropriately be left to the Board.

Mr. Buchan:

Will my hon. Friend bear in mind that many people in Scotland, particularly in the Highlands, are becoming outraged at this traffic in huge sections of our native land? Is it not time that this was brought to the attention of a public board in order to develop the full potential of this land, both in agriculture and forestry, in the interests of the people in this area where a real land hunger exists?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I have no reason to doubt that the Highlands and Islands Development Board will keep its eye upon these things and will, if it requires land in order to carry out its development plans, put forward proposals to acquire it.

Photo of Mr Malcolm Macmillan Mr Malcolm Macmillan , Na h-Eileanan an Iar

Is the Minister aware of a quite outrageous case at this moment which runs entirely counter to the Government's declared policy in setting up the Highland Development Board? A large part of the Island of Coll is being acquired by a Dutchman for the purpose, declared publicly by himself, of starting it as a sporting estate. Does not this run quite counter to everything for which the Government stand? Will he take some action?

Photo of Mr Eustace Willis Mr Eustace Willis , Edinburgh East

I am aware of this case. If the Board decides that something should be done in Coll, it has all the powers to do it, in spite of the Dutchman.