High Flats

Oral Answers to Questions — Scotland – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 22nd April 1970.

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Photo of Mr Michael Hutchison Mr Michael Hutchison , Edinburgh South 12:00 am, 22nd April 1970

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent directives or advice he has issued to local authorities in Scotland concerning the future building of high blocks of flats.

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

I am sending the hon. Member a copy of a circular issued by my Department on 17th April which gives local and buildings authorities information on loading standards in the design of high flats and other buildings.

Photo of Mr Michael Hutchison Mr Michael Hutchison , Edinburgh South

Does the hon. Gentleman realise that high flats are often ugly and that people do not like to live in them? Is he aware that some are dangerous? Is it not time that we ceased to build them and provided more reasonable accommodation, particularly for children, because there is never enough space for them in these flats?

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

That is a very big question. Some local authorities will disagree with the hon. Gentleman but there are certain physical facts about the need for multi-storey flats. The social implications of living in high flats are the subject of an examination by the Department of Social and Economic Research of Glasgow University. On the whole, local authorities are anxious to build a certain proportion of multi-storey flats but they will be looking forward to our circular when the Building (Scotland) Bill is through both Houses. We expect to issue the circular then.

Photo of Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith Mr Alick Buchanan-Smith , North Angus and Mearns

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that there has been a good deal of criticism of some of these high-rise flats by social workers, planning authorities and, as recently as this week, on aesthetic grounds the Saltire Society? What work are the Government undertaking on low-rise high density housing, some of which is now being discussed in architectural circles?

Photo of Dr Dickson Mabon Dr Dickson Mabon , Greenock

That is a fair point and I do not deny it. In certain cities, Glasgow being an outstanding example, there is a clear case for multi-storey building, but as early as 1965 the Government urged Glasgow Corporation not to build so many multi-storey flats or buildings as it was intending to build in the last four years.