Green Field Land

Oral Answers to Questions — Environment – in the House of Commons at 3:30 pm on 28th November 1984.

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Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough 3:30 pm, 28th November 1984

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will take steps to ensure that green field land is used for housing purposes only as a last resort and not before adjacent city centre sites have been utilised.

Photo of Mr Neil Macfarlane Mr Neil Macfarlane , Sutton and Cheam

My right hon. Friend published advice on land for housing in July under DOE circular 15/84. That circular restates the Government's commitment to existing conservation policies and the protection of good quality agricultural land. It emphasises the need to make full and effective use for housing of land within existing urban areas.

Photo of Mr John Farr Mr John Farr , Harborough

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. On the subject of green field land, which is a precious and declining asset, can he assure the House that the Government are aware that in some cases neighbouring local city councils decline to sell land to housing developers, for reasons best known to themselves? In view of the pressure that this is putting on adjacent green field sites, will my hon. Friend consider whether the city councils concerned should be encouraged in some way to sell their land?

Photo of Mr Neil Macfarlane Mr Neil Macfarlane , Sutton and Cheam

My hon. Friend brought a delegation to see me not long ago to discuss these matters. He knows the steps that we are taking to try to promote the development of urban land for housing. That is why we are pursuing a wide range of measures—for example, both urban development grant and derelict land grant—to help development in urban areas. I think that that is the best way forward. I am well aware of what my hon. Friend said was happening.

Photo of Mr George Park Mr George Park , Coventry North East

How can the Minister reconcile that reply with the fact that at the same time in his Department applications are being turned down for derelict land clearance status, as happened in the case of Coventry?

Photo of Mr Neil Macfarlane Mr Neil Macfarlane , Sutton and Cheam

If the hon. Gentleman has a specific case in mind, affecting an area of land about which he knows, he should let me know about it.