HC Deb 18 May 1885 vol 298 cc707-8

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, How many years the Leith Improvement Scheme, in respect of which that burgh obtained from the Treasury a loan of £100,000, under the Artizans' and Labourers' Dwellings (Scotland) Act, has been in operation, and how many artizans' and labourers' dwellings have been erected or commenced under it; and, whether he has sanctioned any alteration of the plans or curtailment of the space originally proposed to be laid out as sites for working class dwellings; and, if not, whether it is true that a portion of that space has been sold for the erection of a distillery, and another portion offered as a site for a theatre?


(who replied) said: The Leith Improvement Scheme was sanctioned by Parliament in 1880. I am informed that the Local Authority obtained possession of the ground—about eight acres in extent—in May, 1883, and that three tenements of four storeys each capable of being formed into dwelling-houses suitable for artizans and labourers are in course of erection, and that one of them is ready for occupation. The Provisional Order contains the following declaration:— The buildings on the lands constituting the improvement areas, when the same shall have teen acquired, shall be taken down and removed gradually, new houses for the accommodation of the population of the working class now occuping these areas being built simultaneously with the taking down and removing of the existing buildings; and no alteration of the scheme has been sanctioned by the Home Secretary. A small portion of the ground, stated to be unsuitable for dwelling-houses has been sold for the extension of a distil- lery. No portion has been offered as a site for a theatre; but an offer to take part for that purpose has been refused. In the evidence taken by the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes in Scotland, which will be published this week, will be found a detailed account of the proceedings at Leith in this matter given by the conjunct Town Clerk of the burgh.


In connection with this question, may I ask if it is not the case that the £100,000 borrowed by the Local Authority of Leith was borrowed for the acquisition of the old property only, and whether all this old property has been acquired?


My hon. Friend refers to details, which will be found in the Be-port of the evidence to be published in a few days.