§ MR. TORRANCE (Glasgow, Central)
To ask the Secretary for Scotland whether he is aware that in March last the town council of £rourock bought half an acre of ground at a cost of £6,750; that the resolution, under Section 99 of The Town Councils Act, 1900, authorising the purchase, and also the subsequent resolutions of the council approving the action of the committee, are headed in the minutes, sites for burgh purposes; that on March 22nd last an official statement was made by the council that the ground had been bought for the erection of a court hall, burgh offices, and a town hall; and will he say whether, before making the purchase, the town council complied with Sections 306 and 315 of The Burgh Police (Scotland) Act, 1892, and gave the ratepayers an opportunity of voting on the question of the purchase; and whether, seeing that expenditure on ground for a court hall, etc., falls to be borne by the general improvement assess- 1028 ment; that that assessment is in Gourock within ½d. per £ of the statutory maximum and is unable to bear the cost of the purchase; that the town council have paid the cost by borrowing under The Public Parks Act, 1878, the rate under that Act being unlimited; and that Section 44 of The Burgh Police Act, 1903, allows the erection in public parks of temporary buildings only, such as pavilions and shelters, he will say, in view of the statutory provisions in favour of ratepayers contained in Sections 306 and 315 of The Burgh Police Act, 1892, what stops he proposes to take to prevent a permanent stone building, such as a court hall and burgh offices, being erected on ground paid for with money borrowed under the Public Parks Act.
(Answered by Mr. Sinclair.) As advised, I understand there is recourse for any ratepayer who considers himself aggrieved provided by the 96th section of the Town Councils (Scotland) Act, 1900, and also at common law by way of interdict. As the matter may, therefore, come before the law courts, I am precluded from expressing an opinion in regard to the legality of the action taken by the town council.