HC Deb 16 April 1907 vol 172 cc746-7

To ask the President of the Local Government Board whether he is aware that it is the custom of the Local Government Board to forbid local authorities using land obtained by means of a public loan for any purpose other than that particular purpose for which it was originally bought, even when there is no covenant between the local authority and the seller of the land preventing its use by the authority for any purpose they desire; whether he is able, by administrative action, to free the hands of municipalities in this respect; whether he will take measures to do so; and whether, in the event of its not being possible to attain this object by administrative action, he will introduce legislation for the purpose at an early date.

(Answered by Mr. John Burns.) The difficulty in this matter arises out of certain decisions of the High Court to the effect that, in the absence of statutory provisions to the contrary, land acquired by a local authority cannot be used for any purpose other than that for which it was acquired. The difficulty cannot be removed by administrative action; but I should be glad to take advantage of any suitable opportunity of dealing with the matter by legislation.