§ 24. Mr. LIVINGSTONE
asked the Secretary for Scotland what is the 2730 present position of the negotiations for the reopening of Lochboisdale pier, South Uist; whether the necessary repairs have been commenced; and, in view of the fact that the pier has now been closed to the usual traffic since the 15th April, and great inconvenience and loss has resulted to the traders and general public of Uist, will he state when the pier is likely to be reopened?
As the answer is long, I will, with the hon. Member's permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.
§ Mr. LIVINGSTONE
May we know now whether the right hon. Gentleman can tell us when he expects to have this pier reopened? It is causing great distress.
§ Following is the answer:
§ The present position of the negotiations for the opening of Lochboisdale pier is briefly as follows. With a view to assisting to meet the difficulties the Board of 2731 Agriculture further examined a suggested arrangement for keeping open the eastern part of the pier and were satisfied that it was practicable. They then proposed to the agents of the proprietrix, with the authority of the Treasury and myself, that the question of reopening this part of the pier should be reconsidered on the understanding that, subject to the settlement of the precise terms of their undertaking, the Board would accept liability for any damage to persons, livestock and goods and to steamers and other vessels using the pier. In making this suggestion the Board stated that the question of obtaining powers to constitute a pier authority to take over the pier is receiving attention, but that this would necessarily take some considerable time. In reply the agents of the proprietrix have informed the Board that she does not see her way to take the responsibility of reopening the pier in its present state, even if such an obligation were given by the Board to accept responsibility for all damage. She is advised that a reopening or partial reopening of the pier in its present condition would be highly dangerous and that the pier ought not to be used until it has been thoroughly repaired. The agents add that the proprietrix is most anxious to give every facility for reopening as soon as possible, and she renews her offer to make over the pier either to the Board or to any other public body approved by her. Neither the Board nor any other authority possesses power at present to take over the pier, and while I fully appreciate the difficulties suffered by the public in South Uist, I am unable, in view of the reply to the Board's offer, to say when the pier is likely to be reopened.