HC Deb 23 November 1937 vol 329 cc1016-7
21. Mr. J. J. Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland how many acres were purchased by the Scottish Economic Committee to form the Scottish Industrial Estates, Limited, at North Hillington; what was the price per acre; who were the proprietors; whether he is aware that the Scottish Economic Committee was in negotiation with the Clyde Trust for the acquisition of land and broke off the negotiations to enter into an arrangement with private landowners at North Hillington; and what explanation has been made by the Scottish Economic Committee for the change?

Mr. Elliot

Of the 317 acres comprising the industrial estate, 95 acres were purchased by the Scottish Industrial Estates Company, Limited, from the Ralston Estates, and the remaining 222 acres were feued by the company from the Elderslie Estates, Limited, and the Town Council of Renfrew. The prices paid, which it would not be in accordance with practice to publish, were fixed in accordance with a recommendation by a qualified valuer approved by the Commissioner for the Special Areas. As indicated in my reply to the hon. Member on 16th November, the Scottish Economic Committee had no part in these transactions. Before the estate company was formed that committee made some inquiries on the Commissioner's behalf about its establishment. In the course of these inquiries an offer of land at Shieldhall was made by the Clyde Trust, but this was rejected as the terms were considerably less favourable than those obtained in respect of the present estate.

Mr. Davidson

When the right hon. Gentleman indicates that the terms were less favourable, does he mean that the price per acre was more than the price finally agreed upon between Industrial Estates, Limited, and the companies from whom they bought the land?

Mr. Elliot

Considering the land and the length of the feu which was offered the terms were less favourable, but I cannot go into the exact details of the price per acre.

Mr. N. Maclean

Do the less favourable terms really mean that there is lower rating in the county as compared with the rating in the City of Glasgow?

Mr. Elliot

No, I think not. I think it was partly due to the nature of the site, the Clyde Trust site being a previous dock site, and the other site being a higher site which was fitter and sounder for factory site purposes.