HC Deb 28 October 1952 vol 505 cc1723-4
31. Mr. C. Hughes

asked the Minister of Works why, in view of the housing shortage in the area, he has allowed four dwelling-houses in Holyhead, Anglesey, formerly occupied by coastguards, to remain vacant for 12 months.

Mr. Eccles

I wish to sell these houses. The delay in doing so has been caused by unexpected difficulties over the title-deeds. I hope the sale by auction will take place within about three months.

Mr. Hughes

Is the Minister aware that 12 months is a rather long time to put a title in order? Is he further aware that there is considerable dissatisfaction locally about delay in letting or selling these houses? Will he do something to expedite the matter?

Mr. Eccles

I share the dissatisfaction, but the fact is that these houses originally belonged to the Admiralty and were transferred to the Board of Trade in 1862 and back to the Admiralty in 1877. In 1923 they appear to have belonged to the Board of Trade. They were subsequently transferred to the Ministry of Transport and, in 1949, they were transferred to the Ministry of Works. It has taken rather a long time to trace all these facts.

Mr. Bellenger

Surely if those were legal transfers they were properly carried out and the last transfer must have resulted in an investigation of the title; why, therefore, has this difficulty arisen?

Mr. Eccles

The difficulty is that there are some questions of responsibility for easements and services and we have had great difficulty in getting these things separated. I wish to sell them, not as a block, but one by one, and in order to sell them one by one I am informed by my advisers that I must get the title deeds exactly right.