§ 23. Mr. H. Lever
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why he sanctioned the use of four acres of 1233 land at Platt Fields, Manchester, for the building of regional offices for the British Broadcasting Corporation when this land was regarded as suitable for housing development by the Manchester Corporation, whose building programme is hampered by the shortage of suitable land within the city's boundaries.
§ 25. Mr. W. Griffiths
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why he sanctioned for use by the British Broadcasting Corporation as offices four acres of land opposite Platt Fields, Manchester, in view of the need for housing development in the city and that this land was well suited for that purpose.
§ Mr. Powell
My right hon. Friend gave full consideration to the Manchester Corporation's view that this land ought to be used for private enterprise housing. But it had been in the market for several years without attracting a purchaser ; and, in face of the B. B. C.'s urgent need and in the absence of any alternative site immediately available, he did not feel justified in rejecting the B. B. C. 's application.
§ Mr. Lever
In view of the fact that the B. B. C. 's supposed urgent need is extremely questionable to anyone who thinks about, and looks at, the empty sites in the centre of Manchester, will the Minister look at this matter again, because the temporary absence of a purchaser for this ideal building land for housing should not be allowed to result in its permanent devotion to office space for which there is plenty of room elsewhere in the city? Will the Minister look at the matter again, having regard to his own constant lament about the shortage of suitable land for housing development in the centre of towns such as Manchester?
§ Mr. Powell
This is not, in fact, entirely a residential area, and by moving to this site the B. B. C. will be enabled to vacate eleven other sites at present used by it in Manchester.
§ Mr. Griffiths
Is the Minister aware that this site is opposite one of Manchester's biggest public parks and is in an overwhelmingly residential area? How can the Minister justify his constant urging of local authorities, such as Manchester, to use their existing sites before they come to him with their overspill 1234 problems, when he allows this sort of thing?