HC Deb 09 April 1957 vol 568 cc957-8
44. Mr. Remnant

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether he has now concluded his consultations with local authorities and the caravan associations in regard to sites; and whether he will make a statement.

Mr. H. Brooke

My officers have held meetings with the local authority associations and the caravan organisations, and I am now considering the views put forward.

Mr. Remnant

Does my right hon. Friend appreciate that the position in relation to these caravan sites is at present in a chaotic state, and that so long as there is doubt about security of tenure no owner is likely to improve his servicing up to the appropriate limit? Will he consider also at the moment whether, where local authorities are not willing themselves to organise sites, they should indicate to applicants where they consider suitable sites exist in their area?

Mr. Brooke

I do appreciate that this is a difficult question, involving conflicting interests. The caravan organisations sent a deputation to my Department towards the end of last month, and I am now examining what they said.

Mr. Shurmer

Will the Minister do all he can to speed up these negotiations? Is he aware that in districts surrounding Birmingham—where the housing situation is very bad—people are being continually put on the side of the road, having nowhere else to go; that they are being prosecuted, and that the owners of those sites have also been prosecuted? Where there are decent sites available, surely something could be done to help the housing situation—which the people are themselves trying to help by buying and living in decent caravans on sites around the great industrial areas. It is serious around Birmingham, and I hope that the right hon. Gentleman will do something very soon.

Mr. Brooke

These are not negotiations. The position is that representations, which are somewhat in conflict with one another, have been put to me by the local authority associations on the one hand, and, on the other, by the caravan organisations, and I am now considering them.

Mr. Shurmer

Hurry up.

Mr. Doughty

Does my right hon. Friend realise that people buying caravans very often buy them on the false statement that the vendor has a site available for them? Will he see to it that such practices are discouraged and that licensed sites do not have on them more caravans than the licence permits?