§ 7. Mr. Abse
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs whether he is aware of the concern of residents at Llywelyn Road, Cwmbran, at the revised proposal now before him of the Cwmbran Development Corporation to demolish their houses to make room for car parking; whether any inspection of the interior of these houses was carried out before the proposal was made; and whether he will direct that sites consisting of slum areas should be used for car parking or more multi-storey car parks built to avoid the necessity for demolishing sound houses.
I know of the residents' concern. The corporation has not yet asked to inspect the interior of these houses but it has explained to the owners that demolition may be necessary in seven to ten years' time if adequate car parking space is to be provided in the town centre. Cleared slum areas would be too far away. Multi-storey car parks may ultimately be needed, but they are very costly.
§ Mr. Abse
While appreciating the cost involved in multi-storey car parks, will the Minister see that he is informed as to the condition of these houses, which have a long life available to them, which are in excellent condition and well tended? Will he make no quick decision in view of the feeling that is abroad in the area that these houses to be demolished for a car park are in such jeopardy because of the lack of intelligent planning in regard to the town centre on the part of the Cwmbran Development Corporation? Will he also note that the development corporation unfortunately seems to be intent on pulling down more houses than it is putting up?
There will be no need or question of any early decision by me, but I think the hon. Member does less 180 than justice to the development corporation, which is faced with the need for the comprehensive redevelopment of the commercial centre. The car parking problem is but part of it. The corporation is willing now to buy by agreement any houses that are offered to it, and, indeed, it is looking forward to a proper redevelopment in the centre of Cwmbran. It seems to me that it has acted properly in what it has intimated it might have to do.