21. Mrs. Butler
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what action he has taken to ensure that land which will become surplus to the requirements of the British Transport Commission in the Greater London area will be made available for housing.
There have been discussions between the Commission, the London County Council and my Ministry about the possible release of land not needed by the Commission for its operational requirements. Not all this land will be suitable for housing, and the appropriate use for each site can be settled only after discussion by the Commission with the London County Council and the other planning authorities.
In view of the Ministerial statements on the Transport Bill that the British Transport Commission must get the best possible price for its surplus land, is it not clear that very little of the surplus 850 acres in London will go for housing if a more lucrative development can be made? Unless the Minister is prepared to take a very strong line in this matter, was not he misleading the House on 2nd February by suggesting that a substantial part of this land would go for houses?
I agree that there are other interests. As the hon. Lady says, the British Transport Commission is interested in the possibilities of commercial development. I am interested in the use of this land for housing, as is the London County Council. There has to be a balancing of interests, but the British Transport Commission is not being allowed to lose sight of the housing need apart from its own particular point of view.
§ Mr. C. Hughes
Will the Minister bear in mind the desirability of similar discussions in other cities where there is a shortage of land?