§ 4. Mr. Longden
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs why he did not confirm a compulsory purchase order made by the Watford Rural District Council in respect of 15½ acres of land at Hazelgrove Farm, Abbots Langley, which the Council wish to preserve as open space, in view of the three previous Ministerial decisions in respect of this same land.
I decided to confirm the Order for 10 acres of this land. I did not consider that compulsory purchase of the remaining 5½ acres would be justified in view of the amount of open space already available in Abbots Langley, and the fact that it is surrounded by green belt.
§ Mr. Longden
Is my right hon. Friend aware that the population of Abbots Langley is higher and the amount of open space available to them much lower than he has been given to understand? Is he further aware that there have been four different inquiries into this piece of land since 1955 and the decision of the first three was that no further land should be built over than was allowed as a result of the first inquiry; that, even so, this amount of open space will not bring the amount of open space of the village up to the recommended standard; and that the appellants received £1,200 compensation for the refusal of planning permission 611 three years ago? How can he possibly justify this reversal of Ministerial policy?
—in this area which is set in the green belt. My inspector went into this very carefully, and I accepted his recommendation that 10 acres was the proper amount, bearing in mind that 5 acres would be appropriate and reasonable development for housing purposes.
§ Mr. M. Stewart
Is the Minister aware that he has been inaccurately informed about the 58 acres? Is he aware that some of the land is not available to the public as an open space and some not capable of being used by children? In view of that and of the facts mentioned by his hon. Friend, will he look at this matter again, or alternatively, if the local authority should again attempt to get a compulsory purchase order, look at it with a fresh mind?
For technical reasons, I think the second procedure more appropriate than the first. Of course, I will look at any fresh information which comes up. But the information I have is that the amount of open space is 58 acres and that it was a reasonable decision to limit the compulsory purchase order to the 10 acres.
§ Mr. Longden
In view of the unsatisfactory nature of that reply, I beg to give notice that I shall endeavour to raise the matter at an early opportunity.