HC Deb 13 November 1962 vol 667 cc172-4
23. Mr. Ridley

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will take action to preserve Eldon Square, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in view of its architectural and historical importance.

Mr. Corfield

These buildings are listed under the Town and Country Planning Act, 1947, as being of architectural interest. The City Council has just submitted an amendment to its development plan under which the buildings would be demolished. In considering this my right hon. Friend will take account of the architectural and historic interest of the Square as well as the arguments in favour of redevelopment.

Mr. Ridley

Is my hon. Friend aware that the importance of these buildings is national and that it goes beyond purely local interest? This is one of the few cities with really fine 18th Century town planning. Will he urge his right hon. Friend to use his position as guardian of the nation's artistic heritage to make sure that these buildings are not demolished?

Mr. Corfield

I can assure my hon. Friend that my right hon. Friend's advisory committee on buildings of special architectural and historical interest has been consulted and its views will be taken carefully into consideration. However, I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's final decision.

Mr. R. W. Elliot

Is my hon. Friend aware that, in the opinion of many people, the commercial aspect of urban redevelopment is being overstressed? Many small business people—those with businesses which are important to the life of the City of Newcastle and district—are concerned at the probable high rents they will have to pay following redevelopment. Is my hon. Friend further aware that in the neighbouring Percy and Blackett Streets, which are affected by this scheme, many small shopkeepers are likely to be priced out of existence by the multiple stores and branches of the co-operative society? Will he persuade his right hon. Friend to use his influence to persuade local authorities to liaise to the fullest extent with private enterprise?

Mr. Corfield

My hon. Friend has raised a number of points which do not arise out of this Question. I assure him that my right hon. Friend is constantly urging local authorities to give consideration to the points he has raised.

Mr. Popplewell

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that there are two very decided schools of thought about this? To many people there is nothing of real outstanding architectural or historical value attached to Eldon Square; at least, nothing to the degree that should hold up the planning development of the City of Newcastle-upon-Tyne? Does the hon. Gentleman realise how necessary it is that this replanning should take place so that Newcastle may attract industrialists to develop in the area?

Mr. Corfield

As I told the House I cannot anticipate my right hon. Friend's decision. All these factors will be taken into account. I am sure the hon. Member for. Newcastle-upon-Tyne, West (Mr. Popplewell) appreciates that if there were not two schools of thought on almost everything, our lives would be much more tedious.

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