HC Deb 02 April 1963 vol 675 cc224-5
8. Mr. Awbery

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what was the nature of his reply to the letter of 13th March from Councillor J. O'Neil, of Bristol, with reference to his request for a stay of completion on the sale of 102 acres at Whitchurch Airport by the Bristol City Council which are required for the building of houses by the council; and, in view of the fact that this is the only large plot of land remaining for this purpose, and of the strong opposition within the council to the sale, if he will withhold permission for the development of this land until further information is available.

Sir K. Joseph

Councillor O'Neil was told that I cannot correspond with councillors on matters which have been the subject of a decision by the council as a whole. The council do not need my authority to dispose of this land and it is their responsibility to ensure that they have enough land for their housing programme.

Mr. Awbery

Is the Minister aware that when the question of selling these 102 acres came before the Committee it was carried by one vote? Notice was given to rescind that immediately. It then came before the council of 104 members and it was carried by five votes and notice to rescind was given then. Is the Minister aware that quite shortly Labour will have a majority in the council of Bristol and that in this case the selling of this land is to prevent the Labour Party doing what they think is the right thing? They are selling it now to speculators who will charge extortionate ground rents which the people of Bristol will have to pay Cannot the Minister do something about it?

Sir K. Joseph

Be all that as it may, the decision is still up to the council.