HC Deb 24 April 1963 vol 676 cc212-3
27. Dr. Dickson Mabon

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will issue a revised memorandum to local authorities on the clearance of derelict sites, in view of the recent change in Government policy.

Mr. Noble

This was done on 5th April. I am sending the hon. Member a copy.

Dr. Mabon

Since I have already seen a copy of this memorandum, which was published after I had put down a Question, may I direct the Secretary of State's attention to section 5 of this very unsuitable memorandum, which obscures the main point and holds up the clearance of derelict sites—namely, the definition of "derelict"? Is he aware that in Scottish law it is impossible to declare that a site is abandoned or ownerless and that as a consequence local authority applications to him in fact fail? May I direct attention to subsection (j) of section 5 of the memorandum, which asks a hypothetical question which is quite difficult to answer and which, again, might be the cause of applications to him failing. Would he look at the whole thing again in view of the essential importance to industrial development in Scotland?

Mr. Noble

I will look at any problem which a local authority brings to me and which seems to hold up these very necessary schemes.

Mr. Ross

Did the Secretary of State send a copy of the memorandum to the Board of Trade? He will recollect that under the Local Employment Act the Board of Trade has the right to deal with derelict sites if nobody else does so.

Mr. Noble

I expect that the Board of Trade got a copy, too.