HC Deb 21 January 1964 vol 687 cc888-9
2. Mr. Turner

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs when he expects to receive confirmation that the London County Council wishes to purchase the 500 acres of Woolwich Arsenal land released by the War Office.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Sir Keith Joseph)

I understand that the Council has already indicated its interest in the purchase of this land and that it is negotiating with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for War.

Mr. Turner

Will my right hon. Friend bear in mind in any large-scale development of these 500 acres or additional land in the near future the necessity of providing houses for all sections of the community, not only in the London County Council but in the Woolwich Borough Council, and for housing associations and private enterprise?

Sir K. Joseph

Yes, Sir, but I must state that the prime need in London at the moment is for land to enable the public enterprise programme, which includes, to some extent, the housing societies, to make headway.

Mr. Marsh

Would the Minister accept that there is also a need to provide somewhere for people to work when they go to the area and that it is not possible to increase the population by 85,000 without providing some way for people to go backwards and forwards to work? Many local people are becoming extremely worried by the complacent comments on this matter of members of the Minister's own party, including the right hon. Member for Bexley (Mr. Heath).

Sir K. Joseph

I do not understand the hon. Member's reference to my right hon. Friend, but clearly the need for work as well as homes will be borne in mind by all the authorities which are interested in this, particularly the London County Council.