HC Deb 02 May 1968 vol 763 cc1281-2
27. Mr. Strauss

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will await the report of Dr. Dainton's Committee before taking any irrevocable step, such as the disposal of property, that twould prevent the Bloomsbury site being used for the building of a national library.

Mr. Edward Short

As my right hon. Friend is aware, the Government took a decision last October not to proceed with the Bloomsbury site for a national library and exploratory discussions have since been opened with the planning authorities concerned about alternative sites in Central London. The procedure for the disposal of property already in the Government's hands must await the outcome of discussions about the future planning and use of the site.

Mr. Strauss

Is my right hon. Friend aware that very strong and conclusive arguments have been put forward by the leading museum and library authorities on the subject? Would not it be more sensible to await the outcome of Dr. Dainton's Committee's Report, which will bear on the subject, before coming to a final decision?

Mr. Short

The Government have already come to a final decision on this site, which I should make quite clear is irrevocable. Whether or not any irrevocable steps will be taken on the site will depend on the date when Dr. Dainton's report is issued and the length of time it takes to conclude discussions with the planning authorities.