HC Deb 08 May 1968 vol 764 cc415-6
40. Mr. Tilney

asked the Minister of Transport when he will announce his decision on the recommendations from the chartered land societies and others on the problems of compensation in relation to highways to owners of houses deleteriously affected by new road developments.

Mr. Swingler

The study of this question is being co-ordinated by my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government. It has implications of great importance for both public and private developers and the timing of any decision cannot be forecast.

Mr. Tilney

Would the Minister bear in mind, in the meantime, that a blight has fallen over property near to projected urban motorways? Is he aware that many people have put all their savings into their homes, many of which have become unsaleable?

Mr. Swingler

I am aware of this difficult problem. We are doing our best, under the present law, to overcome it by obtaining clear decisions on these schemes as quickly as we can. As the hon. Gentleman is no doubt aware, there are complex matters concerning the reform of the compensation laws. We are in possession of information on the subject supplied by various societies and this is being considered as rapidly as possible.

Mr. Galbraith

Would the hon. Gentleman bear in mind that at a time when betterment is taxed where "worsement" is caused by the community, good compensation should be paid?

Mr. Swingler

We agree that it is fair to say that the position is not satisfactory at present. While this is a difficult problem in the development of the motorway and roads programme, the whole matter is to be reviewed in all its aspects and we will make a statement as soon as possible.