HC Deb 01 April 1969 vol 781 cc233-5
Q7. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Prime Minister if he is satisfied with the co-ordination between the Department of Economic Affairs and the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to safeguard the interests of the North-East Lancashire Region in relation to the building of the new town at Leyland/Chorley.

Mr. M. Stewart

I have been asked to reply.

Yes, Sir. My right hon. Friend the Minister for Planning and Land referred in the House on 19th December to a number of specific measures which the Government will be taking to help North-East Lancashire to share in the benefits which the new town can bring to the whole region.

Mr. Davidson

Will my right hon. Friend confirm also that this is not merely a plan for a new town with safeguards for North-East Lancashire but a plan both for North-East Lancashire and for a new town? Will he confirm also that the need for new communications and new building will be given the highest possible priority by the Government so that we in North-East Lancashire can receive a shot in the arm from this new town?

Mr. Stewart

Yes, Sir. I should make it clear that there is to be a public inquiry on this which begins on 12th May. Subject to that, the Government share the view of my hon. Friend the Member for Accrington (Mr. Arthur Davidson). Indeed, my right hon. Friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government on 19th December last laid stress on such matters as improved road links, urban renewal schemes and an overall plan for future development which would make sure that North-East Lancashire as a whole will share in the benefits which The new town can bring to the whole region.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Does the Foreign Secretary not realise that this co-ordination has not yet reached the Ministry of Transport? Is he aware that in spite of the new roads promised by the Minister of Housing, the Ministry of Transport, in its Green Paper "Roads for the Future" does not mention the Calder Valley Road, which is one of the bribes which the Minister of Transport held out to try to sell this scheme to North-East Lancashire Members?

Mr. Stewart

I do not think that the hon. and learned Gentleman has got it right. There is no question of a bribe, and it is the firm intention of the Government that the development of the new town should be, as my hon. Friend said, not just a new town but a benefit to the whole region.

Sir Frank Pearson

Will the Minister recognise that the question of the timing of this new Calder Valley road link is vital? Will he give an assurance that work will commence on this road, or that at any rate it will be scheduled in the timetable, before any work is started on the new town?

Mr. Stewart

The hon. Member had better put a Question down to that effect.