HC Deb 18 February 1969 vol 778 cc196-7
15. Mr. Costain

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government what is the policy of the Land Commission with regard to the purchase of white land; and what is to be the criteria of price.

Mr. K. Robinson

The policy is to purchase by agreement white land with potential for development, as far as funds permit. The price will be negotiated on the basis of current open market value.

Mr. Costain

Does not the right hon. Gentleman consider that the Commission is entering even further into competition for the already short supply of land? Is he aware that advertisements have been placed in various trade magazines such as the Estates Gazette offering to purchase? Does this indicate that planning permission will be given once the Commission has purchased property?

Mr. Robinson

No, Sir. It was always envisaged that the Land Commission would purchase white land. As for advertisements appearing in the Estates Gazette and other journals, considering that there have been 60 replies to that advertisement, it seems that it was a sensible thing to do. I do not agree that this is unfair competition with other seekers after white land.

Mr. Russell Kerr

For the benefit of ignorant hon. Members, would my right hon. Friend explain what white land is?

Mr. Robinson

Broadly speaking, white land is land which appears on a development plan without any particular development proposals for it. The Commission buys this land in the hope that at a future time it will have planning permission, but it does not imply that planning permission is imminent.