HC Deb 09 December 1970 vol 808 cc408-9
32. Mr. Carter

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will institute an investigation on the social, medical and other problems arising out of multi-storey flat occupation.

Mr. Channon

The Department's Housing Research and Development Group is conducting continuing research into residents' reactions to different types of flats and houses.

Mr. Carter

But would the hon. Gentleman not accept that that is an entirely unsatisfactory reply when one realises that social, medical and psychiatric opinion today is very concerned not only with the present problems arising out of multi-storey flat occupation but about future problems? Would he not also accept as evidence of this that I alone—other hon. Members must have a similar story to tell—receive 20 applications each month for transfers from these properties?

Mr. Channon

I hope that the hon. Member does not think that it is an unsatisfactory reply. I believe that more research is needed into this problem, although I certainly accept the conclusion that families with small children are certainly better housed not in this type of building. But it would be wrong for the House to imagine that all the problems listed in the report are found exclusively in high flats; they are often found in other places as well.

Mr. James Hill

Would my hon. Friend not agree that it is the lack of play areas in the vicinity of these multistorey blocks that is one of the greatest social needs, and could he direct local authorities to give more assistance to voluntary play group associations which are trying to help with this crying need?

Mr. Channon

My hon. Friend is absolutely right about that. My right hon. Friend hopes to publish a design bulletin next year giving advice on provision of this very sort of facility.