HC Deb 16 February 1970 vol 796 cc7-8
11. Mr. Probert

asked the Secretary of State for Wales if he will take steps to remedy the hardship caused to householders by liability to make weatherproof the exposed pine ends of their houses on the demolition of adjacent properties.

Mr. E. Rowlands

Where owners demolish properties which leave adjacent houses exposed, local authorities have power, under the Public Health Act, 1961, to serve notices requiring those owners to weatherproof surfaces exposed by the demolition. If properties are demolished by the local authority, they have power to carry out weatherproofing if they think it right to do so. My right hon. Friend will be writing to my hon. Friend, setting out the position in greater detail.

Mr. Probert

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Could not relief of this hardship, which exists not only in Wales but in many other parts of the United Kingdom, be tackled under the provisions of the Housing Act, 1969?

Mr. Rowlands

It would be possible to consider the question of a grant under the improvement grant system set up by the 1969 Act if it was part of an improvement scheme. Also, under the 1969 Act, local authorities can make loans to house-owners on terms providing for interest only to be paid, the capital being recovered later. This could help those on very low incomes and those suffering from financial hardship.

Mr. Gower

Except in extraordinary cases, should not local authorities always make up finance in this way where they are responsible for demolition, otherwise it is a great hardship to the individual?

Mr. Rowlands

Local authorities can do this if they demolish the property, but they are not bound by law to do so.