HC Deb 28 April 1971 vol 816 cc403-4
10. Mr. Allason

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what further steps he is taking to encourage home ownership in new towns.

Mr. Peter Walker

I am discussing with development corporations and the Commission for the New Towns measures designed to give private house builders greater freedom in new towns. This should enable them to make the maximum contribution to new town development that market conditions permit. I am delighted that many existing tenants of new towns are contemplating purchasing their homes.

Mr. Allason

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is a very long delay in obtaining valuations, as much as three or four months in some cases, and that this is a severe disincentive? Would it not be more useful to employ more valuers to expedite valuations?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. There is no need for such delays, and if my hon. Friend would give me details, I will look into them immediately.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that many of us feel that there is incompatibility between publicly and privately developed houses? Is it not important that the standards in both sectors should be improved and maintained?

Mr. Walker

Yes, Sir. That is why I am delighted that the National House Builders' Registration Council has agreed upon standards.

Mr. Tebbit

Is my right hon. Friend aware of how much satisfaction it will give all of us in new towns to know that there will be more privately built houses directly for sale to owner occupiers? Could he make this more possible in Harlow by announcing whether we are to have expansion in Harlow now that we know where the new airport will be situated?

Mr. Walker

That is a separate question, and perhaps my hon. Friend would put down another Question.

Mr. Denis Howell

In view of the fact that the New Towns Commission conducted a survey and did not find that many existing tenants wanted to buy homes, what evidence has the Secretary of State that large numbers of people are contemplating doing so?

Mr. Walker

The evidence in new towns of hundreds applying to do so.