HC Deb 17 February 1971 vol 811 cc1837-9
51. Mr. Arthur Davidson

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what is the Government policy with regard to the central Lancashire new town.

94. Mr. Dan Jones

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will now make a statement with regard to the proposal for a new town in Lancashire.

120. Mrs. Castle

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he is yet in a position to make a statement about the central Lancashire new town.

Mr. Peter

I would refer the right hon. Member and hon. Members to the statement which I made to the House on 3rd February.

Mr. Davidson

I remember that statement well and was able to ask the right hon. Gentleman a question on it. However, would he bear in mind that one of the fears which North-East Lancashire has, and had under the previous Government's plans, was that young people would drift away from the area and fall for the allurement of a new town? Therefore, will he favourably consider passing on to his right hon. Friend my plea that at some stage North-East Lancashire should be given full development area status to ensure that new industry goes to it?

Mr. Walker

I note the hon. Gentleman's remarks. Only last week I agreed witħ local authorities throughout the North-West to commence the preparation of a regional strategy, and I hope that that will help the problem of the North-East Lancashire towns.

Mr. Fletcher-Cooke

Would my right hon. Friend tell us what steps the Government will take to see that the central Lancashire town will avoid the ghastly mistakes which were made in the case, for example, of the Skelmersdale New Town and other new towns of that type?

Mr. Walker

My right hon. Friend the Minister for Housing and Construction will soon be announcing the members of the Development Corporation, and I believe that they will be seen to be of the calibre and status to provide an excellent new town.

Mr. Simon Mahon

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that the creation of the new town in Lancashire presents us with an opportunity of creating that social and economic balance which has long been denied in Lancashire, and is there any necessity for private developers and public developers in the architectural sense for the town being at such great variance?

Mr. Walker

I very much agree. I think that they can work together side by side to provide a very good environment for that part of Lancashire.

Mr. Gardner

Is my right hon. Friend aware that there is considerable enthusiasm in Lancashire for the plans which he has already announced, and that they are regarded by many people in that area as a considerable improvement on the original ideas for the development of a new town in Lancashire?

Mr. Walker

I am very grateful to my hon. and learned Friend.