HC Deb 26 April 1972 vol 835 cc1513-4
1. Mr. Haselhurst

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he is aware of the backlog of rating appeals from the Urban District of Whitefield; and what plans he has to ensure that they are disposed of with greater speed.

The Minister for Local Government and Development (Mr. Graham Page)

The arrangements for hearing rating appeals from this area are a matter for the East Lancashire Valuation Panel. I understand that 160 appeals are out- standing, of which about 135 relate to the effect of motorway construction and subsequent use; the latter are all expected to be heard by the end of July.

Mr. Haselhurst

I thank my hon. Friend for that reply. Would he agree, however, that it is an unsatisfactory situation both for the individuals concerned, who have undergone a certain amount of anxiety, particularly during the period of motorway construction, and for the council because of the long delay in settling these matters? Some cases go back over a number of years, the oldest dating back to April, 1969.

Mr. Page

It is the statutory duty of the chairman of the panel to arrange the business and that is a matter in which I cannot interfere. I understand that the panel decided that it would be more convenient to deal with all these cases after the motorway had been opened. But individuals do not suffer because any decision will be made retrospective to the beginning of the rating period in which the proposal was made.