HC Deb 18 October 1972 vol 843 cc260-1
33. Mr. Jay

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will list his reasons for rejecting the proposal of the London Borough of Camden to erect council flats in Branch Hill, Hampstead.

Mr. Eyre

Because the zoned density for development of this site produces unacceptably high plot costs per dwelling.

Mr. Jay

Will the hon. Gentleman reconsider this, since his own working party has been urging councils to look for more land, and since this site came into the council's ownership at a low price and has been unused for years?

Mr. Eyre

There are high plot costs in this case, approaching £16,000 per site, and this high cost is directly related to the low density. I am not satisfied that other less costly sites are not available to enable the council to pursue its housing programme.

Mr. Geoffrey Finsberg

Is my hon. Friend aware that this site is in Hampstead and not in Battersea? Secondly, is he aware that this site was acquired for addition to Hampstead Heath? Thirdly, is he aware that the former Labour leader of the Camden Council stated categorically in the Press, and never withdrew the statement, that no municipal housing would be put on this site?

Mr. Eyre

I am grateful to my hon. Friend for mentioning those factors.

Mr. Crosland

If the hon. Gentleman is so concerned about zone densities and plot costs in this case, and generally about the environment, will he or his right hon. Friend agree to make a brief statement after Questions on the contribution to the environment that will be made by the proposed new Department of the Environment office block, twice the size of Centre Point, at the Elephant and Castle?

Mr. Eyre

Relating the right hon. Gentleman's question to the Question on the Order Paper, the zone density here is 30 persons per acre, and it is for the borough, at any rate in the first instance, to take steps to secure an alteration in that.