HC Deb 19 November 1974 vol 881 cc1089-90
12. Mr. Hal Miller

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science whether he will expedite the administrative processes necessary for the inquiry into the objection to the compulsory purchase order for the land needed for Hagley High School so that construction may be enabled to start in March 1975, enabling the school to open in September 1976 in line with the indication given to parents.

Mr. Armstrong

Yes, Sir, there has been a statutory objection which has necessitated the holding of a public inquiry. An inspector has already been appointed to hold this and his name communicated to the parties concerned. I expect to announce shortly the date of the inquiry. I am writing to the hon. Member.

Mr. Miller

Does the Minister understand the parents' disbelief when they were informed by the local education authority that it could take up to six months to appoint an inspector—I am pleased to have the hon. Gentleman's assurance that an inspector has been appointed—and a further year for the Department to consider the inspector's report? Will the Minister give some assurance to the House that the length of these processes will be reduced?

Mr. Armstrong

I can assure the hon. Gentleman that we are treating this as a matter of great urgency. However, there are democratic processes that have to be undertaken. I can assure him that we will give a decision as soon as possible.