HC Deb 16 January 1975 vol 884 cc666-7
15. Mr. Molyneaux

asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when he proposes to publish his Green Paper on Residential Development in Rural Areas.

Mr. Concannon

The Consultation Paper on Residential Development in Rural Areas was published last July and consultations are continuing. It is expected that the proposed Green Paper on Regional Physical Development Strategy will be published shortly.

Mr. Molyneaux

Does the Minister agree that it might therefore be wise to postpone approval of applications for major developments which would breach the stop line for the city of Belfast, particularly in the southern side of the city, as the hon. Member for Belfast, West (Mr. Fitt) has confirmed my impression that building sites are available within the city boundary?

Mr. Concannon

That is not my reading of the situation, but I have promised the Lisburn Council that I shall not go further ahead with any of the proposals until the publication of the Green Paper.

Mr. McCusker

Will the Minister bear in mind that, traditionally, there has always been a high density of population in rural areas in Northern Ireland, and that while we fully appreciate the environmental arguments we are more concerned with having the people living in the country than having vast areas depopulated?

Mr. Concannon

The hon. Gentleman is talking about developments in the rural areas, and not the Green Paper on strategy. I am anxious to set down a firm policy. A Consultation Paper was issued in July, and I have had quite a number of consultations about the matter. I have arranged one for next Friday with the representatives of the 26 district councils.