HC Deb 17 December 1957 vol 580 cc45-6W
95. Mrs. Castle

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government why he has advised the Tynemouth Council to dezone Thrift Street, North Shields, as an industrial area.

Mr. H. Brooke

This land is part of an area bought by the council in 1955 for housing purposes. Later they decided to allow the land to be used for industry, and granted planning permission accordingly. Having done this, they found that the industrial permission had materially enhanced the value of the land. The council therefore came to the conclusion that the fair course would be to sell the land back to the original owners at the price they had paid for it, plus costs.

As required by statute, they sought my authority to the disposal. The Housing Acts however, require a local authority, when selling land bought for housing which they no longer need, to sell "at the best price … that can reasonably be obtained"; and accordingly I felt unable to agree to the Council's proposal. In the special circumstances I sympathised with the Council's wish to resell to the original owners at a price based on the value of the land for housing purposes, and suggested to the Council that if they were willing to revoke the industrial permission that would enable them to sell the land without the value created by the permission, and thus achieve their object without infringing the law.