§ 52. Mr. Awbery
asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he is aware that land purchased by local authorities is being sold to private persons at a higher price than that which was given for it; and if he will take powers to ensure that the original owners of such land are always given first refusal.
§ Mr. Rippon
Local authorities disposing of surplus land are in general expected to do so at the best price obtainable. They were asked in the Department's Circular No. 48/59 to give careful consideration to requests by former owners to buy back surplus land.
In the particular case which the hon. Member has in mind, the land was bought under housing powers and will be used by the purchasers for building houses. Since buying it the local authority have incurred heavy expenditure in providing roads, sewers and other services and have transformed undeveloped land into a building estate.