HC Deb 31 May 1962 vol 660 cc150-1W
Sir Richard Pilkington

asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he will make a statement about Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour, which is being offered to the nation in lieu of death duties.

Sir E. Boyle

The executors of the late Mrs. M. F. Christie have recently offered Brownsea Island to the Inland Revenue in part settlement of Estate Duty. Brownsea Island is a well-known beauty spot and an area of great importance to naturalists comprising some 500 acres in the middle of Poole Harbour. It is of historical interest in that the late Lord Baden Powell held the first Boy Scout camp there in 1907. The Government have agreed in principle to accept, at a valuation of £110,000, the offer of the island which has now been made; the necessary legal formalities for the transfer of ownership are being put in hand.

Subject to these being satisfactorily completed, it is the Treasury's intention to direct that the island shall be given to the National Trust. The Trust has readily accepted our provisional offer of Brownsea, and I understand that it intends forthwith to launch an appeal for funds to enable it to meet the substantial expense involved in maintaining and improving the amenities of the island for the benefit of the public.

I know that all Members and the public at large will be as gratified as Her Majesty's Government that it now seems probable that we shall secure the preservation of this island in the hands of the National Trust. The Trust is planning to undertake as soon as possible the work needed to make the island accessible to the public and will be arranging for the preservation of the wild life on the island. The Nature Conservancy, which has been anxious about the island's future for some time, has warmly welcomed the arrangements proposed.