HC Deb 05 December 1975 vol 901 cc468-70W
Mr. Joseph Dean

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement about the work of the Advisory Group on Commercial Property Development.

Mr. John Silkin

I have received and considered a report by the Advisory Group on Commercial Property Devellopment under the chairmanship of Sir Dennis Pilcher. The group was asked to consult widely, and it has had the benefit of the views of many bodies and individuals involved in the various aspects of commercial development of shops and offices.

The report has some points touching on the provisions, at the time the report was written, of the legislation now enacted in the Community Land Act. But its major purpose is to set out much valuable advice about the carrying out of commercial development. I am sure this should be considered carefully by all concerned in commercial property development, and that it will help them to work together to make a success of the Community Land Scheme. The report is accordingly being published today by the Stationery Office.

The Advisory Group makes recommendations on some aspects of disposals of land by local authorities. A circular will be issued when the appropriate consultations have been completed. I can say now that I intend that local authorities will be free to make leasehold disposals up to 99 years of land for commercial and industrial development; it will be open to them to seek specific consent for disposals for longer periods in particular cases.

The Advisory Group suggests that it would be useful to arrange for the preparation of some model provisions for local authority leases. On this I shall be seeking the views of the professional institutions, the local authority associations, and other bodies concerned. The group has proposed to carry further its study of two other points. These are, ways to give mutual rights to seek redevelopment during a lease from a local authority; and a possible new mechanism suggested to them for partnership in commercial property development between the public and private sectors.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland, and my right hon, and learned Friend the Secretary of State for Wales are considering the implications of the report for the operation of the Community Land Scheme in Scotland and Wales.

Copies of the Report are available in the Vote Office.