HC Deb 10 February 1977 vol 925 cc764-5W
Mr. Eldon Griffiths

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment why he caused a public local inquiry to be held into St. Edmundsbury Council's 1976 compulsory purchase order No. 1 Jacqueline Close, when objections to this had been withdrawn; if a statement of the council's reasons was available to his inspector at the first hearing on 6th October 1976; how many officials from his Department or the local authority were called in evidence; what is the estimated cost to public funds of carrying out this inquiry; why the hon. Member for Bury St. Edmunds was not informed of it, in view of his previous inspection of the collapsed underground workings beneath Jacqueline Close and negotiations with numerous statutory bodies in connection with remedial schemes; and who is now responsible for public safety at this site.

Mr. Armstrong

An inquiry was held to establish the facts about the fitness of these houses in order to reach a decision on the compulsory purchase order. Moreover, certain objections to the order were reinstated at the inquiry. The council's original statement of reasons was made available to the inspector. Two council and no departmental officials were called in evidence. The estimated costs incurred by the Department so far are about £50. The inquiry was advertised in the prescribed way, but it is not the normal practice to notify Members of Parliament of inquiries in their constituencies unless specially requested. The site is still in private ownership, but the local authority has used discretionary powers to fence the site in the interests of public safety.