§ Mr. Maxwell-Hyslop
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the answer of 11 February on Haldon open prison, Official Report, c. 494, how long the preparation of the necessary legal documentation, including the conditions of sale has taken; why it has taken longer than expected; why public tenders cannot be invited for at least another six weeks; whether the property has had to be revalued due to damage by vandalism due to the delay by his Department in selling it; and whether he will instil a sense of urgency into those responsible for securing its sale.304W
§ Mr. Whitelaw
The preparation of the necessary legal documentation by the Treasury Solicitor has taken seven months; this is longer than expected because there have been many details to sort out concerning, for example, rights of access, boundaries and ownership of easements. The appointed local land agent has advised that a longer than usual period should be allowed before public tender in this case to give prospective purchasers adequate opportunity to investigate the uses which the planning authority will permit, and the financing of any transaction. The property has not had to be revalued due to damage by vandalsim. I will certainly ensure that arrangements for this sale are dealt with urgently and I will keep in touch with my hon. Friend.