§ Mr. McCusker
asked the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what approvals are required from central Government in Northern Ireland by a local authority which wishes to purchase property or land; and what grant-aid is available for this purpose.
§ Mr. Chris Patten
District councils wishing to purchase property or land must obtain approval from the Department of the Environment for Northern Ireland for acquisitions in advance of need, and for borrowing to finance acquisitions; the approval of the relevant Department must be obtained for acquisitions otherwise than by agreement, for grant-aided acquisitions, and for acquisitions for harbour purposes.
Grant-aid up to 75 per cent. is available to finance acquisitions for open space amenity purposes, for recreational, social, physical and cultural facilities, and for tourist amenity developments.