HC Deb 19 March 1987 vol 112 cc556-7W
Mr. Murphy

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment if he will make a statement on the achievements of the urban development corporations since their inception.

Mr. John Patten

When the London Docklands Development Corporation and the Merseyside Development Corporation were created in 1981 their areas were characterised by extensive areas of derelict docks, a severe lack of basic infrastructure and high and continuing job losses. In just five and a half years both corporations have achieved notable success in securing the regeneration of their areas.

LDDC's area covers some 2,065 hectares, forming part of three London boroughs. The corporation has secured private sector development and commitments of over £1.6 billion, giving a gearing ratio of private to public capital investment of 6.4 to 1. Over 300 companies have started in—or moved into—docklands; a total of over 7 million sq ft of non-residential floor space is being developed or is already completed; over 8,000 permanent jobs have been attracted to the area; and about 10,000 new homes have been completed or sites started.

LDDC has itself reclaimed over 320 hectares of land for new uses; it has part funded the docklands light railway, which is due to open later this year; and its total support for community projects has exceeded £10 million. The corporation has now begun major infrastructure schemes in the royal docks.

MDC's area covers 350 hectares of docklands in the local authority areas of Liverpool, Sefton and Wirral. It has a key role in the recovery of the heart of Merseyside, and despite a more difficult economic climate it has achieved considerable success. 166 hectares of dereliction have been reclaimed; 112,000 square metres of old buildings have been refurbished for new uses; some 224 homes are currently being created by new build or conversion; 1,156 new jobs have been created and at least 700 construction workers are employed on MDC schemes at any one time. With major projects including the restoration of the historic Albert dock, improvements to the south docks, and Brunswick Business park, MDC is succeeding in creating a climate of confidence in its area in which he private sector is prepared to invest, and £65 million has so far been spent or committed by the private sector.