§ Mr. Cousins
To ask the right hon. Member for Selby, representing the Church Commissioners, what losses were sustained by the Commissioners over the Ashford Great Park programme; and what charge exists, or legal action has been taken by them against the European Land group of companies, or family trusts or interests of Mr. James Cookson and his successors.
§ Mr. Alison
Companies within the European land group and controlled by the late Mr. James Cookson were one of the commissioners' partners in the Ashford Great Park project, but they went into receivership in 1992. Shortly afterwards the Commissioners exercised their legal charge over the land purchased for the project in order to offset the loans owed to the Commissioners by their partners. No further action is being taken against European Land or its subsidiaries or the family interests of Mr. Cookson following his death. All of the land purchased for the project now belongs to the Commissioners and, for the present, this land has been written down to its value at an agricultural estate but with the benefit of the local plan allocation for redevelopment at some stage in the future. The cost of the Commissioners' investment in the partnership amounted to £80 million.