HC Deb 19 February 1996 vol 272 cc36-7W
Mr. Macdonald

To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the estates owned by the Scottish Office Agriculture and Fisheries Department where the previous landowner still holds rights of pre-emption in respect of future transfer of ownership. [15072]

Mr. Raymond S. Robertson

My right hon. Friend owns 52 estates which are subject to a limited statutory right of pre-emption under land settlement legislation. This states thatBefore selling any land which, in the opinion of the Secretary of State, is not required for the purposes of the Act, the Secretary of State shall offer the land to the person from whom it was purchased or his successor in title at a price to be determined, failing agreement, by the Scottish Land Court.

Similar rights may be contained in the title deeds of individual estates. This can be determined only by carrying out a full title search which, at this stage, would involve disproportionate costs.

The consultation paper on the disposal of my right hon. Friend's crofting estates, "Crofting Trusts", acknowledges that legislation may need to take account of the possibility that, in some cases, the successors in title to the original owners may have pre-emptive rights.

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