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Greater London Plan (Industries)

Volume 440: debated on Tuesday 22 July 1947

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asked the Minister of Town and Country Planning what powers he exercises in areas where decentralisation of industry and population is recommended in the Greater London Plan to prevent the continued use for industrial purposes of industrial sites and premises which are vacant or fall vacant at any time.

The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Town and Country Planning
(Mr. Fred Marshall)

The Minister exercises general powers of direction over local authorities, who in their turn have powers to prevent the continued use of industrial buildings, where the premises have been vacant for a period of 18 months, or where a substantial change in the industrial use is proposed. Subject to confirmation by the Minister, local authorities have also power to purchase such premises if they are required for development of a different character. More effective powers for the prevention of the continued use of land and buildings are contained in the Town and Country Planning Bill now before Parliament.

Is my hon. Friend aware that all efforts so far made to prevent further industrial development in congested areas have proved unsuccessful, and that continued industrial intensification continues apace?

I cannot accept the statement that all our efforts have proved unsuccessful in this regard. We are watching the position very carefully, and I have already indicated that powers are incorporated in the new planning Measure.

Would not the Minister agree that the time has come when industry should be stopped from coming to London, and should be spread all over the country, where there is plenty of room and people are looking for work?

So far as the London regional area is concerned, we have adopted a decentralisation policy.


asked the President of the Board of Trade the number of approvals for extensions and new industrial projects since June, 1945, in London and the Greater London area as shown in the Greater London plan; the additional labour involved; and how the additional floor space and labour is dispersed throughout the region.

In the period beginning 1st June, 1945, and ending 31st May, 1947, approval has been given to 267 projects for new factories and extensions in the Greater London Area. These projects when completed and fully operating will require an additional 16,000 workers. The projects are widely dispersed throughout the area, but the information is not readily available as to their distribution in relation to the four zones described in the Greater London Plan.

Is my hon. Friend aware that the granting of approval for industrial projects in London increases the industrial concentration in London and Greater London, and will he not ensure that more of these projects go to development and other areas?

I can assure my hon. Friend that before any approval is given for any extension or new building project in London, full consideration is given to the possibility of having it transferred elsewhere, and only in the most urgent and necessary cases is approval given for buildings in London.