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New Factories, Durham

Volume 640: debated on Tuesday 9 May 1961

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asked the President of the Board of Trade how many applications have so far been made to his Department for new factories in Durham County; how many have been granted; and what are the prospects for new factory building in 1961–62.

Since the Local Employment Act came into force, thirteen applications for new Board of Trade factories in County Durham have been received; of these eight were approved, but four were subsequently withdrawn by the applicants. Three are now being considered. The applications approved for new factories and extensions built by the Board of Trade, excluding the withdrawals, provide for 488,000 sq. ft. of space, but I cannot say how much of this building will be completed in 1961–62. If the last part of the Question refers to all new factories or extensions, whether privately financed or Government financed, there have been seventy-two applications for I.D.C.s covering 1,716,000 sq. ft. in the last twelve months.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that I am very grateful for that reply? Could he say whether any representations have been made about the disused Army site which is not in operation at the moment? Have any representations been made that his Department should take over that site from the War Office for use for industrial development? If not, will the hon. Gentleman make representations to his regional office to see what inquiries can be set in motion about such a development?

I should like to have notice of that question. Offhand, I should say that the Board of Trade can take over sites only if they are in development districts.

Can my hon. Friend say what all this means in terms of jobs and extra employment? Could he go out of his way to visit us in Sunderland to see a new factory which is about to be opened there in the near future?

I should be glad to do anything the hon. Member invites me to do, if at all possible. The total number of jobs in prospect in the county is 14,500.