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Coastal Foreshore

Volume 654: debated on Tuesday 27 February 1962

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asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs what is the extent of coastal foreshore still in private hands; and whether he will now take such property into public ownership for the benefit of the community as a whole.

The Joint Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Housing and Local Government
(Mr. Geoffrey Rippon)

The extent of the coastal foreshore in private hands is unknown. My right hon. Friend sees no need for nationalisation. The public already has access to much of the foreshore, and local planning authorities have powers to secure public access for open-air recreation.

Is the Parliamentary Secretary aware that the nature of that reply, its content, and brevity, will come as no surprise? Is he further aware that there are still many stretches of coastal foreshore which are privately owned, and from which the public are excluded? Is he also aware that at this moment there is an 850-acre strip of some of the finest coastal scenery in this country which the National Trust is trying to buy? Does he not think that in 1962 it is an anachronism that coastal foreshore should be privately owned?

My reply was, I hope, brief but clear. Local planning authorities have adequate powers to deal with these matters.

Would not the Joint Parliamentary Secretary consider it desirable to give limited powers to local authorities to acquire stretches of coastal foreshore in some instances where they might add to local amenities?

Is it not a matter of public concern not only that so much of the foreshore is not available to the public, but that half of that which is is in such a filthy and polluted condition as to be a scandal? What is the Minister doing about it?