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Swynnerton Site (Development)

Volume 722: debated on Tuesday 21 December 1965

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28.

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government whether, to avoid further delays in the use of the abandoned Royal Ordnance factory site at Swynnerton, he will now permit its limited development for industry and for afforestation, without major prejudice to wider schemes which may or may not develop over the next decade.

I can well understand the impatience of the right hon. Gentleman, but I am still waiting for the views of the West Midlands Regional Economic Planning Council and local authorities concerned. When they are received, it will be possible to decide whether there should be any big new expansion project in North Staffordshire, and, if so, whether the Swynnerton site should play a part in it.

Would not the right hon. Gentleman agree that in view of the unlikelihood of anything decisive emerging from these three local authorities—if one includes the City of Stoke-on-Trent—which are at daggers drawn on this issue, it would be better in the national interest to declare that we should go ahead with a modest scheme?

No, I do not think that would be right. I would much rather wait not so much for the local authorities as for the West Midland Regional Council, which can give a much more independent view. I assure the right hon. Gentleman that when that happens, my feeling also is that we much decide about the site, which is looking loathsome and neglected after years of Government delay.