asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a full statement on the part played by officers of his Department in the sale of Robroyston hospital; what inquiries he is making or has made into the circumstances of the sale; whether he is satisfied that there was no negligence on the part of the Scottish Office; and what documents regarding the bona fides of the purchasing property company the Scottish Office examined during all stages of the deal.
My Department made arrangements for the sale of this property in accordance with established procedures in consultation with the central legal office of the Scottish Health Service and the chief valuer, and after repeated consultations with the district council, which indicated that it was not likely to grant planning permission for development of the land. Acting on the instructions of the Department the central legal office concluded missives with the solicitors of the purchasing company. It was not con- sidered necessary to call for documentary evidence concerning the purchaser at any stage.My inquiries into the circumstances of the sale are not yet complete. I shall write further to my hon. Friend as soon as possible.
asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the average time which normally elapses between the completion of negotiations and the payments being made in the case of property sales by his Department; and why, in the case of Robroyston hospital, the period was eight months.
The time varies according to the circumstances of the sale, though it is normal to specify a date of entry some time ahead. In this case the sole offer specified a purchase date some eight months ahead, subject to earlier entry if agreed. In view of the size of the transaction this cannot be considered unreasonable.