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Jobcentre (Biggleswade)

Volume 977: debated on Wednesday 30 January 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will reconsider his decision to allow the siting of a jobcentre at 55–57 High Street, Biggleswade.

While no one doubts the importance of the jobcentre, does my hon. Friend agree that the flexibility of choice over a site is far greater for the DOE than for the small traders who have to find a place in this, the only shopping centre? Why does he overrule the judgment of the town council and the chamber of trade? What justification can there be for that imposition? Is my hon. Friend aware that it probably costs the public a good deal more than any other solution and provides scant proof of the Government's intention to support small businesses? Will my hon. Friend please consider the proposals again?

My hon. Friend will be aware that the development of Crown land is in a special position. My right hon. Friend's only concern is to look at the planning merits of the proposed development. To that effect, a visit was made to the site. It is our information that there are empty premises in that town. With regard to the need, siting, and public expenditure implications, those are matters for my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Employment.