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Clarence Dock, Liverpool

Volume 222: debated on Thursday 2 April 1992

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment when negotiations were first entered into by the Merseyside development corporation to acquire the Clarence dock site, Liverpool, from Oldham Brothers Ltd., what offers have been made to the owners; when the offers were withdrawn; what estimated costs have been incurred by both sides; whether a public inquiry is planned; what is its estimated cost; what plans the Merseyside development corporation has for the site; what timetable it has for resolving this matter; and if he will make a statement.

Merseyside development corporation made a first resolution for a compulsory purchase order in April 1989. On 20 April 1989 MDC wrote to Oldham Brothers Ltd, inquiring whether it be prepared to enter into negotiations.Information as to offers made to the owners is commercial-in-confidence. I shall write about that to the honourable Member.Costs of approximately £11,000 have been incurred by MDC to date. The costs incurred by Oldham Brothers are not known.A public inquiry is to commence on 22 June 1993 with an anticipated hearing of four days. The full cost will not be known until after the hearing, but the estimated cost excluding legal fees is approximately £10,000.MDC has identified the site for a mixed use development to include low rise offices/studios, water-sports centre, residential appartments and local shops and services.The former Clarence dock power station has been partly demolished for several years and the remaining structure is derelict, acting as a disincentive to inward investment and redevelopment. For these reasons MDC wishes to conclude purchase at the earliest opportunity, subject to agreement on price assessed on the basis of the land compensation code. If the compulsory purchase order is confirmed the property could be transferred to MDC in spring 1994. If compensation cannot be agreed, the lands tribunal may determine the compensation payable.