HC Deb 29 January 1964 vol 688 cc340-3
11. Mr. Woodburn

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland what action has been taken on the plan for Central Scotland, and on what parts of the plan; what are the planned priorities; and what is the estimated time table.

51. Mr. Lawson

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will make a statement on the meetings between his Department and local authorities in respect of the Government's proposals for growth and development in Central Scotland.

Mr. Noble

As the Reply is rather long, I shall with permission, circulate it in the OFFICIAL REPORT.

Mr. Woodburn

Is it true that the Secretary of State has begun only in the last week or so to get down to the practical possibilities of the Central Scotland plan? It is not rather strange that the Government should wait until the last months of their term of office to start on a plan for Scotland which should have been prepared twelve years ago? Is it not a piece of window dressing to produce a plan on which no work behind the scenes has been done and for which no preparations have been made or dates given for the starting of main roads which will be highways from Edinburgh to Stirling and Stirling to south of the Border, or even for the Glasgow road which will cover the area?

Mr. Noble

When the right hon. Gentleman gets my reply, he will see that a great deal of work has been done and that it is by no means true to say that it has started only in the last week or two. It is true that it is only in the last week that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State has had consultations with local authorities, but they, too, wanted to have time to consider the implications of the scheme for their areas.

Mr. Lawson

Does the right hon. Gentleman recall that, on an earlier occasion, he said that there had been long and careful preparation before these plans were announced? Is he aware that the preparation was so careful that in my constituency the Burgh of Motherwell and Wishaw, a single, joint burgh, was split in two? Does he intend that it should be cut into two and that one part should be in the development area and one not? Was this the result of careful preparation? What is the evidence that anybody in the area considered where the demarcation line should be placed?

Mr. Noble

The division between Motherwell and Wishaw is a separate matter and, if the hon. Gentleman puts down a Question, I will deal with it in detail. These problems are concerned with a great deal more than the physical position of places on the map. There are questions of employment exchange areas and so on, and I can assure the hon. Member that if he had tried to produce this plan alone it would have taken him a very long time.

Mr. Lawson

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that according to the plan Motherwell and Wishaw appeared to be in the development area, but that according to the appendix Wishaw is not? Does not this show a startling confusion among the people responsible for the plan?

Mr. Noble

It does not show anything of the sort. If a map had been produced to show exact delineation of all the areas, hon. Members would have had the greatest difficulty carrying it around with them. It was clearly said in the White Paper that the lines on the map were not meant accurately to delineate the exact areas.

The Reply is as follows:


Trunk Roads

1. Tenders have been invited for the following schemes:— A.74—Glasgow—Carlisle Hamilton Bypass Motorway—9 miles. Ecclefechan—Kirkpatrick Fleming—dual carriageways, 5 miles.

2. Statutory schemes have been made for the following motorways:—

3. The following schemes have been advertised:—

Classified Roads

4. Erskine Bridge:— Consulting engineers have been appointed by the Joint Board to prepare a report. 5. Glasgow Inner Ring Road:— Preparation of the first section is in hand; preliminary work on piping sections of the canal will be authorised soon. 6. Livingston New Town:— Proposals about the classified road pattern in the town are under consideration. 7. General classified programme:— Provisional list of additional schemes for 1964–65 amounting to £2.4 million (Exchequer £1.6) were sent to local authorities on 3rd December and discussions on these are now proceeding.


  1. (1) Invitations to tender for the terminal building at Abbotsinch have been issued and piling operations and other site works are under way.
  2. (2) Two meetings have been held by the Ministry of Aviation with Edinburgh Corporation about Turnhouse Airport.

Urban Transport Agreement has been reached with Glasgow Corporation, the Clyde Valley Regional Planning Advisory Committee, British Railways and the Scottish Bus Group on arrangements for a transport survey of the Greater Glasgow area. The Ministry of Transport and the Scottish Development Department will be associated with this work.

Water Supplies

  1. (1) An interim committee of local authorities concerned is making preparations for the development of Loch Lomond as a source of water supply for central Scotland.
  2. (2) The Scottish Water Advisory Committee have been asked as a matter of urgency 343 to consider the arrangements required for developing Loch Bradan as a source of water supply for Ayrshire.


  1. (1) The Scottish Special Housing Association have been authorised to build a further 100 houses at Irvine in addition to the 400 overspill houses already completed in that area.
  2. (2) In Dumbarton they are proceeding with 50 overspill houses.

New Towns The budget expenditure proposed for 1964–5 is £13.9 million as compared with £9.7 million for 1963–4. The acceleration of development which this represents is now under discussion with the Development Corporations. Town Development Scheme The Town Development Scheme and the associated Development Plan amendment for Inverkeithing have been approved; taken in conjunction with the prospects held out by the Board of Trade Estate an Donibristle, this decision will assist further growth in the area. Factories to be built by local authorities Approval has been given to the construction of four factories at Irvine and three at Kirkintilloch for specific firms (total 28,000 sq. ft.).

Training and Education

  1. (1) Ministry of Labour Training Centre facilities are now available for about 700 adults and 84 First Year apprentices at Hillington, Motherwell and Muircockhall. The detailed planning of new centres at Dumbarton, Irvine, Port Glasgow and N.E. Glasgow is now well advanced.
  2. (2) At the request of the Ministry of Labour, research by the University of Glasgow into the labour supply problems of the construction industry was started on 1st January 1964.
  3. (3) The provision of a new technical college at Alloa and the first phase of a new college at Glenrothes have been approved.
  4. (4) There has been expansion in technical colleges of the courses for full-time education and training in the first year of craft apprenticeship.
  5. (5) The introduction of additional national certificate and diploma courses in science and electrical engineering is now under discussion by the appropriate examining and professional bodies.

Publicity Informal talks with the Scottish Council have been held and I am sending formal proposals for their consideration very shortly. Consultations with local authorities My noble Friend the Minister of State held a series of meetings with the local authorities of the growth areas in Fife, Lanarkshire, the Vale of Leven and Grangemouth-Falkirk, on 21st, 22nd and 23rd January. In the first three areas, in relation to which the White Paper stresses the need for general rehabilitation, my noble Friend suggested that if the attractions to industry were to be fully exploited there is need for a comprehensive plan concerned with the provision of factory sites, basic services, any necessary housing for key workers, road improvements, the clearance of poor housing and other substandard property, and general improvement of amenity. The success of such a plan will depend on close co-ordination of investment between the local authorities and the Central Departments, and on the production of an agreed and carefully phased programme of action. My noble Friend explained that as far as the Central Departments were concerned, officials dealing with the various interests were being co-ordinated in a single working team, and he invited the local authorities, for their part, to consider the nomination of a corresponding team. The local authority representatives agreed to consider this and to inform my Department urgently of the arrangements they proposed in order that the first stage of the growth area plans could be worked out without delay. At the meeting with the local authorities in the Grangemouth-Falkirk area the local authorities agreed in principle to his suggestion that the assistance of the Universities of Glasgow and Edinburgh should be sought in undertaking in the area a survey similar to that now under way in the Lothians. The joint directors of that survey, Sir Robert Matthew and Professor Donald Robertson, are to be asked to prepare plans for a substantial expansion of the area, with particular regard to its potential for industries which might help to build up the existing industrial complex. My noble Friend explained that in this area too the team of officials in the Central Departments would wish to have regular and frequent meetings with a similar team from the local authorities. Immediate action could be taken on many problems within the framework of the longer term plan. Earlier a meeting took place between my Department and representatives of Ayr County Council and Irvine and Kilwinning Town Councils at which it was agreed to commission a joint investigation by local and central officials of the scope for large scale development in the Irvine area and to assess the physical planning issues and the implications for the local authorities. A decision will then be taken in consultation with the local authorities as to whether an appropriate area should be designated under the New Towns Act. It is hoped to arrange a meeting with the authorities in the Greater Livingston area shortly.
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