§ Mr. Latham
asked the Secretary of State for the Environment whether he will take further steps to draw the attention of local authorities to the need for land to be released for private housing in inner city areas.
§ Mr. Stanley
I would draw the attention of local authorities to an inner cities research programme report from the department of land economy in Cambridge university published by my Department today. I have placed copies in the Library.
Entitled "Report No. 4—Private Housing Development Process: a case study" and based on research in Nottingham, it identifies two key ways in which local authorities can help overcome some of the housing problems in inner city areas—first, by being willing to release land in their ownership to private house builders and, secondly, by giving more information on possible development sites. The report concludes that the majority of potential housing sites in inner Nottingham are in local authority ownership and that the most obvious way of alleviating problems over land availability is for the authority itself to release more land.
The study finds that many developers are not solely interested in taking up "green field" sites and would be ready to build in the inner city.
On the provision of more information on potential sites for house building, the use of the land registers of under-used land in public ownership which my right hon. Friend is publishing for 33 districts and London boroughs will help house builders to identify sites suitable for private housing in the diner cities. To date, 29 registers have been published revealing nearly 2,000 sites totalling 17.500 acres. The Department's initial assessment indicates that nearly half of this land appears to have potential for development or use, and of that over a quarter might be suitable for housing.