HC Deb 20 October 1953 vol 518 cc1794-5
30. Mr. Brooke

asked the Minister of Works whether he is aware of the concern felt by many people in the neighbourhood about his intention to re-erect fencing around Primrose Hill and to close the hill after dusk; and whether he will make a statement as to his reasons.

31 and 33. Mr. K. Robinson

asked the Minister of Works (1) why he has decided to enclose Primrose Hill and to close it to the public at night; if he is aware of the resentment at his decision felt by those living in the neighbourhood; and if he will reconsider the matter;

(2) what is the precise nature of the damage done to Primrose Hill in recent weeks, of which he has complained.

Sir D. Eccles

Since the war considerable damage has been done at night in Primrose Hill by hooligans who cannot be caught unless the Hill is enclosed. Lamp-posts, chairs and other property have again and again been damaged. The latest act of vandalism was on 5th October when the admirable plaque recently presented by Mr. Arthur Kenyon was wrenched from its base. I propose therefore to close the Hill from 7.30 p.m. during the winter and at dusk in the summer. I shall do all I can not to inconvenience residents, but until the marauders are dealt with it is not worth trying to improve the amenities of the Hill.

Mr. Brooke

While thanking my right hon. Friend for his promise not to close the hill before 7.30 p.m., may I ask whether he is aware that a great many people in the locality are convinced that closing at night would not be necessary if the hill were more effectively patrolled?

Sir D. Eccles

The difficulty is that we cannot catch these people in the dark unless the hill is enclosed and it is therefore possible to question anybody who is there when he ought not to be.

Mr. Robinson

On account of a handful of hooligans, is the Minister really going to deprive the people of London of this amenity, which is extensively enjoyed by them after 7.30 p.m. whatever his information on the subject may be? Does not the right hon. Gentleman agree that increased patrolling would be a very simple way of dealing with this matter, and does he realise that protests have come not only from my constituents, but from people all over London? Will the right hon. Gentleman think again?

Sir D. Eccles

We have tried increased patrolling, and I am bound to say that I think the amenities enjoyed after dark are not comparable with those which we can provide during the day.

Mr. Robinson

In view of the unsatisfactory nature of the reply, I beg to give notice that I shall raise the matter on the Adjournment.