HC Deb 15 June 1955 vol 542 cc585-6
39. Major Beamish

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he is aware that, during the investigation held by the Area Transport Users' Consultative Committee on the East Grinstead-Lewes railway line, the evidence of the Transport Commission was accepted without question, whereas the contrary views of local authorities were given scant attention; and if he will use his statutory powers to order the Consultative Committee to reopen the inquiry, so that it will be clear to all concerned that the evidence from both sides has been fully and impartially examined.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

No, Sir. I am satisfied that the South-Eastern Area Transport Users' Consultative Committee gave a fair and proper hearing to all the interests concerned. I would invite my hon. and gallant Friend's attention to the fact that its view was supported by the Central Transport Users' Consultative Committee.

Major Beamish

Does my right hon. Friend agree that when people are likely to lose railway facilities which they have enjoyed for many years they naturally wish to be convinced that the branch line in question really is uneconomic and unlikely to pay in the future; and that the method which the British Transport Commission has followed, of stating simply an over-all figure, which is its estimate of the annual saving, without any supporting evidence, is unlikely to convince many people? The result is that many of my constituents remain dissatisfied.

Mr. Boyd-Carpenter

I am sorry that my hon. and gallant Friend's constituents remain dissatisfied, but the Transport Users' Consultative Committee of the South-Eastern Area, which consists of a large number of representatives of every category of transport user, including five representatives of the local authority associations, examined this matter according to its own procedure as carefully as possible, and has been upheld by the Central Committee.