HC Deb 29 May 1957 vol 571 cc383-4
16. Mr. Ernest Davies

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether he has yet appointed an independent inspector to hold a public inquiry into the Westminster City Council parking scheme.

Mr. Watkinson son

No, Sir. As soon as I am able to appoint an inspector I will make an announcement.

Mr. Davies

Does the right hon. Gentleman appreciate the need for speed in this case? Is it not a fact that, after an inquiry has been held, an Order has to be laid before the House subject to negative procedure? Will the right hon. Gentleman endeavour to speed this matter up so that the House can have an opportunity of considering it before the Summer Recess? Is he aware that it would not be desirable that the scheme should be carried out before the House has an opportunity of discussing it, and that if we cannot discuss it before the Summer Recess it will be held up until late autumn?

Mr. Watkinson

That may be, but the House should realise that this is the first parking meter scheme in the country. There are bound to be difficulties in getting it going, and I think that on the whole we should go reasonably slowly and try and get it right.

Mr. Davies

Surely there is no difficulty about finding someone to hold a public inquiry?

Mr. Watkinson

Perhaps the hon. Gentleman had better find the right man.

39. Mr. G. R. Howard

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether, in view of the introduction of parking meters in Westminster, he will consider the formation of a corps of traffic wardens in order to release the many members of the Metropolitan Police at present engaged in these duties.

Mr. Watkinson

The Road Traffic Act, 1956, lays on local authorities the responsibility of providing staff to supervise parking meters. I hope we shall gain some useful experience in this way.

Mr. Howard

Does not my right hon. Friend agree that the situation is becoming quite ridiculous? We have police standing by traffic lights because traffic does not obey the lights, and we have mobile police directing traffic. Men who are highly trained in crime detection are being used for this stupid and senseless duty which could easily be done by people trained for the purpose. Could we not recruit for these duties men coming out of the Services, like ex-petty officers, and so on, who would be perfectly able to do this work?

Mr. Watkinson

What my hon. Friend has said carries great force to the extent that when we have parking meters we shall certainly have to have a new force of men to look after them and their associated problems, and I think that the type of man my hon. Friend has mentioned would be very suitable for that purpose.

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