HC Deb 05 November 1958 vol 594 cc927-8
24. Mr. Strauss

asked the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation whether the experience gained in the experimental meter scheme for car parking is sufficient to enable him to state whether he proposes to extend this scheme to other parts of London.

Mr. Watkinson

Under the Road Traffic Act, 1956, the initiative in proposing parking meter schemes rests with local authorities. A proposal for a further scheme on the north side of Oxford Street has been put forward by the St. Marylebone Borough Council. I expect to receive very shortly the report and advice of the London and Home Counties Traffic Advisory Committee on this scheme.

I have no doubt that, in its consideration of this case, the Advisory Committee will have taken the working of the present Westminster scheme into account. As soon as I have studied its report, the objections lodged and the report of the Inspector who conducted the public inquiry, I will make a further statement.

Mr. Strauss

In view of the fact that the first scheme was experimental, as is agreed all round, should I be correct in assuming that it is for the Ministry, with its own technical advice, to say that the experiment has been good or not worth while, on the whole, and that it will agree to or encourage the setting up of further schemes of this sort? Is the Ministry going to take responsibility in this matter before long, and tell local authorities that they should proceed with further schemes, or will it discourage them from doing so?

Mr. Watkinson

The right hon. Gentleman is pressing a willing Minister. The difficulty that I am in is that, as the right hon. Gentleman knows, I must not appear to prejudge these schemes, particularly where an independent inspector has held an independent inquiry. I have already been in some little trouble for the support which—I think rightly—I have given to these parking meter schemes. Therefore, all I think I should say is that I would certainly welcome any application by any London borough or other body which wants to go forward with additional schemes.

Mr. Ernest Davies

Does not the Minister agree that the success of the Westminster scheme depends upon its extension to neighbouring areas? It is working in Westminster, but the streets in the neighbouring boroughs are cluttered up to a worse extent than ever. The sooner the scheme is extended the better.

Mr. Watkinson

It is fair to say that the Westminster scheme has been a success. I have said that I would welcome its extension, and I hope soon to make a further statement in regard to the St. Marylebone scheme, which will border the Westminster one.

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