HC Deb 23 March 1960 vol 620 cc489-90
26. Mr. Dodds

asked the Minister of Transport if he is aware of the inconvenience caused to motorists by the closing down of the Pink Zone parking-spaces, in view of the ever-increasing need for them; why he closed the Horse Guards car-park two weeks ahead of schedule; and how many cars, up to the latest convenient date, have been towed or driven away by the police.

Mr. Marples

The car parks around the Pink Zone were a special temporary measure. All but one were closed, after due notice, by 16th January. Notice was also given that the Horse Guards Parade would stay open until the new parking meter scheme began in Mayfair, unless my right hon. Friend the Minister of Works should require it earlier for its traditional purpose. Car parking has now been stopped because the Parade must be repaired in readiness for a review of Household Troops in April, during the State visit of General de Gaulle. I understand from my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State that during December, January and February, the police removed 16,000 cars from the Pink Zone.

Mr. Dodds

In view of the excessive taxation imposed on all motorists, is it not about time they received a little more consideration? Why is it that, except on special days, the Royal Parks cannot be used for cars until proper provision is made? Is it not a scandalous state of affairs that the Horse Guards Parade, which has taken up to 1,000 cars a day, should be closed a fortnight earlier so that a distinguished visitor can inspect troops when, no doubt, he would be delighted to be excused this old-fashioned ordeal?

Mr. Marples

I am sorry, but I must entirely disagree with what the hon. Member said in the latter part of his supplementary question. Great importance is attached to friendly relations with people overseas—

Mr. J. Griffiths

We do not need troops for that.

Mr. Marples

I do not know—unless one does these things in decent style, one does not get the right atmosphere. All I would say is that the Royal Parks are used for parking. Hyde Park is used, and St. James's Park is used. A great deal of the roads in the Royal Parks is now used for free parking. I can tell the hon. Member that in the off-street car parking provided at one of the biggest garages there are, at the peak hour on any day, 300 vacancies, yet the police are towing vehicles from the streets because there the vehicles can be parked free of charge.

Mr. Lipton

But what is to be the Minister's advice to those motorists who want to drive into London to see General de Gaulle inspecting the troops?

Mr. Marples

If the hon. Gentleman will give me the names of the motorists, I will tell them of the garages where they can get off-street parking, provided they pay for it.

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