HC Deb 30 March 1960 vol 620 cc1320-1
36. Mr. Russell

asked the Minister of Transport if he will state approximately how much space in the Greater London Area is taken up by railway lines and railway works of various kinds; and what attempts are being made to obtain suitable areas of this land for car parking.

Mr. Marples

I have no figures for the Greater London Area. My information is, however, that railway property within the County of London is conservatively estimated to occupy some 3,350 acres. The London Travel Committee is doing all it can to encourage the provision of car parks at stations in London. The number of car spaces at stations in the London area has increased from 6,000 to 8,300 since 1955, and plans have been made to increase the number to 9,500 in the near future.

Mr. Russell

While thanking my right hon. Friend for that reply, may I ask him whether he will look into the situation in the Greater London Area, where there is also a need for car parks at stations? Does he not agree that an enormous amount of space is occupied by the railways, not entirely by lines but by yards—and other space with nothing on it—which might be used for car parks? Will he go into this question?

Mr. Marples

I quite agree that it is important that people should go from their homes to stations in the suburbs or in Greater London and then continue their journey by public transport. I agree with my hon. Friend that it is a very important subject.

Mr. Benn

Is the Minister aware that this is exactly one of those points on which a decision could be reached immediately to give the British Transport Commission permission to develop car parks on railway sites and that it is not necessary to wait for six or eight months for a decision by the Planning Board? What is the reason for the delay in reaching a decision on a matter of that kind?

Mr. Marples

It is not a question of waiting for a decision from the board. Where the British Transport Commission can do this without legislation, it is free to do it now. If legislation is needed, the House knows that it takes some time to get it through. If the board which is to advise the Government decides that legislation is required in that respect, we shall put forward legislation.