HC Deb 01 August 1961 vol 645 cc1117-8
5. Mr. Driberg

asked the Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs if he will make a statement on the proposals for relieving traffic congestion in Oxford; and if, before taking a decision on the inspector's report, he will arrange in the Palace of Westminster a display of models showing the effect of the various schemes on the amenities of the city and university.

The Minister of Housing and Local Government and Minister for Welsh Affairs (Mr. Henry Brooke)

As I said in reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Oxford (Mr. Woodhouse), on 18th July, I regret I can see no possibility of announcing my decision on the Oxford roads inquiry before the Recess. A large number of schemes were canvassed at the inquiry, and I doubt whether the construction of models representing each of them would really facilitate an understanding of the problem, which is partly one of the character of the university city and partly one of traffic flow.

Mr. Driberg

Is the Minister aware that some concern was caused by his statement that he could not announce his decision before the Recess? Is there any risk that he will announce it during the Recess and that irrevocable work might start forthwith, without the House having had a chance of debating the matter, as it was fully debated in another place—as the Minister knows, in a sense largely unfavourable to the inspector's report?

Mr. Brooke

There would have been a chance, no doubt, of debating this matter in the three months or so since the inspector's report was published. I said in reply to the hon. Member for Brixton (Mr. Lipton) last week that I could not undertake that I would not reach my decision during the Recess, but following my decision the city council will have to submit an amendment to its development plan on which, if there are objections—and there always are—there will be another public inquiry. I can assure the hon. Member that it will be some time before any digging starts.