HC Deb 05 March 1963 vol 673 cc191-2
23. Mr. Swingler

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works what plans he has to provide adequate parking facilities for the cars of workers in, and visitors to, the Houses of Parliament.

Mr. Sharples

The authorities of the Palace of Westminster allocate space available for parking within the precincts of the Palace. We shall certainly take whatever opportunity the new Bridge Street development may provide to increase parking space for the Palace of Westminster.

Mr. Swingler

Has not the Department a responsibility in this matter? Is not the hon. Gentleman aware that visitors who come here quite frequently find that they are compelled to go miles away to park their cars and then are amazed, once they come inside the Palace of Westminster, to find large areas of unused space which, if it were intelligently allocated, could be used for car parking facilities? Will his Department examine this problem?

Mr. Sharples

As I have said, the responsibility for the allocation of space within the precincts of the House is a matter for the authorities of the House. There is total space within the precincts as a whole for some 337 cars. I think it right that priority should be given to hon. Members and to officials who have to work here.

Mr. C. Pannell

Is not the hon. Gentleman aware of how unsatisfactory this Position is? Is he aware that it is no use speaking about the "authorities of the House"? The authorities of the House ought to be subordinate to the House itself and its needs, which are not catered for at all. This concerns not only Members of Parliament and visitors. The Press also has a great deal of difficulty with car parking. Will the hon. Gentleman do something about it?

Mr. Sharples

I should be getting beyond the scope of the Question if I were to enter into a debate about the responsibilities of the authorities of the House.

Mr. Bellenger

Have Members of Parliament priority to park their cars when they come here?

Mr. Sharples

Yes, Sir. The authorities of the House give first priority, as I understand it, to hon. Members and, secondly, to those officials who have to come here in order to work. I understand that members of the general public are allowed to park in Old Palace Yard if space is available.