HC Deb 15 May 1963 vol 677 cc1300-1
6. Mr. Woodnutt

asked the Minister of Transport if he will make an official visit to the Isle of Wight on a Saturday in July or August in order to study its transport problems in relation to holiday traffic.

Mr. Marples

I will consider my hon. Friend's suggestion, but I cannot say at the moment whether I shall be able to do so this summer. I can assure him that I shall study carefully any problems affecting the island's holiday traffic that come before me.

Mr. Woodnutt

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the Ryde-Ventnor line, in particular, carries 2½ million people over the year, and that one can get a much better idea of the problems which will have to be faced if one actually goes to see them? When my right hon. Friend says that he cannot go this year, may I take that as an indication that the line will not be closed for several years in view of the enormity of the problem?

Mr. Marples

No, I cannot accept that as an explanation of what I said. I am, however, conscious of the problem. The sequence of events will be this. The railways will make formal proposals if they wish to close a particular line, and if objections are made the area transport users' consultative committee will hear them and make a report to me. Users and local authorities which represent users can make objections. I assure my hon. Friend that these points will be fully examined at the time of the proposals.

Mr. Mellish

I am sure the Minister will agree that this Question raises the much wider issue of holiday traffic generally and not only in the Isle of Wight. Will he give an assurance that it will be borne in mind that in certain areas there is a tremendous demand for railway transport over six months of the year, whereas it is not so badly needed over the other six months?

Mr. Marples

I recognise that all the holiday resorts are a special problem and will have to be looked at individually in the light of the circumstances. I promise the House that I will consider the matter most carefully when the individual proposals come before me.