HC Deb 01 July 1964 vol 697 c1345
34. Mr. Awdry

asked the Minister of Transport whether he authorised a journey along the A.4 of a prefabricated cylinder having an overall length of over 120 feet which passed through Chippenham on its market day, Friday 29th May, causing widespread congestion and inconvenience.

Mr. Marples

I approved the journey. The date and timing were matters for the haulier and the police.

Mr. Awdry

Is my right hon. Friend aware that this gigantic load caused havoc in Chippenham? Will he ensure that in future these very heavy loads go by sea?

Mr. Marples

The difficulty in this case was that the journey by sea was expensive and, if the load had gone by sea, it is likely that a manufacturer in another country would have got the order and not this particular manufacturer.

Mr. F. Noel-Baker

Is the Minister aware that traffic conditions in Wiltshire will get steadily worse until he gets on with building the M.4 and stops closing local railway lines? In view of the congestion, will he veto the suggestion of the Railways Board to close intermediate stations between Swindon and Gloucester, particularly in view of the recently published South-East Study, under which it is planned to expand Swindon to a town of 250,000?

Mr. Marples

I shall not go into the merits of any individual closure until the proposal has been examined in great detail. Rail closures do not affect this case, because this load could not have gone by rail anyhow; it was too large.

Deciding the line of M.4 has not been an easy task, and if the people in Wiltshire had been a little more accommodating we should have got on with it a little more quickly.