HC Deb 17 December 1969 vol 793 cc1327-8
13. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he will preserve the facade of Richmond Terrace by incorporating it in the design of the new Government buildings on that site.

Mr. John Silkin

I am aware of the hon. Member's views on this difficult subject, which together with all other views will be considered at the appropriate moment.

Mr. Allason

As this method has been used so successfully in Regents Park, would the Minister consider using conservation methods in the most historic conservation area in Britain? Why must we substitute something that looks like Noel Coward's birthday cake?

Mr. Silkin

I am reminded more and more how, whenever any piece of architecture is designed, it is bound to create a considerable variation of opinion. It is one of the sad things of life. I do not agree with the hon. Gentleman in his birthday cake allusion. Many people like the building; I have no doubt a number of people will not like it. I have promised to consider all these matters together, and I will.

Mr. Snow

Is my right hon. Friend aware that the party opposite has a pretty rotten record of Philistinism in this respect? Is he aware that I have a list of buildings which have suffered under them and that I would be happy to send it to him?

Mr. Silkin

I am grateful but I am much more concerned with the present position on the Whitehall redevelopment.

Mr. Chichester-Clark

While ignoring the self-righteous interventions from his own side of the House, would the Minister agree that there is now a mounting case for an inquiry into this and other aspects of the whole Whitehall plan?

Mr. Silkin

As the hon. Gentleman is aware I never closed my eyes to the possibility of a public inquiry. All I have said is that I want to see what happens as a result of the present display now being held, if I may put in a commercial, in the Crypt of the Banqueting House, Whitehall.