HC Deb 12 November 1969 vol 791 cc386-7
12. Mr. Allason

asked the Minister of Public Building and Works if he will make a statement on the rebuilding of Whitehall.

Mr. John Silkin

I intend to put on display in December in the precincts of the House the designs of the new Government offices to go on the northern part of the Bridge Street /Richmond Terrace site. I hope that full publicity will be given to all these developments as soon as possible, but I think the House should have a possibility of examining them first and would ask the hon. Member to wait a little longer.

Mr. Allason

Is not the right hon. Gentleman putting the cart before the horse? If we are to have public participation in planning, we ought to have the plan before we have the designs for the building.

Mr. Silkin

I think that the hon. Gentleman should hold his fire until he has seen the display. After that, I would be very happy to discuss with him the implications of that display, but I think that it is better to see it first.

Mr. John Smith

Is not this another case of stalling until it is too late to alter the plan? Is not the Minister aware that what he proposes and has already published is inhuman in scale and inhuman in purpose and that very many people, including the Royal Fine Art Commission, the G.L.C. and other amenity bodies, have spoken against it? if he proceeds with what he now intends without a proper public inquiry and debate, he will be condemned—[HoN. MEMBERS: "Too long."]—by all future ages for an act of barbarism on our environment.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Long questions cut out other hon. Members' questions.

Mr. Silkin

I approve of the hon. Gentleman's eloquence, disagree with his facts, and would point out that December is only a couple of weeks off.