HC Deb 25 November 1970 vol 807 cc387-8
18. Mr. Spearing

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what are his plans for charging an admission fee to the Royal Parks.

The Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Mr. Paul Channon)

No charge has ever been made for admission to the Royal Parks as such and my right hon. Friend has no plans for introducing such a charge. Charges are made for certain sports facilities in the Royal Parks and for admission to the Serpentine Lido. These charges are reviewed annually.

Mr. Spearing

In view of the unexpected and ill-founded policy of charging admission to public museums and galleries, and the promise that we have had of a changing social revolution, can the hon. Gentleman assure the House that he will neither contemplate this policy nor indeed implement it?

Mr. Channon

I have a feeling that the hon. Member did not listen to my original answer.

Mr. Jessel

Is my hon. Friend aware that his reply will be warmly welcomed in constituencies close to Royal Parks?

Mr. Channon

I am grateful for my hon. Friend's comments. Anything that I can do to help him in the better management of Bushey Park I shall be glad to do.

Mr. Strauss

Is the hon. Member aware that no charge has ever been made, during the last 220 years, since its foundation, to visitors to the British Museum, and that the only plausible argument for charging visitors to museums and galleries now appears to be that people will enjoy the exhibits there more? Does not that apply equally to the parks'?

Mr. Channon

I am surprised that the right hon. Gentleman should be arguing in favour of charges in the Royal Parks.