HC Deb 07 July 1971 vol 820 cc1322-3
18. Mr. Longden

asked the Secretary of State for the Environment what proposals he has under consideration for developing Piccadilly Circus; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Graham Page

I understand that the Westminster City Council has produced a revised planning brief for the owners of the sites around the Circus, which takes account of the comments made by the public at the exhibition held in July, 1968. It is hoped that the owners' architects will shortly produce a new scheme. I am sure that the local authorities concerned and I would be delighted to see progress towards presentation of an acceptable project.

Mr. Longden

While thanking my hon. Friend for that answer, may I ask him whether I can persuade him and the Westminster City Council to agree with me that this famous rendezvous, once known as the heart of the Empire and still the mecca of tourists the world over, to whom London is presently the favourite capital city, is from every aspect a squalid eyesore—a place where every prospect displeases and everything man-made is vile? If he does agree with me, what can he do about it?

Mr. Page

I agree to some extent with my hon. Friend on the importance of getting the right scheme for Piccadilly Circus. But getting the right scheme involves careful consideration of it. There has been some progress recently, because the Greater London Council decided on 22nd June, subject to the agreement of the Westminster City Council, to propose to the Greater London Development Plan Inquiry that the G.L.D.P. should be amended so as to make Westminster responsible for the preparation of the action area plan for Piccadilly Circus. I hope that as a result of that progress will be made with the developers and the local authorities. It is their job in the first instance, and I hope that they will proceed with it—[Interruption.]—and, as a right hon. Gentleman opposite says, with public participation.