HC Deb 18 April 1973 vol 855 cc483-4
20. Mr. Freeson

asked the Secretary of Slate for the Environment what his plans are for the Broad Sanctuary site near Westminster Abbey and Central Hall: and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Channon

I am still considering the future use of this important site. I will make a statement as soon as a satisfactory scheme has been agreed.

Mr. Freeson

We have been getting answers on this topic occasionally over 25 years. I hope that the Minister will agree that that is far too long a time. It was proposed after the war that the site should be used for Government offices, and in the 1950s a conference centre was suggested which was the subject of an architectural competition sponsored by the Department. Yet today it still remains an eyesore in the centre of London when it could become an amenity. Rather than wait for another 25 years, would it not be wise for the present car park to be decked over and turned into a public open space, thus providing an amenity in central London?

Mr. Channon

The second part of the question raises an interesting possibility. However, neither side of the House can take much credit for what has been done in Broad Sanctuary for the last 25 years. But I have to bear in mind what the right hon. Member for Vauxhall (Mr. Strauss) said in a previous supplementary question.

Mr. Marten

What are the three major schemes which are being considered by the Minister?

Mr. Channon

I do not think that I said that three major schemes were being considered. A number of schemes are being considered. I would not limit them to three. If my hon. Friend will put down a Question I will give him the details.

Mr. Bidwell

Would it not be a good idea to keep Broad Sanctuary as a Member's car park and to hire out the parking space in the car park being built close to the House, because medical opinion has it that since MPs have had to undertake that little walk they are likely to live a great deal longer?

Mr. Channon

Certainly the hon Member is looking extremely well. I shall naturally consider that suggestion with the seriousness it merits.