HC Deb 16 July 1984 vol 64 cc16-7
26. Mr. Alan Howarth

asked the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State answering in respect of the Arts if the Minister for the Arts will assess the consequences for the future of the Royal Shakespeare theatre at Stratford-on-Avon of the proposed construction of a radio transmitter at Bearley.

Mr. Waldegrave

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment is currently awaiting the inspector's report following the public local inquiry into this proposal. I can, however, assure my hon. Friend that the views of the Royal Shakespeare company and others who have expressed concern and were represented at the public inquiry will be fully taken into account by my right hon. Friend before a decision is made.

Mr. Howarth

I urge my hon. Friend to take seriously the considered statements by the joint artistic directors and the general manager of the Royal Shakespeare theatre that the effect of radio frequency interference and the proposed transmitter on computerised sound and lighting, box office systems and other sensitive electronic equipment at the theatre would mean that closure of the theatre was inevitable? Will my hon. Friend urge his right hon. and hon. Friends at the Department of the Environment to prevent the BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from perpetrating an act of vandalism which they and everyone else would come very much to regret?

Mr. Waldegrave

I assure my hon. Friend that those considerations will be taken fully into account by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

Mr. Meadowcroft

What co-ordination exists between Government Department, to ensure that artistic considerations are properly supported when they go before inspectors at such inquiries?

Mr. Waldegrave

I do not believe that any special arrangements are needed. Evidence that is relevant to such a planning inquiry will, of course, be put before that inquiry and before my right hon. Friend.

Sir Dudley Smith

Is my hon. Friend aware that the proposed transmitter was roundly condemned on the BBC programme, "Start the Week", which came from Stratford this morning? Is my hon. Friend also aware that, in the interests of not only the Royal Shakespeare theatre but many people in south Warwickshire, he would be doing the country a great service if he persuaded the BBC and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office not to engage in what my hon. Friend the Member for Stratford-on-Avon (Mr. Howarth) rightly called "an act of vandalism"?

Mr. Waldegrave

As this is a planning matter, I can go no further than to say that these matters will be drawn to the attention of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State.

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