HC Deb 04 March 1997 vol 291 cc694-5
2. Mr. Spearing

To ask the Secretary of State for the Environment what are the Government's plans for the continued administrative operations and financing of the royal docks in the borough of Newham. [17002]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Environment (Sir Paul Beresford)

English Partnerships will complete certain projects in the royal docks when the London Docklands development corporation winds up, in March 1998. The LDDC is discussing with Newham successor arrangements for its other legal responsibilities.

Mr. Spearing

Apart from the legal responsibilities of the London borough of Newham, are there not significant costs in maintaining the royal docks' magnificent marine facilities—which happen to be in Newham, but which provide services for all of London? In particular, the Victoria dock project for young people provides facilities for sailing, rowing and canoeing, and the magnificent 2,000 m Olympic rowing course would be available not only to residents of the south-east but to everyone in the United Kingdom, and perhaps also to citizens of Europe and of the wider world. If there are difficulties in maintaining those expensive facilities, does he not think that some provision should be made so that an unfair burden is not placed on those who live adjacent to the docks' facilities?

Sir Paul Beresford

We are aware of the hon. Gentleman's concern. I can assure him that, certainly in the short term, English Partnerships will assume many of the responsibilities and that Newham will assume some. We are currently in discussion with those two organisations, on the basis of an asset-liability package. He will also be aware of the Royal Docks Management Authority. We anticipate that, in the long term, funding for it will come from service charges to developers of the area.