§ 4.4 p.m.
My Lords, I beg to ask the noble Lord, Lord Morrison, the Question of which I have given him private Notice—namely, whether His Majesty's Government have any statement to make regarding the proposed extension of the Tower Pier.
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF WORKS (LORD MORRISON)
My Lords, as the noble Lord is no doubt aware, there has been during the past year an increased demand for accommodation at Tower Pier, partly due to the institution of what is called the Water Bus Service. The Port of London Authority have accordingly had to consider the best method of meeting this demand. One proposal was to extend the pier downstream, but I understand that the Port of London Authority are now making a detailed examination of the possibility of extending the pier upstream, thus avoiding any possible interference with the amenity of the Tower of London and with the children's beach. I am sure the noble Lord will realise that further detailed discussion here now would be premature.
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for his fairly satisfactory answer, but may I ask whether, in the event of the original proposal being brought up again—that is to say, to extend the pier downstream—this House will be afforded an opportunity of debating the Motion which now stands in my name on the Order Paper?
§ LORD ROCHESTER
My Lords, before the noble Lord replies, may I ask a supplementary question arising out of his earlier answer? Is the noble Lord aware—I speak as a member of the Port of London Authority—that the Port of London Authority never contemplated altering the Tower Pier in such a way as to obscure the frontage of the Tower? 108 The pier is merely a floating platform, a few feet above the surface of the water; it has no superstructure, and it rises and falls with the tide. The Port of London Authority have no selfish interest in the matter. After all, any extension carried out will be entirely for the benefit of the public and will involve the Authority in great expense.
§ LORD MORRISON
The question as to whether or not the carrying out of the original proposal would interfere with the amenities of the Tower is really a matter of opinion. Everybody is entitled to his opinion, and the noble Lord, Lord Blackford, who put his Motion on the Paper, is entitled to claim that, in his opinion, the extension would interfere with the amenities of the Tower. Fortunately, it does not fall upon me at the moment to decide which view is right. In reply to the noble Lord's question, I can assure him that no decision affecting the foreshore adjoining the Tower will be taken without first affording an opportunity for debate, should he so desire.