My Lords, I beg leave to ask the first Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are aware that the development shortly due to be carried out at St. Martin's Place, W.C.2, near Trafalgar Square, will deprive central London of garage space for about 70 cars in an area where more off-street parking is vitally needed.]
THE JOINT PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND FOOD (EARL WALDEGRAVE)
My Lords, permission to redevelop the site at St. Martin's Place, William IV Street and St. Martin's Mews was given by the London County Council as local planning authority, after consultation with the Westminster City Council, in March, 1959. No doubt they took into account that the premises to be redeveloped included a public garage for 50 cars. I understand that the new building will include a basement garage for 22 cars, meeting the standard requirements of the planning authority for new development.
My Lords, I have no doubt that my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport is fully alive to all the problems of parking. But this is a matter of planning consent to redevelopment, and I have to say that my right honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government has no cause to intervene.
My Lords, arising out of the noble Earl's Answer, am I not right in thinking that the garage 70 space in the new building will not be open to the public?
I think that is so. I have just noticed that in the Question it is said that we lose space for about 70 cars. Perhaps that is not quite right. It looks to me as if we shall lose garage space for 28 cars, the difference between 50 and 22.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, have Her Majesty's Government satisfied themselves that the design of the proposed building will be worthy of this magnificent site?
My Lords, I am not sure that it is for Her Majesty's Government to satisfy themselves about the design of each development, because, as the noble Lord will know, the local authority is the planning authority for development purposes.
§ LORD DERWENT
My Lords, may I ask my noble friend whether, in the new Road Traffic Bill which is shortly being introduced, Her Majesty's Government will be taking powers to ensure that local planning authorities will have adequate garage accommodation in any new building?
My Lords, I think we shall have to wait until that Bill is before us to see what it provides, but I have no doubt that my right honourable friend the Minister of Transport will take note of what has been said to-day.
§ LORD CONESFORD
My Lords, does my noble friend not think that St. Martin's-in-the-Fields is a sufficiently important building for the Government to concern themselves with what should surround it?
My Lords, my right honourable friend the Minister of Housing and Local Government considers whether he should call in a planning consent, and at the present moment he sees no reason why he should call in this particular case.
My Lords, I am sorry to labour the point, but I was not clear on the noble Earl's Answer in regard to the 22 cars. Will that be public garage space or not?