§ 2.46 p.m.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question which stands in my name on the Order Paper.
§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government when work will begin on the reconstruction of the present open car park in Abingdon Street opposite the Victoria Tower; and whether any special facilities will be arranged for Members and staffs of both Houses.]
My Lords, I understand that the Westminster City Council are planning to start work next month on the underground car park which is to be constructed below the site of the present open car park in Abingdon Street. The work is expected to take about twelve months. The responsibility for arranging any special facilities that may be required in the new car park for Members and staffs rests with the authorities of each House.
§ THE EARL OF SANDWICH
My Lords, I am obliged to the noble Earl. Does he not agree that the number of staff of both Houses owning cars is likely to increase in the next few years? Does he not also agree that the car parks in Old Palace Yard and New Palace Yard are often completely congested? In these circumstances, will further consideration be given to facilities for parking for staff and Members in this new garage?
My Lords, I would agree with my noble friend that car ownership among not only the staffs but also Members of both Houses is likely to increase. To match that increase extra car-parking facilities have been made available in recent months in Horse Guards Parade, the details of which I shall be glad to furnish to my noble friend. Whether or not the facilities are adequate as regards another place is not perhaps for me to say, but it has been my own experience, in the course of our fairly protracted discussions on the London Government Bill, where we had quite a large attendance at all times, including a car-owning attendance, that I personally never had any difficulty in finding accommodation for my small car. As regards the last question, my right 1178 honourable friend the Minister of Public Building and Works will, of course, be glad to lend his good offices should the House authorities wish to pursue this matter with the Westminster City Council.