§ [The Question was as follows:
§ To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will encourage the installation of a number of short-time car-parking meters in Hyde Park at a point as distant as possible from shops and offices, in order to facilitate recreation for convalescent, invalid, elderly and other visitors; and whether similar arrangements will be pursued in the environs of other central London parks under their control.]
§ THE PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY, MINISTRY OF PUBLIC BUILDING AND WORKS (LORD WINTERBOTTOM)
My Lords, on application to my right honourable friend's Department (that is, the Ministry of Public Building and Works), special parking privileges may already be allowed to disabled drivers using mechanically propelled invalid carriages. My right honourable friend is at present re- 1322 viewing his arrangements for the provision and control of car parking Facilities in the Central London Royal Parks, and the introduction of meters is one possibility which is being considered. In this connection, the special needs of invalids and other categories of disabled persons will be borne particularly in mind.
My Lords, I am grateful to my noble friend for hat encouraging Answer, although it does not go quite far enough. I wonder whether my noble friend could tell us what are the times in the Royal Parks during which parking is allowed, and whether those times could be brought more into relation with the normal times when people go to the Parks for recreation.
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
My Lords, the problem is due to the arrival of commuters, who fill up spaces in the Royal Parks. To avoid this, there has been a ban on parking before 10 a.m. or 10.30 a.m. in parts of Hyde Park and Regent's Park, which was in fact introduced a few years ago. This worked reasonably well until recently, but the introduction of parking zones in the Knightsbridge—Kensington area has aggravated the, problem in Hyde Park. I will bring to the notice of my right honourable friend the point made by my noble friend.
§ LORD MOLSON
My Lords, wane we all have the utmost sympathy for invalids, and desire that their invalid carriages should have reasonable access to the Parks, will Her Majesty's Government bear in mind the very explicit assurances that were given at the time of the Sassing of the Hyde Park (Underground Parking) Act that it was the policy of the Government to do away with overground parking in the Royal Parks? Is the noble Lord aware that it is going to be extremely difficult to avoid the destruction of the amenities of the Parks if once we return to the situation that occurred before the underground parking accommodation was provided, when thee was widespread parking of private motor cars in the Royal Parks?
§ LORD WINTERBOTTOM
My Lords, I am grateful to the noble Lord for bringing to my notice an undertaking of which in fact I had not heard. But I know that it is in sympathy with the thinking of my right honourable friend, and I will see that the noble Lord's view is brought to his notice.