HL Deb 13 March 1992 vol 536 cc1492-3

11.15 a.m.

Lord Mackie of Benshie asked Her Majesty's Government:

What requirements have been laid on the Scottish Transport Group in respect of the disposal of the Buchanan Bus and Coach Station, Glasgow.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Scottish Office (Lord Strathclyde)

My Lords, following privatisation of the Scottish Bus Group, the Scottish Transport Group is under an obligation to dispose of all its remaining assets including its leasehold interest in Buchanan Bus Station. Any purchaser of the Scottish Transport Group lease would require planning permission before the use of any part of the bus station site could be changed.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

My Lords, I thank the Minister for that reply. He has set out the position nicely. Is he aware that the Buchanan Bus and Coach Station, Glasgow is a centre for nearly 2 million people? Coaches depart from that bus station on long distance journeys and they often travel to areas where there are no railways or any other means of transport. There is considerable unease at the auction which will take place under government directions. The correct thing to do would be to transfer the station to the regional council, which is the responsible authority. However, is the Minister prepared to make available the money that is necessary to enable the regional council to take over this vital centre of communication?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, I am aware of everything the noble Lord has said. Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive can put in a bid when the property is put up for sale.

Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove

My Lords, is the Minister aware how difficult the situation is in the centre of Glasgow, particularly as the Anderston Bus Station will also be taken away from the city? Buses and coaches are now parking in the streets and that is causing difficulties. This was all pointed out during our debates on the deregulation of these services. We pointed out the difficulties that could arise in Edinburgh and Glasgow. We have seen what happened in Southampton where the bus station was sold to the highest bidder. We need central bus stations in our major cities. Would it not be better to give preference to the Passenger Transport Executive to enable it to take control of the bus station in Glasgow so that the terminal may be retained as a city centre terminal?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, there may well be a good case for having a central bus station in the centre of Glasgow. However, that is a decision for the Passenger Transport Executive and the planning authorities to take when they decide what their requirements are. If they wish to buy the bus station, it is totally open to them to make a bid.

Lord Mackie of Benshie

My Lords, the Minister did not answer part of my supplementary question. I pointed out the importance of the bus station and the obvious shortage of money available to the regional council. Will the Minister be prepared to look sympathetically at the question of grants to the regional council for this purpose?

Lord Strathclyde

My Lords, it is up to Strathclyde Regional Council to make a bid and to make a case to my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for the extra funding. There is no reason why the bus station should not be sold to Strathclyde Passenger Transport Executive as opposed to a purely private bidder.