HC Deb 28 June 1963 vol 679 cc172-3W

Commander Pursey asked the Civil Lord of the Admiralty why the V.I.P. lounge at Lee-on-Solent naval aero- drome is being converted and developed into a passenger terminal with V.I.P. car parks, intercommunication system and other airline facilities; and what is the cost of developments and renovations at this air station.

Mr. Hay

The room at Lee-on-Solent which the hon. and gallant Gentleman refers to as a V.I.P. lounge is in fact a small and simply furnished room with five chairs. It is used for senior officers. There is no intention of converting or improving it.

Communications flights are carried out daily from this air station and officers and ratings are conveyed to the other naval air stations in the United Kingdom. There may at any one time be between a dozen and a score of junior officers and ratings waiting. Facilities for them are quite inadequate and it is unreasonable to expect them to continue to wait in the open, especially in bad weather, or in a passageway in which baggage is being handled. Accordingly the facilities for junior officers and ratings are to be improved by building on one new room with associated toilet facilities at a cost of less than £1,000.

There is no V.I.P. car park. The small car park which exists is inadequate for those whom it is intended to serve namely the control tower staff and all passengers. There is a proposal to enlarge it slightly but no decisions have been taken.

The cost of developments and renovations at this air station has been some £460,000 over the past few years, mainly on works connected with the transfer of H.M.S "Ariel" from Worthy Down. This transfer enabled the Admiralty to vacate Worthy Down.

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