HC Deb 21 March 1978 vol 946 cc513-4W
Mr. Rossi

asked the Secretary of State for Transport whether a date has been fixed for the resumption of the public inquiry on the Archway Road improvement scheme; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. William Rodgers

The present inquiry into draft side road orders was adjourned on 12th October 1977 and no date for its resumption has been fixed. However, I have now decided to abandon these orders and the current inquiry and also to scrap the draft compulsory purchase orders for the main scheme that were published five years ago.

This is a major urban scheme in the heart of London. It is essential that it should commend itself widely both as a means of dealing with traffic and of improving the neighbourhood for those who live and work there. In practice, the inquiry has been subjected to a campaign of organised disruption while the local authorities principally concerned have not been consistent in their commitment to it.

The review of highway inquiry procedures with the Council on Tribunals has now been completed and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment and I hope to announce our conclusions very soon. However, the resumption of the present Archway inquiry would not lead to an early decision. The uncertainty about the outcome would continue for a long time ahead.

A scheme for improving Archway Road has been included in the trunk road programme for 15 years. The passing of time has not diminished the problems which the improvements were meant to relieve. The environmental conditions along the road, which is economically very important, are intolerable and something must be done.

I therefore propose to call together the local authorities principally concerned to seek with them and my colleagues concerned with urban problems an agreed solution to the complex of road and traffic management problems of the area.

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