§ Sir Geoffrey Finsberg
asked the Secretary of State for Transport, pursuant to his reply to the hon. Member for Westminster, North (Mr. Wheeler) 17 November, Official Report, columns 20–21, if he will make a further statement about the future of London coach terminals.
§ Mr. David Mitchell
On 17 November I announced that I was considering what could be an appropriate form of inquiry to enable the arguments for a single hub terminal compared with the merits of a number of smaller terminals to be properly aired in public. I understand that London Regional Transport is proposing to submit a planning application for a new coach terminal, to be developed at Paddington, in accordance with the report of its own transportation consultants.
I have consulted my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Environment, who is satisfied that the planning aspects of any proposed coach terminal development will involve issues of more than local importance, and that he should himself deal with any application made in this respect by LRT. He will therefore shortly issue a direction under section 35 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1971 to the Westminster city council, requiring the council to refer any such application to him. A public local inquiry will be held with appropriately wide terms of reference, which will allow the consideration of both single and multi-site solutions, at which interested persons may attend and give their views.
The Government would wish to see the maximum possible private setor involvement in the financing and operation of any new coach terminal, or terminals, in London. No decision has yet been taken on the provision of public sector finance.