HL Deb 04 March 1999 vol 597 cc195-6WA
Lord Cocks of Hartcliffe

asked the Chairman of Committees:

Whether a moratorium on any loss of car parking space will be applied until the appropriate committee has had a chance to reassess the allocation of 40 spaces in Black Rod's Garden, in the light of the Garden's status as a fire muster point and the need for free access for all necessary appliances in the case of emergency. [HL1240]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Boston of Faversham)

No. The use of Black Rod's Garden as a fire muster point does not prevent Peers from parking there. It is not, therefore, a reason to impose a moratorium on the loss of car parking spaces elsewhere.

In the event of a fire, fire engines may enter the precincts at Black Rod's Garden, or at Sovereign's Entrance, or at Carriage Gates. In case it is necessary for them to enter at Black Rod's Garden. Peers who park there are asked to leave their keys in their cars, so that Security Officers can move the cars out of the way. Thus the Garden can be used as a muster point, and as a point of access for fire engines, notwithstanding the cars parked there.

It should be noted that Black Rod's Garden is only one of several muster points. In case of fire, it might be necessary to assemble on Abingdon Green, or in Old Palace Yard, or in Victoria Tower Gardens, depending on circumstances.

In view of this, I do not see any need to change present car parking policy. Additional spaces have been obtained in Abingdon Street Car Park, and parking further afield would not solve the problem of occasional overcrowding in Black Rod's Garden.