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Volume 441: debated on Monday 28 July 1947

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Selby Toll Bridge (Purchase)


asked the Minister of Transport if he will now make a statement with regard to the negotiations for the purchase of Selby Toll Bridge.

Negotiations with the owners are still proceeding. Whilst they are in progress it would not be in the public interest for me to make any statement.

In view of the very grave inconvenience which this bridge causes to the inhabitants of Selby and to the whole of the district, can the right hon. Gentleman give me an assurance that negotiations are being pressed on at the fullest possible speed, and can he give any sort of indication when they will be concluded?

I can give the hon. and gallant Gentleman an assurance that the negotiations are being pressed on with speed, because his persistence has compelled me to devote some attention to it, but it is a very involved affair, and I really cannot give any date. I will keep the matter under review.

Cookham Toll Bridge (Transfer)


asked the Minister of Transport what are the reasons for the continued delay in. the transfer of the Cookham Toll Bridge to the local authorities concerned.

This bridge will have to be strengthened to carry the increased traffic which will use it when it is freed from tolls. The county surveyor's proposals for strengthening it were received on 9th June and the county councils have now been informed that a Road Fund grant will be made towards the cost of acquiring and strengthening the bridge.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that these negotiations with his Department have gone on for some months, and that it was only when I put a Question down to him that final action was taken?

No, I do not agree. I am always glad to encourage hon. Members to make representations, but in this case, in view of the date, it seems to me to be a fairly reasonable situation.

By-Pass, Redhill


asked the Minister of Transport whether it is proposed to repair and reopen the Canadian By-pass, Red-hill, in view of the fact that this road links the two main roads out of Redhill, thus relieving traffic congestion in Redhill and in view of the fact that, during part of last winter, it was the only road to South Nuffield which was not snow- and ice-bound.

The road is not suitable for permanent use as part of a by-pass to Redhill. The future by-pass is planned to the north of the town.

Why is the road not suitable? Could it not be opened until the new by-pass is built?

I have looked into this matter, and there seems to be a good deal of technical support for this decision in the county as well as in my Ministry.

Masked Approaches (Guard Rails)


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that casualties outside Osterley Station, on the Great West Road, where the approach of motor traffic is masked by a hump, have been reduced by erecting rails along the middle of the road to prevent pedestrians from crossing at that point; and whether he will have a complete survey made of the possibility of reducing by this means casualties at other points where the approach of motor traffic is masked by a hump or a corner.

Highway authorities generally fully appreciate the contribution to road safety which the use of guard rails can make, and I do not think that a survey on the lines suggested is required.

How does the Minister reconcile that answer with his statement that he is always willing to receive suggestions?

I am. In this case, as the hon. Member knows, this matter is, not continuously, but off and on, under the supervision and examination of the Road Safety Committee.

Improvement Works, Whitworth


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware that, owing to the reduction of road maintenance grants, two important road improvements at Healey and Leavengreave, near Whitworth, have been held up; and whether, in view of the number of accidents which have occurred at these places, he will arrange for the necessary improvements to be facilitated without further delay.

This is a matter primarily for the responsible highway authority, and they have not applied to me for any assistance towards the carrying out of the schemes to which the hon. Member refers.

Bus Shelters (Factory Gates)


asked the Minister of Transport what is the policy of his Department as regards the provision of omnibus shelters at factory gates.

There are no powers under the general law to require omnibus shelters to be provided, but my Department encourages their provision where they are needed. If the hon. Member has any particular case in mind, I shall be happy to look into it.

Will the right hon. Gentleman urge the Traffic Commissioners to adopt a more progressive attitude in this matter? At present I believe a census is taken, and only the places where there is the longest waiting are dealt with. Surely, there should be a shelter outside every factory, especially in the North-West where there is a lot of rain?

Temporary Thames Bridges (Removal)


asked the Minister of Transport when it is proposed to remove the temporary bridges over the Thames in the London area.

I understand that the London County Council, who are responsible for these bridges, are at present considering the tenders which they have received for the work.

Would my right hon. Friend do his utmost to speed the removal of these bridges, because not only are they unsightly and dangerous to children who play on them, but also they would yield much valuable material which could be used elsewhere?

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that he told me two years ago that the matter was then under consideration.

Yes, Sir. I have repeatedly drawn the attention of the London County Council to this matter. They now have the tenders, and I am hopeful that before long some action will be taken.

Is my right hon. Friend aware that in the recent breakdown due to the non-use of footbridge, one of these bridges was a godsend to pedestrians?