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Volume 645: debated on Wednesday 26 July 1961

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Road Programme


asked the Minister of Transport whether he is aware of the need for the road programme to be expanded forthwith to at least twice its present size; and whether he expects to make a statement before the Summer Recess with regard to his plans for expanding present expenditure on the roads.

We are already devoting a large proportion of our resources to the road programme, and it would be wrong for me in present circumstances to hold out any hope of an increase of the order suggested by the hon. Member.

Was the right hon. Gentleman in the House yesterday when the Chancellor of the Exchequer said that, in the field of public expenditure, it is essential to see that priority is given to whatever directly affects national efficiency and that we should not wastefully disrupt programmes under way? Will the right hon. Gentleman insist that the Chancellor recognises that a great improvement in our roads is absolutely essential to national efficiency?

That is why we have the biggest programme this year that we have ever had.

Can my right hon. Friend say whether he intends to take any steps this year to free the Selby toll bridge?

I can answer that categorically. I do not intend to take any steps this year to free Selby toll bridge.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his statement will be viewed with great concern by all road users? Although, as we freely admit, the programme is a large one, it is still not large enough. Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that, if long-term programmes are to be cut down because of the economic situation, this nation will be the first to suffer?

There is an overload on the building industry at the present time. For example, there are 1,111 vacancies for carpenters in London and the South-East but only about 230 carpenters registered as unemployed. Merely to announce an astronomical figure, as was suggested in the Question, would be disastrous.

Gossops Green, Crawley


asked the Minister of Transport what steps he proposes to take to provide safe access for pedestrians and particularly children across A.23 in the Gossops Green neighbourhood of Crawley.

We propose to ask the Crawley Development Corporation and the Crawley Urban District Council to discuss the provision of a suitable facility with officers of our Department, though we cannot at this stage undertake to accept any financial responsibility.

Great West Road


asked the Minister of Transport what progress has been made in improving the efficiency of the flow of traffic on the Great West Road, as a result of the study that has recently been made of traffic problems on that road.

I hope soon to introduce clearway conditions between Chiswick Flyover and Colnbrook. A dual carriageway now in course of construction at Cranford will help to eliminate some turns. Schemes for dealing with right turning traffic at other junctions are being worked out. Four sets of traffic lights are shortly to be linked.

I thank my right hon. Friend for that statement. Can he tell the House when he expects to have further information available in connection with the right turns and other matters now under investigation on the Great West Road?

All the conditions are now being surveyed, so it should not be too long.



asked the Minister of Transport why, in respect of the county of Warwick, he has not so far authorised any classified road scheme of over £100,000 grant value for the next three years; and when any such additional authorisation can be expected.

We have been able to include in the first three year programme only those schemes which command the highest priority throughout the country, having regard to the urgent need to alleviate congestion in our cities. I regret that it was not possible to include all the schemes submitted. We hope to announce the programme for 1964–65 later this year.

Cain we have an assurance that road schemes of this character which have been announced will not be cut back because of any financial arrangements about which we heard something yesterday?

I cannot depart from the terms in which my right hon. and learned Friend addressed the House yesterday.

Car Parking


asked the Minister of Transport whether he will take powers to control car parking in streets too narrow for this purpose.

I already have powers to control car parking on trunk roads and on roads in the London Traffic Area. On other roads this is a matter for the local authorities.

Is the right hon. Gentleman aware that his right hon. Friend the Home Secretary has been reported as saying that he gave some measure of encouragement to car drivers to park part-way on the footpaths? Will he ask his right hon. Friend at least to show a good example to the travelling public?

The hon. Member should put a Question to my right hon. Friend so that he can answer it direct.

What is the right hon. Gentleman doing to control the all-night parking of commercial vehicles in streets already overcrowded? If members of the public have to provide garage accommodation for their cars, is not the least we can do to see that off-street parking facilities are used by these commercial vehicles?

In London, where this problem is at its most acute, my Department and the police are in consultation with local authorities at Bermondsey and other places in the hope of taking remedial action.

While there has been much discussion of this matter in the House and statements by the Home Secretary and the Minister, is it not about time that this serious problem was sorted out and some announcement made about car parking on the pavements in narrow streets, often making it impossible for pedestrians to walk along the pavements properly? Ought there not to be some decision in the matter and a proper Government announcement, or some direction to the police which can be properly obeyed?

Any question of directions to the police is a matter for my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary and not for me.

Can the Minister of Transport say whether it was after consultation with him that the Metropolitan police moved parked cars away from outside the house of the Home Secretary?

Euston Road (Traffic Congestion)


asked the Minister of Transport why repair work is being done to the road outside St. Pancras and King's Cross stations in the middle of July, so causing dislocation at the height of the holiday period.

These are improvements urgently needed to improve traffic conditions at King's Cross. They should result in better traffic movement and savings in police manpower.

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that by that answer he has proved that he has not been in that area during certain times of the day? Is he aware that what I thought was temporary dislocation at the time I put down the Question is in fact to be permanent chaos in the area? Is he aware that people desiring to catch trains at King's Cross Station now find themselves in a queue for about 20 minutes, and that those arriving at St. Pancras and desiring to go westwards must first go 300 or 400 yards eastwards, 20 minutes later finding themselves on the opposite side of the road?

I assure the hon. Lady that there will be no condition of permanent chaos at this place. What we are trying to do is to improve the traffic flow, something on which the House has consistently helped us. I hope that this improvement will be completed within a short time.