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London Termini (Redevelopment)

Volume 649: debated on Wednesday 22 November 1961

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20.

asked the Minister of Transport what plans the British Transport Commission has for the major redevelopment of the sites of London rail termini.

I understand from the British Transport Commission that it has at various stages of consideration the redevelopment of all suitable main line termini in London. Work is proceeding at Holborn Viaduct and Cannon Street Stations.

Can the right hon. Gentleman say whether this redevelopment will be done by the Transport Commission itself or, as reported, in connection with the Clore-Cotton enterprises? Is he is aware that if private speculators are to be allowed to share in the profits of developing publicly-owned sites, profits which should go to public corporations, we on this side of the House shall take a very dim view of it? Will he give an undertaking that he will withhold his approval from any such proposals?

This is really a question of two developments: first, those solely necessary for the development of railways, which the British Transport Commission can now do itself. At present, under the Act passed in 1947, it cannot do the next kind of development, which is commercial development, and it is forced by the 1947 Act to go to speculators for that sort of development. The Bill which we introduced and to which we gave a Second Reading last night removes that grievous disability from the Commission, and, in future, if the Bill becomes law, the Commission will be able to do these developments itself.