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Ministry Of Works

Volume 655: debated on Tuesday 13 March 1962

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Horse Guards Parade (Car Parking)

32.

asked the Minister of Works which persons are authorised to park their cars on the Horse Guards Parade, and under what circumstances.

A limited number of the occupants of the surrounding buildings and of visitors to them, are authorised to park on the edges of the Parade when it is not required for ceremonial purposes. The selection of those to whom permits are issued is the responsibility of the Departments concerned.

Will not my right hon. Friend agree that the Horse Guards Parade is not in any sense an adjunct to any of these Departments which surround it, and that the result has been that we have a parade pockmarked with over 100 cars stretching 40 or 50 yards into the middle of the parade ground, and if this is a suitable place for parking 100 cars should it not be a case of "first come, first served"?

I do not think I could accept my hon. Friend's statement that this cannot be said to be an adjunct to the Departments concerned. It borders on them.

It may be bordering on them, but is it not a fact that it is not an adjunct to the Departments in the sense that the courtyard of the Foreign Office is an adjunct of the Foreign Office or that Downing Street is an adjunct to these Departments, in so far as they are not public thoroughfares?

Is the Minister aware that the police always say that any space outside a hereditament or building is perfectly free for parking of the public unless there are ceremonial parades? If at a special time like Christmas this whole area can be used for parking cars, would it not be a more sensible arrangement merely to give notice that the parade ground is needed for ceremonial purposes?

I do not think so. So far as special periods like Christmas are concerned, I try to help as far as I can with the properties which come under my control, whatever the precedents may be.

Quantity Surveyors

33.

asked the Minister of Works how many men are involved in the abolition of the post of Grade IV quantity surveyor's assistant in his Department; how many of these men have been in Government service for fifteen years or longer; and what steps he is taking for their alternative employment.

Seven quantity surveying assistants, Grade IV, have been declared redundant in the Ministry of Works as part of current staff reductions; this comprises the total staff in that grade. Only one of these has been in Government service for fifteen years or longer. I have had inquiries made of local authorities and other Government Departments in an attempt to find them alternative employment. So far two offers of employment have been made, and others are in prospect.

Is the Minister aware that the one to whom he refers is a constituent of mine; that he has worked for Government Departments for over twenty years and that now that he is over 50 years old it is a pretty shabby trick simply to shake him off as though the Government have no obligation to him? That is what is happening now. Will the Minister look into the matter again and see that this competent person is provided with some alternative employment?

I hope that the hon. Member has had a letter with regard to his constituent—

It may be unsatisfactory, but it is the truth. We have done all we can to help this man. I am advised that he will not be prejudiced in his chances of future employment. We have done a great deal for him.

Whitehall Banqueting Hall

35.

asked the Minister of Works when the removal of exhibits from the Whitehall Banqueting Hall will be completed.

The disposal of the exhibits is a matter for the Royal United Service Institution, which is considering what should be done. I am sure that there will be no undue delay.

Abingdon Street (Open Space)

36.

asked the Minister of Works when the open space opposite the Victoria Tower and in front of the Abbey Walls is to be filled in and laid out.

The Westminster City Council is preparing plans for the construction of an underground garage on this site. My plans for the treatment of the surface are being developed at the same time. I hope shortly to be able to inform the House how and when it is proposed to deal with this most important area.

No 10 Downing Street

37.

asked the Minister of Works what steps he has taken to ensure that home-grown timber is used in the rebuilding of No. 10 Downing Street.

None, Sir. In view of the special requirements at No. 10 Downing Street I have thought it inadvisable to limit the architect's choice, but I understand that home-grown oak is being used to replace oak floors.

Is my right hon. Friend aware of the great need to encourage the growing of home-grown timber? Does not he think that it would be well worth his Department's while to encourage growers by specifying the use of home-grown timber wherever possible?

The operative words are the last used by my hon. Friend, namely, "wherever possible". If that means "wherever wise" I quite agree, but I do not think it would be right to go beyond it.

Whatever timber is used, is the Minister taking steps to ensure that it is adequately treated with creosote or some anti-dry-rot mixture? We have had an awful lot of dry-rot in No. 10 Downing Street in recent years.

I shall do my best to see that the new structure lasts for a very long time.