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Volume 892: debated on Friday 16 May 1975

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Windsor Great Park (Pop Festival)

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present a petition against the holding of an illegal so-called free pop festival in Windsor Great Park.

This petition was presented to me outside the Palace of Westminster by the organiser, Mrs. Horne. It is signed by the Chairman of the Berkshire County Council, the Mayor and Mayoress of the Royal Borough of Windsor and many prominent citizens. It contains no fewer than 7,000 signatures.

The House agreed without Division on 13th December 1974 to my motion which expressed concern and suggested means of preventing a recurrence of the festival at Windsor. Subsequently, similar recommendations were made by the public protection committee of the county council and endorsed by the Berkshire County Council which supported the Crown Commissioners in their refusal to allow an illegal festival in the Great Park and requested the Chief Constable of the Thames Valley to take all possible steps to prevent such a festival from taking place.

The petition is in support of law and order and is short. It reads as follows:
"To the Honourable the House of Commons of Great Britain and Northern Ireland in Parliament assembled.
The humble petition of the people of Windsor and the surrounding area, being citizens of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, sheweth that a large number of your petitioners have suffered as a result of the holding of a so-called free festival in Windsor Great Park on a number of consecutive days in the month of August in the years of 1972, 1973 and 1974 and attended by some thousands of people. As a result of this festival your petitioners have suffered from ceaseless and excessive noise, witnessed the misuse of drugs, acts of violence and threatened violence, have been deprived of the use of part of the Great Park during the holding of these festivals and have suffered many other inconveniences, not only in the Great Park itself but in the town of Windsor and surrounding areas.
Wherefore your petitioners pray that such measures be taken to prevent the recurrence of this nuisance in Windsor Great Park and surrounding areas in future.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray."

I beg leave to present the petition.

To lie upon the Table.

On a point of order. May I seek your advice, Mr. Speaker, on how to bring to the notice of this House the fact that a petition against the pop festival to be held at Wisley Airport was presented a fortnight ago by my hon. Friend the Member for Esher (Mr. Mather) and myself to the Secretary of State for the Environment? I wish to ask you how we can bring to the notice of the House the revolt of people living in these areas against such intrusions of pop festivals.

I will consider the matter, but I should have thought that there were numerous ways in which any hon. Member could pursue matters. However, I will consider whether there is any special measure of which I can advise the hon. Member. I will let him know.

Further to that point of order, Mr. Speaker. May I support my hon. Friend—

Order. I must proceed with the petitions, and I will take points of order later.

Rates (Croydon)

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg leave to present, with the support of my hon. Friends and Members for Croydon, Central (Mr. Moore), Croydon, North-West (Mr. Taylor) and Croydon, South (Mr. Clark) a petition signed by 16,925 of our constituents, all of them ratepayers of the borough of Croydon.

The Secretary of State for the Environment has said that the average rate increase in the country this year will be about 25 per cent. Because of the precept imposed by the GLC, the implementation of Government policies and the inequitable distribution and application of the rate support grant, the domestic rate increase in our borough has been 75 per cent. This burden is intolerable:

The petition reads:

Wherefore your petitioners pray that steps may be taken to relieve the ratepayers of the excessive demands made upon them by the Greater London Council and the Council of the London borough of Croydon and, further, so to reform the rating system that it is more broadly based and related to our ability to pay.
And your petitioners, as in duty bound will, ever pray, &c.

To lie upon the Table.

Lewisham (Fleet Line)

With your permission, Mr. Speaker, and that of the House, I beg to present a petition signed by the Mayor, Aldermen, Burgesses and other citizens of the borough of Lewisham, over 30,000 signatures in all, asking that the Fleet Line, as a matter of urgency, be extended to Lewisham and beyond.

The petition, which is self-explanatory, reads:

The humble Petition of the residents of South-East London sheweth
That the Fleet Line Underground Railway is a vital element in the plans for a much needed and long awaited improvement in the public transport system of South-East London and will have a profound impact upon such problems as traffic congestion and employment opportunities. We believe that the Fleet Line is an essential priority to help improve the quality of life in South-East London.
Wherefore your Petitioners pray that the honourable House take all such steps as are necessary to ensure that the Fleet Line Underground Railway should be extended as a matter of urgency to Lewisham and beyond.
And your Petitioners, as in duty bound, will ever pray.

To lie upon the Table.

Do I understand that the hon. Member for Dorking (Sir G. Sinclair) raised a point of order about a petition to a Minister?

That is an abuse of a point of order. A petition to a Minister is nothing to do with the Chair and is nothing to do with the House. Such matters must be pursued in the ordinary way in the House. It is wrong to use a point of order about a petition presented to a Minister.