Skip to main content

Stoke Garden Festival

Volume 475: debated on Thursday 5 June 1986

The text on this page has been created from Hansard archive content, it may contain typographical errors.

3.15 p.m.

My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper.

The Question was as follows:

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is intended that the National Garden Festival at Stoke-on-Trent should attract tourists to that area and whether the site is to become a permanent feature.

My Lords, the festival organisers have worked closely with regional and national tourist agencies to ensure that the festival becomes the main feature in Staffordshire's tourist calendar of 1986, and hope to attract up to 4 million visitors. On closure in October, it is intended that one-third of the site will remain as permanent open space for public use, retaining some of the features of the festival.

My Lords, in thanking my noble friend the Minister for that pleasing reply, may I ask him how he thinks it will be best for the remains of the beautiful garden to be used to attract both tourists and jobs?

My Lords, the festival site extends for 180 acres, that is 73 hectares. It is intended that the site will be given over some one-third to public open space, a further third to housing and a further third again to commercial development.

My Lords, can my noble friend say how many jobs have been created by this desirable activity? In view of the very popular and somewhat overcrowded Chelsea Flower Show, on the understanding that already a quarter of a million people have already attended this festival, is there not something to be said for repeating this idea again in other parts of the country during the summer? It would bea supreme attraction not only for local people but to overseas visitors who look to England for the gardens and what they produce.

My Lords, as a professional horticulturalist, I most certainly understand and welcome the last part of my noble friend's supplementary. So far as his substantive question goes, during construction there were about 500 people on site at any given time and there are now on site some 13,000 people, including 1,000 Manpower Services Commission operatives involved with the operations of the festival.

The Stoke garden festival will be succeeded by one in Glasgow in 1988, Gateshead in 1990 and Wales in 1992.