asked the Minister of Public Building and Works whether he will assign the parking facilities at Gloucester Slips, Regent's Park, to the London Zoo in view of the anticipated growth in the number of visitors to the Zoo, the absence of provision for car parking in the current reconstruction, the congestion en the Outer Circle at weekends due to kerbside parking, the loss of amenity and the danger to life this represents, and the anxiety expressed by local authorities about the whole matter.
Does the Parliamentary Secretary realise that the reply makes nonsense of the whole problem? When his colleague the Minister of Transport is trying to get cars off the streets of London, why on earth does he allow cars to be parked on the Outer Circle of Regent's Park when unutilised accommodation is available? If it is not to be allocated to the Zoo, why cannot it be clearly designated for the use of visitors to the Park?
At the moment, the Gloucester Slips car park is open to both visitors to the Park and to the Zoo. If it were handed over to the Zoo authorities presumably it would be available only to Zoo visitors and we think it wrong to deny facilities to visitors to the Park.
Can the hon. Gentleman say whether the car park is regarded as a permanency, since it is in itself a considerable loss of amenity to the public using the Park? Is the hon. Gentleman aware that one of his right hon. Friend's predecessors assured me that this was only a temporary expedient?
As the hon. Gentleman may be aware, the Minister of Transport and the Marylebone Borough Council have been considering for some time the possibility of an underground car park in Regent's Park. We expect shortly to receive proposals for our consideration and these will have a considerable bearing on the question of future car parking policy in that region.
The hon. Gentleman cannot have it both ways. Either the existence of a car park is a loss of amenity and there is no point in retaining it if car parking is allowed on the Outer Circle, or parking on the Outer Circle is a loss of amenity and there is no point in retaining the car park if it is not utilised. Cannot the hon. Gentleman utilise it in the way suggested instead of leaving it in a state of stalemate?
I cannot accept that this is stalemate. We need both the Gloucester Slips car park and parking in Regent's Park. If an underground car park were constructed the whole policy could be reviewed.