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Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, I wonder whether the Government have the full measure of the size of the problem as regards either the cost or who is likely to provide the money. Is my noble friend the Minister aware that this is a very genuine interrogatoryperhaps the most genuine that your Lordships have heard for many a long day? I certainly do not know the answer, and I suspect that neither does anyone else.
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, it is a big building which needs a great deal of work. However, what we are sure about is the fact that we need a firm, commercial incentive for the work to be done. We believe that linking it with the railway station, bearing in mind the great commercial development that will occur with the new terminus, will provide the right environment for the building to be preserved and developed, and for a long-term use to be found for it.
Viscount Goschen: Indeed, my Lords; the noble Lord is right. The building in question is Grade I listed. We believe that what is required is for a promoter to come forward with a scheme that will take that factor fully into consideration and who will work with English Heritage. As regards the parts of the building which are not directly
Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn: My Lords, does my noble friend the Minister share the widely held view that the true masterpiece of Sir George Gilbert Scott is the Albert Memorial? Will he confirm the very welcome news that, as I understand it, English Heritage and the Department of National Heritage have at last formulated a plan for the restoration of that remarkable edifice? Finally, can my noble friend tell us when that restoration will be complete?
Lord Wyatt of Weeford: My Lords, by his answers regarding the future of St. Pancras, does the Minister mean that the Government intend to muck about with it in exactly the same way as a previous Conservative Government did with Euston, which was the first great railway station in the world, truncating it, removing Doric arches and altogether wrecking it?
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, if we do not "muck about with it" it will fall down. The building is not in a good state of repair. Works have been carried out. We need to find a proper, long-term use for the building. We understand that it is of enormous architectural importance. However, we believe that those principles will be adhered to. There is a special heritage agreement for those parts of the station which are directly connected with the terminus. But for those parts which are not directly connected with the terminus, as I said, the normal listing and planning procedures will apply. We must find a proper, long-term use for the building; and that is what we fully intend to do.
Lord Elton: My Lords, is it not the case that a principal part of the difficulty is that, for any occupational use of the building, the fire regulations require exceedingly expensive provision, a good deal of which would apply to the outside of the building? That means that any solution which will be aesthetically acceptableand acceptable in safety termswill be uncommercially expensive. Therefore, would that not be a reason for entertaining the earlier suggestion that a grant from the Millennium Fund might be appropriate?
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, my noble friend is right. As with many old and listed buildings, the question of fire regulations is most important. One only needs to look to the fact that much of the building is not utilised at present to see that point illustrated. In view of the fact that the building is thoroughly intertwined with the railway station, we feel that passing the building to a promoter will provide the best opportunity for it to have a long-term future.
Lord Carmichael of Kelvingrove: My Lords, is the Minister aware that I am most grateful to the noble Lord, Lord Peyton of Yeovil, for tabling the Question? I have passed the building and, although I have very little knowledge of it, having looked at some of the work that
However, can the Minister assure us that, if the passenger terminal is ultimately placed in that building, there would still be a fair bit of the building left? Further, will the Minister keep the House and the country informed as regards the future of the building and assure us that neither the new tenants nor the Government will rush into over-quick decisions concerning a building of such importance?
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, I can assure the House that the building will be preserved and enhanced by the plans that we have for it. There is no question whatever of the building being degraded. I am very glad that the noble Lord intends to visit the station. If the noble Lord has any difficulties in that respect, I am sure that he will be in touch with me and I shall endeavour to make arrangements for him.
Earl Russell: My Lords, will the Minister bear in mind the fact that the building is next door to the new British Library, whenever that may be completed? Further, will the noble Viscount also bear in mind that, so long as it remains a copyright library, the British Library will and must continue to grow? Have any exploratory discussions with library authorities taken place on that subject?
Viscount Goschen: My Lords, I feel that the noble Earl's requests are totally wide of the Question on the Order Paper. I noticed that the British Library is next door to the railway station when I drove past the area this morning. If the noble Earl would care to table a Question on the issue of the British Library, either I or one of my noble friends will be pleased to answer it.
Baroness Rawlings: My Lords, will my noble friend the Minister consider including a museum in the station as, for example, there is in the Musée D'Orsay in Paris, which has been such an immense success,or one similar to that at Lyons station?
Lord Peyton of Yeovil: My Lords, is my noble friend the Minister aware of how much satisfaction his answer will giveif I understood him correctlythat there is no danger of the building being degraded? Further, does my noble friend agree in his heart of hearts that the hope that some railway operator will arise from somewhere with so much money to spare that he is able to take on the cost of rejuvenating the building is something of a pipedream?
Viscount Goschen: No, my Lords; I do not agree with my noble friend save to say that I am pleased that he has taken note of my comments that the building will not be degraded. It must be the case that, rather than spending huge amounts of money on keeping the building standing when it is not occupied, it is right to try to find a proper, commercial solution to the problem. We firmly believe
On 16th February, I made a Statement to your Lordships announcing proposals for a ceremony in Westminster Hall on Friday 5th May at 12 noon when both Houses will present humble Addresses to Her Majesty the Queen.
The Motion before the House today contains the terms of the Address proposed to be presented by this House. My noble and learned friend the Lord Chancellor will present the Address on behalf of the House and, in doing so, will make a short speech of his own. I am sure that the whole House will wish the event to be remembered as a great and enjoyable occasion.
On a more pedestrian note, it may be helpful if I mention briefly the arrangements for the ceremony. This House will meet at 11 o'clock on 5th May and, after Prayers, will formally adjourn to Westminster Hall. Those of your Lordships who are attending should make your own way to Westminster Hall, together with those members of your families who have tickets. I would hope that noble Lords are able to be in Westminster Hall by 11.30 a.m. Your Lordships will be able to sit with your accompanying family members, should you so desire.
In my Statement on 16th February, I said that it was proposed that there should be a reception in the Hall after the ceremony. However, in the event, so many Members of both Houses and their families have expressed a wish to attend that the whole of the Hall will be needed for seating. Therefore, sadly, it will not be possible to hold the reception after all. However, arrangements are being made for invited service representatives to be entertained at a small reception after the ceremony. I am sure your Lordships would wish that this House should have the opportunity of entertaining representatives of the organisations concerned.
Many of your Lordships fought in the last war. Many others of your Lordships lived through the war years although too young to join up. I hope, therefore, that those of your Lordships who are older than I am will forgive me if I underline what so many of you already know far better than I. I feel that the victory of 1945 represented, perhaps more than anything else, the victory of parliamentary government over tyranny. This year the people of this country will hold a number of events to commemorate the end of the war in Europe in May and the end of the war worldwide in August. I hope that your Lordships will feel that it is therefore entirely appropriate to begin this series of events with a
"Most Gracious Sovereign, We, the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, welcome this occasion to commemorate and celebrate with Your Majesty and Members of the House of Commons the fiftieth anniversary of the end of the Second World War and our historic victory in conjunction with our allies over the Axis powers. We recall with gratitude six years of heroic effort and united steadfastness by the armed forces of the Crown, by the Merchant Navy and by unarmed civilians, by the inhabitants of these islands, by the Commonwealth and Empire and by our allies. We recall those who fought with courage and endurance for the causes of justice and freedom. We remember with sorrow and admiration those who gave their lives. We remember those who suffered. We give thanks also for the inspiring example given by His late Majesty King George VI and Her Majesty the Queen Mother in time of war.
"Since 1945 we have been blessed with a great measure of peace and spared the horrors of world war. We have seen the collapse of totalitarian regimes which for decades posed a threat to our continuing freedom and the peace of the world. For this we give heartfelt thanks to Almighty God. We pay tribute to the part which Your Majesty has played, throughout Your reign, in upholding and adorning our cherished tradition of Parliamentary government under the Crown. We pray that our successors may continue to enjoy the blessings of peace in freedom and just government, and we unite in saying 'God bless Your Majesty.'"(Viscount Cranborne.)
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