§ Mr. Peter Thomas
asked the Secretary of State for Transport on what date he expects to make publicly 433W available the report commissioned by his Department about the Al through Hampstead garden suburb; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mrs. Chalker
Copies of the Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick report of 1975 will be available from my Department this Thursday, 10 May. I am also placing copies in the library of the House. My object in publishing this report is to remove once and for all misapprehensions about its contents and their relevance to proposals for Archway road. The case for new measures to handle traffic at Archway does not and never has rested on alternative new schemes to the north. It rests on the conditions that exist there now. By the time the report was completed, the assumptions on which the consultant's examination of a large number of major alternative new routes through the environmentally sensitive area of Hampstead garden suburb was based, were obsolete and unacceptable. My predecessors therefore did not publish it, bearing in mind that it might cause quite unnecessary alarm and misapprehension over a wide area.
However, many years have now passed and I believe that risk is now much less. Given continuing speculation about its contents and the Department's intentions, I have concluded that on balance that public interest would now best be served by making the document available to those who wish to inspect it. But in doing so I must take whatever action is necessary to minimise the remaining possibility of blight. I therefore repeat that the traffic predictions given in the report are now completely out of date, being larger than it is now sensible to plan for. I also repeat that I have no intention whatever of undertaking any of the schemes analysed in the report.
It is now clear that the four-lane sections of the Al between the north circular and Archway road will be able to cope with likely traffic for the forseeable future. However, I recognise the special interest of those who live on Falloden way itself, and in particular on the narrow three—lane stretch leading from Market place, in having the long—term uncertainty about this section of London's road network resolved. Some householders are currently negotiating with the Department to buy the freehold of a strip of their gardens bordering this section of road. It has been made clear to them that although no plans exist for this section of the road at present, this does not preclude widening of the road in future. The publication of the Scott Wilson report is bound to increase speculation about this and I have decided that it is desirable for any uncertainty to be disposed of.
I am therefore inviting landscape and traffic consultants Derek Lovejoy and Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick to look urgently at this part of Falloden way, with a view to identifying the options for modest improvements to enable two lanes of traffic to flow in each direction as happens along the rest of the road. I have asked the consultants to identify possibilities which would not involve any significant incursion into front gardens or would only involve loss of some roadside parking, and in particular to seek not only to minimise impact on neighbouring property but if possible to improve the unpleasant conditions that at present exist for those living there. As soon as their proposals are available, I shall publish them for discussion.