HC Deb 27 February 1821 vol 4 cc946-7
Mr. D. Gilbert

rose to move for leave to bring in a bill for the better regulation of the Turnpike Trusts in the vicinity of the metropolis. It was well known that the roads about London were the worst regulated in the kingdom; and though the dues levied on the in amounted to nearly 200,000l. a year, yet still they were a disgrace to the metropolis and to the country. He was happy to say, however, that none of the committees who had investigated the subject had found reason to believe that any of the trustees had abused their trusts. He had in a former session brought in a bill to consolidate all these trusts; but it had been thought that such a plan would not have answered. What he now proposed was, to divide the roads around London into three districts, one of them comprising the roads to the south of the Thames, another those to the north-east, and the third those to the north-west. In each of these districts he would have a limited number of trustees always ready to attend the necessary meetings; while there should be occasionally general meetings of the trustees of all the three districts. The number of the trustees, he thought, should be considerably restricted; for it appeared that the roads were in the worst condition where there was the greatest number; and he proposed that they should be selected by those who at present held the trusts from among the mem- bers of their own body. A report had unaccountably gone abroad, that it was in contemplation to place all the turnpikes under the immediate control of the government. He denied that any such intention had ever existed; and had no hesitation in saying, that there could be no surer mode adopted of opening the door to jobs of all descriptions.

Mr. Curwen

expressed his jealousy of any measure which should take the management of the roads out of the hands of those who had local knowledge. The roads about London were not uniformly bad, the Uxbridge road for instance, was a very good one.

Leave was given to bring in the bill.