HC Deb 27 January 1840 vol 51 cc639-41
Sir M. Wood,

in moving for a select committee on Improvements in the Metropolis, suggested that the attention of the committee should be directed to the embanking of the Thames from Staines-bridge to Graves-end. It was also proposed to consider the propriety of purchasing the interest of the proprietors in Waterloo and Southwark-bridges, in order to throw them open to the public. These and other improvements ought, in his opinion, to be taken into consideration, and a report made to the House in regard to them. The hon. Member concluded by moving for the appointment of a select committee to inquire into the objects he had mentioned.

Sir Robert Inglis

had imagined, from the notice which the hon. Baronet had put upon the paper, that he had merely intended to move for the renewal of the old committee, and he was somewhat surprised to find that such extensive schemes were to be brought under their consideration without a more distinct notice that such was the intention of the hon. Baronet. There was, he feared, no fund to accomplish such expensive undertakings, and he would, therefore, beg to direct the attention of Ministers to the proposals which had been made.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer

was somewhat surprised at the way in which the hon. Baronet had worded the motion which he had just submitted to the House. He had thought that it was only proposed to renew the old committee, and he had not been at all aware that the hon. Baronet had intended to introduce such extensive schemes for their consideration. He would suggest to the hon. Baronet the propriety of withdrawing his present motion, and moving simply for the renewal of the old committee. If the hon. Baronet thought the objects which he had mentioned of sufficient importance, then he could give the House fair notice of his intention to propose that the committee should take them into consideration.

Mr. Herries

trusted that the propriety of purchasing Waterloo and Southward bridges would not come before the committee until the Government was prepared with the necessary funds.

Sir Robert Peel

considered the plan of embankment proposed by the hon. Baronet as somewhat gigantic, yet he thought it was a matter worthy of consideration whether some embankment was not necessary in consequence of the projection into the river made by the foundation of the new houses of Parliament. That projection caused a much more extensive deposit below Westminster-bridge than formerly, which was highly injurious to the health and comforts of the inhabitants upon the banks of the river. The embankment had narrowed the stream, and he could say, from his own experience, that the deposit which was now left was most offensive. He considered the proposals of the hon. Baronet as too comprehensive, but he thought it was deserving of consideration whether some embankment was not rendered necessary below Westminster-bridge, in consequence of the projection into the river to which he had alluded.

Mr. Bell

said, that from the experience his constituents had had of the proceedings of other committees of a similar nature to the one moved for by the worthy alderman, they would look on the present motion with very considerable alarm, dreading the imposition of an additional tax on coals entering the port of London, for the purpose of carrying into effect the contemplated improvements in the metropolis. It was well known that the 8d. duty paid on each ton of coals entering the port of London, and paid to the corporation, would have ceased altogether in the year 1837, had it not been renewed in the session of that year for 21 years, that is to the year 1858, for the purpose of raising 1,000.000l. to be applied to completing the approaches to London-bridge, unless the charges on the fund should be sooner paid off. It appeared that from the increased importation of coals into London, this would have been the case in 1852. In the session, therefore, 1838, au act was obtained to extend the time six years, bringing it up to the original terms of 21 years from 1837, for the purpose of raising 300,000l., one-hall' of which was to be applied to rebuild the Royal Exchange, the remainder to completing certain improvements in the metropolis. As it appeared that the 8d. produced to the corporation annually upwards of 85.000., which would amount in six years to 510,000l., it was important to know how it was intended to dispose of the 210,000l, after expending the 300.000l. as originally intended.

Motion withdrawn.