HC Deb 01 August 1842 vol 65 cc895-6
Lord Robert Grosvenor

rose to put a question to the right hon. Baronet at the head of her Majesty's Government. The right hon. Gentleman would no doubt recollect having had an interview with certain Members of a society interesting itself in the improvement of this city. They expressed a strong desire that her Majesty's Government would undertake a more general and better understood system of metropolitan improvement than those isolated jobs which were now from time to time perpetrated, so that whatever was hereafter determined upon should be done with reference to one comprehensive design. The deputation also called the right hon. Gentleman's attention to the circumstance, that the original plans for making new lines of communication from Piccadilly to Long-acre, and from Waterloo-bridge to the north of London, had been most unwisely departed from. The right hon. Baronet, without giving any pledge as to the course he would take, expressed a general concurrence in the sentiments of the deputation. I have this evening presented to the House several petitions, numerously and most respectably signed, from the inhabitants of those streets through which, or contiguous to which, the new lines of communication are to pass, praying that the original plans may be adhered to; and I understand that similar petitions have been presented in another place by a noble Earl, a Member of her Majesty's Government, the President of the Board of Trade. The questions that I wish to ask the right hon. Baronet are—1st, if he can hold out to the petitioners any hope of their prayer being complied with; secondly, he wished to know whether her Majesty's Government had taken any steps to obtain the means of laying down a well-considered and comprehensive plan of improvement, which should embrace the health, the convenience, and the decoration of the metropolis?

Sir R. Peel

said, the question of the noble Cord involved two considerations; first, whether it were not desirable to have some tribunal that should judge of the plans for the improvement of the metropolis, and to provide better regulations connected with the health of the inhabitants. Having himself been a Member of a committee connected with the subject, he did not think a committee was the best tribunal to decide such a question. Of such a committee the metropolitan Members usually formed a part, and he thought a better tribunal would be one totally unconnected with those local interests by which the Members of the different places must be affected. For his own part he thought there could not be a better application of public money than in these great public improvements. With respect to the other improvements, all he could say was, that formerly the proposed width of the new streets was sixty feet; since then, however, it had been proposed to make them only fifty-two feet. That proposition had been sanctioned by the late Government and Parliament; and such being the case, he could not venture to set aside such an arrangement.