HC Deb 01 August 1844 vol 76 cc1655-7

On the Motion that the Bishop of London's Estate Bill be read a third time.

Mr. Wakley

objected to passing the Bill when it had been before the House only five days. The title of the Bill gave no idea of the nature of its contents, and the public knew nothing whatever about it. Who could suppose for a moment that this Bill was one for regulating the property of Paddington? Even the persons on this property knew nothing about the Bill; at the Great Western Railway nothing was known of it. This Bill would give the Grand Junction Water Company the entire monopoly of the supply of water to all the houses which were to be built on the property. He asked the right hon. Baronet to allow the adjournment of the debate to Wednesday or Thursday next, so that inquiry might be made into the real nature of its provisions. Who would suppose, from the title, that it was a Bill for regulating water-works? Again, there were great complaints made as to the situation of the terminus of the Great Western Railway. At the time of its being built it was stated that it was intended to be only temporary, and that the water-works were meantime the obstacle to its being brought nearer to the Uxbridge Road. Now, what did the public know of the provisions of the Bill as affecting this matter? The Bill made provisions for reserving sites for an hospital and a church. It said that the Bishop of London and the trustees might grant a site for an hospital—they were authorised to do so—but they were required to grant a site for a church. He should be glad to see the grant of a site for an hospital made peremptory too. Finding that the provisions of this Bill were so multitudinous and complicated that it would take some days to comprehend them, and that nothing was known of the subject; finding that they were grounded upon an agreement made in May last, of the nature of which information was necessary, he thought that opportunity should be given to inquire into them, and ascertain what their effect would be upon the district if enacted into law. If the right hon. Baronet objected to postpone the third reading, it was his opinion that the House ought to reject it. He should move as an Amendment that the Bill be read a third time on Tuesday next.

Sir W. Clay

said, this was solely an Estate Bill; there was not a Clause or a syllable in it that could in the remotest way affect the public. It had gone through all the usual forms to which Private Bills are submitted, and had been carefully examined by a Committee of the House of Lords. Its only object was to give the owners of land in the vicinity of Paddington a valid title in selling their own property. With respect to its alleged bearing on public interests, his hon. Friend the Member for Finsbury was under an entire misapprehension. It was not true that it would give an exclusive right of supply to any Water Company every Water Company had an equal right by law, nor did this Bill alter in the smallest degree the existing law. As to the advantage of removing the terminus of the Great Western Railway to a more convenient spot, this Bill would place no obstacle in the way of the purchase of land by the Company for that purpose. The fact was, he believed, that the Railway Company had had the means of obtaining that land for three or four years past, and that they had declined to purchase it. He appealed to the House whether it was a justifiable ground for postponing the Bill, that a third party should be allowed the opportunity of purchasing the ground at some future period. He could assure hon. Members that not a day had been lost in bringing forward this measure, and any one who knew the care with which Private Bills were investigated by Committees of the House of Lords, might be satisfied that it had been thoroughly examined. Neither the Church nor the Paddington trustees had the slightest interest in the property; as to granting a site for a Church, it was part of the agreement. It was most essential that the Bill should pass; if it did not, very great inconvenience would be experienced. He could assure the House distinctly, that the Bill meddled with no public right. Under the circumstances, looking to the great expense which had been incurred, and no valid objection being brought against it he threw himself on the House not to postpone the Bill.

Mr. Greene

, as Chairman of the Committees, had carefully examined the Bill, and could see no objection to it. It was intended to regulate the property which was leased out in the last century by the then Bishop of London, at Paddington. Part of the ground was occupied by the reservoirs of the Water Company, and it was now wished to apply the space to the original purpose of building.

Mr. T. Duncombe

said, though the Bill was called a private one, it applied to the property of the Church. He thought that they ought to have had this measure much sooner before the House. He must complain that no breviate had been delivered before the second reading, and he thought the Bill ought to be printed, and some days allowed that Members might be acquainted with the contents. It was because this property would be more valuable if built upon that the Bill was introduced; certainly a Church, and perhaps an hospital, was a sop to the public. It should be made imperative to build an hospital.

Mr. Brotherton

said, he was on the Standing Orders Committee, and upon inquiring how far the Bishop of London was interested in the measure, was informed that he had only the interest of a peppercorn rent. The Bill, he understood, had no connection with the Church.

Amendment withdrawn.

Bill read a third time and passed.