HC Deb 12 July 1864 vol 176 cc1372-6

Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Motion, "That the Preamble be postponed,"


said, he had no doubt the measure would be useful as far as it went, but it did not deal with the principal objections to the present management of highways. The large majority of the magistrates in the country had decided in favour of the adoption of the Act of 1862, and he believed that the best change in the law would be to make that Act compulsory. He wished to impress upon the Government the necessity of bringing in an effective Act next Session, dealing also with the turnpikes which were in an expiring condition, and including in its provisions all highways except those in the immediate neighbourhood of town.

Clauses 1 to 23 were agreed to, with numerous verbal Amendments.

Clause 24 (Penalty as to Cattle found straying on Highways).

MR. FENWICK moved, in line thirty-four, to leave out the words "without a keeper." The effect of the clause as it at present stood was that any person might send his cattle to graze upon lands or highways, and he would not be liable to any punishment at all provided that there was a keeper with the cattle, Cattle did much injury to the highways, which only ought to be used for travelling, and not pasturing cattle; and he, therefore, moved his Amendment in order to make it illegal for any person at all to pasture their cattle on the highway. He would also propose to restrict the application of the clause to roads not more than thirty feet wide.

Amendment proposed, in page 8, line 34, to leave out the words "without a keeper."—(Mr. Henry Fenwick.)


trusted the hon. Member would not press his Amendment, as it would have the effect in many instances of taking away the privileges possessed by the lords of the manors.


said, that the clause made no alteration in the existing law with regard to the feeding of cattle on the highway. It simply changed thy remedy which could be applied.


thought the Amendment might be agreed to with the addition of other words excepting the rights of lords of manors.


said, he would support the Amendment, because the animals created great damage to the fences at the side of the roads.


said, that if the Amendment were adopted it would do a great injury to many poor persons whom the roadside pasturage enabled to keep a cow or two. This privilege was very valuable to the poor cottagers.


said, he quite agreed with the hon. Baronet as to the inducement which ought to be held out to cottagers, but their cows ought not to be allowed to feed upon the pasturage of other people.


objected to the Amendment because he believed it would have the effect of depriving many poor people of valuable privileges which had been handed down to them from their forefathers. In the parish where he resided the roads were sometimes sixty feet wide, and the cottagers ought not to be deprived of a privilege which was very useful to them and did no harm.


regarded highways as roads formed simply for purposes of traffic, and they ought not to be wider than was necessary for that purpose. The preservation of the pasturage on the road side, was not the best way of benefiting the poor cottagers. No land should be used for pasturage that was not properly enclosed. These presumed rights of pasturage were sometimes pressed to an extent as to interfere with the rights of owners of property.


said, he would be glad to see the unnecessary width of many of the public roads reduced, but would at the same time be sorry to see any course pursued by which existing privileges would be disturbed. Any unnecessary width of a road was to that extent a waste of productive land.

Question put, "That the words proposed to be left out stand part of the Clause."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 38; Noes 42: Majority 4.


then proposed the insertion of words confining the operation of the clause to highways not being more than thirty feet wide.


said, that was provided for by the present Highway Act. Where roads were forty or sixty feet wide they had been laid out under special Acts.


said, that the provisos, if agreed to, would repeal the 74th section of the Highway Act. He did not see any objection to the insertion of a proviso saving existing rights of pasturage by the sides of highways.


proposed the insertion of a proviso to that effect.


thought it would be much better to leave the law as it now stood.

Proviso agreed to.

Clause, as amended, agreed to.

Clauses 25 to 31 agreed to, with Amendments.

Clause 32 (Mode of defraying Expenses of the Highway Board).


suggested the employment of a better set of forms in the col- lection of the rates. At present the highway rate, the county pate, and the poor's rate were all lumped together, so that the ratepayer had no means of ascertaining the specific sum which he contributed towards each rate. Nothing would tend to introduce so much harmony between the landlord and tenant as an arrangement by which the rates should be paid by the landlord. Under the present system, however, such au arrangement was impossible.


said, that he quite concurred in the desirability of the plan suggested by the hon. Member. A set of forms of the character described were already employed in London in the collection of the rates.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 33 to 35 agreed to.

Clause 36 (Appeal against Rate).


thought that all appeals ought to be brought before the Quarter Sessions, and not before the Special Sessions.


concurred in the opinion expressed by the hon. Baronet. The magistrates of the Special Sessions were already ex officio members of the Highway Board, so that they would virtually be deciding appeals which were made from their own decision.


advocated the retention of the clause in its original form, as appeals to the Quarter Sessions would be attended with great inconvenience and expense.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 37 to 44 agreed to.

Clause 45 (Power of Highway Board to make Improvements and Borrow Money).

MR. LIDDELL moved an Amendment, making the consent of two-thirds in value of the ratepayers of the townships and highway parishes to be benefited by the improvement necessary to the borrowing of money.

Amendment proposed, In page 17, line 5, after the word "improvements," to insert the words "Provided always, That the consent of at least two-thirds in value of the ratepayers in vestry assembled of the highway parishes to be benefited by such improvements shall be given."—(Mr. Liddell.)


opposed the Amendment, which he believed would have the effect of entirely nullifying the clause.


thought the danger arising from the clause would be a dis- position on the part of the parishes to borrow money for their improvement, instead of levying rates to defray the expenses.


did not think the proviso necessary, inasmuch the Highway Board was a representative board.


supported the Amendment, considering it desirable that the ratepayers should have a power of checking any unnecessary or excessive expenditure.


said, he did not see why Highway Boards should not be placed on the same footing as municipal bodies and various other public boards. At all events, if the Committee should sanction the Amendment, he trusted the words "in vestry assembled" would be inserted.


said, he was quite willing to adopt the suggestion.

Question put, "That those words be there inserted."

The Committee divided:—Ayes 17; Noes 88: Majority 71.


proposed an Amendment, the object of which was to extend the time of the repayment of any loan from ten to twenty years.

Amendment agreed to.


said, he entertained a strong objection to the principle of giving borrowing powers for the first time to Boards of Highway, and moved the omission of the clause.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining Clauses and Schedules were also agreed to.

SIR WILLIAM MILES moved the insertion of a clause the object of which was to prevent any encroachment on roads not exceeding thirty feet in width.


expressed his approval of the clause, which, with some verbal Amendments, was agreed to.

MR. LEVESON GOWER moved the insertion of a clause to enable councils of boroughs by resolution to assume the powers of Highway Boards.

Clause withdrawn, on an understanding that it should be considered on the Report.

House resumed: Bill reported; as amended, to be considered To-morrow.