§ Bill considered in Committee.
§ (In the Committee.)
§ On Motion that the Preamble he postponed,
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH moved that the Chairman report Progress.
§ SIR MICHAEL BEACH
said, he would not oppose the Bill, but he hoped that the Government would next Session introduce a more general and comprehensive measure on this subject. Many roads were unjustly and inequitably dealt with by this Bill. The principle upon which it was based was that of putting the charges of the turnpike roads upon the parishes through which they ran, according to the mileage of the roads. He trusted that the Government would next Session bring in a Bill to place the maintenance of these roads either upon the highway district or upon the county, so as to make the inhabitants of the towns pay their proportion of the expense.
said, the House was aware that there were a great many turnpike trusts the local Acts with respect to which had expired. These trusts varied in almost every case with regard to the circumstances under which they were continued—the debt, the manner in which it had been incurred, the income, and the liabilities of the parishes through which the roads passed. Each year a Bill was introduced to continue the trusts, with the exception of those which were placed in the schedules. It was much better to leave the selection of the road trusts which were to be placed in the Continuance Act to the Home Office than that an individual Member, pressed perhaps by his constituents, should move to insert any particular trust in the schedule.
MR. T. G. BARING
said, it would, no doubt, be exceedingly desirable if the House could see its way to some general legislation for the abolition of these trusts, but it was perfectly impossible to do so at the present time. In every case which came before the Home Office great care was taken to inquire as to whether the trusts ought to he abolished, so as not to throw any extraordinary liability on particular parishes.
§ MR. DARBY GRIFFITH
said, be believed that every Motion made was recorded by the Clerk of the Committee. He should be glad to know what record was made of the Motion that these three Bills be referred to the same Committee.
said, that the Order of the House was that the three next Orders should be referred to the same Committee.
§ Clause 1 (Continuance of Acts, except 7 G. 4. c. lxxxv., 7 G. 4. c. cxxv., 7 & 8 G. 4. c. vii., 9 G. 4. c. cviii., 1"W. 4. c. viii., 3 W. 4. c. liii., 3 W. 4. c. lxi., 3 & 4 W. 4. c. c., 2 Vict. c. xiv., 5 Vict, c. xlv., 6 & 7 Vict. c. cviii., 13 & 14 Vict, c. lxxxv).
§ MR. LOCKE
said, he had to move an Amendment, the object of which he stated to be to introduce the Lower Road from Greenwich to Woolwich into the Bill, contrary to a promise made in the last Session by the right hon. Gentleman (Sir George Grey), that the trust should, in the present Session, be decided upon by a Select Committee, along with the New Cross Road, the Bermondsey, Rotherhithe, and Deptford Road, and the Surrey and Sussex Road. It had been introduced into the Bill for the purpose of continuing it. That was a course directly contrary to the arrangement made, and he was fully justified, therefore, in taking the sense of the House upon the subject. The Bermondsey and Rotherhithe Road Trust having been given up, and a rate levied for the support of the road, complaint was necessarily made of the invidious distinction. It was no answer to the claim that a toll should be taken off that there was a small debt existing. A proposal was made by the deputation to the Home Office for paying off this debt, but nothing had been done. The inhabitants of Bermondsey and Rotherhithe, where the trusts had been abolished, complained of having to pay eightpence in the pound to maintain their roads while a turnpike was kept up which interfered with their trade in supplying Woolwich with goods. The debt upon the tru3t was only £2,000. At the north side of the river a debt of £20,000 had not stood in the way of a trust being put in the schedule. If the House had come to a resolution, that within a certain metropolitan area road trusts should be abolished, that resolution should be adhered to.
In page 3, line 4, to add, at the end of the Chaise, the words, "also an Act fifth George the Fourth, chapter fifty-six, for repairing the Lower Road from Greenwich to Woolwich, in the county of Kent."—(Mr, Locke.)
MR. T. G. BARING
was not aware that the House had decided that there should be no turnpike trusts in the metropolis regardless of existing interests. The roads on the north of the Thames had only been thrown on the rates when the debts had been paid off. No doubt, the Archway and Kentish Town Trust was abolished, notwithstanding the existence of a long debt, but in that way a proprietory road could not be quoted as a precedent in this case. The trust to which the hon. Gentlemen referred had a bonâ fide debt of between £2,000 and £3,000, the interest had been revised by the Home Office within a short time, and the debt was being paid off at the rate of £500 per annum, so that it would be liquidated in about four years. To abolish this trust now would be a confiscation of the property of those who had lent their money upon its security. The Home Office were anxious to relieve the metropolis from road tolls, and the south side of London had been so relieved to a great extent. The three trusts had been put on the schedule which were free from debt; the other trust was not. The gate between Greenwich and Woolwich could not be said to be a tax on the inhabitants of Camberwell.
§ MR. LAYARD
said, that as representing the borough of Southwark, he hoped the hon. Gentleman (Mr. T. G. Baring) would re-consider his decision. He had certainly understood on the occasion of the deputation to the Home Office, that the toll should he abolished. There had boon a promise that the Bill should this Session be referred to a Select Committee. The inhabitants of Southwark and the inhabitants of Woolwich had petitioned against the Bill. The toll was a source of great inconvenience to his constituents.
§ SIR JOHN SHELLEY
said, it had been conceded that one of the greatest impediments to traffic in the metropolis was the existence of these tolls. If persons lent their money on the security of an Act of Parliament the term of which had expired he thought then the public interest should be paramount to that of creditors.
§ Question put, "That those words be there added,"690
§ The Committee divided:—Ayes 18; Noes 14: Majority 4.
§ And it appearing that 40 Members were not present:
§ Mr. Speaker resumed the Chair:—House counted, and 40 Members not being present,
§ House adjourned at Twelve o'clock.