HC Deb 06 August 1869 vol 198 cc1371-2

said, he would beg to ask Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, If he could state the grounds upon which the Customs' License to land and store goods at Dagenham has been refused to the Dagenham (Thames) Dock Company, three Acts of Parliament having passed for the construction of these works, and the sum of £170,000 having been expended on the faith of these Acts; whether the late Commissioners of the Treasury did not decide to grant the Company's application, and why that decision has been reversed by the present Board of Treasury; and why the correspondence between the Company and the Commissioners of the Treasury and the Board of Trade respectively, ordered by the House to be printed on the 10th of June 1869, has been produced in an incomplete state, and why those omissions in the Correspondence have not hitherto been supplied?


said, in reply, that the reasons why the Customs' License to land and store goods at Dagenham was refused were—1st, the remoteness of the locality, it being ten miles by railroad and more by water from the Custom House; 2dly, the want of adequate accommodation there for the trade; 3dly, the increased expense of sending officers to exercise supervision in such a place; 4thly, the risk to the revenue likely to arise on account of the lonely and retired nature of the place; 5thly, the necessity which would infallibly arise from a precedent established in this case of offering to other places the same advantage, and the absence of any additional accommodation to that offered by the existing dock companies. The right hon. Gentleman here read the following extract from the Customs' Report for this year relative to the contemplated dock:— The frontage of the platform to the river is very limited, too much so to be fairly called a wharf. It is uncovered and completely exposed to the weather, affording no shelter for men or goods. On the line of the railway, not far from its junction with the Tilbury line, are two large sheds erected, as I was informed, about two years ago. On the left of the railway as it approaches the jetty, and in the midst of the land belonging to the Dagenham Dock Company, is a long piece of water known as Dagenham Lake. It is this lake which it is proposed to convert into a dock, but no works for that purpose have been commenced. On the river side of the barrier bank— which separates the river from the lake—some excavation has some time ago been made to form an entrance basin, but the action of the river has now nearly filled it up, and no further progress has been made on the bank of the river in the construction of wall, wharf, or entrance. In respect to one part of the Question of the noble Lord, he must state that the late Government never positively acceded to the application of the company, but they made a Minute, and the matter was then referred to the Customs' Department for further inquiry, with a suggestion that the traders themselves should be left to judge whether or not the trade was likely to justify the grant of the concession of the privilege. From that view the present Treasury Board emphatically dissented, not thinking it right that the trade should decide whether the expense of sending Custom House Officers to places like that in question should be incurred. With regard to the last part of the Question, he was not aware of anything being incomplete in the Correspondence, but if the noble Lord would point out any omission it should be remedied.


said, that the Papers he had already laid on the table, contained the whole of the Correspondence with the exception of one letter.