HC Deb 31 July 1869 vol 198 cc1056-60

(Mr. Dodson, Mr. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Goschen.)


Bill considered in Committee.

(In the Committee.)

Clauses 1 to 21, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 22. (Power to levy consolidated rate).


proposed a proviso, the effect of which would be to secure that the incidence of the rates, as they now fell upon the owners or the occupiers respectively, should not be altered by the operation of this Bill.


said, he believed that this object was secured already in other parts of the Bill. He would, however, consult the draftsman, and if the object were not sufficiently secured he would take care that it was so done in bringing up the Report.


said, he thought the clause had better be postponed. He would suggest that the whole consolidated rate should be divided into equal parts between the owners and occupiers.

Amendment negatived.

Clause agreed to.

Clauses 23 to 33, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 34 (Additional borrowing powers of board).


moved the omission of sub-section 1, and observed that the Committee were now asked to grant a fund to complete the metropolitan drainage scheme. Opinions were by no means unanimous as to the success attending these works. A memorial had been presented to the House from Barking and other places, the health of whose inhabitants had been affected by the scheme, and he thought that they should not vote more money for the work while it was undergoing investigation.


observed that the proposal of the hon. Gentleman was somewhat like that of a man who, after spending a great deal of money in building a house, objected to give the last finishing touch to enable him to live in it. They had spent £4,000,000 in carrying the drainage to a certain point. A small portion of the scheme was yet incomplete. That portion was not at all connected with the outfall, but with the internal drainage of the metropolis. When the rate-payers were taxed for a work they were entitled to receive the benefit of it, and it would be an act of gross injustice not to give them the benefit of the completion of the scheme, merely because there was some difference of opinion amongst the philosophers on the subject.


said, he would withdraw his Amendment on the understanding that no further expenditure on the outfall drainage was proposed to be sanctioned.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Clause added to the Bill.

Remaining clauses agreed to.


moved, after Clause 34, to insert a new clause (Loans by board to managers of Metropolitan Asylum District).

Clause agreed, to.


moved to insert a new clause (Investment by trustees in stock).


suggested that it would be more convenient if the discussion upon this clause were taken upon the Report, because it was desirable that it should be debated in a full House—seeing that it involved a general principle. The clause not only affected the particular stock to be created, but the whole principle upon which trustees were to deal with trust money. That was a point which demanded the most serious consideration, and he thought more time should be given for that purpose.


agreed with the right hon. Gentleman that the discussion should be postponed. He did not wish to put any difficulty in the way of the Metropolitan Board of Works raising this money; but this clause would authorize trustees to invest in this stock, though an investment of such a nature had never been contemplated. The question was not one that they could consider at this time; but, if it was considered at all, it should be considered in a Bill affecting the duties of powers of trustees.


admitted the force of these remarks, and expressed a hope that the hon. Baronet (Sir William Tite) would withdraw his Amendment.


denied that any general principle was raised by the clause. The question merely was whether trustees should have the power of investing in this particular stock. He hoped, therefore, that the Amendment, if not insisted upon at present, would be brought up again at a subsequent stage.


said, that even the Three per Cents did not furnish so material a guarantee as this stock would furnish. If facilities for investment in the stock were not afforded the Bill would be worthless.

Clause, by leave, withdrawn.


called attention to the proposed sale by the Metro- politan Board of twenty acres of land purchased for the creation of a park at Finsbury. The sale for building purposes of this land out of the small acreage available would leave the park a mockery and a sham. The Metropolitan Board proposed in the same way to lease land devoted to the Southwark Park. Now, Parliament had declared that a certain quantity of land should be appropriated for the purposes of these parks, and in order to carry out their views he proposed the following clause:— That it shall not be lawful for the Metropolitan Board oi Works to sell or let, whether on lease or otherwise, any portion of the lands now vested in said Board for the purpose of a park or other place of recreation.

Clause (Park lands vested in the Metropolitan Board of Works,) — (Mr. Torrens,)—brought up, and read the first time.


said, the question was, how much money contributed by the metropolis generally should be devoted for parks situated in two districts of the metropolis, and that question must necessarily be decided by the Board which represented the whole metropolis. The point raised by his hon. Friend had really nothing whatever to do with the subject-matter of this Bill, the object of which was merely to arrange for the debt of the metropolis at large. It was wholly foreign to the measure, and as far as legislation was concerned it would be an impropriety to introduce it into the Bill. If there was anything improper in the Bill giving the Metropolitan Board of Works power over these parks, that should be remedied by a Bill brought in by the local board for this purpose next year. He objected to this clause being introduced into a Bill brought in for a very different purpose.


said, this was a question which demanded the serious consideration of the Committee. Supposing a Bill were introduced on the subject next year, it would be of very little use, inasmuch as by that time the Board of Works might have the land disposed of and built upon. The subject was not foreign to the Bill, as the 42nd clause related to the powers of the Metropolitan Board in respect of certain lands. The question was, whether the Board of Works should be empowered to build on land which had been bought, under the sanction of Parliament, for the recreation of the people; and his hon. Friend (Mr. Torrens) had seized upon the right moment for dealing with this question. In all large towns throughout the country it was absolutely necessary to preserve open spaces by every possible means, and that should not be done by sacrificing the beauty of a park, when once the ground was obtained for one, and by taking portions out of it for purposes foreign to those of a park. The same question arose at Southwark, and he hoped the House would put an end to such a system by adopting the clause of his hon. Friend.


said, this question had been fully discussed on a former occasion. Some years ago it had been arranged that a park should be created at Finsbury, the Government contributing £60,000, and the Metropolitan Board finding the remaining half. But the House of Commons protested against the application of public money for the purposes of a park at Finsbury, and Lord Palmerston was compelled, to withdraw the proposal he had made, leaving the Metropolitan Board to find the whole of the money. They had scheduled 240 acres, but it was impossible for them to find the means of buying this land; so they bought 130 acres. The clauses enabling the Board to deal with the surplus land were in the Act itself, and Parliament had given the Board power first to offer this land, under certain conditions, to the original owners, and if they did not take to it the land might be sold otherwise. As to Bermondsey Park, he did not believe that any decision had been come to by the Board with respect to the lease of any portion of the land. As a member of the Metropolitan Board, he had voted against the sale of any part of the Finsbury Park, but it was a question on which, there might be a fair difference of opinion, and he had been out-voted. It must be remembered that the Metropolitan Board was composed of representatives of the whole metropolis, and that they not only had to buy the land but to lay out and maintain the park at a considerable annual expenditure. In such a Bill as this such a clause was entirely out of place.


urged the Committee to protect the remainder of the land bought for Finsbury Park, and referred to the sale of a portion of Victoria Park, since which time the inhabitants of the borough he represented had been continually desiring that that land, or what remained of it, should be got back for the purpose of the park.


said, he had surveyed the ground, which was semicircular, and what the Metropolitan Board of Works proposed to do was to cut ten acres out of the whole frontage of the park.


said, he hoped the Government would give way. It was unreasonable to take away the best part of the park as the Metropolitan Board proposed.


reminded the Committee that the parishes concerned in these parks at Finsbury and Southwark had been parties to a Bill for acquiring certain land for the purposes of the parks, on condition that a portion of that land should be sold or let in order to recoup the Board a portion of the cost. The parishes now wanted the whole of the land; but such a change in the conditions of the arrangement would be a wrong to the whole of the metropolitan rate-payers, and he did not see how, if such a clause were inserted, the Bill could proceed.


denied that his constituents were asking for anything new. They were merely asking Parliament to make good its own words.

Question put, "That the Clause be read a second, time."

The Committee divided: — Ayes 40; Noes 34: Majority 6.

House resumed.

Bill reported; as amended, to be considered upon Monday.

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