HC Deb 14 February 1870 vol 199 cc243-4

said, he would beg to ask the First Commissioner of Works, Whether, in pursuance of the recommendation of a Select Committee of last Session, it is his intention to bring in a Bill to relieve the Metropolitan Board of Works from the obligation to construct a Viaduct on the Thames Embankment from Hungerford Bridge to Wellington Street, Strand; and, whether, "having regard to the improvement of the Metropolis, and as a security against its further disfigurement," he intends, in accordance with a further recommendation of the same Select Committee, to recommend to Parliament that the Standing Orders be amended, so— That whenever any public company or corporate body applies for Parliamentary powers to enable it to execute any works or erect any buildings in the Metropolis, or to raise money for the execution or erection of such works and buildings, it shall, before coming to Parliament, deposit at the Office of the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Works and Public Buildings, plans and elevations, designs, or models, in like manner as Railway Companies are now obliged to deposit plans and sections at the Board of Trade?


said, in answer to the first Question, he might state, that when the measure was originally before the House to which the Question referred, for constructing that street from the Bridge to Somerset House, he himself strongly objected to it, and expressed an opinion that the street never would be made. Therefore, when he was charged with his present Office, he wrote a letter to the Metropolitan Board, calling attention to the recommendation of the Committee, and stating that, if in their judgment it was for the convenience of the inhabitants of the metropolis and for the interest of the ratepayers, that they should abandon the construction of that street; and, if they would take upon themselves all the pecuniary responsibilities that would result from that course, he thought it would be very desirable that they should carry out the recommendations of the Committee. He believed the Metropolitan Board of Works had taken the matter into consideration, and proposed in a Bill to take powers to abandon that work. With regard to the second Question of the noble Lord, he had addressed a letter to the Metropolitan Board of Works re- questing them, in their Annual Reports, to take notice of any works which might affect the public buildings of the metropolis, in order that he might see whether such works affected buildings under his charge; because he had no intention whatever to interfere with the business of the Metropolitan Board of Works. Whether it was desirable to alter or to take away the powers which the local authorities of the metropolis now possessed, in reference to works such as those to which the noble Lord alluded, was a question which would require a great deal of consideration. This was a matter within the province of the Home Department. While the local authorities possessed their present functions, any such course on his part as that which the noble Lord suggested would be useless. He might add that the Report of the Metropolitan Board of Works had been prepared, and would be laid on the table of the House very shortly.