HC Deb 18 February 1879 vol 243 cc1405-6

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether he is aware that since he declined as "Confirming Authority" to approve the scheme promoted by the Metropolitan Board of Works under "The Artizans Dwellings Act, 1875," in respect of an unhealthy area in Gray's Inn Road, no other has been substituted for it; whether he is also aware that the official representation of the unhealthiness of the place in question was made by the Holborn District Board of Works as far back as the 19th July, 1875; and, whether he has taken or can take any means to induce the Metropolitan Board to remedy the state of things which exists?


stated that he had received information that the distress arising from the insufficiency of accommodation in Gray's Inn Lane was of a most disheartening character.


Sir, the scheme referred to by the hon. and learned Member came before me in 1876. It appeared that the Board of Works had originally a very good scheme; but it was cut down so much that I thought it was one that ought not to be passed, and I therefore rejected it. In the autumn of 1876 the Board gave Notice of their intention to apply to Parliament for its sanction to a scheme for the widening of Gray's Inn Road, prepared, not under the Artizans Dwellings Act, but under the Metropolitan Improvement Act. Under the Bill so brought forward by them and approved by Parliament, the greater portion of the area affected by the original scheme was destroyed, the building of the artizans' dwellings as substitutes for those pulled down has not been proceeded with in accordance with the terms of the Act, and I am sorry to say that I have no power to compel the provisions of the Statute to be carried out. I trust, however, that before long a smaller scheme will be introduced which will remedy the evils complained of.