HC Deb 21 June 1880 vol 253 cc419-20

asked the honourable Baronet the Member for Truro, What progress has been made by the Metropolitan Board of Works in the construction of the new streets from Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road, and the Regent Circus to New Oxford Street respectively, or in the acquisition of the property required for the same; and, whether there are any and what special reasons for the delay which has already taken place or any obstacles in the way of proceeding with communications which are so much needed between the north and south of the Metropolis?


Sir, in reply to the Question of the hon. Member, I beg to inform him that the progress of the two improvements referred to has been delayed in consequence of the difficulty of dealing with the property occupied by the labouring classes; but, where not so occupied, a considerable amount of property has been acquired for the street from Piccadilly to New Oxford Street. By the terms of the Act of Parliament, not more than 15 houses occupied by persons of the labouring class can be removed until sufficient accommodation in suitable dwellings has been acquired elsewhere for the numbers displaced. Consequently, if the Board proceeded to acquire property so occupied, possession could not be taken until the requisite accommodation had been provided. I may add that, although under the Act the Board has power to acquire sites by agreement, it has no authority to erect labourers' dwellings, and building companies or societies have evinced no alacrity to take lands for such a purpose. Perhaps the House will allow me to mention that 12 street improvements were included in the Act of 1S77, of which two—namely, those at Mare Street, Hackney, and the Angel, Islington have been completed; eight others are in a more or less advanced stage, and, in several cases, including that of Coventry Street widening, the Board anticipates that the ground will be cleared before the end of the summer.