HC Deb 29 March 1882 vol 268 cc256-8

Order for Second Reading read.


, in moving that the Bill be now read a second time, said, that it dealt with the moneys paid by Railway Companies, &c., to Committees of the commoners. In the case of Tottenham Common, £6,000 was paid; but no one could make any use of the proceeds. A similar case occurred in regard to the Malvern Hills. The money paid was lying idle. The Bill proposed that it should be applied in improving the remainder of the common land, in defraying the expenses of proceedings for protection, management, regulation, and preservation of common land; in the purchase of additional land, or in the purchase of recreation ground. In order to ascertain the views of the commoners, it was provided that a meeting should be summoned on the application of a certain number of them, and the decision of the majority of those present should bind the minority and the absentees.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That the Bill be now read a second time."—(Mr. Cheetham.)


said, he was very happy to support the Bill. He had consulted the Inclosure Commissioners, who said they were favourable to the Bill. But the Bill proposed to vest the land in the Inclosure Commissioners. The Inclosure Commissioners said they had never been incorporated for the purpose of holding land; and he would suggest to his hon. Friend that before he went further he should communicate with them upon the subject of vesting the land rather in some other Trustees than in the Inclosure Commissioners.


stated that in Committee he should propose Amendments to meet certain cases in which the provisions of the Bill would work injustice to owners of sheep-walks with defined limits.


felt bound to say that the hon. Member who moved the second reading of the Bill (Mr. Cheetham) had made a statement that few in the House understood, and had neither shown the necessity for such a measure, or how the money was proposed to be applied. He referred the House to the provisions of the Bill without stating his views on them, and the reasons that induced him to put them in the Bill. The right hon. and learned Gentleman the Home Secretary was quite pleased with the provisions of the Bill, with the exception of one clause; but he did not enlighten the House at all with regard to the provisions of the Bill. Now, it might or might not be important, and in many cases it might be of use, as in the case, the only case, the hon. Member mentioned—that of the Malvern Hills; but the Bill went a great deal further, and dealt with property in a summary and off-hand way. It provided that at a meeting called, a decision should be taken by the largest number of people there, though those people might be people who owned a very small portion of right in the common. Yet they were to bind what might possibly be the majority of copyholders of the common and the lord of the manor, whether they were the largest representatives of property or not. They were, however, to give a binding decision for all time. That provision was a great defect, and would require very careful handling in Committee. The hon. Gentleman did not say whether the Bill would apply to commonable as well as common land. He mixed the two together. Commonable land absolutely belonged only to a certain number of owners, and must be dealt with in an entirely different way from common land. He was not going to oppose the second reading; but he did not think the Bill was so small as the Home Secretary and the hon. Gentleman thought it was. He thought there was a great deal in the Bill which would require revision; and he hoped the Motion for going into Committee would be put down for some distant day, to enable those who were interested in these matters to consider the Bill.

Motion agreed to.

Bill read a second time, and committed for Tuesday 25th April.