HC Deb 30 March 1882 vol 268 cc307-8

asked the First Lord of the Treasury, Whether he will at once take steps to have the rights of the Crown to the foreshore at Dover decided by a Court of Law; and, whether he will apply for an injunction to restrain the persons, if any, who are making, or are about to make, a tunnel under such foreshore until the rights of the Crown shall have been determined?


Sir, by the desire of the Prime Minister, and with the permission of the hon. Member, I will answer this Question. I have been in communication with the hon. Baronet the Member for Hythe and Chairman of the South-Eastern Railway Company (Sir Edward Watkin) with respect to this matter, and the hon. Baronet has very frankly offered to place at the disposal of the Government all the documents upon which he founds his claim to the foreshore. I have directed the legal advisers of the Board of Trade to confer with the solicitors of the hon. Baronet in the matter and to report upon the case. As soon as they have been able to do this the case will be submitted to the Law Officers of the Crown for their opinion. Until that opinion has been received I cannot say what course the Government will take in the matter; but, in the meantime, I may add that the hon. Baronet has been warned that the Government claim the bed of the sea below low water mark and for three miles beyond, and that they will hold themselves free to use any powers at their disposal in such a manner as Parliament may decide, or as the general interests of the country may seem to them to require.