HC Deb 01 August 1887 vol 318 cc696-7
MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)

asked the right hon. Baronet the Member for West Essex, as an Ecclesiastical Commissioner, Whether the Commissioners have since 1879 provided for the relieving of any of the poor occupiers removed by the Commissioners in 1879 from the site at Bream's Buildings, of whom a large proportion were law copyists and watchmakers, the nature of whose employment made it necessary for them to live in the neighbourhood; whether they have now sold the site for other purposes than the erection of artisans' dwellings; whether the Commissioners are now offering the site at Fetter Lane at a price which would make the ground rent at least 9d. per foot; whether his attention has been called to the evidence of Mr. Clutton, the agent for the Ecclesiastical Commissioners, before the Royal Commission on the Housing of the Working Classes (25th April, 1881), in which he states that, according to his experience, dwellings could not be erected to make a fair interest on the capital invested where the ground rent exceeds 5d. per foot; and also, in reply to Question 6519, that the general policy of the Commissioners was to re-house in a better way the whole of the displaced population, subject to the circumstances of each case; whether the Commissioners have a large area of property still uncleared in poor parishes in the Metropolis; whether, in regard to the site at Letter Lane, the Commissioners will reduce the price to 5d. per foot, the amount named by Mr. Clutton in his evidence; and, whether, in regard to the other sites, as they fall into the hands of the Commissioners, they will carry out the policy enunciated by Mr. Clutton of re-housing, so far as possible, the displaced population, instead of converting the sites to other uses?


Pains were taken to render the removal of the inhabitants as easy as possible. Some of the tenants had small compensations given them, others had time for removal without being charged rent, and others had accommodation offered to them by the Commission agents at Clerkenwell within less than a mile of the site, of which offer some few availed themselves. The Commissioners have intimated their willingness to consider a definitive proposal by responsible parties for the purpose of the erection of artizans' and labourers' dwellings in Dean Street, Fetter Lane. The ground-rent asked for this purpose is 9d. per square foot, which is very considerably below the market value. The Commission do not feel justified in accepting for this particular site a yet lower rent in order that it may be devoted to this purpose. If it is devoted to this purpose, which the Commission are quite willing should be the case, they consider that any loss thereby incurred should not fall wholly on funds committed to their charge on a perfectly distinct trust. To the last Question I answer, generally yes, subject to the circumstances of each case.