§ MR. CHANNING (Northampton, E.)
asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department, Whether his attention has been called to the proposed closing, by the Middlesex magistrates, 1354 of two foot and bridle paths in Clay-bury Park, near Woodford Bridge, which afford the nearest way between Woodford Bridge and Barking Side; whether the Middlesex magistrates have bought Claybury Park for the erection of a large pauper lunatic asylum, and also a private asylum for paying patients; whether it is a fact that ample grounds could be reserved for the private asylum without interfering with either of the paths referred to; whether the agent of the magistrates called, with insufficient notice, a meeting on 2nd June at Woodford Bridge, to which only a favoured few were admitted; whether, at a full meeting of inhabitants of Woodford and Barking Side parishes, the parishes chiefly interested, on the 16th of June, the proposal to close or divert the paths was unanimously refused; whether an attempt was made in 1864 to close these paths, and at that time the jury in the case gave their verdict that the "paths were necessary;" and, whether, having regard to the circumstances, he will represent to the magistrates the desirability of so modifying their plans as to Claybury Park, as not to close or divert these ancient rights of way?
§ THE SECRETARY OF STATE (Mr. MATTHEWS) (Birmingham, E.)
I have had a Report from the Clerk of the Peace for Middlesex, from which I collect that there is through the property purchased by the magistrates one path which is a bridlepath and footpath combined, except for a short distance, where the bridlepath and footpath are divided. The magistrates have bought the property for the purpose of a pauper lunatic asylum for 2,000 patients, and of an asylum for paying patients. The path in question intersects the property for a length of 40 chains. For the security of the patients and of the public it will be necessary either to fence in the path on both sides or to divert it. The magistrates have thought it best to take the necessary steps for diverting the path and substituting for it a good road, which will be more convenient to the public. The necessary consents from the Local Authorities have been obtained. The Clerk of the Peace is not aware of the meeting of the 2nd of June. If the inhabitants are aggrieved they have means given them under the Highway Acts of appealing from the order diverting the path. I have no 1355 power to interfere with the discretion of magistrates in such matter.