§ MR. BAGGALLAY (Lambeth, Brixton)
asked the First Commissioner of Works, If the Government would exclude from the Bill for the transfer of certain Parks to the Metropolitan Board of Works, the lands adjacent to Battersea Park, which constitute a separate estate from the Park, and which are mortgaged to the Public Works Commissioners for a sum amounting with accrued interest to about £173,000?
§ THE FIRST COMMISSIONER (Mr. PLUNKET) (Dublin University)
As the London Parks Bill stands at present, it proposes to hand over to the Metropolitan Board of Works the debt on the Battersea Park, at present amounting, with interest, to £173,000; but it also proposes to hand over to the same Body the Battersea Estate, on the security of which that money was borrowed, and which we estimate will, in a few years, produce £6,800 a-year, and we believe that would not be a bad bargain for the Metropolitan Board. But if, in Committee, it should appear to be thought better that the Government should keep the debt and the estate with it, I am authorized by the Treasury to say that we shall not resist such a change, so that, in fact, they may have it whichever way they prefer. If the latter suggestion be adopted, the financial result of the carrying of the Bill would be to hand over to the Metropolitan Board of Works, free of all debt, a property upon which has been expended, from Crown and Government grants, in respect of the acquisition of land, the construction of Westminster Bridge, and other works, sums of money amounting to a capital outlay of £500,000 in round numbers, while the annual maintenance may be taken at about £19,300 a-year, or less than 4 per cent upon the amount which has been contributed up to the present time from Imperial sources towards the cost of these Parks and other works.