HC Deb 14 August 1890 vol 348 cc947-63

Order read, for resuming Adjourned Debate on Question proposed [12th August] on consideration of Lords' Amendments, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the Amendment, page 3, line 19, as amended, as followeth:"— Provided that if any lands shall be taken or injuriously affected by anything to be done under or by virtue of this Act without the consent of the owner thereof compensation shall be made for the same by the Council in the manner provided by 'The Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845,' and the Acts amending the same, the provisions of which Acts so far as relates to lands taken otherwise than by agreement and to compensation for lands injuriously affected shall be deemed for that purpose to be incorporated with this Act. The words 'injuriously affected' shall have the same meaning as in the said Act. Provided also that no claim for compensation under this Act shall be made after the expiration of six months from the date of the notice served upon such owner under the provision of this section and duly published.

Question again proposed.

Debate resumed.

(3.23.) MR. SHAW LEFEVRE (Bradford, Central)

I moved the adjournment of the Debate on Tuesday last at the suggestion of those around me, as it seemed to us, after what had taken place and the confusion in which the Amendment before us had got into, that the Government ought to re-consider the Amendment in concert with the London Council. The President of the Local Government Board has asked the House to agree to the Lords Amendment; but, at the same time, he has admitted that it is not in a satisfactory shape, that it is possibly open to a construction which will let in the London Council to a multitude of claims from leaseholders and others affected by the removal of the gates, whom he does not think entitled to any compensation whatever, and whom it was not the intention of the Lords to include within the purview of their Amendment. He supported an Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend the Member for Bucks which would have prevented this interpretation of the clause. It is clear that the Division which took place on the Amendment of my hon. and gallant Friend was under a misunderstanding. If hon. Members had understood at the time, as they did later, that the President of the Local Government Board had consulted the Lord Chancellor and the Prime Minister on the subject, and that both of them had said that it was not the intention of the Lords to secure compensation to the leaseholders, and that they approved of the Amendment desired by the London Council, if hon. Members had also understood that the Solicitor General was not speaking as Law Officer of the Crown, but in his private capacity as one personally interested in the question, and who had headed the Petition against the Bill on behalf of the leaseholders, I think the Division would have been very different. Under these circumstances, I think it was to be expected that the Government would, before asking us to agree to the Lords Amendment, make an effort to put it into a shape in which its meaning would be quite clear and certain. I understand, however, that the President of the Local Government Board feels himself unable now to amend the Amendment; this being the case, I think we have a very strong claim that the Government should not pass the Lords Amendment, but should allow it to be negatived, and should repudiate the claim of compensation to any one, be it the ground landlord or the leaseholder. The case against the Amendment on its merits seems tome to be a very strong one. Select Committees of both Houses of Parliament have, after long inquiries, come to the conclusion that there is no valid claim for compensation on the part of any one for the removal of these obstructive gates. The Committee of this House was presided over by one of its most experienced and able Chairmen, the hon. Baronet the Member for Herefordshire. The Duke of Bedford was heard before it. He said, through his representatives, that he did not care about the gates personally, that he was not interested in wanting the gates, that he appeared only on behalf of his tenants. The evidence showed evidently that his only interest was that of a reversioner, and that his reversion would be improved in value rather than the reverse. The leaseholders were also heard by counsel. It was shown that there was no precedent whatever for any compensation being given to mere leaseholders for any diversion of traffic, either for increase of traffic or diminution of traffic, caused by street improvements. The Committee was unanimously of opinion that there was no claim for compensation for the removal of the gates, either on the part of the Duke of Bedford or of the leaseholder. Before the Lords Committee the case was again gone into. The Duke of Bedford did not appear; he acquiesced in the decision of the Commons Committee—he no longer asked for compensation. The lease holders were again heard by counsel, and, after a long inquiry, the Lords Committee again decided that they had no claim whatever to any compensation, but the Committee inserted a clause requiring the London Council to lay down a noiseless pavement in the streets leading to these gates—a requirement which will cost the Council £13,000. On the Third Reading of the Bill, the House of Lords adopted the unprecedented course of inserting a clause giving a claim of compensation to the Duke of Bedford. It does not appear that the Duke asked for it, or desired it, or would act upon it. It is quite certain, also, that the Amendment was not intended to apply to leaseholders. We have the opinions of Lord Selborne, the Lord Chancellor, and of Lord Herschell, that the leaseholders are not entitled to compensation, and that it was not intended to secure to them compensation by the clause. Whether the clause will have that effect I cannot confidently say. We have the legal opinion of the Solicitor General that it will have this effect; but the Solicitor General is not very sound on the subject of compensation. He is apt to be sanguine on the subject when publicans are concerned, and he may be excused for being over sanguine when he is personally concerned. What is certain is that the clause will lead to protracted litigation on the parts of hundreds of leaseholders, though probably the ultimate decision will be against them. If the Amendment should only secure compensation for the Duke, it is superfluous and unnecessary, for he does not ask for it; and the evidence is conclusive that his reversionary interest is not in any way damaged. On the other hand, if the Amendment is worded so as not to carry out the views of the framers, but to have the wider sense which some people fear it will have, and which the Lords certainly did not mean it to have, it will entail endless litigation, and costs, and claims against the London Council, and would make it absolutely impossible to deal with the 250 other gates which now obstruct and impede the traffic of London; and it would form a most dangerous precedent, which would in effect make any street improvement which diverts traffic by increasing it in one direction and diverting it in another absolutely impossible. I hope, therefore, that the Government will now see their way to reject the whole of the Lords Amendment.

*(3.40.) MR. SYDNEY GEDGE (Stockport)

The simple answer to the bogey which the right hon. Gentleman has conjured up is, that the clause creates no new precedent, but simply follows the lines the Legislature has laid down in all similar cases from time immemorial. It does not say that the Duke of Bedford shall or shall not have compensation, nor that compensation shall or shall not be awarded to the leaseholders, or tenants, or, as the right hon. Member for Wolyerhampton (Mr. H. H. Fowler), with a laudable desire to throw dust in. the eyes of the House, said—the lodgers. All that it says is, that if property is injuriously affected there shall be a claim for compensation, and that the words "injuriously affected" shall have the same meaning as in the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act. This clause decides nothing as to who shall have a right to claim; but it says that if there is any person whose lands are injuriously affected then he shall be entitled to compensation. Why should the London County Council, for whom I have the greatest respect, be excepted from this provision of the law? I have no desire to throw a stone at the County Council, but rather to protect them against the predatory instincts of some of their leaders, and I say that there is nothing more here than would apply to any Public Department of the State—even the War Office, if it proposed to take lands in order to prevent an invasion from being rendered easy. The next bogey which has been conjured up is, the tremendous number of lawsuits which the clause will inevitably give rise to. Not so, if claims do arise there will be a test case tried, which will govern the whole. Are we to deny the owners of property their legitimate rights because the London County Council may have to pay the costs? If the parties fail to substantiate their claims they will be cast in the costs. It is said that the Duke of Bedford waived his claim by declining to carry his Petition to the House of Lords. As a matter of fact, the Duke never petitions the House of Lords; he thinks it would be unworthy of his position as a Peer to do so, and he never has petitioned the House of Lords against a Private Bill. If the leaseholders can show, under the Bedford Paving Act, that these gates ought to be kept up, they ought to be entitled to compensation if they are removed, and it can be shown that their interests are in consequence injuriously affected. It has been said that the clause does not represent the view of the House of Lords in inserting it. I must say that I prefer to take the clause itself to any statement as to the views of the noble Lords who voted for it. I do not believe that the House of Lords passed the clause without knowing what it was they really meant. I prefer to believe that Lord Selborne, who drew it up, knew perfectly well what the clause meant. I hope the Government will not consent to the proposal to disagree with the Lords Amendment, and I think if they do they will not be supported by many of their followers.

*(3.55.) MR.H.LAWSON (St.Pancras, W.)

I regret that the time which has elapsed since the adjournment of the Debate has not convinced the hon. Gentleman opposite that the proposal contained in the Lords Amendment is both unreasonable and unworkable. I should prefer that there should be a definite liability imposed upon the London County Council rather than this large and uncertain burden, which it is difficult, if not impossible, to assess, and in regard to which the lawyers themselves are much divided. I have here a letter from Lord Selborne to the Parliamentary agent. I imagine when they opposed the Amendment of the hon. and gallant Member for North Bucks, on Tuesday, that hon. Members were of opinion that they were confirming some right enjoyed by the leaseholders on this estate. [Cries of "No!"] If that were not so, a good many Members voted under a misconception. Lord Selborne says that practically the owner of the gates and bars is the only person entitled to claim compensation under the Lands Clauses Act.

MR. GAINSFORD BRUCE (Finsbury, Holborn)

Will the hon. Member read the whole of the letter?


The noble lord says that there was no intention in the Amendment of entitling any person to compensation except those whose cases would come under the Lands Clauses Act. He thinks that everyone whose lands are taken away, and who are in that sense injuriously affected, ought to be compensated. He adds— Practically, I take it the freeholder who is the owner of the bars and gates is the only person in the situation. Lord Herschell, in conference with two other Law Lords, has come to the same conclusion as to the meaning of the words, but opposed to those noble Lords are the opinions of the Solicitor General and the hon. and learned Member for Holborn (Mr. Gainsford Bruce), and if there is this division among lawyers as to the construction of the words there will inevitably be a serious litigation and heavy expense entailed upon the London County Council. I can say that, as a matter of fact, there will be litigation, and it is the intention of the leaseholders to test the case. I am sorry that the learned Solicitor General is not present, because I was anxious to point out to him that he has violated the customary usage of the House, that no hon. Member who has petitioned the House against a Bill should take part in the Debate upon it. I find that the very first name to the Petition is that of Sir Edward Clarke, who asks for compensation in the event of any deterioration of the value of his property. I can only assume that the hon. and learned Gentleman in thus departing from the practice of the House had forgotten the position he occupied. These gates were put up on the Bedford estate to prevent the Skinners' Company and the owners of the Mortimer estate from using roads for heavy traffic towards the maintenance of which they contributed nothing. The Duke of Bedford has never inserted any covenant in his leases giving his tenants or lessees a right to claim compensation in the event of the gates being removed. The gates were erected for a special purpose, and the necessity for them disappeared when, in 1855, the ratepayers of the district took on themselves the cost of repairing and maintaining the streets and roads. Surely, then, it is a vicious principle to set up a new claim for compensation, based upon an entirely new ground. It has never been held that the increase or the diminution of traffic forms a ground for compensation. Before the Committee of the House of Lords the learned counsel engaged in the case admitted that the citizens took the burden or the benefit, whichever it might be, and it is contended that the Duke of Bedford's estate will, in reality, be greatly benefitted by the abolition of these gates and bars. Why should this House force upon the Duke of Bedford compensation which he does not want or ask for? I fear the result will be to perpetuate a useless, senseless, and irritating anachronism.

(4.5.) THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (Sir R. WEBSTER, Isle of Wight)

In addressing the House upon this subject I wish it to be understood that I speak as a private Member, and not as a member of the Government. I hope I may be able to remove the impression created by the remarks of the right hon. Member for Bradford (Mr. Shaw Lefevre) that the London County Council will run any risk by the retention of this clause. I am acquainted with the Debate which occurred in the House of Lords, and I cannot imagine anyone entertaining any real fear that leaseholders will be able to obtain compensation under this section, except in one special case. This case is where a house has, in fact, been injured physically by increase of traffic, and it is to meet that case that I think it is right that the words should stand as they are. I have had the opportunity of taking part in hundreds of these inquiries, and in a claim for compensation a man must either prove that his land has been taken, or that it has been injuriously affected. It is not contended that the land of the leaseholders would be taken unless in removing one of the bars the railings or some of the land should be taken away, in which case the leaseholders might have reason to claim compensation. But it is said that hundreds and thousands of claims might be let in by allowing these words to stand, and that, therefore, the County Council would be afraid to act. I say, without the slightest reservation, that increase of traffic or the removal of traffic per se has never yet been allowed to give a claim for compensation for injurious affection. There have been cases in which the removal of traffic has been allowed to come in as an element where there was, in fact, physical interference. I remember a case of a public house which, from the letting point of view, was injuriously affected by the access to it being obstructed, and the traffic being diverted owing to the building of a rail way bridge near, and other alterations connected with the level of the roadway Giving, therefore, to the House the benefit of my 20 years' experience in these cases, I believe the suggestion that there is any risk whatever to the County Council by accepting this Amendment is a bogey. It is said that the leaseholders would rush into Court and endeavour to engage the County Council in litigation.


The Solicitor General said so.


I do not know what the Solicitor General said in this matter, but I have heard the speech of the right hon. Member for Bradford, and I say that the clause is intended to apply to cases in which de facto there is land taken, or in which it is injuriously affected. I think it would be unjust, in these circumstances, to strike the words out of the Bill in view of the cases which have to be met.

*(4.10.) MR. T. H. BOLTON (St. Pancras, N.)

I rise for the purpose of suggesting one or two considerations which I think can hardly have been in the mind of the Attorney General when he formed his opinion. It is perfectly true that under the Lands Clauses Act no compensation for increase or decrease of traffic, has been awarded, but this Bill makes anything done by virtue of it the subject of consideration for compensation. How can it be said that property "injuriously affected by anything done by virtue of this Act" shall not be taken into consideration and shall not be entitled to compensation? I merely mention the point for the consideration of the hon. and learned Gentleman the Attorney General. I defer to him, for he is the head of the English Bar, and he has at his right hand an eminent and distinguished lawyer (Mr. Matthews) thoroughly capable of forming a sound opinion. In the Times newspaper of to-day I noticed an advertisement in which the legal representative of the Bedford Lessees Defence Committee distinctly expresses his satisfaction on behalf of the leaseholders and occupiers with the clause which the Lords have inserted. He says— The leaseholders of the Bedford estate claim that under the present operation of the Bedford Paving Act and their leases they have an indefeasible right as against the freeholders and the whole world to the maintenance of the gates. He goes on to say that the leaseholders are perfectly satisfied with the clause introduced by the House of Lords, and that they object altogether to the omission of that clause. Therefore the lessees contemplate claims under the clause. The London County Council, and I presume they are supposed to know something of their business, have had the matter under their serious consideration, and they anticipate, if this clause is allowed to remain, very heavy claims being made against them for compensation. They, therefore, ask the House of Commons to deal with the matter one way or the other—to recognise compensation or exclude it—and not to retain in the Bill an obscure clause which is certain to lead to expensive litigation. Personally, I am strongly opposed to compensation altogether. I do not think that the meaning of the vote the other night has been altogether accurately represented by my right hon. Friend the Member for Bradford. It simply meant that the House would not give the Duke of Bedford, to the exclusion of others who might have better rights, a claim to compensation. The vote which is now about to be taken is upon the broad question whether we are to give compensation or not. I am sorry that the proposition of my hon. Friend the Member for West St. Pancras, simply to disagree with the Lords Amendment, was not put; we should then have avoided the difficulties which have arisen since. My opposition is altogether to the introduction of the principle of compensation as applicable to increase or decrease of traffic in connection with a street improvement in the public interest. The Attorney General admits that hitherto there has been no claim for compensation in such a case.


What I said was that the simple removal of traffic had never been made the subject of compensation, but that where physical injury is done to the property by a particular course taken a claim for compensation would lie.


Apart from any special injury to land or property, as a subject for compensation this Bill, if it does anything at all, introduces an entirely new principle. I object to this principle: but, in any case, I say that this House has no right to leave a question of this kind in a state of uncertainty that is calculated to lead to a considerable amount of litigation.


I do not agree with the observations which have fallen from the hon. Member for North St. Pancras (Mr. T. H. Bolton). So far as the meaning of the clause is concerned, I think we are all agreed that it means that if the property of any person is injuriously affected, the person whose property is so injuriously affected shall be entitled to compensation. Upon that point there can be no difference of opinion. It is agreed that there may be a difference of opinion as to whether the leaseholders may be persons injuriously affected. I do not say that that is not a question of law, but I maintain that this House is not a tribunal to decide such a question. When works have been sanctioned by Act of Parliament, the Legislature has always introduced a clause to say that if any person is injuriously affected he shall have the ordinary legal remedy, and that it shall be left to the Courts to decide whether he has been injuriously affected or not. All that I ask the House is, that it will not interfere with the ordinary course of law. The Attorney General's opinion is entitled to much weight, but it is a question not for this House, but for a Court of Law to determine according to the facts of the case. When the right hon. Member for Bradford said there was no precedent for this House recognising increase or diminution of traffic as a ground for compensation, he probably was not aware of the Midland Railway (Additional Powers) Act, 1882, which gave power to alter certain roads and streets, and which enacted that compensation should be given for loss or injury sustained by reason of deprivation of frontage or access to the Sharpness Company, and to the other owners of property in Birmingham. This Bill, however, does not go so far; it does not direct that compensation shall be given, but simply provides that if a person is injuriously affected he shall have the ordinary remedy.

(4.20.) MR. PICKERSGILL (Bethnal Green, S.W.)

The Attorney General has endeavoured to convey that there will be no litigation under this Act if it passes. Now, everything which falls from the learned Attorney General is entitled to the greatest weight and the highest consideration, but on this occasion I trust the House will not forget to contrast the views of the hon. and learned Gentleman with those of his own Colleague, the Solicitor General, and the hon. Gentleman who has just sat down. It has been said that, in removing these gates, no land will be taken, but it is clear that the land upon which the gates are erected will be taken—small in quantity, I admit—but an appreciable quantity, and, as I read the law, the effect will be to give a larger operation to the words "injuriously affected" as applied to other land not taken, but held along with the land which is taken. As a Metropolitan Member, I certainly entertain the greatest possible apprehension as to the amount of litigation to which this clause will give rise, not only in the central but also in the more remote parts of London. Only yesterday a case was decided in the North London Police Court which showed that in other parts of the Metropolis there are avenues of houses enclosed by similar gates, which, although the property receives the benefit of the main drainage and other works, to which the ratepayers generally have contributed, are not subject to the jurisdiction of the London County Council. I maintain that the effect of adopting this Amendment will be to establish an Alsatia, the existence of which will be antagonistic to the public interests.

(4.25.) MR. ADDISON (Ashton-under-Lyne)

There are two cases in which compensation may be given under the Lands Clauses Act—one is where the land is injuriously affected, and the other is where structures erected upon it are injuriously affected, without being absolutely taken. When the Attorney General speaks of taking land I presume that he means injuriously affecting the land of a particular owner.


May I point out that no land is taken under this Bill at all.


If there is no land taken I cannot conceive how any claim for compensation can arise, although that may cut both ways.

(4.26.) MR. J. ROWLANDS (Finsbury, E.)

I think that the speech of the hon. and learned Member for Holborn (Mr. G. Bruce) was conclusively against the Lords Amendments. We have had a statement from the Attorney General giving us what, in his opinion, the scope of the law is. The hon. Member for Holborn was not satisfied with that statement; but he as good as said that the Attorney General might be quite right as to the general law, but that he had not taken into consideration that in this case there are Private Acts of Parliament, which, in their bearing, would alter the scope of the law. That means that we are going to give to the freeholder and lessees of this property a distinct power of litigation as against the London County Council. I do not think that that is a position in which this House should place the County Council. We might have accepted the position of the Attorney General, but, now that we are able to see where we are going, and are able to put the opinion of the hon. and learned Member for Holborn against that of the Attorney General, I think we ought to hesitate before we inflict on the County Council the crop of litigation which will, undoubtedly, be the fruit of this clause. Either these gates and bars should be removed, or they should not, and if the House believes that the County Council should remove them it should have the courage of its opinions, and give the County Council the power of doing so. We are all prepared to admit that there will be increased traffic, but, with that exception, there can be no injury whatever to any of the property in the neighbourhood.

*(4.29.) MR. CREMBR (Shoreditch, Haggerston)

The other day, when this question was submitted to the House, three and a half hours were occupied in discussing it. We have now been discussing it again, for an hour and a half, so that five hours of the precious time of the House have been taken up with a proposal which comes from the House of Lords, and is directly antagonistic to the decision of their own Committee and a Committee of this House. I hope that the country will take a note of that fact when it is asked to consider what the real causes of the obstruction of public business are. When we are engaged in discussing important measures submitted by the Government we are taken to task and accused of obstructing the useful legislation of the country. I think the country will understand from what has occurred to-day that the obstructionists are not in this Chamber, but in another House. Where are we on this question? On the one side we have the Local Authority pronouncing strongly in favour of the Bill, not in its amended form, but in the form in which it went to the House of Lords. I have lived for the last 12 or 14 years within a stone's throw of one of these gates and bars, and I know that during the whole of that time the Local Authority in the district have been doing their best to get these obstructions removed. Men of all shades of political thought have united in bringing the influence of the Local Authority to bear on the Duke of Bedford to induce him to listen to reasonable proposals, but he has persistently defied them. The London County Council is promoting the passage of this Bill, and I believe that, if a poll of the inhabitants of London could be taken on the subject, 95 per cent. of the people would be found favourable to the removal of these obstructions. On the other side we have the Duke of Bedford, the landowner. His attitude is only natural, indeed I suppose that if I were the landowner I should adopt the same course. We have him resisting the removal of these gates and bars. Then we have a few leaseholders who consider themselves deeply interested in maintaining these gates and bars, and who consider that if these obstructions, are removed they are entitled to compensation. I do not blame them for fighting their battle, but I think that when they were beaten in the Committees they ought to have taken their defeat gracefully. But, not satisfied with being defeated in two Committees, they induced the House of Lords, or a number of the Members of that distinguished Assembly, to aid them in setting up a claim to compensation. Then we have another small body of men who are supporting the landowner and the leaseholders, and they are the champions of the rights of property, of whom the hon. Member for Stockport (Mr. Gedge) is such a distinguished leader. [Cries of "Divide!"] It is all very well for hon. Members to cry "Divide!" but the question is whether we are to allow a handful of men sitting in another place, and who have never received a mandate from the people, to over-ride the decision of the County Council and two Committees who have seriously considered the subject. It is not our fault that the time of the House is taken up in discussing these Amendments. We did not introduce them, but have opposed them throughout. [Cries of "Divide!"] I am quite aware hon. Members are very anxious to get away, and if they had used their influence to induce their friends in another place not to introduce these Amendments, they might have got away by this time. I only desire now to draw attention to the conflicting opinions which have been uttered by various Members of the Government, and by legal gentlemen sitting opposite. Some of them say that without these Amendments the property owners and leaseholders will be entitled to claim compensation if any injury is done them. Others say they will not be so entitled, and it is necessary these Amendments should be introduced in order to make the law quite clear. The Lord Chancellor adopts the latter view. He is a clear-headed man, and knows quite well what he is about. If there were no other reason, I would strongly resist the Amendments on the ground that the Lord Chancellor supports them.

(4.38.) MR. M'LAREN (Cheshire, Crewe)

As I am probably the only Member in the House who has read or heard the evidence, I desire to say a few words as to two matters of fact. The hon. and learned Member for Holborn (Mr.Gainsford Bruce) has misled the House—no doubt, unintentionally—as to two important matters of fact. He said that under the Bedford Paving Act the tenants have a right to the maintenance of these gates.


I said that that was a question to be decided by a proper tribunal.


I thought he gave the House to understand that under the Bedford Paving Act there was some right.


I stated that it would be one element in the determination of the legal question.


If I have misunderstood the hon. and learned Gentleman I apologise. But, as a matter of fact, under the Bedford Paving Act of 1855, the Duke of Bedford has an absolute right to remove these gates at any time he chooses, and the tenants have no right to object. If the Bill were rejected, and the County Council could induce the Duke of Bedford to remove these gates, not one of the tenants could claim sixpence in compensation. By these Amendments, therefore, we shall put the tenants in a different and better position than that which they occupy at present.

*(4.40.) MR. MORTON (Peterborough)

The question of these bars and gates has been before Londoners for nearly 30 years, and, therefore, it is high time it was settled. But, as far as I can see, it will not be settled if this House allows compensation to anybody whatever. As I understand the matter, all we have to consider is whether these people are morally—I do not trouble myself about law at all—entitled to any compensation. There cannot be the slightest doubt that they are not morally entitled to one penny of compensation. This is a question between the classes and the masses. As Brown, Jones, and Robinson were not allowed to have gates and bars, I do not see why Lords, Dukes, and Solicitor General should be allowed to have them. The classes are beginning to see that they will have to give up their privileges, but, in doing so, they want to get as much plunder out of the ratepayers as they can.

(4.42.) The House divided:—Ayes 87; Noes 58.—(Div. List, No. 251.)

(4.50.) Clause 4a (Noiseless pavements to be laid down before the removal of gates or bars in pursuance of this Act), the next Amendment, read a second time.

Motion made, and Question proposed, "That this House doth agree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

*(4.51.) MR. LAWSON

I should like the Government to consider whether it is not necessary, in consequence of Amendments just agreed to, to make an addition to Clause 4a, which appears in the Bill as Clause 5. The clause deals with noiseless pavement, and it was introduced by the Lords Committee out of consideration for the leaseholders and other persons who felt they were interested in the quiet of the area within these gates and bars. I would suggest the correction of the words— The laying down of such asphalte or other noiseless pavement may be taken into account in estimating the compensation which the leaseholders or other persons on either side of the street might otherwise claim under Clause 4 of the Bill. The tribunal ought to have the opportunity of taking into account the laying down of noiseless pavement, as the County Council will have to pay for laying down the pavement, and may be charged for doing so. They ought not to pay compensation twice over.

*(4.53.) SIR. R WEBSTER

I sincerely hope the House will not agree to this. For the last 40 years there has been but one rule, and that is to take the state of things before the alteration, and after the alteration, and to ask the question whether the property has been injuriously affected. I think the proposal of the hon. Member is unwise, and I could not myself be a party to it.

(4.55.) The House divided:—Ayes 98; Noes 49.—(Div. List, No. 252.)