HC Deb 27 November 1890 vol 349 cc120-1
SIR JOHN KENNAWAY (Devon, Honiton)

I beg to ask the President of the Local Government Board whethe his attention has been directed to the case of "Warminster v. the County of Wilts," reported in the October number of Queen's Bench Reports for 1890, wherein it was held by Justices Charles and Grantham that the word "road" in every case includes footpaths; and whether, as this decision will throw upon County Councils a large additional burden not contemplated at the passing of the Act, he will introduce a short Bill to amend the Local Government Act in this particular?


My attention has been directed to the decision in question. I must point out that the Local Government Act, 1888, made no change in the law as to what constitutes a main road, that question being governed by the provisions of the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act, 1878. The decision in the case referred to was in effect as to the interpretation of the term "main road" in that Act, and if an amendment of the law were to be made it would rather be by an amendment of the Highways and Locomotives Amendment Act than of the Local Government Act. I do not gather that my hon. Friend wishes that the law should be amended so as to provide that no footpaths should be maintained by the county. I presume his Question is directed to the footpaths in urban sanitary districts. I am afraid I could not attempt to amend the law to provide that these districts, which are liable for contributing to the cost of the maintenance of footpaths in the country districts, should have no claim for the maintenance of their own footpaths. So far as regards the amount of the expenditure for which the county is to be liable, I may point out that the decision in question would seem to amount to this—that when an Urban Authority have claimed to retain the powers and duties of maintaining and repairing a main road within their district, the county is liable to make an annual payment towards the cost of the maintenance and repair and reasonable improvement connected with the maintenance and repair of the road. If any difference arises between the County Council and the Urban Authority as to the amount of the contribution which should be paid, the question is one which, on the request of either party, may be referred to the arbitration of the Local Government Board.