§ On the Order for the Second Reading of this Bill,
§ MR. LAURENCE HARDY (Kent, Ashford) moved "That the Bill be read a Second time upon this day six months." He said that his first objection was that it was not an improvement Bill, but a Bill to give access to a very large hotel 1497 It would only result in an increase of from 3 to 5 feet in the width of the Strand along a small frontage, while it claimed the right to shut up two public thoroughfares. The House ought to be careful in giving compulsory powers to one set of private persons as against another. In this case, Messrs. Hobbs and Co., and the Liberator Society were the promoters of the Bill; and it was hard that they should have the right to acquire compulsorily the property of those who did not wish to part with it, especially when no public advantage was to follow. It was not the case, as was stated in the preamble, that all the parties concerned had agreed to the Bill. Two persons, who would be materially injured, had declined to come to terms. He understood, however, that a considerable alteration had been made in the Bill by agreement between the promoters and the London County Council, which would make it a real improvement Bill; and if that were the fact, he withdrew his Amendment.
§ MR. R. B. MARTIN (Worcestershire, Mid)
said, that the promoters had agreed with the Works Committee to set back the Strand frontage a distance of 25 feet for the whole length of the area proposed to be acquired. The consequence would be that the narrowest part of the Strand would be made a broad substantial thoroughfare with an average width of 80 feet. Of course, the Bill was in the interests of the hotel, but it was much more in the interests of the Strand. Of the 12 persons interested, the promoters had acquired the interests of seven; there were two who were not very anxious; there was one who would sell if he had the power to do so; and there was only one who actually opposed the Bill. This Bill would afford the opportunity for a decided improvement in a great thoroughfare.
THE CHAIRMAN OF WAYS AND MEANS (Mr. J. W. LOWTHER,) Cumberland, Penrith
said that the Bill proposed compulsorily to acquire the property of certain residents on a part of one side of the Strand. Before such powers were given by the House, it was necessary to see what advantage to the public would result. When the Bill first came under his notice he was very doubtful whether it ought to be read a Second time. The public benefit would be 1498 merely a widening of the Strand for a short distance by a few feet. But since the introduction of the Bill, an arrangement had been arrived at between the London County Council and the promoters by which the Strand was to be set back no less than 25 feet for a distance of about 80 feet, including the whole frontage opposite the new hotel. He would not now say whether that was a sufficient improvement, but it was sufficient to allow the House to read the Bill a Second time and send it to a Committee. The London County Council had petitioned against the Bill, and they would be competent to appear before the Committee to protect the rights of the public.
§ SIR JOHN LUBBOCK (London University)
said that the right hon. Gentleman had correctly stated the position. The County Council were now willing that the Bill should be proceeded with, though there were some points which would have to be considered by the Committee.
§ Amendment, by leave, withdrawn; Main Question put and agreed to.
§ Bill read a Second time, and committed.