HC Deb 09 May 1898 vol 57 cc732-7
MR. J. HERBERT LEWIS (Flint Boroughs)

Perhaps we may have some explanation as to the circumstances under which this Bill has been re-committed.


The peculiar circumstances of this Bill are that the Government wish to acquire certain lands in Southampton for the purpose of erecting certain Customs offices there. The railway company is anxious to sell, and the Government is anxious to buy, but the railway company have no power to-sell without the authority of Parliament. The price is agreed to, and the requisite money for the purchase of the site has been voted in Committee of Supply. I gave a full explanation of this Bill at one of its earlier stages, and also when the money was voted in the Estimates. Shortly, the object of the Bill is to acquire a site, which the vendors are ready to sell, and which the Government are ready to buy.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 1 stand part of the Bill. The Commissioners may purchase and acquire for the purposes of this Act all or any of the lands delineated on the deposited plans and described in the deposited books of reference.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 2 stand part of the Bill. (1) For the purpose of the purchase and acquisition of land under this Act, the Lands Clauses Acts shall, subject to the provisions of this Act, be incorporated with this Act, with the following exceptions and modifications:—(a) The provisions relating to the sale of superfluous land and access to the special Act and Section one hundred and thirty-three of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845 (relating to land tax and poor rate) shall not be incorporated with this Act: (b) In the construction of this Act and of the incorporated Acts this Act shall be deemed to be the 'special Act,' and the Commissioners shall be deemed to be the 'promoters of the undertaking': (c) The bond required by Section eighty-five of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845, shall be under the common seal of the Commissioners, and shall be sufficient without the addition of the sureties mentioned in that section: (d) All claims for compensation made upon the Commissioners under this Act, or any Act incorporated herewith, shall, if the person claiming has no greater interest in the land in respect of which compensation is claimed than as tenant from year to year, or as a leaseholder for any term of which not more than eighteen months remain unexpired at the time at which the claim is made, be determined in manner provided by Section one hundred and twenty-one of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act, 1845. (2.) The powers of the Commissioners for the compulsory purchase of land under this Act shall cease after the expiration of three years from the passing of this Act."

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 3 stand part of the Bill. (1) Any land tax assessed on the first day of January, One thousand eight hundred and ninety-eight, on any part of the land acquired by the Commissioners under this Act, shall, as from the date of acquisition, be deemed to have been redeemed at the price, and in accordance with the conditions provided by the Finance Act, 1896, and the Land Tax Acts therein defined, and after the date of acquisition no sum shall be assessed or charged in respect of land tax on any part of the land so acquired. (2)The Commissioners of Inland Revenue shall grant a certificate of exoneration from assessment to land tax of the lands so acquired, and that certificate shall be registered by the officer appointed for the registry of contracts for the redemption of land tax.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 4 stand part of the Bill. (1) All rights of way, rights of laying down or of continuing any pipes, sewers, or drains on through, or under any of the land acquired by the Commissioners under this Act, and all other rights and easements in or relating to that land, shall be extinguished, and all the soil of those ways, and the property in the pipes, sewers, and drains, shall vest in the Commissioners. (2) Any persons may recover from the Commissioners such compensation (if any) as they may be entitled to under any of the provisions of the Lands Clauses Acts for any rights or property of which they may be deprived in pursuance of this section, and the amount of that compensation shall be determined in manner provided by the Lands Clauses Acts as modified for the purpose of their incorporation with this Act. (3) Nothing in this section shall affect any sewers or drains vested in the Corporation of Southampton.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 5 stand part of the Bill. The Commissioners and their surveyors, officers, and workmen may at all reasonable time in the daytime, on giving twenty-four hours' notice in writing, enter on any of the land which the Commissioners are authorized to acquire under this Act for the purpose of surveying or valuing the land.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 6 stand part of the Bill. The Commissioners may erect all such buildings, execute all such works, and do all such other things as may in their opinion be necessary or proper for the purpose of providing Customs and other offices connected therewith upon the land acquired by them under this Act, and appropriating any such land for any of those purposes.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 7 stand part of the Bill. (1) Where, in the removal or pulling down of any buildings, or in raising or lowering the ground of any street or way for the purpose of this Act, it is necessary to raise, sink, or otherwise alter the position relatively to the surface of the ground of any pipe, wire, or other apparatus laid down or used by any gas, water, or electricity company, or connected with any house or building for the supply of gas, water, or electricity:—(a) one month's notice shall be given to the company previously to the commencement of any such work; and (b) the work shall be executed to the reasonable satisfaction of the engineer of the company, or, in case of difference, of an engineer to be selected by the Board of Trade; and (c) every such work shall be so executed as to cause as little inconvenience as circumstances will admit to the company; and (d) the Commissioners shall make compensation to the company for all loss or damage if any, which may be occasioned by the execution of any of the works authorized by this Act. (2) For the purposes of this section the expression 'gas, water, or electricity company' includes any person or body of persons supplying gas, water, or electricity.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 8 stand part of the Bill. (1) All expenses incurred by the Commissioners under this Act shall be defrayed out of money provided by Parliament. (2) The provisions of the Commissioners of Works Act, 1852, and any Act amending that Act, shall apply in the case of the acquisition of land by the Commissioners under this Act, in like manner, as in the case of a purchase under that Act, and any notice, summons, writ, or other document required to be given, issued, or signed, by or on behalf of the Commissioners, may be given, issued, or signed by the secretary or assistant secretary of the Commissioners, and need not be under their common seal.

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 9 stand part of the Bill. If any person willfully obstructs any person acting under the authority of the Commissioners in the lawful exercise of the powers vested in them under this Act, he shall for each offence be liable, on summary conviction, to a fine not exceeding five pounds."

Question put, and agreed to— That Clause 10 stand part of the Bill. If the Commissioners should at any time hereafter desire to abandon the lands shown on the deposited plans, and described in the deposited books of reference, they shall in the first instance offer the same for sale to the London and South Western Railway Company hereinafter called the South Western Company; and the following provisions shall thereupon apply:—(a) If the South-Western Company are desirous of purchasing such lands, then within six weeks after such offer of sale they shall signify in writing their desire in that behalf to the Commissioners. (b) If they decline such offer, or if for six weeks they neglect to signify their desire to purchase such lands, the right of purchase conferred by this Act shall cease, and a declaration in writing be made before a justice of the peace by the secretary to the Commissioners, stating that such offer was made, and was refused, or not accepted for six weeks from the time of making the same, shall be in all courts sufficient evidence of the facts therein stated. (c) If the South Western Company be desirous of purchasing the lands, and the South Western Company and the Commissioners do not agree as to the price thereof, then such price shall be ascertained by arbitration, in accordance with the provisions of the Arbitration Act, 1889, or any statutory re-enactment or modification thereof. (d) Upon any such sale the South Western Company shall not require any proof of the title of the Commissioners to the said lands.

Question put and agreed to— That Clause 11 stand part of the Bill. This Act may be cited as the Customs Offices (Southampton) Act, 1898.


Upon these clauses there is one thing I should wish to ask. There has grown u in the House a practice recently of legislating by reference These clauses contain a number of references incorporating certain sections of the Lands Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845. The question I wish to ask in regard to these clauses is one which is applicable to a great many Bills. Would it not be possible in order that the House may know, when it is dealing with a Bill of this kind, exactly what it is doing to have the Section of the Bills referred to placed as an appendix to the Bill? That, I think, would facilitate progress very considerably, and would enable us to know, when we are passing these sections, what it is we are committing ourselves to.

Question put, and agreed to— That this be the preamble of the Bill. Whereas it is expedient to make provision for Customs and other offices connected therewith at Southampton, and to empower the Commissioners of Works (in this Act called the Commissioners) to acquire for that purpose certain lands situated in the county borough of Southampton: And whereas those lands cannot be acquired without the authority of Parliament: And whereas plans of the lands by this Act authorized to be acquired, and also books of reference containing the names of the owners and lessees, or reputed owners and lessees, and of the occupiers of those lands have been deposited with the Clerk of the Peace for the county of Southampton (which plans and books of reference are in this Act respectively referred to as the deposited plans and books of reference): Be it therefore enacted by the Queen's most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


I will report the Bill to the House.

House resumed; Bill reported.


As this is a purely Departmental Bill, I would ask that its Third Reading be taken now.

Question put, and agreed to— That this Bill be read a Third time.

Bill passed.

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