§ MR. BULL (Hammersmith)
in moving the Instruction standing in his name, said it was contended by the promoters of the Bill that the tunnel would run at such an extreme depth under the Heath that no harm would be done. But that he denied. It seemed to him that public property had just as much right to be protected as private property. Further than that, he thought another route would prove much more advantageous. If the railway were run round Childs Hill a much more important area would be served. It had been alleged that such a route would involve too many curves, but according to his plan it only meant running round the other side of the circle. Besides there would necessarily have to be boring operations on the Heath during the construction of the line, and on its completion ventilating shafts would have to be erected on the Heath. It was urged that no such shafts could be made without the consent of the London County Council, but experience had shown that where, in the interests of public health they were proved to be necessary, sanction was never withheld and when once these operations were commenced there was great danger that the ponds on the Heath—the Leg of Mutton and the Golden Hill —would be completely drained. It was proposed to carry the railway under the Heath simply because it was the shorter and cheaper 664 route, and against that he protested as an advocate of the preservation of open spaces. He contended that the House would do well to inquire very closely into the whole history of this subject. In the preliminary investigation some of these facts were never gone thoroughly into before Lord Ribblesdale's Committee, and he hoped therefore an opportunity would be afforded of calling evidence to prove that the line ought never to be made under the Heath. He had no objection to its going up to the edge of the Heath; it was right and proper that the public should have easy access to it, but he did object to the Heath itself being interfered with. The only interest he had in this matter was his desire for the preservation of open spaces.
§ Motion made, and Question proposed, "That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to inquire and report whether the railway proposed to be authorised by the Bill, if constructed on the lines mentioned, will not so seriously injure Hampstead Heath, under which it is to pass, by tapping the wells, draining the soil, destroying the verdure, and interfering with this public place of resort, as to make it inexpedient to pass the Bill; and that the Committee have power to call witnesses and receive evidence on the subject."—(Mr. Bull)
§ SIR THOMAS WRIGHTSON (St. Pancras, E.)
said he did not rise to oppose the Motion, but he would like to point out that the whole of the facts alluded to by the hon. Member were before Lord Ribblesdale's Committee; still he thought it was just as well that the Committee should be placed in full possession of the facts with regard to the present scheme.
§ COLONEL LOCKWOOD (Essex, Epping)
expressed some doubt as to whether the Instruction was in order, the House having passed the Second Reading of the Bill the other night without a division. Of course, the Committee would naturally go into the merits of the scheme, and how, then, was the Instruction in order?
§ *MR. SPEAKER
I understand that this is a mandatory Instruction to inquire into a matter which no party before the 665 Committee will be in a position to bring forward. In the absence of any petition, find if the House desires the matter to be inquired into, it is necessary to have an Instruction. I think, however, that the words "so as to make it inexpedient to pass the Bill" might be left out without affecting the real object of the Instruction at all. It would be a bad precedent to insert such words.
§ Motion accordingly amended, and again proposed.
§ MR. CREMER (Shoreditch, Haggerston)
quite approved a scheme which would enable a railway to be constructed from the central parts of London, so that millions of people might have an opportunity of enjoying the bracing atmosphere of Hampstead Heath, and regretted that such projects should be persistently opposed by a mere handful of people. He presumed that the hon. Member for Hammersmith represented some vested interest which was always on the lookout to deprive the masses of the people the opportunity of breathing fresh air.
§ MR. CREMER
said, however that might be, the hon. Member had trotted out all the old bogeys about ponds being dried up which had been used in the past. Still ho had no objection to these matters being threshed out before the Committee upstairs, for the more evidence they were able to procure in favour of constructing the line, and the more opportunities they were afforded of disproving the fears of property owners, the better pleased he would be; after all, the opposing owners were very few in number; the great body of them were not so selfish as to wish to defeat the scheme.
§ Question put and agreed to.
§ Ordered, That it be an Instruction to the Committee on the Bill to inquire and report whether the railway proposed to be authorised by the Bill, if constructed on the lines mentioned, will not seriously 666 injure Hampstead Heath, under which it is to pass, by tapping the wells, draining the soil, destroying the verdure, and interfering with this public place of resort; and that the Committee have power to call witnesses and receive evidence on the subject.—(Mr. Bull.)