HC Deb 25 November 1909 vol 13 cc409-26

(1) Where the Road Board propose to construct a new road under this Part of this Act the Board may acquire land for the purpose, and may, in addition, acquire land on either side of the proposed road within two hundred and twenty yards from the middle of the proposed road.

(2) The Road Board may acquire, erect, and furnish such offices and other buildings as they may require, and may acquire land for the purpose.

(3) Where a highway authority are authorised to construct a new road under this Part of this Act, or an advance is made to such an authority in respect of the improvement of an existing road, the authority may acquire land for the purpose of such construction or improvement.

(4) For the purpose of the purchase of land by agreement under this Part of this Act, by the Road Board or a highway authority the Lands Clauses Acts shall be incorporated with this Part of this Act, except the provisions of those Acts with respect to the purchase and taking of land otherwise than by agreement, and Section 178 of the Public Health Act, 1875, shall apply as if the Road Board and the highway authority were referred to therein.

(5) Where the Road Board or any highway authority are unable to acquire by agreement on reasonable terms any land which they consider necessary, they may apply to the Development Commissioners for an order empowering them to acquire the land compulsorily in accordance with the provisions of the Schedule to this Act: Provided that the provisions of Part I. of this Act, prohibiting the compulsory acquisition of the classes of land mentioned in Sub-section (3) of Section 5 of this Act shall apply to the acquisition by the Road Board of land on either side of a road proposed to be constructed by the Board.

(6) The Road Board shall have full power, with the approval of the Treasury, to sell, lease, and manage any land acquired by them under this Part of this Act and not required for the new road, and any receipts derived from any such land, so far as they are applied for the purposes of the construction of new roads, shall not be treated as part of the expenditure of the Road Board on new roads for the purpose of the provisions of this Act limiting the amount of expenditure of the Road Board on new roads.

Lords Amendments agreed to: In Subjection (1), after the word "the" ["(1) Where the Road Board propose"], insert the words "Treasury have approved a proposal by the," and leave out the word "propose."


moved to disagree with the Lords Amendment in Sub-section (1) to leave out the words "and may in addition acquire land on either side of the proposed road within two hundred and twenty yards from the middle of the proposed road."

This Amendment leaves out the provision which enables the road authority to acquire the land on each side of the new road. The other House has left out these words, and there are other Amendments on the Paper intended to secure to the public some part of the increase of value which accrues to the land by reason of the construction of the new road. The question for the House now, putting it shortly, is, Which system do hon. Members prefer, the plan of the Government or the plan now suggested by the elaborate provisions in this and subsequent Amendments? Does this House prefer the original plan of the Government, under which a certain portion of the land each side the new road would be secured to the public? I do not want to argue the matter, because it has already been argued at considerable length. The Government are not persuaded that the alternative plan is the better one, and we are going to ask this House to adhere to the original plan. I beg to move, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."


I do not think it is worth while to consume a great deal of time in regard to this matter. I may point out, however, that the proposal of the Government makes no provision whatever in the case of a local authority constructing a new road under this Bill. They are not to have any means of getting back a portion of the expense or any part of the profit which arises from the new road. It is only in the case of a Road Board constructing a new road that this provision operates. That appears to me to be utterly unreasonable, and it is a proposal which has never had the slightest defence from the Government, and I do not know what the defence is. I do not disagree with the view that if you are constructing a street through a town there is a good deal to be said for buying the land on each side for the purpose of recoupment. But that is not the kind of procedure the Road Board will adopt. They are not going to make new roads and streets in towns, because that must necessarily be left to the borough council or the county council. I think it would be most injudicious on the part of the Road Board to interfere in a case of that kind, nor has it been suggested that that is the kind of case to be dealt with.

I should have thought the oases dealt with would have been almost exclusively country cases. In such cases the power to buy the land on each side will be absolutely valueless for the purpose the Government have in view, because it does not follow that the land on each side of the road will be improved in value in the case of a country road. The probability is that it will not be that land which gets the greater part of the improvement, but it will be the whole of the countryside. It may be an estate or a farm lying back from the road. The House of Lords proposal is that it shall be left to the arbitrators to say who has benefited, and to what extent, and then you are to make those who have benefited contribute a fair share to the local authority in all cases, whether it is a road constructed by a local authority or a Road Board. I am content, as far as I am concerned, to leave that question to the judgment of any impartial body in the country to decide as to which is the best and most businesslike proposal. I have not the slightest doubt that any impartial body would say that the proposal made by the House of Lords is by far the most businesslike proposition of the two, and one which is likely to be of the most advantage to the public authority and likely to work with the least friction and disagreement on the part of those affected. I very much regret that the Government have decided not to accept this Amendment, and I believe their decision is not dictated by an unbiassed judgment as to which is the better of the two proposals. The Government have the House of Lords on the brain now, and they dare not accept any proposal made by the House of Lords for fear of a revolt on the Radical or Labour Benches. I am sure that if the Government were dealing with these two proposals without any prejudice the Chancellor of the Exchequer would be the first to recognise that this Amendment is a most reasonable proposal, and more reasonable than the provision contained in the Bill.


I can assure the Noble Lord that the decision of the Government has nothing whatever to do with that question. This proposal has been considered on its merits, and we have actually gone out of our way to accept some other Amendments proposed by the Lords with a view to getting the Bill through. We regard this proposal in the Bill as quite fundamental. What is the alternative of the House of Lords? It is that there shall be some sort of a complicated betterment proposal. I am not going to say whether betterment has been a success in London or not. The hon. Baronet opposite (Sir F. Banbury) will probably say it has not been a success, and there are a good many hon. Members who have had just as much experience as the hon. Baronet on our side who agree with him. I do not want to express any opinion upon that point, but I may say, at any rate, that it is a very costly business, and one thing I am sure about is that the local authority does not get the full benefit which it was hoped they would derive from such proposals. What is our alternative? Instead of forcing, not merely the new road authority, but also all the owners into a sort of position of litigants in respect of every bit of land in order to assess the amount of benefit derived from the road, you have the much simpler proposition of buying the land where the road authority thinks there is betterment. There was sent to me the other day a great scheme of this kind in America, and it is an exactly identical proposal. It was to buy tracts of land on either side. It is a much simpler way of keeping the betterment. You pay the owner the full value of the land as it stands at the present moment, and, if there is any improvement, it is inured to the people. I think that is a very fair proposition. If you construct a road of this kind between two towns, say 20 or 30 miles in length, you are opening up a tract of country almost as a suburb of those towns, and you may create very considerable added values, and I think it is perfectly fair, when the Board goes in for an expenditure of money for the purpose of constructing a road such as that, that they should take into account, exactly as a company or a syndicate formed for the same purpose would, all possible sources of benefit and profit which might inure from their expenditure and enable them to pay interest on that expenditure. Where is the injustice? It is not an injustice to the owner, because he is paid full value for his land. Is it an injustice to the road authority? On the contrary, I think it is the only way in which they will get full justice. The only people who will suffer will be the lawyers. Instead of having about a thousand cases of betterment fought out before juries—




Certainly. Every individual owner will be liable under this to a charge for betterment. I know there is arbitration, but those are rather expensive proceedings. Every owner has been fighting the London County Council, and you will have to bring a claim against every owner, and each claim will be contested. This is a provision for endowing lawyers, but is not a provision for putting the money into the pockets of the road authority or for benefiting even adjoining land-owners. I venture to say the Government proposition is a simpler and an infinitely better one from a purely business point of view. It is that the road authority should consider the whole land and say, "Here is land which will, we think, have a special value created for it, merely because we are opening up the land, and therefore we shall buy it at its present value." If that is done, justice will be done all round, and it will be a benefit, not only to the road authority, but also to the landowners themselves. It will be a source of profit to the road authority, and will enable them to go on extending their schemes.


I confess I do not like either scheme very much. I agree with much that the Chancellor has said as to the extraordinary difficulty of dealing with these questions and of assessing the proper amount in each case. The question of recoupment also presents great difficulty. Those who sit on local authorities will know that it is very often very difficult to realise this recoupment. I know important cases where a loss has been realised rather than recoupment from buying more land than you want. The Chancellor seemed to speak of roads being made round towns, and in those cases a certain amount of recoupment might be produced, but, so far as the country is concerned, I do not think you will get any recoupment. Was not the Chancellor rather thinking of roads under the old system where you have ordinary horse traffic? I think there probably you would have a considerable increase in the value of land in the immediate neighbourhood of the road, but as these roads are mainly for the purpose of motor traffic, I do not think you will get the same recoupment in the immediate vicinity of the roads as under the old system. I should quite agree with the Chancellor supposing this road authority were able to take land which has improved in consequence of a particular road, but that is not so, because this question of recoupment is confined to land within 220 yards of the road, and there you will only get depreciation and not recoupment. There is another and rather wider point in consequence of which I dislike this method of dealing with land. It is an entirely different business from the making of roads. The making and managing of roads is one thing and the taking of land, dealing in land, and developing land, is a totally different thing; and, if you are going to establish a Road Board doing these two things, you want totally different sets of Commissioners to carry them out. It is a great mistake, in my opinion, to jumble these two things together in the laudable effort to try and get some benefit out of the recoupment. You are going to impose two separate and distinct sets of duties on the same set of men.


So far as I understand the speeches of the Noble Lord (Lord Robert Cecil) and of the hon. Member who has just sat down (Mr. Peel), they are altogether in favour of the Bill. If their speeches have any application at all, they would amend the Bill by making it a mile or two miles instead of 220 yards. I understood the Noble Lord to say there was a good deal to be said for the principle of betterment in towns. Most of us will agree with the proposition, and, if the Noble Lord will bring in an Amendment to this Bill or any other Bill giving effect to that principle, I can assure him he will have our whole-hearted support. He said, however, that this was not a question of betterment in towns. The Road Board would not operate in towns, but only in the country. That is a very good reason for retaining the Bill in its present form. If a local authority were making streets in towns and added value accrued to the land adjacent to the streets by virtue of the expenditure of the town authority, then I could well understand that the betterment should go to the town, but in this case the added value accruing to the land in the country adjacent to the roads will arise directly from the expenditure of the Road Board, and not from the expenditure of any local authority. That being so, it seems to me the added value ought to belong to the body incurring the expenditure. That is the reason why I am in favour of the Bill as it stands, and, if there is anything in the argument that 220 yards are not sufficient, or that it is rather an arbitrary figure, or that added value might accrue to one side of the road more than to another, I should be quite willing to support any Amendment giving effect to the principle that the Road Board should somehow or other participate in that added value, but I am willing to take 220 yards to go on with.


The desire of the hon. Member who has just sat down is that where a road is made by the Road Board, and the land adjacent is increased in value in consequence, that increase in value shall go to the Road Board. One may admit that in dealing with this Amendment, and the whole question is which of these two machineries, the machinery of the Bill or the machinery proposed by the House of Lords, is most likely in practical working to achieve that result. The machinery of the Bill is quite simple. The Bill says to the Road Board, "When you are going to make a road you shall have power to acquire, in addition to the land you want for the road, the land on either side of the proposed road within 220 yards of the middle." The Road Board will have to look along this road and will have to choose, if it exercises this power, the bits of land it is going to buy. They will have to say, "This bit here and that bit there is likely to increase in value, and we will choose them and buy them." That is what will happen, and that is what the Government intends should happen. The only increased value which will ever accrue to the Road Board will be such increased value in those particular bits of land which they have chosen; and it is very likely they may choose the wrong bits—bits which increase to some extent, but not half as much as other bits. They may choose wrong strips from their own point of view, but they will be saddled with them, and will have to administer them as part of their estate. What is the alternative proposal? It is perfectly simple. It is that, where through the construction of a road the value of any bit of land, wherever it is—whether it is the strip they have chosen or otherwise—is increased the Road Board shall have the power to come in and take part in the increased value. It applies equally to the local authorities. If you want apples you must go to the orchard where the apples are, and if you want the road authority to benefit by the increased value you must go where you can find the increased value and not limit it to the strips of land they may choose. I am totally unable to understand on what earthly ground, except the ground of pure misunderstanding, any man who wants the increased value due to the making of the roads to go to the Road Board, or to the local authorities, in the greatest measure possible can support the Government in the measures they are taking. The machinery proposed by the House of Lords is much the most likely to give to the Road Board or the local authority a large slice of the increased value of the land. Under the proposal of the Government the whole thing is confined from beginning to end. It depends upon chance, and it seems to me very dangerous that the Road Board or the local authority, as the case may be, may not choose the best strips of land. From the point of view of the road authority, as well as from the point of view of hon. Gentlemen below the Gangway, I cannot imagine how anyone can vote for the machinery of the Government as against the much more certain and more fruitful machinery proposed by the House of Lords.


The remarks of the hon. Member are certainly interesting. He seems to think that because this is a proposal to recover public expenditure from the owner of land we ought to support it. We are very pleased to hear hon. Members above the Gangway speaking in this strain, and I hope they will bear their present remarks in mind when we come to talk about increments, for if what they urge applies in one case it should apply equally in the other. I would like to point out how difficult it is to settle these questions satisfactorily. Take the case of the erosion of foreshores and the necessary

protection against the washing away of the land. Great conflict of opinion arises in regard to that, for it is urged that the people on the coast ought not to pay for the protection of those inland. I venture to say the same thing will occur here. It would be much better to start away and take a slice of land on each side of the highway. If there is going to be any betterment, then the road authority will receive it, instead of its being left to chance, as it would be under the Amendments suggested in the House of Lords. I hope that the Government will stick to their original proposition.


The suggestion of the House of Lords is that the Road Board or the highway authority shall be entitled to recover from any person whose property is enhanced in value such proportion of the expenditure of the Road Board as in the opinion of the arbitrator such person should pay. But I would point out it is quite inconceivable that the Road Board should make a road such as is contemplated without taking land compulsorily. Under the provisions of the Bill they have to apply to the Development Commissioners for an order to take land compulsorily, and, of course, they would have to make out a case for doing so, otherwise it will not be authorised. I think the plan of the Government is preferable to that of the House of Lords.

Question put, "That the House do disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 39.

Division No. 918.] AYES. [6.35 p.m.
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Greenwood, G. (Peterborough)
Alden, Percy Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Gulland, John W.
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Cornwall, Sir Edwin A. Hancock, J. G.
Ashton, Thomas Gair Cory, Sir Clifford John Hnrcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale)
Ashbury, John Meir Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester)
Atherley-Jones, L. Cowan, W. H. Hart-Davies, T.
Baker, Joseph A. Crosfield, A. H. Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Cross, Alexander Hedges, A. Paget
Baring, Godfrey (Isle of Wight) Curran, Peter Francis Henderson, Arthur (Durham)
Barker, Sir John Dalziel, Sir James Henry Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.)
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Davies, Timothy (Fulham) Henry, Charles S.
Barnes, G. N. Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S.) Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.)
Berridge, T. H. D. Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Hodge, John
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Hooper, A. G.
Bowerman, C. W. Dillon, John Hurniman, Emslie John
Brigg, Sir John Donelan, Captain A. Hudson, Walter
Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire) Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Hyde, Clarendon G.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Erskine, David C. Idris, T. H. W.
Byles, William Pollard Essex, R. W. Isaacs, Rufus Daniel
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Esslemont, George Birnie Jackson, R. S.
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Evans, Sir S. T. Johnson, John (Gateshead)
Cawley, Sir Frederick Everett, R. Lacey Jones, Sir D. Brynmor (Swansea)
Cheetham, John Frederick Falconer, J. Jones, Leif (Appleby)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Ferens, T. R. Jones, William (Carnarvonshire)
Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston S. Fuller, John Michael F. Joyce, Michael
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Gibson, J. P. King, Alfred John (Knutsford)
Collins, Sir Wm. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John Lambert, George
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Glover, Thomas Lamont, Norman
Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) O'Grady, J. Summerbell, T.
Layland-Barratt, Sir Francis Parker, James (Halifax) Sutherland, J. E.
Lehmann, R. C. Paul, Herbert Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Pearce, William (Limehouse) Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Lewis, John Herbert Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye) Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Pirie, Duncan V. Thorne, William (West Ham)
Lynch, H. B. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H. Tomkinson, Rt. Hon. James
Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central) Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Mackarness, Frederic C. Price, Sir Hobert J. (Norfolk, E.) Verney, F. W.
Maclean, Donald Rainy, A. Rolland Vivian, Henry
Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester) Walker, H. D. R. (Leicester)
Macpherson, J. T. Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough) Walsh, Stephen
MacVeagh, Jeremiah (Down, S.) Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.) Walters, John Tudor
MacVeigh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Ridsdale, E. A. Walton, Joseph
M'Callum, John M. Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln) Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
M'Micking, Major G. Roberts, G. H. (Norwich) Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Maddison, Frederick Robson, Sir William Snowdon Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Mallet, Charles E. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke) Waterlow, D. S.
Markham, Arthur Basil Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford) Watt, Henry A.
Massie, J. Samuel, Rt. Hon. H. L. (Cleveland) White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Masterman, C. F. G. Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester) Whitehead, Rowland
Meagher, Michael Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne) Wiles, Thomas
Menzies, Sir Walter Seaverns, J. H. Wilkie, Alexander
Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) Shackleton, David James Williamson, Sir A.
Morrell, Philip Shipman, Dr. John G. Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Morse, L. L. Soames, Arthur Wellesley Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Soares, Ernest J. Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Murray, Capt. Hon. A. C. (Kincard.) Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Nolan, Joseph Steadman, W. C. Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Nussey, Sir Willans Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal) TELLERS FOR THE AXES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Straus, B. S. (Mile End)
O'Donnell, John (Mayo, S.)
Balcarres, Lord Fletcher, J. S. Percy, Earl
Baldwin, Stanley Gardner, Ernest Remnant, James Farquharson
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall)
Banner, John S. Harmood- Goulding, Edward Alfred Ronaldshay, Earl of
Bignold, Sir Arthur Guinness, Hon. W. E. (B. S. Edmunds) Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Carlile, E. Hildred Harrison-Broadley, H. B. Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Cave, George Hay, Hon. Claude George Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.>
Cecil, Lord R. (Marylebone, E.) Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Thornton, Percy M.
Channing, Sir Francis Allston Kerry, Earl of Valentia, Viscount
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. King, Sir Henry Seymour (Hull) Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Long, Col. Charles W. (Evesham) Younger, George
Craik, Sir Henry Lonsdale, John Brownlee
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A, Akers- Morpeth, Viscount TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Sir S. Scott and Mr. S. Bowles.
Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan) Peel, Hon. W. R. W.

Lords Amendment: To leave out the proviso at the end of Sub-section (5) and insert ("and the Commissioners shall have power to make such an order"), and also to insert the following new Sub-sections—

"(6) No land shall be authorised by an order under this Section to be acquired compulsorily which at the date of the order has been acquired by any corporation or company for the purposes of a railway, dock, canal, water, or other public undertaking, but such an order may contain power to acquire compulsorily an easement over such land for the purpose of carrying any new road over or under the same, and shall in that case contain all such provisions as the Development Commissioners may deem necessary for the protection of the owners of such land and the prospective development thereof for the purposes of any such undertaking and for securing the safety of the public using the same and the free and uninterrupted passage of traffic thereover.

(7) Where, by the approval by the Treasury, of the construction of a new road under this Part of this Act, any property is increased in value, the Road Board or the highway authority, in cases where a highway authority are authorised to construct a new road under this Part of this Act, if the Board or the highway authority, as the case may be, make a claim for the purpose within three months of the approval by the Treasury of the construction of the road, or of an order made by the Development Commissioners authorising the acquisition of land for the purpose of the road, whichever be the later, shall be entitled to recover from any person whose property is so increased in value, such proportion of the expenditure of the Road Board or the highway authority, as the case may be, as failing agreement, in the opinion of an arbitrator, such person should pay having regard to the improvement in the value of such property.

(8) Any disputed question as to whether any property is increased in value within the meaning of this Section or as to the amount and manner of payment (whether by instalments or otherwise) of the sum which the Road Board or the highway authority is entitled to recover, shall be determined by arbitration under this Act in accordance with the Schedule to this Act."


I am prepared to accept the first words of the Lords Amendment—that is to say to insert the words "and the Commissioners shall have power to make such an order."


I understand the Solicitor-General does not agree to leave out to the end of the Sub-section?




The proper way is for the Solicitor-General to move to disagree with the Amendment, and then to move to insert such words as he desires.


moved, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The words I propose to move to insert come, in later, but the Lords Amendment really consists, apart from the first line, of two or three new Sub-sections, which are really covered by the decision on the last Motion. I mean they are the alternative plan of the other House to obtain some proportion of the increase in the value of the land towards the expenditure. Then they propose that there should be no power at all to acquire any land which belongs to a railway, dock, or other undertaking established for a public purpose, for the construction of a road. Those who are interested in this Bill will remember that we protected in the fullest degree the property of railway, dock, and other similar companies here described, and rendered it impossible for any such property to be taken under the first part of the Bill by the Development Commissioners, because it might mean taking practically the whole, but the last portion of the Bill stands in a totally different position, as the authority are only empowered to acquire land for the purpose of making roads. The proposal in the other case is this, instead of giving the authority in no case the power to acquire a part of this land, we say that they would be able to acquire such a part as would enable them to make a road. They therefore become the authority entitled to that road, and they are in the same position as the highway authority is at present. You cannot say that the powers of the highway authority or of the public over the road is an easement; it is something more; it must go into the soil, although the depth depends upon the circumstances. I do not think it would be right therefore under those circumstances to give an easement merely, and I must say that I think it is reasonable to authorise the Road Boards to acquire land belonging to such companies as these.

Of course, if it interfered with the working of those companies at all no member of a Road Board would dream of seeking to acquire land compulsorily under this Bill when it becomes law, but everybody knows the undertakings which are proprietors of land in the position of railway, dock, and other similar cases acquire land in the first instance which goes very far beyond the immediate requirements of the commercial undertaking itself, and there might be no objection whatever on the part of the dock or railway company to the Board taking a strip of their property for the purpose of constructing a road, and it may even be for their convenience. It is therefore necessary to give the Road Board the power in their discretion to acquire compulsorily land for their purposes. That being so, I think I have shown two things, first of all that an easement would not be enough, because if you inserted that you would be practically excluding the Road Board entirely from the land in the possession of such companies here spoken of, and I think I have shown in the second place that it may be quite reasonable, and, indeed, it may be in the interests of the public companies themselves that somewhere or other on a corner of their undertaking which is not very much used there should be within the confines of their property a road, and that therefore there should be a power of compulsorily acquiring the land for roads.


The observations of the hon. and learned Member would be entitled to much weight if they were not directly in the face of the most recent decisions. The taking of lands appropriated for railways and other like purposes by Parliament in past years was prevented in the case, I think, of the Port of London Bill, the Small Holdings Bill, and of the Town Planning Bill likewise.


So we have here for development purposes.


But I am going to argue that after all a road is only one other form of public undertaking, and the requirements of a road in the shape of land are just of the same kind, and I do not agree that the hon. and learned Gentleman is right as to whether an easement suffices or not. Where a road crosses a railway either over or under it it does not acquire the soil of the railway and its purposes are satisfied by mere acquisition of an easement to go over or under the railway, and I cannot see any reason why more should be given in this case. I do not think it necessary, perhaps, to take the high ground which might be taken, that this land has been already appropriated for this particular purpose by Parliament, and that no other or lesser authority should divert it from that purpose to which it has been appropriated, but I suppose it is too late in these days to appeal to principles so high as that, because for some mysterious reason the authority of this House appears to be of very little account for some purposes and of very great account for others. This is put on the ground also that there are what are called surplus lands which might be taken, but after all no one but the railway company or the dock company itself can know whether it is likely to require those lands in the future, and it must have satisfied Parliament in the past at a date when the requirement of them for the purposes of their undertaking must have been much more remote and much less likely than it is now; and surely it is not right that a semi-executive, nobody quite knows what it is, but a hybrid judicial body, should have the power of unsaying in the present what Parliament has said with much solemnity after having heard all the experts and parties in the past. We cannot agree with the Motion to disagree with this Lords Amendment, and I think their requirements are the very minimum which the justice of the case requires.


I cannot help thinking that the Government have not quite dealt with the difficulty here, although I do not disagree with all that the Solicitor-General said. They have not dealt with the difficulty of one of those roads crossing a railroad. I do not think it is reasonable even to give power to acquire the land of the railway, and I do not think any Commissioners would be so foolish as to put in force such a power. Railway companies have been exceedingly jealous, and justly so, of any interference with their statutory rights, and as the Solicitor-General knows, no body ever proposes to take land belonging to a railway company in a private Bill. No committee would ever tolerate it, but, on the other hand, it may be desirable to take an easement over their railway for the purpose of a level crossing. That would be a true easement, which would not involve the acquisition of the soil, and I do not see, although it may be as a matter of fact included in the general words, that there is any power to take such an easement. I confess I think the Government have acted hastily in rejecting this Amendment of the Lords, which seems to me to err, if it errs at all, in the direction of not giving so much protection to the owners of property as I should have suggested. As a matter of fact, if this Amendment were accepted, you may have all sorts of things excluded by the Government proposal; therefore I do not think that we have to deal with a rigid proposition, but I do think most strongly that it is not fight to give power to make roads over a railway or waterworks or anything else which has got statutory powers, and that is what the Government are going to do unless they accept some such Amendment as this.

This is the more surprising because in the earlier part of their Bill, the development part, which deals, amongst other things, with the making of light railways, no such power exists. You cannot take a light railway over another railway at all. You cannot acquire land belonging to any of these statutory undertakings for the purposes of this light railway at all, but you can for the purpose of a road. I do not know upon what ground the Government are proceeding. I do not think, unless the Commissioners grossly exceed their powers, they are likely to listen to a proposal to acquire a right to that land. We desire to see absolute protection for these companies against the compulsory acquisition of land, and I think that position is a sound one and ought to be adhered to in this House, and that where statutory powers have been given to a body to acquire land, then you ought not—by Commissioners or any other of the curious devices that people are so fond of now creating—give power to take that land away from those who have been given by Parliament a right to it. That seems to me to be a sound principle which ought to be adhered to. Personally I think this Amendment of the Lords is a very moderate assertion of it, and I doubt whether it goes far enough.

Question put, "That this House doth disagree with the Lords in the said Amendment."

The House divided: Ayes, 178; Noes, 32.

Division No. 919.] AYES. [7.0 p.m.
Abraham, W. (Cork, N. E.) Harvey, A. G. C. (Rochdale) Price, C. E. (Edinburgh, Central)
Adkins, W. Ryland D. Hedges, A. Paget Price, Sir Robert J. (Norfolk, E.)
Allen, Charles P. (Stroud) Henderson, Arthur (Durham) Rainy, A. Rolland
Ashton, Thomas Gair Henderson, J. McD. (Aberdeen, W.) Rea, Rt. Hon. Russell (Gloucester)
Astbury, John Meir Henry, Charles S. Rea, Walter Russell (Scarborough)
Baker, Joseph A. Herbert, Col. Sir Ivor (Mon. S.) Richards, T. F. (Wolverhampton, W.)
Balfour, Robert (Lanark) Hobart, Sir Robert Roberts, Charles H. (Lincoln)
Barker, Sir John Hodge, John Roberts, G. H. (Norwich)
Barlow, Sir John E. (Somerset) Horniman, Emslie John Robertson, Sir G. Scott (Bradford)
Barnes, G. N. Hudson, Walter Robson, Sir William Snowdon
Berridge, T. H. D. Hyde, Clarendon G. Roch, Walter F. (Pembroke)
Bethell, T. R. (Essex, Maldon) Idris, T. H. W. Rutherford, V. H. (Brentford)
Bowerman, C. W. Isaacs, Rufus Daniel Scanlan, Thomas
Brigg, Sir John Jackson, R. S. Schwann, Sir C. E. (Manchester)
Brunner, Rt. Hon. Sir J. T. (Cheshire) Jardine, Sir J. Scott, A. H. (Ashton-under-Lyne)
Burke, E. Haviland- Johnson, John (Gateshead) Seaverns, J. H.
Burns, Rt. Hon. John Jones, Leif (Appleby) Shackleton, David James
Byles, William Pollard Jones, William (Carnarvonshire) Shipman. Dr. John G.
Carr-Gomm, H. W. Jowett, F. W. Soares, Ernest J.
Causton, Rt. Hon. Richard Knight Joyce, Michael Stanley, Albert (Staffs, N. W.)
Cawley, Sir Frederick King, Alfred John (Knutsford) Stanley, Hon. A. Lyulph (Cheshire)
Channing, Sir Francis Allston lambert, George Steadman, W. C.
Cheetham, John Frederick Lamont, Norman Stewart, Halley (Greenock)
Cherry, Rt. Hon. R. R. Law, Hugh A. (Donegal, W.) Stewart-Smith, D. (Kendal)
Collins, Stephen (Lambeth) Leyland-Barratt, Sir Francis Summerbell, T.
Collins, Sir Win. J. (St. Pancras, W.) Lehmann, R. C. Sutherland, J. E.
Compton-Rickett, Sir J. Lever, A. Levy (Essex, Harwich) Taylor, Austin (East Toxteth)
Cordon, Thomas Joseph Lewis, John Herbert Taylor, John W. (Durham)
Corbett, A. Cameron (Glasgow) Lough, Rt. Hon. Thomas Tennant, H. J. (Berwickshire)
Corbett, C. H. (Sussex, E. Grinstead) Lynch, H. B. Thomas, Sir A. (Glamorgan, E.)
Cory, Sir Clifford John Macdonald, J. M. (Falkirk Burghs) Thorne, William (West Ham)
Cotton, Sir H. J. S. Mackarness, Frederic C. Tomkinson, Rt. Hon. James
Cowan, W. H. Maclean, Donald Ure, Rt. Hon. Alexander
Crosfield, A. H. Macnamara, Dr. Thomas J. Verney, F. W.
Cross, Alexander Macpherson, J. T. Vivian, Henry
Dalziel, Sir James Henry MacVelgh, Charles (Donegal, E.) Walker, H. D. R. (Leicester)
Davies, Timothy (Fulham) M'Callum, John M. Walsh, Stephen
Davies, Sir W. Howell (Bristol, S. M'Micking, Major G. Walters, John Tudor
Dickinson, W. H. (St. Pancras, N.) Maddison, Frederick Walton, Joseph
Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles Mallet, Charles E. Ward, W. Dudley (Southampton)
Dillon, John Markham, Arthur Basil Wason, Rt. Hon. E. (Clackmannan)
Donelan, Captain A. Massie, J. Wason, John Cathcart (Orkney)
Duncan, C. (Barrow-in-Furness) Masterman, C. F. G Waterlow, D. S.
Erskine, David C. Menzies, Sir Walter Watt, Henry A.
Essex, R. W. Morgan, J. Lloyd (Carmarthen) White, J. Dundas (Dumbartonshire)
Esslemont, George Birnie Morrell, Philip Whitehead, Rowland
Evans, Sir S. T. Morse, L. L. Wiles, Thomas
Everett, R. Lacey Morton, Alpheus Cleophas Wilkie, Alexander
Falconer, J. Myer, Horatio Williams, W. Llewelyn (Carmarthen)
Ferens, T. R. Nolan, Joseph Williamson, Sir A.
Fuller, John Michael F. Nussey, Sir Willans Wilson, Hon. G. G. (Hull, W.)
Gibson, J. P. O'Brien, Patrick (Kilkenny) Wilson, Henry J. (York, W. R.)
Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert John O'Connor, John (Kildare, N.) Wilson, J. W. (Worcestershire, N.)
Glover, Thomas O'Donnell, C. J. (Walworth) Wilson, W. T. (Westhoughton)
Greenwood, G. (Peterborough) Parker, James (Halifax) Wood, T. M'Kinnon
Gulland, John W. Paul, Herbert Yoxall, Sir James Henry
Haldane, Rt. Hon. Richard B. Pearce, willliam (Limehouse)
Hancock, J. G. Pearson, W. H. M. (Suffolk, Eye)
Harcourt, Rt. Hon. L. (Rossendale) Pirie, Duncan V. TELLERS FOR THE AYES.—Mr. Joseph Pease and Captain Norton.
Harmsworth, Cecil B. (Worcester) Pollard, Sir George
Hart-Davies, T. Ponsonby, Arthur A. W. H.
Balcarres, Lord Fletcher, J. S. Rutherford, Watson (Liverpool)
Baldwin, Stanley Gardner, Ernest Scott, Sir S. (Marylebone, W.)
Banbury, Sir Frederick George Gibbs, G. A. (Bristol, West) Talbot, Lord E. (Chichester)
Banner, John S Harwood- Hay, Hon. Claude George Talbot, Rt. Hon. J. G. (Oxford Univ.)
Bignold, Sir Arthur Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John H. Thornton, Percy M.
Bowles, G. Stewart Kerry, Earl of Valentia, Viscount
Castlereagh, Viscount Lonsdale, John Brownlee Wortley, Rt. Hon. C. B. Stuart-
Cave, George Peel, Hon. W. R. W. Younger, George
Cochrane, Hon. Thomas H. A. E. Percy, Earl
Corbett, T. L. (Down, North) Roberts, S. (Sheffield, Ecclesall) TELLERS FOR THE NOES.—Lord Robert Cecil and Mr. Carlile.
Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. Akers- Ronaldshay, Earl of
Duncan, Robert (Lanark, Govan) Rutherford, John (Lancashire)