HL Deb 15 August 1836 vol 35 cc1226-7
The Earl of Shafteshury

brought up the Report on the Common Fields' Enclosure Bill.

Lord Ellenborough

proposed the insertion of several amendments, chiefly verbal, and some consequential. One of the latter was an amendment on the last clause, which exempted from the operation of the Bill all waste lands belonging to the lords of manors; he proposed that all waste lands whatsoever should be so exempted. In short, the object of the Bill was, to increase the productive power of the agricultural class, and to promote the cultivation of lands which could not now be cultivated. The Bill was not exactly in the state he should have liked to see it, but, amended as it would be by their Lordships, he did not think it would work any injustice to any one, while it would find employment for a vast number of our agricultural population.

Lord Holland

was not disposed to offer any opposition to the Bill; on the contrary, he thought the proposers of it deserving of thanks for the measure. But there was one clause in it which excepted from the operation of the Bill all waste lands and commons within ten miles around the metropolis; that he thought a very ample exception in favour of the metropolis, and perhaps it was greater than was necessary, but he wished to see a similar provision made for the several towns and cities of England beside. It had been matter of surprise to all foreigners, and, indeed, a reproach to this country, that though its laws and institutions were formed on pro- per and liberal grounds, yet there were no places provided suitable for the healthful exercise and recreation of the people. In order to carry out the principle, then, which had been made applicable to London, he should propose the insertion of a new clause to exempt all commons and waste lands within two miles of every city, borough and town in England, the population of which amounted to 500 persons.

Lord Ellenborough

concurred in the proposition, and undertook to draw up a clause to promote the object of the noble Baron (Lord Holland). He thought it extremely desirable that the people should have some open space to which they might resort for healthful recreation. It was much better for them to have such places left open to them, than to be shut out and left no other resource than the alehouse and beershop. He thought, however, that one mile would be sufficient for the noble Lord's purpose, as applied to other places than the metropolis, taken in conjunction with the other provisions of the Bill.

Lord Holland acquiesced.

Report received. Bill to be read a third time.