HL Deb 13 June 1882 vol 270 cc967-8

House in Committee (according to order).

Clauses 1 to 5, inclusive, agreed to.

Clause 6 (Preventing obstructions of streets).


complained that the Bill did not authorize the Board of Works to deal with the bars, gates, and other obstructions existing in certain parts of London, and especially in Pimlico and Bloomsbury, in which latter district they were peculiarly inconvenient. In Gordon Street, Euston Square, the notice affixed to the gate was to the effect that by permission of the Duke of Bedford, and during His Grace's pleasure, carriages and cabs might pass through within certain hours; but no wagons or other heavy vehicles were allowed without special permission. The date was July, 1835. Now, that, he submitted, was not a notice that ought to be put up in a London street in the last quarter of the 19th century. Its terms gave one the idea that there was nothing to prevent the Duke of Bedford from closing the street altogether if he chose to do so. The restriction might have been right and proper originally, when the Bedford estate was on the outskirts of London; but now that a large part of the Metropolis lay North of the New Road the bars and gates caused great inconvenience, and their maintenance was an extreme instance of the assertion of the rights of property. Both the noble Dukes (the Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Westminster) voted for the Land Act of 1881, under which those possessed of land in Ireland had had their rents reduced 25 per cent without a shadow of compensation. Under these circumstances, he felt convinced that these two noble Dukes would gladly embrace the opportunity of proving the sincerity of the opinion which they held last year by sacrificing their right to any compensation for the loss which they might sustain on the opening up of these squares and other places.

Amendment moved, At end of clause add ("and in case of any such obstruction as aforesaid, erected by any person whatever, which is already in existence, the Board may, if they think fit, in like manner give such notice as aforesaid, and demolish or remove such obstruction as above provided.")— {The Earl of Milltown.)


said, he could not accept the Amendment, which would in its effect be retrospective.


explained that as he had proposed to inflict no penalty it would not be retrospective.


said, that the view of the Metropolitan Board of Works was that it would be retrospective. At any rate, the Amendment would open the door to a large variety of questions affecting the properties of the Metropolis, which would involve questions of compensation. It was to be remembered that in the case of ordinary obstructions the Board had power to proceed by way of indictment. The object of the clause was to prevent anyone who had opened a street with the consent of the Board from closing it again without their sanction.

Amendment (by leave of the Committee) withdrawn.

Clause agreed to.

Remaining Clauses agreed to.

Bill reported without amendment; and to be read 3a on Thursday next.