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28° Julii, 1927.]
that into the figure he gave us multiplied by 7.76. That is how that is got. figure of £3,465 is a figure which he agreed with me. I put the figures to him. Perhaps your Lordship would like think my learned friend Mr. Bidder me to give the reference to where Captain Roseveare said that. I did not would be questioning them, because otherwise I would have given an exact reference. I have a reference to every other matter.
Mr. Bidder.] I do not question them. I wanted to see what the foundation for them was.
Mr. Jeeves.] If you look at Question 1818: "If you please. That, of course, is a very material fact and figure to be considered, is not it? That £3,465 on your calculation—”
Mr. Bidder.] It is just before that.
Mr. Jeeves.] Yes, it is just before that. Question 1817: "I am just going to put these figures to you, if I may. Taking the assessment you gave me for King's Lynn of £7,111 for agricultural land and £85,830 for other than agricultural land, multiplying the one by the 23.29d. and the other by 7.76d., I make it that King's Lynn will be expected to pay on that basis £3,465. Now a penny rate in King's Lynn produces £320, therefore it means that the actual rate in King's Lynn, by reason of compounding, and so on, would be something nearer 11d. than the 7.73d."-it ought to have been 7.76d." (A) That might be so."
Mr. Bidder.] That 11d. depends upon my friend's statement that a penny rate produces £320. It may be so. I do not know whether it is so or not.
Mr. Jeeves.] That has been accepted by the witness.
Mr. Bidder.] He did not know. He said it might be so.
Mr. Jeeves.] That is the position. That burden would have to be seriously considered when works were proposed which might be of benefit or would be of benefit to the Borough. The Borough would then have to consider whether they were in a position to afford the works, even though the benefit were admitted. but in this case, so far as I have been able to follow it, no benefits or interests of King's Lynn in the matter of drainage have ever been suggested as factors in any sense going to the desirability of or the need for the works. That being so, not having had as a factor in their promulgation either the benefit to
or the interest of King's Lynn, I hope I have already shown by cross-examination that the works really can have no real benefit for King's Lynn in the matter of drainage.
What are the works? To use the words of the terms of reference to the Commission, they are "works required to put the Ouse Drainage system in a proper state." You will find a very good description of what the Ouse Drainage system is in paragraphs 6 and 8 of the Report of the recent Commission. They describe first of all in paragraph € the South Level. They describe in Paragraph 7 the Middle Level and some other Levels, and then in Paragraph 8, they say: "The system divides itself into four main portions," with which they deal. Having described those they say, "The main river discharges into the Wash below King's Lynn" and so on. Summarising that description the Ouse Drainage system, I submit my Lord, is a variety of artificial works for the reclamation and drainage of a large area of land above King's Lynn, and of which area King's Lynn never formed part, and does not form part to-day. The whole works are designed in relation to former works designed and now maintained in relation to the reclamation and drainage of lands not comprising lands in King's Lynn. So that the problem becomes one, as I submit, purely of drainage of lands, and that of lands of which King's Lynn does not form a part. The benefit sought to be brought about by these works, Mr. Binnie told us at Question 896 was to be achieved in two ways, by the lowering of low water level, and by prolonging the period of low water in, as I understood it, the River above King's Lynn, and more especially so the further you get up the River above King's Lynn. So that as so stated -and I think I have not unfairly stated it-King's Lynn has no community of interest in the matter of drainage with this area, that is to say, with the area for the benefit of which these works are promulgated to-day. Whatever benefit may result from these works will not, in my submission, result to the lands in King's Lynn at all, but wholly to the area of lands outside of King's Lynn. If I am right in that, then I submit I am right in saying that in this matter of drainage, which is the thing which is involved, King's Lynn has no community of interest with the area in question.
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If I am right in that, then, my submission is that there can be no justification on general principles of fairness for asking King's Lynn to contribute so heavily towards the cost of works designed for the benefit of areas other than King's Lynn. But it does not stop there, because I have said that these are works of drainage, and I suppose no principle either under the Common Law or under the Statute Law has been more firmly established than that in matters of charge for drainage no lands are to be charged which do not benefit. I think one may even go a little further and say that, as witness the Ouse Order of 1920, it has gone almost to this extent, that even as among lands benefited the payment is to be made in proportion to benefit received. You will see if you look at the Commission's Report at paragraph 62, they have, in effect, accepted as the basis of their Report the first of the two principles to which I have referred, that is to say, that no lands which do not benefit are to be charged, because you will see they say:
seems to us "they are dealing, you notice, with "Contributions by County Councils in respect of land outside the Drainage District "-" that, although it is right that the main burden of charge for works of land drainage should fall upon the land which may be assumed to be benefited by the works, it is also reasonable that some measure of contribution should be made in respect of the lands, outside the area of assumed benefit, from which the water flows.' you see when they are dealing with the area of main charge they say, it seems to them right that the main burden of charge for works should fall upon the land which may be assumed to be benefited. Then too, you will find that again accepted by Mr. Dobson at Questions 3074 to 3077, in the eighth days' evidence, page 250. At Question 3074 I said: "Mr. Dobson, am I right in understanding that the principle upon which the Report of the Commission proceeds and which you adopt is that only those lands shall become the subject of charge which are to benefit from the proposed works apart, of course, from the charges on the county which is another matter?-(A.) Yes. (Q.) I am right in that?-(A.) That is so. (Q.) Therefore I am right in assuming that it is only those lands that would be so included that have, so to speak, drainage to deal with, and the problem
of drainage to solve?-(A.) Yes." And I ask your Lordships' particular attention to that. Then Question 3077: "That is the principle, is it not, on which the proposed area of the Board essays to be laid out?-(A.) That is the lowland area, yes." Now I am going, if I may, to test that position and show you, by Mr. Dobson's own admissions and the admissions of other witnesses, that we, on that basis, ought not to be brought within this area of charge because we have not land that has drainage to deal with and the problem of drainage to solve. Again you will find the same thing at Question 3080 on the next page. I put it to him: "At Question 3059, in answer to Mr. Gorman, you stated with regard to the proposed area: We are not departing from the principle of benefit. The Ouse Commission, on the contrary, came to the conclusion that we had taken in too much, and they have reduced it rather.'-(A.) That is so," says Mr. Dobson.
Mr. Bidder.] He is speaking of the lowlands there, Mr. Jeeves.
Mr. Jeeves.] I am speaking of the lowlands. He introduced it by knocking out uplands.
Mr. Bidder.] Yes.
Mr. Jeeves.] That is right. see, my Lord, there is no question that as a root principle this principle has been accepted, that no lands ought to pay which do not benefit. The other principle to which I referred, that even as among lands which do benefit, payment to be in proportion to benefit received, has been thrown over, because they are proposing rateable value over the whole area instead of payment according to the extent to which the works affect the various areas. But while they have done that and, so to speak, brought about an equality of rating charge instead of an inequality in amount, they were careful to insist, as I have put it, that still the main charge ought only to be on lands which are benefited. Yet, in my submission, and I think in fact, when you come to read the evidence, in violation of this principle, the principle upon which the uplands, as to which there was some doubt, were excluded, they seek now, for the first time, to include King's Lynn, as to which there is no doubt and which has no problem of drainage whatsoever to solve. What I earnestly ask your Lordship to do is to insist if this scheme is to go through
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that this principle which was enunciated in the Report and was accepted, according to Mr. Dobson by the Department, should be applied to us.
Let us see what the position of King's Lynn is. We have been told that these works have been going on, in a greater degree perhaps in the last century or century and a half, but for centuries. King's Lynn in the main has never been subject to any charge for drainage in respect of any of the works to which my friend Mr. Macmillan has had to refer. They were liable to no such charge in 1915. In 1915 there was an Order passed under which a Board is set up to deal with the matter of this Ouse drainage, a Board which had powers to carry out all such works as those in question. There is no doubt about that, because if you look at page 274, Question 3432, Mr. Dobson is being cross-examined by my friend Mr. Turner: "Just tell me this: Are the works which are set out in the first part of the Third Schedule substantially the same as the works which were set out in the First Schedule of the Order of 1915?-(A.) Yes, I will accept it that that is substantially so." Now on the initiative of the Board of Agriculture, in 1915 under some Emergency Legislation a Board was set up with express powers to carry out these very works, and provision was made in that Order for payment by three drainage authorities of the cost of the works. Still no liability whatever on King's Lynn with regard to the works; no suggestion that they should pay. The position which they had at the time that Order was brought into the House was preserved and, therefore, although these works had been the subject of an Order promoted by the Board of Agriculture, yet in that Order there was no provision for the inclusion of King's Lynn. What has happened in the meantime to justify the suggestion that they ought now to be included I should like to know.
Then we come to the Order of 1920. The position there the position that I have put to you-is again largely emphasised by that Order, because substantially King's Lynn is again left out. There was originally, as that Order was brought into the House, or, at all events, as it was originally drawn, a proposal that the whole of the area of King's Lynn should be brought into charge in respect of one or more of the various areas. Then that was amended and substantially King's Lynn was eliminated. You will find I put the position at page 251, Questions 3090 and 3091. At Question 3090: "Added to that position the fact remains, does it not, that for reasons which satisfied your Department in relation to the Order of 1920 the area of King's Lynn was practically excluded from the operation, or, rather, was not brought within the operation, of that Order?" to which Mr. Dobson replied, "The 1920 Order, that is so." Question 3091: "And it has never been within the operation of any such liability to charge, generally speaking? (A.) I think that is so." I do not merely claim the fact that this has been done by, the Board of Agriculture in 1920 and 1915, but I say it was rightly done by the Board of Agriculture, and I claim their action as showing that King's Lynn was rightly excluded, and if rightly excluded under those two Orders, then I submit there is no reason why King's Lynn should be brought in now. There is nothing that has transpired in the meantime that can make a reversal of the position in 1915 and 1920 right, if, in 1915 and 1920, those decisions were right. Chairman.] I suppose you will be a little time yet?
Mr. Jeeves.] Yes, I will be a little time yet. I never like to estimate my own talking ability, but I should think I will be about three-quarters of an hour. I will try and compress it into that.
(After a short adjournment.)
Mr. Jeeves.] My Lord, when we adjourned, I had been putting to your Lordship that King's Lynn from early times had had no charge upon it in respect of any drainage works which had been carried out for the benefit of lands other than those in the area of King's Lynn, and that the works in question under the present Bill are equally with
respect to those lands other than the lands of King's Lynn. Perhaps it would be well to look for a minute at that map, and there you will see the areas dealt with in the 1920 Order are coloured on the map, and you will see that King's Lynn is on the far west of them coloured white, or perhaps the north-west. Therefore, King's Lynn really began where
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the lands the subject of reclamation and drainage ended.
Now, may I ask you to look at what Mr. Binnie said at Questions 272 to 275 in, I think, the third day's evidence, page 86. You will have to go back to Question 264, because they are dealing with a stretch of river, and then my learned friend Mr. Macmillan said: "What stretch of the river are we dealing with here?-(A) It is between Fisher Fleet and the lower end of the Eau Brink Cut near Free Bridge"; that roughly is along the boundary of King's Lynn. Then dealing with that stretch he goes on in Question 272 to say: "How is it protected at present?"-that is that particular reach-" It is protected by wharf walls and groynes, and there is a certain amount of chalk pitching, but, speaking generally, the Commission came to the conclusion that the banks were in such a good condition that no measures for protection were specially necessary along that length. (Q) These works have been carried out by the Lynn Conservancy? (A) In their area, but there is a good deal of private property facing the banks, either dock property or railway property, and so on. They have taken their own measures of protection. (Q) The position is that as one is coming down the river from Denver Sluice when you get to the neighbourhood of King's Lynn you come to the stretch between Fisher Fleet and Eau Brink Cut which is in the hands of the Lynn Conservancy, and which is already sufficiently protected by the groynes they have erected and under their charge?-(A) Yes. We came to the conclusion the channel could be dredged to a sufficient depth already without repairing the banks. (Q) Is it necessary to do any work there?-(A) Dredging." There you see Mr. Binnie in examination-in-chief tells you that we are amply and fully protected by our banks and we need no works. True he says something of dredging, with which I will deal in a minute, but from the point of view of drainage he tells you we need no protection; we have provided and are maintaining our Own works for our own protection.
Mr. Bidder.] He is not dealing with drainage; he is dealing with the protection of the banks.
Mr. Jeeves.] Precisely. I do not know why you should observe that. Now I will ask you to look at Question 1199 on the fourth day, page 138. I say to Mr.
Binnie: May I put this to you? As far as you know, we have no problem of drainage to be solved at King's Lynn? (A) As far as I know."
Colonel Heneage.] May I interrupt you a moment on this question of drainage? Where do you say the drainage finishes? Does it finish at the tidal water? Drainage begins at the water shed and goes right down the river. Where do you say it ends, at the tidal water or in the sea?
Mr. Jeeves.] What I say for this purpose is the Drainage Works that are involved here are Drainage Works for lands above King's Lynn. I am not suggesting that our waters do not require an outlet to the sea just as the waters up above do, but what I am suggesting to you is that the works are required purely and simply in respect of the drainage of what one may call the reclaimed lands of the Fens. We were never in that category from time immemorial, because of our geographical formation and, I suppose, because of the formation on which we are built. Mr. Binnie was perfectly right. He told you we were protected by these
walls, and the lowest bank is 16 feet and the other bank is from 18 to 20 feet in height, and the town itself is built on an average of 18 to 20 feet or 21 feet; so the town itself is even above the 20 feet contour, and the whole of it is several feet above
Mr. Bidder.] This is all information you are giving to the Committee. You will observe my learned friend has led no evidence; he is basing a large part of his speech on evidence he is giving himself.
Mr. Jeeves.] If you think I have made any statements which you think I ought not to make without evidence I shall be perfectly prepared to call evidence. What I have said is based on what Mr. Binnie said.
Mr. Bidder.] He did not say anything about King's Lynn being built 21 feet above ordnance datum.
Mr. Jeeves.] I will read what he said, and I do not think it is quite courteous to interrupt in that way. I am sure you do not desire to be other than courteous.
Mr. Bidder.] Certainly not.
Mr. Jeeves.] I will read that again. He said at Question 1199, "We have no problem of drainage," and at Question 272 he has said definitely that we sufficiently protected, and all I have said
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is that he is quite right in that because of the facts that I mentioned. If they are in any way in dispute, or if you think, as I say, in the course of this speech I say anything that may influence their Lordships as to which evidence should be called, I am perfectly prepared after the adjournment to call it.
Mr. Bidder.] May I say quite frankly what I do submit to his Lordship. You are not entitled to base any argument upon the height of King's Lynn about which the Committee has no evidence whatever. You are basing an argument on the fact that part of it is outside the 20 feet contour. There is no evidence of that before their Lordships.
Mr. Jeeves.] Because I say if I make any statement of fact which you dispute and as to which you consider I ought to prove it in evidence, I will do it, and you know me well enough to take it that I should not make the statement unless 1
were prepared to do it. Now may I get
Again I repeat what I have said, I am merely amplifying what Mr. Binnie has said. Speaking generally he said the Commission came to the conclusion that the banks were in such good condition that no measures for protection were specially necessary. Then my learned friend Mr. Macmillan puts it even more strongly to him in Question 274 when he says that it" is already sufficiently protected by the groynes they have erected and under their charge."
If that be the case, if it true as Mr. Binnie has said, that we are sufficiently protected by the groynes under our charge, that no measures of protection are specially necessary along the length on which King's Lynn abuts, and that we have no drainage problem to solve, as he definitely said in answer 1199, then how can it be fair or right to ask as the Bill does that we should be brought into the area of assumed benefit, and therefore have to make a payment in exactly the same ratio as all the other lands for which benefit alone in contrast to King's Lynn the works are required, when regarded from a drainage point of view? Lord, that is, as I submit, the proposition that my learned friends have to establish, if they ask your Lordships to pass the Bill keeping King's Lynn in. To keep King's Lynn in would mean that King's Lynn is proposed to be rated not in respect of any works which can
to their benefit, but for works made necessary and designed for the benefit of these other lands extending to a large number of acres with which I will deal in a moment.
My Lord, I am just going to ask you to compare what is asked in respect of other areas with what is asked in respect of King's Lynn. Take the Lowland area as a whole. It has never been questioned, as far as I have been able to hear, by any opponents other than myself, that in some degree or other the lands in the Lowland area will receive benefit. There may have been, and I think probably it is fair to say there have been, questions of the extent of benefit that this area or that area of Lowland land will have, but that they would in some measure benefit I submit has not really been questioned. Yet the rating that is proposed for them on the estimated cost of the works works out at 2s. 6d. per acre on the average. That is lands standing to benefit and whose works it is that have made the works
now suggested necessary. Whereas the amount proposed to be put upon King's Lynn who, I submit, the promoters themselves have shown are not to the get benefit in relation to drainage at all, works out at no less than £1 2s. 5d. an acre, which is nearly nine times as much per acre in respect of lands for which the works were not designed, and which do not require the works-nine times the amount per acre that is proposed in respect of lands that are to benefit. The total area of the lands that are to benefit is stated, including King's Lynn, at 430,907 acres. You would have to deduct our 3,000 acres from that, and you may call it in round figures 427,900 acres. On all those the suggestion is 2s. 6d. No question is raised that they all benefit in some degree or other by the drainage which is involved here. 2s. 6d. an acre. On King's Lynn, where it is not suggested there is any benefit and where there is no state of affairs which requires attention from the drainage point of view, it is £1 2s. 5d. All this is done, and for what? The inhabitants of King's Lynn shall pay a sum which, as I have said, would work out at 10s. 8d. It is stated on the assumption that every penny in the £ produced a penny to be 7.76d., and it is all done apparently that the lands which shall benefit shall pay 1d. in the £ less than they otherwise would do and the other lands that would benefit should pay a halfpenny in