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28° Julii, 1927.]
these various areas being inundated?(A.) Personally, as far as the Middle Level and these other Levels are collcerned, I do not think there is much danger of flooding. (Q.) You do not?-(A.) No, I do not. There are some banks on the left bank of the Ouse, the lower part beyond St. German's Sluice, that want making up to a small extent, but there is not very much money in that. (Q.) The danger is not imminent?-(A.) No." I think there is one other reference in this connection I wanted to give your Lordships. It will be remembered, as pointed out at Question 3156 and the following questions, this matter has been considered by yet another Commission who came to yet other determinations therefore, I do submit that there is not urgency in the sense that has been put.
I have only the matter of the Marsh Cut and Vinegar Cut to mention. To the cost of the construction of those works, as I think admitted by Captain Roseveare, King's Lynn contributed some £38,000 odd. It then found in addition a sum of £5,000 known as the Marsu Cut Fund-half the Marsh Cut Fundand £2,500, half the Fund, known as the Indemnity Fund. The income of the Marsh Cut Fund was to be applied absolutely to the upkeep of the banks of the Marsh Cut. If they were kept up adequately and there was a balance then the Company might have it. If, on the other hand, the income from that Fund was not sufficient for the upkeep of the banks, then the income of the Indemnity Fund was to be applied to the upkeep of those banks. In respect of those payments by King's Lynn the Company undertook the absolute obligation of keeping in repair for all time the banks of the Marsh Cut and the Vinegar Middle Cut. So you see my Lord that Fund is still there. That Fund it is proposed to transfer to this new authority. So, if this is carried out, this new authority will have the benefit of capital sums amounting to £5,000 and £2,500 provided by ing's Lynn as the Conservancy Authority. They will have the benefit of those two Funds. That, I submit, is the only contribution again which King's Lynn ought to be asked to make directly towards works in relation to the outfall, other than contributions to which I have referred, by reason of improvement under Clause 6. As they are getting that benefit surely it enforces the argument which I put earlier to your Lordship that that
ought to be sufficient for King's Lynn and that King's Lynn ought to continue to be free from contribution towards the upkeep of those banks in respect of the payment they made for that purpose, the benefit of which is to go to this new Board. I venture to submit in conclusion that there is no difference between the Indemnity Fund and the Marsh Cut Fund. It is perfectly true you could not get to the income of the Indemnity Fund until the income of the Marsh Cut Fund was found to be insufficient, but the Indemnity Fund had to be kept intact, so that the income could be got at whenever the Marsh Cut Fund income was found to be insufficient. Therefore, that being so, if the one Fund ought to be transferred, so the other Fund ought to be transferred. If that were done, as I have said, they would have the benefit in perpetuity of payments made many years before the war amounting to £7,500 representing, of course, a very much larger sum in the present day. I would ask your Lordship to take that fact into account in relation to the other matters that I have urged before you.
Finally, I would ask your Lordships to say that there is no case for putting the whole area of King's Lynn into this area of charge, as is proposed, and that to do so would be unfair and unwarranted, and would have the effect of putting a burden on King's Lynn which would be extremely detrimental to that Borough and, not only so, but would be contravening altogether the principles which I mentioned when I began my speech to your Lordship.
That, I think, my Lord, concludes the case as I desire to put it before you for King's Lynn. If my friend suggests, as Mr. Bidder did, that I have made any statement that requires evidence; if that should be maintained, perhaps your Lordship would let it be called after the adjournment, but so far as I am concerned, I do not desire to call evidence unless either my friend or your Lordship desire some evidence to be called. I leave the case there, again urgently asking your Lordship, as I am sure you will, most carefully to consider the matter from the point of view I have endeavoured to put before you.
Mr. Campbell.] May I ask just one question for information. You have alleged that you have received no benefits from this scheme and, therefore, you are rather against having to pay for it.
an operation and cannot be present; that is public property.
Mr. Macmillan.] We all regret to hear of his Lordship's indisposition. We wish him a speedy recovery.
Chairman.] I have just received a telegram from Lord Monk Bretton to say that he is in bed to-day; I hope it is only temporary. I ask for your consent and that of the parties, to go on as we are, less those two members.
Mr. Macmillan.] So far as the promoters are concerned certainly, my Lord, and no doubt my learned friends will say the same thing.
Chairman.] Then it will be convenient perhaps that I shall say now that on Friday we propose to meet at 11.30; it will be more convenient.
Mr. Macmillan.] 11.30. My Lord, it might be convenient on the resumption of the proceedings if I were just to say a word as to the position in which the Bill now finds itself. You may recall a con
siderable time was spent on investigating the engineering aspect of the Bill when your Lordships and your colleagues were good enough to come to a provisional decision on that matter, leaving over for further consideration a very important part of the Bill which deals with finance, and I take it we shall now address ourselves to that part of the Bill.
Chairman.] The Committee are quite clear on the effect of the provisions of the Bill with regard to the finance and the provisions with regard to rates.
Mr. Macmillan.] I opened the whole Bill generally, including the financial aspect of it, and led evidence on the financial aspect. I take it, therefore, the proper procedure will be for my learned friends to develop their case now, taking the financial provisions of the Bill.
I have a pleasant task in informing the Committee that on quite a number of matters we have been able to come to an agreement, and in that way we shall be able to eliminate some of the smaller matters which are so troublesome.
If I may report the progress we have made, I am glad to say we have settled
8° Novembris, 1927.]
the question which emerged with regard to the railways. My learned friend Mr. Tyldesley Jones cross-examined at considerable length on behalf of the London and North Eastern Railway.
Mr. Tyldesley Jones.] Not considerable.
Mr. Macmillan.] Considerable, but not unduly long.
Mr. Tyldesley Jones.] Effective.
Mr. Macmillan.] So effective that he has brought us to reason. We have settled with him words which will satisfy him both with regard to the protection of railway works and with regard to the rating of the railway in the area affected, so that the London and North Eastern Railway are no longer opposing in regard to these matters.
Mr. Tyldesley Jones.] Nor the Joint Committee?
Mr. Macmillan.] That applies also to them. As regards the King's Lynn Docks and Railway Company and the King's Lynn Conservancy Board there were two matters in which they were interested, first, the protection of works and the saving of rights. There we have been able to adjust a clause-I do not know if it is completed, but it is on the way to completion-which will be satisfactory to both.
As regards contributions in respect of improvements, a new clause is being negotiated and an agreement has indeed been reached this morning on that matter on the formal words.
Then there was a little procedure point with regard to the East Suffolk County Council, the area that was brought in. A clause has been agreed with the East Suffolk County Council to meet the difficulty of its non-inclusion, and they are satisfied with that clause. It means that it will not be brought in otherwise than by an order of the Minister, and the usual opportunities will be given for hearing on that matter, so that technical difficulty disappears.
As regards the Norfolk Estuary Company, although they are not petitioners against the Bill, a number of amendments have been made at their request on Clause 20 which are satisfactory to them and to us.
As regards Bedfordshire we have agreed certain provisions for limiting the byelaw powers in Clause 21, and that I expect will also meet the objections of the other County Councils on that point; that is the byelaw making power; that,
of course, does not affect the general question with the counties.
Mr. Tyldesley Jones.] That satisfies my clients.
Mr. Macmillan.] Very good. As regards Huntingdonshire we have met them to this extent that we propose to abandon the Weir at Earith and substitute a sluice. You may remember that was a most debated point, and we are quite willing to fall in with their views about the matter. We are also going to add tidal doors to the Welmore Lake Sluice, another point on which they insisted. That will have certain consequential effects upon Schedule III, and in these respects Huntingdonshire are satisfied, but again the rating question and the Hundred Foot Level question are still in dispute.
As regards the Middle Level Commissioners, Mr. Raikes' clients, we have put in a certain number of new clauses at their suggestion, but I am afraid I cannot say that we have as yet satisfied the Middle Level Commissioners.
One other general matter is this. You may recall that a general power was taken in the Bill to repeal the whole Bill by Order. That has been dropped and no such power is now asked. It is satisfactory, I think, to be able to report that quite a number of matters of that sort which might have led to a great deal of controversy have been eliminated, and we are able to clear the field for the really important matter.
Chairman.] On page 400, the very last day and almost the last page, you will remember the offer, down at the bottom of the page, made by Mr. Jeeves there, and going on the top of the next page where he concludes by saying: "I stand by that." I do not know whether you have considered that at all?
Mr. Macmillan.] That is the matter which we have settled and is embodied in one of the settled clauses.
Chairman.] It is?
Mr. Macmillan.] Yes. The only warning is that we have had to do it subject to Treasury sanction which no doubt we will obtain, but we have had to do it subject to Treasury sanction.
Mr. Riley.] May I ask Mr. Macmillan as to whether the sluice referred to at Earith is a new sluice in addition to the Seven Holes Sluice?
Mr. Macmillan.] It is in substitution for the existing Seven Holes Sluice which you see. A new sluice there.
8° Novembris, 1927.]
Mr. Riley.] Is it to be larger; is it nine holes or only seven?
Mr. Macmillan.] It will be a modernised sluice on a larger scale. Apparently that is satisfactory to our critics in that matter.
Mr. Jeeves.] My Lord, on behalf of King's Lynn, may I just say with regard to your Lordship's question as to what I said at the bottom of page 400, it is true that my learned friend, Mr. Macmillan, has said that that particular clause to which he has referred which has been agreed by the Harbour Authority and the Conservancy, does provide for contribution in certain eventualities in respect of any improvement that may result to the Harbour of King's Lynn quay harbour. It was to that I said we had no objections to such contributions as that, and "I stand by that," and now that has been, so to speak, operated, and they will have that right to contribution. Now, my Lord, may I ask your Lordship to please correct this, or have it corrected, on page 396, at the bottom of the page I say "The inhabitants of King's Lynn shall pay a sum which, as I have said, would work out at "-the note says "10s. 8d. "; what I said was "10.8d." -a little different you see, my Lord. Then your Lordship will remember that in the course of my speech, on I think two occasions anyhow, my learned friend, Mr. Bidder, said "That has not been proved," and I said "I am perfectly prepared to do it if you wish me to do it." At the end of the evidence on page 403, Mr. Campbell raised a point as to the effect of the works. I answered that, and then Mr. Riley said: "On that point I understand we shall have evidence submitted after the adjournment." You, my Lord, say "If desired," and I say desired, certanly, my Lord," and it is that evidence I am now proposing to call, my Lord. I understand my learned friend, Mr. Van den Berg wants to say a word before I call the evidence.
nesses, and to-day by Mr. Macmillan, on the question of the maintenance of the Hundred Foot River "—your Lordship will find it is the second paragraph on page 391-" and we suggest that possibly the parties may agree that something may be put into the Bill which will guarantee its maintenance," that is the maintenance of the Hundred Foot River. Your Lordships remember that point. It seemed to me convenient at this juncture that I should know exactly where I stand in connection with the Hundred Foot
River, because, of course, my clients attach the greatest importance to that point. As I understand it, if your Lordships took the view that the Hundred Foot River should become the main carrier of the water instead of the Old
Bedford River, as now proposed, then that would really be a preamble matter, and your Lordships would reject the whole measure. If, on the other hand, your Lordships do not take that view, but there is to be a provision, as my Lord indicated, for the maintenance of the Hundred Foot River, then that I understand may become a clause matter. If that is so I should be quite prepared to go back to the matter when we come to the clauses, and also to table an amendment relating to the Hundred Foot River, and to call evidence upon it, but I do not want to be put in the position, if I treat the matter as a clause matter, for Mr. Macmillan to be able to say (I am sure he would not wish to say so) that it was a matter that arose on the preamble, and therefore I am barred from tabling my amendment and calling evidence to support the clause which I desire to put in the Bill.
Mr. Macmillan.] My learned friend puts the matter quite correctly. Your Lordship did make that observation regarding the Hundred Foot Level. I suggested the question might be postponed until we come to clauses. I am afraid we shall not reach agreement upon it Mr. Van den Berg, and therefore if you brought up your proposal at that time I would do my best to answer it, and perhaps I might be able to agree some of it-I do not know. I certainly should
not preclude it on the point of what my Lord said. I think it would be better to postpone it and re-open it at that stage, you not being prejudiced in any way.
Mr. Van den Berg.] If you please.
8° Novembris, 1927.]
Mr. EDWARD JOHN SILCOCK.
Mr. EDWARD JOHN SILCOCK is called in and, having been sworn, is examined by Mr. W. J. JEEVES as follows:
4839. I think you are a Member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, a Member of the Association of Consulting Engineers, a Fellow of the Surveyors' Institution, and practise as a Consulting Engineer at Westminster and in Leeds? -Yes.
4840. Have you had over 40 years' experience in your profession, devoted largely to works of drainage, sewerage and sewage disposal and water supply? -Yes.
4841. I think you have been engaged on land drainage problems in several different parts of England and Wales? -Yes.
4842. Have you been in touch with the Fens and the Broadland districts of Norfolk and Suffolk all your life?—Yes.
4843. I think your acquaintance with the River Ouse began before your engineering experience began at all?-Yes, I have been acquainted with the River Ouse practically all my life. I am a native of the district and know it very well indeed.
4844. Following that on, in 1887 were you appointed and did you become the Borough and Water Engineer to the King's Lynn Corporation?-I did.
4845. At that time they were the port authority, were they not?-They were.
4846. Therefore, you were dealing not merely with the ordinary Borough engineering, but with the port authority's works? Yes, and that position continued until 1898, when the King's Lynn Conservancy Board was established to take over the port authority duties. Then I became Engineer to that authority, which position I held until last year, so that practically speaking I have been Engineer to the Port Authority of King's Lynn for 40 years.
4847. During that time have you necessarily, as such Engineer, had under particular professional observation the Harbour and ship channel?-Yes, I have.
4848. I think in the course of this experience you have, on several occasions, given evidence with regard to the matter at one or other of the various enquiries which have been made, going back to the first one by Messrs. Grantham and Bidwell?-Yes.
4849. The Marsh Cut and the Vinegar Middle Cut, having been made some 70 to 80 years ago, have you been able to
observe the changes which have taken place as a result of those operations?Yes, over about half the period of their life.
4850. I think in 1890, by reason of a proposal to light the ship channel to Lynn, you made a detailed survey, did you not? -Yes, I made a trigonometrical survey of the estuary of the Ouse extending out to the Bar Flat from Lynn.
4851. Was that survey plotted on the scale of six inches to the mile?-Yes.
4852. And it gave you, did it not, a very close and accurate knowledge of the district and of the questions of the sea and the river as affecting King's Lynn?— Oh, yes, I spent a great deal of time naturally in making that survey and became very familiar with the position of the various channels in the Wash, and the sets of the tides and currents and matters of that kind.
4953. Now, Mr. Silcock, I would like to get from you certain particulars with regard to the Borough, before we come to the main points. First of all, King's Lynn is a Municipal Borough and an Urban Sanitary Authority-no longer a Port Authority?—No.
4854. Has it a population of just over 20,000?—Yes.
4855. Is its area 3,173 acres?—Yes. 4856. Is its assessable value £88,606? -Yes.
4857. Is its outstanding debt £166,575? -Yes.
4858. Are the rates at present chargeable round about 15s. in the pound?About 15s., yes.
4859. Is the product of a penny rate £320?-£320.
4860. Has the Borough a complete modern system of drainage and sewerage which cost them approximately £35,000? -Yes, that is a complete system of sewers which was laid down by me in the latter part of the time I was Borough Engineer, and after I left the service of the Corporation, I completed the work.
4861. It might perhaps be of interest for you to point out on the map to their Lordships the boundaries of King's Lynn, so that they may see them clearly in relation to the district with which this Bill deals. The western boundary of the Borough is along the centre of the River Ouse, is it not?-Yes, commencing at the north.