Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)
Scheme Deferred for Further Information.
Dr. Russell Wallace & Government's Land Bill.
The Chairman having explained the steps taken by the Parish Council to bring the matter forward, said personally he should feel glad if they were able to acquire the land mentioned, but he pointed out that many places were now so intolerably over-rated that people found a difficulty in getting a place where they could live decently and with a reasonable rate to pay. Broadstone, so far, was not rated extremely high, and unless a recreation ground was sorely needed indeed, they should be careful to avoid raising the rates, as by doing so there was a tendency to make the place unpopular. A letter had been received from Mr. H. W. K. Rawlins expressing the hope the meeting would not further the scheme, as he was strongly of opinion a drainage scheme was the first and foremost necessity. (Applause.)
Mr. W. Barnett said he did not know who conceived the idea that a recreation ground was needed in such a rural district. To him the proposition to purchase the site in question was absurd. If anyone wanted a park let it be a gift. (Applause.)
Dr. Russell Wallace thought there were very serious objections to the purchase of the land. There was, in the first place, certainly a doubt about its being private property, and he believed there was a maxim in law that there was no statute or limitation with respect to public property, and that a holding of such for years by private persons did not give them a legal title to it. He thought enquiries should have been first made to ascertain if there were any public rights involved, and how, if it ever, became private property. Another and more important point was the time was not ripe to purchase building land for public purposes, because there was before Parliament, and there had been such a general demand for it, and such a general agreement between both parties, that it was absolutely necessary to have a Government Land Bill which would empower all local authorities to purchase land at a fair value, and not at a fancy value. He thought they should delay action pending the passing of such a Bill; further he thought it the wrong time to ask them to pay what was really an exorbitant price for the purchase of the site in question. (Applause.) . . . [[comments by others]]
Mr. Clarke said he was willing to withdraw his resolution, and let the matter be deferred for three months. (A Voice: "Three years.") Dr. Wallace seemed to have a good deal more confidence in the Government than he had. (Laughter.) He did not believe the present House of Commons, with its large number of landowners, would be likely to give away any of their land any more than lawyers would make their transfers cheaper. (Laughter.) . . . [[comments by others]]
Mr. Dibben ultimately moved "That it is not expedient to acquire the piece of land in question for a recreation ground, nor to raise a loan for such land until particulars of other available sites have been ascertained and laid before a parish meeting."
Dr. Wallace seconded, and the former resolutions having been withdrawn, this was carried unanimously.