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Alfred Russel Wallace : Alfred Wallace : A. R. Wallace :
Russel Wallace : Alfred Russell Wallace (sic)

Parishioners and the Proposed Recreation Ground.
Scheme Deferred for Further Information.
Dr. Russell Wallace & Government's Land Bill.
(S640a: 1907)

Editor Charles H. Smith's Note: A newspaper report containing an account of remarks Wallace made during a local public meeting. Printed on page 4 of the 7 June 1907 issue of The Western Gazette (Somerset). To link directly to this page, connect with: http://people.wku.edu/charles.smith/wallace/S640A.htm

     In the School-room on Tuesday evening a meeting of parishioners for the district of Broadstone (that portion of the parish of Canford comprised in the Broadstone lighting area) was held to discuss a resolution "empowering the Canford Magna Parish Council to raise a loan for the purpose of purchasing that piece of land or open space, near Miss Oakley's house, Broadstone, bounded on the north by Golf-road, on the south-west by Wimborne-road, and on the north-west by the road past the Conservative Club, extent about 6½ acres, to be used as a recreation ground for Broadstone, the price of the land, £1,300, to be acquired by raising a loan; re-payment of capital and interest to be spread over a period of 60 years, interest at 3½ per cent.; annual payment, £41 16s 2d, requiring a rate of 1½ d in the £ per annum." The Chairman of the Parish Council (the Rev. F. Fisher) presided, and there was a large and representative gathering.

     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.

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