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Roehampton Gate—Observations

Volume 203: debated on Monday 25 July 1870

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said, he rose to call attention to the fact of Roehampton Gate being closed to the public, owing to a dispute between the Government and the owner of the road leading to it, and to urge upon the First Commissioner of Works the neces- sity of having the gate opened, in order that access through it to Richmond Park might be obtained by the inhabitants of London. Efforts had been made by successive First Commissioners of Works to have the gate thrown open, but without success; and the only result of the negotiations was to have the road closed absolutely not only to the public, but to the carriages of the Queen and Royal Family, who formerly enjoyed the privilege of driving through the gate. His opinion was that both the owner of the road leading to the gate and the Government had been wrong in their negotiations, and the public had consequently been the sufferer. Were the First Commissioner of Works, however, now to bestir himself in the matter, he believed a satisfactory result would be obtained. He contended that as the Government, by having offered to pay £2,000 to the lady who now owned the adjacent lanes, had shown their willingness to purchase them, a fair price ought to be ascertained and the matter settled by the Government giving the full value for the whole property, including the two private roads, whatever the value might be, recouping themselves by the increased value which would be thus given to the portions for building purposes. He was given to understand that all that the owner of the approaches to this gate—who had hitherto maintained the roads at her own expense—wanted was a fair price for her ground, and that if this were given the public would obtain the right to use Roehampton Gate as an entrance to Richmond Park. Should it ultimately turn out, however, that the lady refused to give up the road at a fair valuation, it was the duty of the Government to introduce a Bill asking compulsory powers to take the road. Had he not been precluded by the forms of the House from taking a Division upon the subject he would have moved a Resolution, but, as it was, he would very strongly urge upon the Government the necessity of taking immediate steps to have the Gate opened.