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Army—The Defence Act—Wormwood Scrubbs—Questions

Volume 218: debated on Monday 23 March 1874

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asked the Secretary of State for War, Whether it is true that the Metropolitan Common of 170 acres, known as Wormwood Scrubs, is likely to be lost to the commoners and public through the application of the provisions of the Defence Act in the compulsory purchase by the War Department of the commoners rights?

, in reply, said, that, for a great number of years, Wormwood Scrubbs had been used under a lease as a drill ground for troops, and in order to secure the property, it was purchased subject to the rights of the commoners. Negotiations were now going on with the commoners for the purpose of buying out their rights and giving them adequate compensation. There was no necessity at present to put in force the provisions of the Defence Act; but, if the commoners vexatiously interfered with the use of the place for drilling troops, it might be necessary to put those provisions in operation. As to the common being lost to the public, the object of the purchase was to keep it open, not to close it up.

said, that he had had no Notice of that Question, but he would say he had every reason to believe no such intention existed.