Jump to content
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Strawberry Orange Banana Lime Leaf Slate Sky Blueberry Grape Watermelon Chocolate Marble
Sign in to follow this  
Tom Morgan

Canal Acts of Parliament query

Featured Posts

When canals were proposed, and their Acts of Parliament were passed, the inclusion of the proposed route was an important  feature.  But what was the legal position concerning the owners of the land through which the canal was to pass?  Were they obliged to sell to the canal company?  I know there were some influential landowners who were able to insist on deviations in routes to suit themselves, but in general terms, what was the requirement on landowners?  

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If there was a query about the cost of land taken, the act usually had a clause for the appointment of a special jury to decide value.

 

Land owners had the opportunity to object at the parliamentary stages. Arguments could include damage to supply to water mills and important estates. In the latter a route might be diverted and ornamental bridges made. In some cases the act may not proceed.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An Act of Parliament was a little like compulsory purchase, though with caveats regarding how the value of the land was arrived at. The deposited plan for the route was in outline only, and the Act gave permission to deviate within strict limits. An Act would only be passed if a significant number of land owners along the proposed route agreed to the construction of a canal, and it was the few land owners who did not agree who were the main problem in deciding upon the value of land taken, though the necessity of going to court was very rare. An outline payment was made initially, and the full payment, including damages, was made after the canal was completed. This could take many years, with the land taken for the Leeds & Liverpool only being fully measured in the mid-1820s. The legal process regarding payment could then take longer if there was a problem with identifying the owner, such as when the original owner died and the land was passed on through a will. Payment for some of the L&LC land was still being sorted out in the 1840s, over thirty years after the canal had opened.

  • Greenie 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, buccaneer66 said:

A simple demonstration of landowner intervention is Bruce tunnel on the Kennet & Avon https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bruce_Tunnel  

Other examples: Tixall Wide: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tixall_Wide

 

Solomon's Bridge, Cosgrove: http://www.cosgrovevillage.co.uk/Solmons Bridge Cosgrove.pdf

Edited by Ray T

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The need to acquire land and other rights from reluctant parties was one of the principal reasons for seeking an Act of Parliament.  If the proposed canal was an entirely private affair, an Act would not be required.

 

The promoters of the Act would not want too many influential objectors, and therefore as many as possible would be bought-off by agreeing to various demands.  The system prevails to this day on major infrastructure schemes.

 

In the period  when most canals were constructed, the Act would make its own provisions to compensate dispossessed owners and occupiers - and those suffering injurious affection.  The Act would also make provisions for the precise level of compensation to be decided later, within its established rules. Although there was some standardisation of the provisions,  they were the subject of much debate and wasted much time.  The Land Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845 drew together the recognised rules and it became the practice to provide, in an Act for compulsory powers, that the compensation would be assessed in accordance with the 1845 Act.  This reduced Parliamentary time and the prospects of a good scheme being lost due to disputes over private compensation.

 

Today, most compulsory purchase orders are made by public authorities using general powers – for example Housing or Planning Acts.    Whilst a local council has such powers, the use thereof usually requires confirmation by the Secretary of State and typically a public enquiry is held, if there are objectors to the CPO.  But  the principles of compensation and procedures is fixed by  existing legislation such as the Land Compensation Acts and the Compulsory Purchase Act – with the precise amounts being capable of a determination by a tribunal with equivalent standing to the High Court.  Therefore, grumbles about compensation are not heard at the enquiry.

 

If general compulsory power are not available or suitable, an Act of Parliament is still required.  Typically this is for major schemes such as HS2 with countless other factors rather than a local road widening.  The provisions for compensation are put into the Act, but these will commonly refer, maybe with a tweak or two, to existing legislation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4 hours ago, Tacet said:

In the period  when most canals were constructed, the Act would make its own provisions to compensate dispossessed owners and occupiers - and those suffering injurious affection.  The Act would also make provisions for the precise level of compensation to be decided later, within its established rules. Although there was some standardisation of the provisions,  they were the subject of much debate and wasted much time.  The Land Clauses Consolidation Act of 1845 drew together the recognised rules and it became the practice to provide, in an Act for compulsory powers, that the compensation would be assessed in accordance with the 1845 Act.  This reduced Parliamentary time and the prospects of a good scheme being lost due to disputes over private compensation.

 

I don't think this is entirely accurate, and the 1845 Act would have little influence on canal building, though it may have been passed because earlier problems with canal building were now re-emerging with the Railway Mania. Early, pre-1780, canal Acts could have specific clauses protecting certain sections, but there were only three in the 1770 L&LC Act for an over 100-mile-long canal. I suspect that provisions under canal Acts need to be divided into pre-1793 and post-1793, the year when deposited plans became a specific requirement to illustrate what the canal Bill was proposing. Prior to that there was no requirement for a deposited plan, though plans were usually drawn up showing which land was likely to be taken. Deviation was usually allowed by the Act. Exactly how land was purchased would be an interesting area of research, and I do have copies of the payments made for land and damages for the L&LC. However, this was done circa 1827, after the canal had been completed, so can be difficult to interpret. 

 

The text below is part of a letter reporting on the Settle Canal Bill, and shows why that Bill did not succeed in Parliament and become an Act - supporters only owned 2.75 miles of the route of the 15-mile-long proposed canal.

Votes.jpg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Landowner influence led to the making of the Shelmore Embankment on the SU and also influenced the route of the Ellesmere  Canal from Trevor to Chester, during the construction discussion, That canal was not built and the result was the extensive detour to Hurleston. 

 

Railways were not immune and tunnels were made to hide the "offensive" line from view at the Hall.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes - I read about the Shelmore Embankment becoming necessary when a landowner insisted on the canal being diverted from a proposed path through his woodland. (If I remember correctly).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.