|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 2nd October, 1953, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Planners Don’t Like ‘Suburbia’
And that’s why they oppose caravans
Rushden’s Court Estate is looked upon with disfavour by County Council officials. At a public enquiry at the Council Offices on Tuesday the estate was described by the county planning officer (Mr. M. Gregory) as “an isolated colony of dwellings which have gone astray.”
Mr. Gregory also called Court Estate “an area of suburbia gone adrift,” and said: “We don’t like it because it is uneconomical.”
Mr. O. M. Jones, representing the County Council said: “Without wishing to give offence to the inhabitants it does constitute sterile development. It is just sleeping and living accommodation and nothing more. There is no balance of outside activities. If it is undesirable as it stands there can be no argument for its extension.”
The Court Estate figured largely into the inquiry, which dealt with the Modern Electric Company’s appeal to the Minister of Housing and Local Government against the decision of Rushden Urban Council regarding the development of two sites for caravans off Newton Road.
The Inspector (Mr. C. D. Allderidge) first heard from Mr. A. Norman Groome, who represented Mr. Brinley Davies, a partner in the appellant firm.
Mr. Groome described the existing amenities of the sites which cover four and a quarter acres in all. There was a shop, a church hall and all services except gas and it was in the centre of distribution for Calor gas.
Answering Mr. Groome, Mr. Davies said he made his first application regarding the sites in September, 1952. He had secured a public health licence for one of the sites and planned to provide more amenities than the licence stipulated.
Questioned by the Inspector about the demand for caravans Mr. Davies said he had been turning American families away. He could fill both sites twice over.
The intention was to use the sites for a period of not less than ten years.
Mr. Gregory said that in his opinion adequate provision had already been made in the Rushden area for caravan dwellers. Between Rushden, Stanwick, Thrapston and Burton Latimer there were already approved sites for accommodation of 155 caravans.
This was confirmed, he went on, by the fact that all these sites were far from fully occupied. If there was further demand he preferred sites to be on the outskirts of Rushden or adjoining a village.
Tackled by Mr. Groome on a point that licences had been granted for a further 80 caravans since Mr. Davies’s application had been made, Mr. Gregory agreed this was so on other sites and in different circumstances.
Considerable emphasis was placed by Mr. Groome during the inquiry on the influx of American families into this district and the difficulty they experienced in finding accommodation.
He called Mrs. Elsie Silvera, wife of an American staff sergeant, who said she had been paying 14 guineas a week for two rooms in Rushden for herself, husband and two children until told to leave by the landlord because he was losing money. From the price and amenities point of view she preferred living in a caravan.
The Inspector was told that the sites had been turned down because they were “injurious to the amenities of the neighbourhood and undesirable because of remoteness of the shops etc.” In one instance because one and half acres of agricultural land were involved, the Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries supported the objection.
The result of the inquiry will be made known later.
Estate folk take it calmly
Older Court Estate residents just could not care less about the remarks made concerning their district at Monday’s caravan inquiry (see main story).
The views of Mrs. G. L. Harbour were typical : “If we did not like Court Estate we should not stay. But we do like it you certainly wouldn’t get me to live in Rushden though.”
Mrs. Harbour has lived at No. 467 since it was built about 17 years ago. “We had plenty of time to make a move when houses were cheaper,” she said, “but here we are.”
Conditions would be considerably improved if the area was connected with the town sewer, contended Mrs. Harbour. She pointed out, however, that water and electricity were standard amenities on the estate.
Transport to and from Rushden is a grouse among many of the residents but they admit that when extra evening buses were put on a few months ago there were no passengers for them.
One woman, who moved into her bungalow from Derby about 18 months ago, thought that extra buses might come with the growth of the caravan site.
About the contention of an inquiry witness that the estate was non-productive and uneconomic, inhabitants comment that that is the state of affairs in many communities. Several people on the Court Estate, however, have gone into market gardening in a small way, and fruit growing.
Spend an hour or two talking with the Court Estate folk and take in the neat front gardens which grace the majority of the bungalows. You will find the people are proud of their situation and would not change for all the town and country planning in the world.