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The Rushden Echo, 15th July, 1910, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Rushden’s Demand for Houses

Is Private Enterprise Sufficient?

The Urban Council Thinks It Is

At a meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday night,

Mr. Bazeley, in accordance with notice, moved that a committee be appointed to prepare a scheme to be submitted to the Local Government Board for their approval, in respect to housing in Rushden, under the Housing and Town Planning Act. He thought the present was a very opportune time to formulate a scheme. He had heard of 15 couples who were going to be married at the August Bank Holiday, and only two of them were able to obtain a house. There was a demand for cottages in Rushden to-day and there were out-workers needing houses who could not get them and therefore had to live in the surrounding villages. It was in the interests of the town that they should be able to get a house. Builders had said they could not afford to build cottage property in Rushden, but the Council could

Beat the Private Builder

there. There was a lot of red tape attaching to Acts of Parliament, and everyone’s interests must be safeguarded, so no member of the Council need think that vested interests would suffer. It was of no use for the Council to take up a dog-in-the-manger position. The builders said they could not do the work, and the Council could, so now was the time to move. If the Council did not take action the Local Government Board might, on petition, go to work over the heads of the Council after holding a local inquiry. The scheme would cost the rates nothing. Eventually they could make Rushden a regular garden city, giving working men good healthy dwellings, with baths – they had plenty of water now. If the Council set the example in that respect, private owners would no doubt follow suit and provide baths, and thus assist the revenue of the Water Board and help to improve the health of the town.

Mr. Bates seconded the motion and said he knew of cases in which young married people were having to go to live with their parents.

Mr. Spencer said he could bear out what Mr. Bates said. He thought it was a great mistake to force workmen to live outside the town. He had thought of giving notice of a motion with regard to new industries, but it was of no use moving in that matter if they had no houses for workmen.

The Ven. A. Kitchin believed there was a lack of houses, and that the private builders were likely to do their best to supply the need. He moved as an amendment that a committee be appointed to obtain information as to

The Number of Houses Required

but without going on to say that a scheme should be prepared. If the report of the committee showed that there was an urgent need for house property that could not be supplied in other ways, the Council would be in a better position to consider the proposal Mr. Bazeley had brought forward.

Mr. Skinner seconded the amendment, and did not think it would do any harm.

Mr. Swindall thought it was a good thing matters had taken a turn for the better with the property-holders of the town. He though it would be detrimental to property-holders for the Council to take up a housing scheme, he did not think the Act was intended for a rising town like Rushden.

Mr. Ballard supported the amendment, because he thought every inquiry should be made before they embarked on a scheme.

Mr. Swindall: There is a demand, but as to how the demand is to be met is a different thing.

Mr. Bazeley said they had to consider the interest of the public as a whole. Wherever these housing schemes had been adopted, the tenantry had been up-lifted. It was just such towns as Rushden that the Act was intended for. All they had to do was to show the demand and get out a scheme. They thanked the builders for what they had one in the past, but now wanted to do for themselves what the builders could not do.

The amendment was carried by six votes to three, and Messrs. Knight, Claridge, Kitchin, Bazeley, and Spencer were appointed on the committee.

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