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Rushden Echo, 27th April, 1906, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Annual Meeting
The Labour Party and The Vice-Chair

The annual meeting of the Rushden Urban Council was held at the Vestry Hall on Wednesday night, when there were present Messrs. J. S. Clipson (retiring chairman), T. Swindall, F. Knight, G. Denton, J. Claridge, C. Bates, J. Hornsby, W. Bazeley, A. Mantle, F. Ballard, G. H. Skinner, and A. J. Dobbs, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), and the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin).

Election of Chariman & Vice-Chairman

Mr. Clipson said it gave him great pleasure to propose that Mr. Swindall be elected Chairman for the ensuing year. Mr. Swindall had served as vice-chairman for two years, and as chairman of the Finance Committee for twelve months had shown marked ability.

Mr. Bates seconded the motion, which was agreed to unanimously.

Mr. Swindall, in taking the chair, thanked the Council and hoped that his services as chairman might meet with their approval. It was nine years since he was elected a member of the Council and they had seen many changes since then. During the past two years it had been very difficult to maintain the progressive policy which characterised the Council in former years, for they had had bad trade and had had to raise the District Rate owing to circumstances over which they had no control. He was afraid that in the coming year they would have to raise it a little more, but the ratepayers might rest assured that whatever improvements could be deferred would be deferred, and that expenditure would be kept down as much as possible until the crisis was past. He thought the trade of the town had improved during the past two or three months and he hoped the improvement would continue. Feeling sure that he could count upon the consideration of the Council and the advice of past chairmen he hoped to be able to carry out the duties of his office with credit to the town, the Council, and himself. He proposed that Mr. F. Ballard be elected vice-chairman and was sure he was well fitted to occupy the position.

Mr. Bates proposed that Mr. Bazeley be elected. Mr. Bazeley had been a member of the Council for six years and had carried out his duties well.

Mr. Denton seconded the Chairman’s motion.

Mr. Dobbs seconded the motion of Mr. Bates, and said that although the Liberal party were entitled to the chairmanship, he thought the Labour party were entitled to provide the vice-chairman. With all due respect to Mr. Ballard, he had not been before the electors.

Mr. Claridge said personally he would have liked a gentleman to have been vice-chairman who had filled many public offices, was a member of the old Local Board and, except for a short time, had been a member of that Council since it was established. He referred to Mr. Skinner, who was very much respected in the town and whose election would have commended itself to the great majority of Rushden people. Without saying anything against either Mr. Ballard or Mr. Bazeley, he would like to have seen Mr. Skinner, as a matter of courtesy, appointed vice-chairman during their last year of office.

In reply to a question, Mr. Claridge said he did not nominate Mr. Skinner, for he did not think he would be elected.

Mr. Knight said he held exactly the same opinions as Mr. Claridge had expressed regarding Mr. Skinner and the vice-chair. Next year there would be an election and perhaps the Council might be different altogether. He did not oppose the election of Mr. Ballard and did not think there was anything in the remark made by Mr. Dobbs that Mr. Ballard had not been before the electors. It was not a matter of politics.

Mr. Bazeley said he had been asked by his colleagues to stand for the position and had consented because he thought politics had entered largely into their work. Of late years the Liberals had had a monopoly, and had not had the courtesy to offer the vice-chair to any other party.

Mr. Knight : Oh, yes; Mr. Spencer was vice-chairman.

Mr. Bazeley, continuing, said it seemed to him that no one was qualified to hold office unless nominated by the Liberal party. He believed that anyone elected to the Council should be regarded as qualified, and that parties in the minority should have that courtesy extended to them to which they were entitled. If the Labour party had had the majority he ventured to say they would not have acted as the Liberals had done. It was not the way to encourage young men to come forward who had ambition.

Mr. Ballard said he had not wished to say anything on the matter. He had been asked to stand, but he had no ambition for the position and if Mr. Bazeley was willing to withdraw, he would himself withdraw and so leave Mr. Skinner to be elected unanimously.

Mr. Bazeley said he was not willing under the circumstances, because he believed that if it had not been for his own nomination Mr. Skinner’s name would not have been brought forward.

Mr. Claridge: Not at all.

Mr. Bates was rather sorry that anyone had any objection to Mr. Bazeley as vice-chairman, seeing that Mr. Bazeley had served on the Council for six years. It was only a matter of courtesy to allow the Labour party the vice-chair for the next twelve months.

Mr. Claridge wished Mr. Bazeley would accept Mr. Ballard’s suggestion.

Mr. Bazeley: I think we can read between the lines a little.

Mr. Claridge said as far as he was concerned politics did not enter into the matter at all.

Mr. Denton thought that as long as the town elected the majority of the Council as they did it was due to the town that they should not give up their position. If the electros shoes a majority of the so-called Labour party or Conservative party they would, of course, exercise their right to take a dominant part in the work of the town. Until the electors did that he thought the vice-chair should be in the hands of the majority of the Council. He quite agreed with the exercise of graciousness towards each other, and so far as the work in that room was concerned they knew no politics, but he took it that the election of the Chairman and Vice-chairman followed the result of the elections. If the electors were not satisfied they had the remedy in their own hands. He himself respected Mr. Skinner and Mr. Bazeley as much as anyone in the room.

Mr. Dobbs said the people of the town had not had a chance for two years to change the majority of the Council, but they had signified their opinion at a bye-election by electing himself. If the electors had approved of the Liberal party having a majority he took it that they would have elected Mr. Colson.

The names of Messrs. Ballard and Bazeley were then put to the vote, and Mr. Ballard was elected by six votes to four. Two members did not vote.

Mr. Ballard thanked the Council for his election and said he should act as fairly and squarely as he had tried to do in the past. He should act just the same towards those who had not voted for him as towards those who had.

Committees

The two committees of the Council were then re-elected, with the exception that Mr. Bazeley was transferred to the Finance and Sanitary Committee and Mr. Clipson took Mr. Bazeley’s place on the Plans, Highway, and Lighting Committee.

Council Meetings

It was decided to continue the present method of holding the meetings, the Clerk observing that he believed the last year had been the best they had had so far as regularity of working was concerned.

Fire

On the reading of the minutes of the last meeting, Mr. Bazeley said he understood that no firemen were present at the theatrical performances at the Public-hall last week and that a curtain nearly caught fire. It would be very serious if such a thing did happen.

Mr. Claridge said he never heard anything about it, and he thought he would have done so if it had been anything serious.

Loan For Council Offices

The seal of the Council was affixed to a mortgage securing the repayment to the Reading Corporation of £2,500 lent to the Rushden Council for 30 years for the provision of Council offices.

The Clerk said the percentage was £3/17/6 and the repayment of principal and interest would amount practically to a penny rate. The first payment would be made in April next and at the same time another loan for street improvements would fall out, so that one payment would take the place of the other.

Petrol Licence

An application from Mr. D. Nicholson, of Wellingborough-road, for a petrol licence was granted.



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