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The Rushden Echo, 20th August, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

The Municipal Housing Scheme
The Question Of Letting
“Exorbitant” Rents

  At the monthly meeting of the Council on Wednesday the following minutes from the committees were received:-

Housing Committee

  A meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, 14th July, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. Fred Knight (chairman), J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.

Proposed Rents

  The Committee had under consideration the question of fixing the rents to be charged for the houses now in course of erection in Trafford-road.  The instructions contained in the General Housing Memorandum No. 8 were placed before the Committee who decided to act under instruction No. 21 which provides that the Local Authority may if they so decide charge initially a rent fixed with regard to the prevailing rents in the district and raise the rents by instalments until the economic level is attained.  The Memorandum states that if the local authority decide to take this course it would be desirable that the tenant should be apprised at the outset that the low rent is a temporary concession due to the present situation and in every case the local Authority would be required to make such additions to the initial rents as will at least represent:-

(1) The additions allowed by the Increase of Rent, etc., Acts in the case of existing houses, and

(2) The better condition, accommodation, amenity, etc., and the larger gardens now to be provided.

  The Committee had no hesitation in determining that the houses with two bedrooms were not equal either in condition or accommodation to the ordinary house at present existing in the town let at 5/9 per week and the houses with three bedrooms were not equal to those let at 6/6 per week and at these rentals would bear unfavourable comparison with the houses belonging to the Council on the King’s-road.  The additions allowed by the Increase of Rent, etc., Acts in the case of existing houses would permit the 5/9 houses to be increased to 7/11 and the 6/6 houses to 9/-, and acting on this basis it was resolved to recommend that the rent of the two bedroom house be fixed at 8/- per week and that of the three bedroom house at 9/6 per week inclusive of rates in both cases, and the Clerk was instructed to submit this decision to the Housing Commissioner.

  A sub-committee consisting of Messrs. Knight, Claridge, and Bazeley was appointed to consider applications and select tenants on the rentals being fixed.

  A further meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 28th July, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer, and Thos. Wilmott.

Rents

  A letter was received from the Housing Commissioner stating that the rents proposed were much too low and having regard to the class of tenants anticipated and the rents adopted for localities whose conditions are similar suggested that the Council should consider the obtaining of 12/6 per week exclusive for the parlour and three bedroom type house and 10/- per week exclusive for the non-parlour type.

  The Committee felt that they could not be parties to the fixing of such exorbitant rents as they were satisfied the only result would be that most of the houses would be empty during a considerable portion of each year.  The gross rents would amount to at least 17/- and 13/6 respectively, altogether out of proportion to the rents obtained in the locality and beyond the means of the persons for whom they are intended.

  The Clerk was instructed that in view of the differences arising with the Commissioner as to the sufficiency of the rents proposed to be charged to suggest to him that the issue be referred for decision to some person appointed by the President of the Surveyors’ Institute in accordance with Article 6 of the Housing (Assisted Schemes) Regulations, 1919.

Lay Out

  A letter was also received from the Housing Commissioner stating that in view of the further representations made the Ministry of health agreed that the extension of the sewers in the Newton-road might be charged to the Housing Scheme.

Plans, &c., Committee

  A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 28th July, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), W. Bazeley, C. W. Horrell, J. spencer, T. Swindall and T. Wilmott.

Plans

were presented for:- 

  Conversion of the old Windmill on the Wymington-road into a dwelling-house for Mrs. M. A. Dilley and passed subject to the floor being made impervious and either boarded or tiles.

  Bungalow in Robinson-road for Mr. E. Lockie and passed subject to the brick piers being six inches above ground level, a damp course being provided, the concrete as shown on the plan being put down and ventilation provided for bedrooms.

  Workshop off the High-street (The Cottage property) for Messrs. York, Ward, and Rowlatt, Ltd., and no exception taken.

  A lock-up shop on the Newton-road for Mr. A. Allen and passed.

  Additions to No. 13, Irchester-road for Mr. J. Cave and Sons, Ltd., and passed.

  Coal shed and covered way at the rear of No. 29, Oswald-road for Mr. Walter Knight and no exception taken.

  Summer house in Pyghtles-terrace for Mr. W. E. Sargent and passed.

  Conversion of Rushden House into a Sanatorium for Consumption already approved by the Ministry of Health and no exception taken.

Dangerous Corners

  A letter was received from the County Surveyor enquiring when the Council proposed to proceed with the widening of the corners at the top of Hayway and on the Higham-road at its junction with Kimbolton-road.

  The Surveyor was instructed to reply that the Council could not see their way to incur the expense necessary at the present time.

Fire Station Cottage

  The Depot Sub-committee reported that in the interests of the Council they considered it necessary that the road foreman should now reside at the Fire Station Cottage so that he would be near and have the general overlooking of the Depot.

  It was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Surveyor to make the necessary arrangements.

Finance And Estates Committee

  A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 11th August, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, T. Swindall, and T. Wilmott.

Surveyor’s Cash Account

  The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books the expenditure shown therein being as follows:


£

s

d

Week ending 8th July, 1920……

111

12

5

Week ending 15th July, 1920……

106

3

5

Week ending 22nd July, 1920……

100

10

8

Week ending 29th July, 1920……

100

7

7

Week ending 5th August, 1920……

92

13

7

Collector’s Accounts

  The Collector’s accounts were also examined from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums since the last meeting:-


£

s

d

General District Rate…….

1685

15

9

Fittings……

32

13

6

Green tolls……

1

7

0

Cottage rents……

55

11

11

Burial fees, etc…….

15

6

0

Treasurer’s Accounts

  The Committee also examined the Treasurer’s accounts from which it appeared that he had received the following sums since the last meeting:-


£

s

d

Collector, Rate……

1685

15

9

Collector, Fittings……

32

13

6

Collector, Green tolls……

1

7

0

Collector, Cottage rents……

55

11

11

Cemetery Registrar, Burial fees, etc…….

15

6

0

Free Library, Fees, etc……

5

15

11

Brooke, Pawnbroker’s Licence……


1

0

Wargate Motor Co., Petrol Licence……


2

0

Rushden Engineering Co., Petrol Licence…


2

0

Ministry of Food, Exs. To 31/3/20……

75

0

0

County Council, Main Roads……

455

0

0

Total

2326

15

1

And that the following balances were in hand:-


£

s

d

General account……

534

19

3

Loan account No. 16……

33

2

3

Loan account No. 29……

4

4

4

Loan account No. 30……

2002

13

2

On Deposit (Housing Loan)……

7500

0

0

Tradesmen’s And Other Accounts

  A number of accounts amounting to £1459/14/10 were examined and passed for payment.

Housing Loans

  A letter was received from the Ministry of Health enclosing formal sanction to the borrowing by this Council of the sum of £35,711 for the erection of 40 houses on the Newton-road site.  The letter also stated that the Ministry had recommended the Public Works Loan Commissioners to lend the Council the sum so sanctioned.

  The Clerk was instructed to proceed with the raising of the loan from the Public Works Loan Commissioners forthwith.

Fire Insurances

  The Committee went through and amended the fire policies on the various properties of the Council.

King’s-Road Cottages

  It was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Collector to give notice to the tenants of the King’s-road cottages of the Council’s intention to increase the rents by 30 per cent. in accordance with the Increase of Rent and Mortgage Restriction Act, 1920.

Health And Sanitary Committee

  A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, 11th August, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (Chairman), J. Claridge, F. Knight, J. Hornsby, and J. Tomlin.

Health And Sanitary Reports

  The report of the Medical Officer of Health for the month of July was received.  The Officer, in presenting his report, remarked that the general health of the town was very satisfactory.

  The Sanitary Inspector reported that during the past month 17 preliminary notices had been served calling attention to nuisances, all of which were receiving attention.

  A quantity of food, which had been voluntarily surrendered, consisting of bacon, ox liver, etc., had been destroyed in the usual way as being unfit for the food of man.

  The Inspector also reported that as a temporary measure he had fixed up a disinfecting apparatus at the Depot which would dispense with the allowance of compensation for destroyed bedding, etc.

  The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.

Factory Acts

  The Sanitary Inspector also reported that 17 lists had been received relating to 111 outworkers, of which 23 were outside the district.

Slaughtering In Other Than Registered Slaughter Houses

  The Inspector of Nuisances reported that Mr. E. Warren had been slaughtering in premises at the rear of his shop in Cromwell-road, such premises not being licensed for the purpose.  He had been previously warned as to this practice.

  It was resolved to recommend the Council to institute proceedings against Mr. Warren under Section 126 of the Town Improvement Clauses Act, 1847.

Cemetery

  The Cemetery Sub-Committee reported that they had met at the Cemetery and had given instructions to the Caretaker to mow the grass, etc., between the graves.  They also recommended that the main paths be tarred and that an overall be provided for the grave-digger for attendance at funerals.

  The Committee agreed and recommended the Council accordingly.

Pathology

  A letter was received from the Northampton General Hospital stating that a new Pathological Laboratory was being opened there and enclosing a schedule of charges.  The charges compared very favourably with those at present paid to the Clinical Research Association and the Sanitary Inspector was instructed to send swabs in future to the Hospital.

Council In Committee

  A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Monday, the 16th August, 1920, when there were present:- Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, T. Swindall, C. Bates, J. Tomlin, and T. Wilmott.

  The Committee had under consideration a report from the Finance Committee on the question of salaries and bonuses paid to the Officials of the Council.  The report was in consequence of communications from the Ministry of Health, the National Association of Local Government Officers and the local Association of Local Government Officers which had been before that Committee.

  The Committee unanimously resolved to recommend that the various salaries be increased in accordance with the schedule prepared, such increases to date from the 1st July, 1920.

The Council Meeting

  At a meeting of the full Council on Wednesday there were present Councillors J. Claridge, J.P., C.C. (chairman), W. Bazeley, J.P. (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., C. Bates, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, T. Swindall, C. W. Horrell, C. E. Bayes, T. Wilmott, and J. Tomlin, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. Piper).

  Mr. Knight moved the adoption of the reports of the Housing Committee, and asked for the support of the Council in going to arbitration as to the rents of the houses, and this was carried.

  Mr. Hornsby asked when the Housing Committee considered that any of the houses would be ready for occupation.  He congratulated the Housing Committee on the firm stand they were taking with regard to the rents, and he was sure they would be supported by the Council.  If the Housing Commissioner had to live at the present time on the income of some of the families of Rushden he would change his tune.

  On the proposition of the Chairman, the minutes of the Plans and Highways Committee were adopted.  Mr. Claridge pointed out that in the conversion of the old windmill into a dwelling-house an old landmark had been removed.

  The adoption of the Finance and Estates Committee report was moved by the Chairman, who said it was only fair that the rents should go up.  This was carried.

  Mr. Bazeley moved that 25 per cent. of the increase in the rent be earmarked annually for the repair of the houses.

  The Chairman said they might safely leave this matter with the Council, who would do the repairs as they became necessary.

  Mr. Hornsby did not think the ear-marking of the money was necessary, inasmuch as the Council would have to spend the money from time to time.

  After discussion, in the course of which the members of the Council expressed themselves as thoroughly in favour of keeping the property in good repair, Mr. Bazeley said he would withdraw the proposal, being quite satisfied with the expressions uttered that night.

  The report of the Health and Sanitary Committee was adopted.

  The Chairman, proposing the adoption of the minutes of the Council in Committee, said they were fortunate in their officers.  The report was adopted.

  The Rushden Electric Power Supply Co. gave formal notice of their intention to increase the maximum statutory prices.

  Mr. Spencer said that many of the tradesmen were complaining of the dust in the streets through lack of the use of the water-cart.

  On an estimate of the Surveyor it was decided to ask the Ministry of Health for sanction to a loan of £4,500 for sewering, street works, and general lay-out in connection with the Newton-road housing scheme.

  Mr. Swindall said he thought the houses which were required at the present time might have been built on the Newton-road and not on the side streets at present.  This would have obviated the necessity of spending money on making roads.

  Mr. Knight, in the discussion on this subject, said that the contracts for the houses had been signed and the Council were at the mercy of the builders – whether they would be able to get men or not.

  Mr. Bazeley: Mr. Henson has orders to build 24 houses on Newton-road, and we are waiting for him to start on them.

  The Clerk said that Mr. Henson was given an order for 24 houses fronting Newton-road, and the Rushden Builders’ Association an order for 18 on the same frontage.  The Association also had an order for 24 houses in Trafford-road, and it was upon those that they had commenced.

  It was decided to urge Mr. Henson to proceed with his contract.

  The Ministry of Health wrote asking if the Council had considered the question of raising money for the houses locally by housing bonds.  It was decided to reply that the Council had considered the matter, and the members were of opinion that it was impossible to raise the money in Rushden in this way.

  Mr. Wilmott said that many complaints were made as to the slippery state of the roads, and he urged that more sand should be thrown on to the roads.  The owners of horses in the town were getting really angry.

  Mr. Spencer endorsed the complaint, and said he had seen horses fall.

  Mr. Bayes said there had not been an ounce of sand thrown on the road on Higham Hill since he had lived up there.

  The Surveyor said the road foreman had been instructed to attend to the matter.



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