|Rushden Echo & Argus, 18th August, 1933, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Rent Reductions for Council Houses Tenants
The monthly meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council on Wednesday evening was short and lively, and a considerable amount of important business was transacted.
Certain rent reductions in respect of Council houses were agreed upon.
Discussion took place with regard to the acceptance of tenders amounting to £1,218 for urgently needed renovations to Council houses, and Ald. C. W. Horrell criticised the system by which the houses were allowed to get into such a state, necessitating a rushed resolution of that kind. This led to references to the need for a Housing Inspector and a sharp difference of opinion between members of the Finance and Housing Committees.
Dr. D. G. Greenfield and Mr. G. W. Coles, J.P., replied to recent criticisms of the Swimming Bath and the facilities offered, which were declared to be untrue.
Complaint that sewage matter had been forced through a manhole during a recent storm was made by Mr. L. Perkins, who also referred again to the town’s water supply and the need, in his opinion, for a second pipe line from Sywell.
Mr. J. Allen, chairman of the Housing Committee, said with reference to the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1933, that the Housing Committee were not yet satisfied that they could build houses under the scheme at a cost which would allow rents that working people could afford.
New Housing Act: Local Difficulty
The members present were Messrs. J. Spencer, J.P. (in the chair), C. W. Horrell, C.A. (vice-chairman), W. C. Tarry, J. Roe, A. Allebone, C.C., F. Green, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, L. Perkins, M.B.E., B.Sc., T. Swindall, A. Willmott, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Hornsby, J. T. Richardson, and D. G. Greenfield, M.D., with the Acting Clerk, Mr. W. L. Beetenson, the Surveyor, Mr. J. W. Lloyd, and the Sanitary Inspector, Mr. F. S. F. Piper.
The Housing Committee reported that they had had under consideration the question of the performance of the work of housing inspection, in connection with repairs, etc., until such time as permanent arrangements be made for carrying out the duties. It appeared that the Surveyor and Assistant Surveyor were at present responsible, doing the work without payment.
It was agreed that some payment should be made to these officers and the Committee recommended the Council to pay them the sums of £16 13s. 4d. and £8 6s. 8d. respectively for their work to the 31st December next, by which time it was hoped that a further recommendation would be made. This was approved.
Mr. Allen (chairman of the Housing Committee) said that as they had no officers responsible for this work, he hoped the resolution would commend itself to the Council.
Further 56 Houses
The Surveyor reported to a meeting of the Housing Committee on July 19th that the construction of these houses was proceeding satisfactorily. Twelve would be ready for occupation on the 3rd August, 12 on the 31st August, eight on the 23rd September, four on the 7th October, 14 on the 11th November and the remaining six on the 30th November.
Tenants were definitely selected for the first 14 of the houses and the Letting sub-Committee were authorised to select a further 14 from a list of 21 referred to them. The sub-Committee were also authorised to select two names for cases of emergency.
Mr. Allen said the contractors were getting on with the work very well indeed, and the Committee were extremely satisfied with the progress that had been made. A few more houses were ready for occupation than was actually stated in the report.
Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1924
The Housing Committee recommended to the Council that the appropriate normal rents of the pre-war houses be revised, and that these be now fixed at 7s. 6d. per week in respect of the parlour type house, and 6s. 1d. per week in respect of the non-parlour type. This was agreed.
Mr. Allen said a statement had been circulated to the members with regard to the rents, and the Housing Committee went fully into the matter, and now recommended the above resolution.
Mr. Perkins: Does this refer to the houses in Kings-road?
Mr. Allen: Only to the houses affected by the 1924 Act.
The Acting Clerk said some of these were on the Newton-road Estate, and a few on the Irchester-road. These houses, under the 1924 Act, were subject to special conditions and permission for any changes had to be obtained from the Ministry of Health.
Mr. Perkins: The statement says pre-war houses. Surely that means those in Kings-road.
The Acting Clerk explained that the figures referred to in the resolution did not refer to any special houses but were taken as a basis.
The Acting Clerk submitted a statement showing the actual cost of the whole of the houses erected under this Act, which, after deduction of the capital value of the subsidy, left a difference of £107,721. The annual loan charge on this sum for 60 years would be £5,679 10s., to which must be added £2,201 for repairs, management expenses, etc., making a total of £7,880 10s. to be provided by rents. This represented a sum of £151 11s. per week; the rents at the appropriate normal figures amount to £138 9s. 7d. and as the former sum is in excess of this, it is the maximum rent which may be charged.
The present weekly rents of the houses are as follows:-
The Committee recommended that these rents be reduced as from the commencement of the occupation of the 56 houses now in course of construction, as follows:-
This was agreed.
The rents quoted are exclusive of rates in all cases.
Housing (Financial Provisions) Act, 1933
The Acting Clerk submitted to the Housing Committee the following memorandum with regard to this Act.
Section 2 extends Section 92 (1) B of the Housing Act, 1925, giving power to the Ministry of Health to share equally with the Local Authority and Building Societies the risk involved by making advances up to 90 per cent. (that is 20 per cent. above the usual), of the valuation. The liability of the Local Authority is limited to one-third of any excess advance. Building societies have undertaken to make advances for a period of 30 years which is ten years longer than usual, the rate of interest to be one per cent. lower than the prevailing rate with a minimum of three per cent. The Local Authority must satisfy themselves that the cost of any house under this scheme will be low enough to allow rents within the capacity of the working classes.
The houses are not to exceed 800 feet super for three bedroom houses and 700 feet super for two bedroom houses. The density is not to exceed 12 to the acre but the Ministry are empowered to allow more in special cases. Local Authorities are to endeavour to secure houses of good design and well laid out and the builders should engage qualified architects.
The Minister suggests a conference with the local builders and representatives of Building Societies to explain the provisions of the Act to them. The Local Authority is to make it clear that unless private enterprise provides sufficient houses to meet the ordinary demands for letting, the Council will remain responsible for the provision.
The Committee agreed to defer the consideration until a future meeting.
Mr. Allen said: The Committee agreed to defer consideration of this because we are not perfectly clear as to whether we shall be able to build these houses at a cost which will enable them to be let at rents low enough to be paid by the working classes.
Mr. Allen said that although the announcement would be made in the next printed minutes of the Council, he would like to announce, for the benefit of the people concerned, that the Housing Committee had decided to name the new road (where the 56 houses are being built), Highfield-road. There was also a suggestion that at a future date the name of Tennyson-place should be changed, and the whole street named Highfield-road.
Renovations and Repairs
Mr. Allen reported that the Housing Committee had met that evening, prior to the Council meeting, and considered tenders for the interior and outside renovation of certain Council houses. They recommended the Council to accept the tenders for the work of Mr. A. T. Nichols, Mr. F. J. Randall, and Messrs. W. Packwood and Son. The repairs were very necessary and if they delayed another month it would be putting too much upon the tenants. He did not agree with hustling like that, but it was very necessary to get on with the work.
Mr. Coles: May we know the aggregate amount that is to be spent.
The Surveyor: £1,218.
(The individual tenders accepted were as follows:- A. T. Nichols, £889 13s. 6d.; W. Packwood and Son, £233 18s. 6d.; F. J. Randall, £94 14s.)
Mr. Perkins: The money is already provided for by the rents, and is already accumulated. If we did not spend it in this way we should have to reduce the rents. It is money accumulated for this purpose.
After detailing the houses which were to be renovated, Mr. Allen said that in view of the total number of houses the work was to be spread over, the amount was not excessive.
Mr. Horrell: I do not want to be critical of the Housing Committee, but it does not seem right to have let these houses get into such a bad state of repair and then to have this sprung on us. Apparently Mr. Lloyd and his assistant have not had time to inspect the houses or they would not have got into such a bad state of repair.
Mr. Allen: The system is entirely due to the Council themselves. At various times propositions have been put forward with regard to housing inspection, so that it may be done in a proper manner, but nothing has been done with regard to it.
Mr. Allebone: Hear, hear.
Mr. Perkins: At one time two from one committee and two from another were appointed to go into the matter. If the gentlemen are still alive they might put some scheme before the Finance Committee.
The chairman: We will bear it in mind, but I do not think we have been called together.
Mr. Allen: It is not due to the Housing Committee that this Committee has not been called. I have asked about it several times and it appears we have been waiting for the Finance Committee.
Mr. Allebone (chairman of the Finance Committee), said the names of their representatives were put forward five or six months ago, and they were waiting for the names of the Housing Committee.
Mr. Allen: The names of the Housing Committee were sent in six months ago.
A member: I think we had better get on with the next business.
The chairman of the Parks, Baths and Hall Committee (Dr. Greenfield) reported that, as instructed, he, together with Mr. Coles, had visited South Kensington Museum with a view to articles of interest being loaned to the Council for the purpose of exhibition, and explained the conditions upon which such articles may be borrowed.
The museum would require to be patrolled periodically and it would be necessary to extend the hours of opening slightly.
The Committee therefore recommended to the Council that the future hours of opening be from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. instead of from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. as at present, and that the Surveyor be instructed to make arrangements with the caretaker for the periodical patrol.
It was also recommended that four fire extinguishers be provided, for use in case of necessity in the rooms occupied at the Hall.
Mr. Coles reported that the following articles had been either given or loaned to the Museum:-
185 foreign coins, Mr. Dennis Ginns; old coins, Mrs. Hall; old coins, Mr. E. A. Beardsmore; Chinese chop sticks and fork, and digger in case, Mrs. Barnard; framed Will of Henry Griggs, Mrs. Wood; pair of squirrels, Mrs. Taylor.
It was resolved that the thanks of the Council be accorded the donors and lenders.
The Surveyor reported that he was in communication with the curator of the Northampton Museum with regard to the loan of some stuffed birds for exhibition.
Mr. Perkins: Is there anything of exceptional historic interest in the will of Henry Griggs, or will they accept anyone’s will?
Mr. Coles: They say the proof of the pudding is in the eating and I suggest that Councillor Perkins goes and reads the will for himself. It is remarkable in the way in which it distributes money but I must not tell you all about it, or you won’t go and see it. It may not always be there, and even the will of Henry Griggs may be supplanted by the will of someone else.
Hall Caretaker’s House
Tenders for the renovation of this house were received and that of Messrs. Jacques and Timpson, at £8 3s. 10d., the lowest, was accepted.
The Hall sub-Committee reported that, as instructed, they had purchased twelve chairs for use in this room at a cost of 7s. each. The question of further seating accommodation was deferred for the present.
Rushden Feast. An application was received from Messrs. C. Thurston & Sons for the use of part of Spencer Park for their amusements during Feast Week 1933, and the Parks Committee recommended the Council to accede to the application, Messrs. Thurston to pay a charge of £25 and to be responsible for any damage that may be caused. This was agreed.
Football and Hockey. Applications were received for playing pitches in the park during the ensuing season and acceded to at a charge of £1 each, the particular pitches to be allocated later.
Temperance Band. Permission was given to this band to assemble a procession in the park on the 26th August.
The Emergency sub-Committee were requested to consider certain improvements and extensions at the baths, particularly with regard to the dressing room accommodation, and report to a future meeting.
Dr. Greenfield (chairman of the Baths Committee), said he had recently seen a certain amount of criticism in regard to the baths. He was not in the habit of reading anonymous letters but he had been down to inspect the plant at the baths and was perfectly satisfied that the water coming through the filters was even clearer than that which came through the taps for ordinary use. In addition the amount of chlorine in the water was between the high and low limit, as recommended by the Ministry of Health. He had also been informed that 50,000 gallons of fresh water had been used in three weeks, and he thought those facts would perhaps meet some of the criticism which had been levelled against the baths. It was criticism, in his opinion, which was entirely unjustifiable, and it would be a nice idea if two bottles were exhibited, one showing bath, and the other ordinary tap water.
Mr. Allebone: They are there.
Mr. Swindall said they all deplored the criticism which was entirely untrue, but there was one thing he would like the Committee to consider, among the improvements and extensions referred to in their report, and that was the extension of the bath. He would like that work carried out by next spring.
Dr. Greenfield: It will be considered.
Mr. Coles said he had seen a letter in the Press about the need for more mixed bathing at the baths. It was the first time they had had a complaint on that score. The programme had received the approval of almost everyone. The Committee had to provide for all sections, men only, ladies only, mixed, children, and he thought that now the holiday was over the public would realise the arrangements were adequate. Perhaps another August week a different temporary arrangement might be made.
Mr. Allen suggested that Thursday afternoon might be allocated to mixed bathing, for the benefit of shop assistants and others, who would appreciate it.
Dr. Greenfield: We will take a note of it for our next meeting.
Urban Councils’ Conference
The Acting Clerk submitted to the Finance Committee the delegates’ report on this Conference, a copy of which was ordered to be supplied to each member of the Council.
On the recommendation of the Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee, plans were approved as follows:-
Two houses in Park-avenue for Messrs. A. Sanders, Ltd.; bungalow in Bedford-road (Court Estate) for Mr. A. Shackleton; garage (wooden building) adjoining No. 91, Wellingborough-road, for Mr. E. L. J. Woodley; shed (wooden building), at rear of No. 29, Queen-street, for Mr. A. Abbott.
Broadcast Relay Services
The special sub-Committee appointed at the last meeting of the Highways Committee reported that they had met and interviewed the applicant herein and also the wireless dealers of the town. The sub-Committee arrived at the conclusion that there was no great demand for such a service at the present time and therefore decided to recommend to the Council that the matter be adjourned for 12 months. This was agreed.
Factory and Workshops Act 1901
The Surveyor reported that he, together with Mr. Swindall, had visited and inspected Messrs. Robinson Bros.’ factory in Roberts-street, with regard to the means of escape provided in case of fire. They were satisfied that sufficient and proper means of escape were provided and agreed to recommend that the usual Certificate be issued by the Council, and this was done.
The Lighting sub-Committee reported that they had visited the site of the lamp standard in High-street South recently demolished and now recommended that a standard be not again erected, but that a hanging lamp be fixed as near as possible to the same spot. This was agreed.
The sub-Committee were requested to take into consideration the question of street lighting for the ensuing winter and to arrange for a 40 weeks lighting in lieu of 36 weeks as last year if they deemed it advisable.
Tenders were received for the painting of the whole of the street lamps and the Council accepted that of Mr. F. Caswell at £23 3s. 11d., the lowest.
In view of the additional street lighting required during the ensuing winter, the Surveyor was instructed to order 12 gas lamp columns with lanterns, etc., complete, at the price of £51 12s., and 12 electric light standards complete at the price of £48.
Mr. Allebone said the prices for a longer lighting season had only arrived that afternoon, and the sub-Committee would be meeting afterwards to see if the extension was desirable.
Tenders were received for the exterior painting of the Fire Station cottage and hose tower and the Council accepted that of Messrs. W. Packwood and Son, the lowest, at £28.
The Surveyor reported that he had been in communication with the County Surveyor with regard to the proposed erection of a “Cross Here” sign near the Triangle, who had now agreed on a spot mid-way between Washbrook-road and the Hayway. A design was submitted and approved, and the Surveyor instructed to proceed with the work of erection.
The report of the Health and Sanitary Committee stated that the report of the Medical Office for the month of July was received, and the Sanitary Inspector submitted his monthly report of the work of the Sanitary Department.
House in High-street South
The Sanitary Inspector reported that the consideration of the state of repair of a house in High-street South was adjourned from the March meeting until such time as the tenant secured other accommodation. The house was now vacant.
The Acting Clerk was instructed to write to the owner stating that the Committee would take the matter into consideration at their next meeting and inviting him to be present.
Sewer Ventilating Shafts
Tenders were received for the painting of these shafts and it was resolved to accept that of Mr. F. Caswell at £12.
Storm Water and Sewage
Mr. Perkins said he wished to call the attention of the Health and Sanitary Committee to a case a few weeks ago when they had rather a sudden storm. From the Intermediate School he saw water forcing its way through the manhole in the road opposite the Co-operative stores. That of itself was a nuisance, but on going out to inspect it, he found sewage matter coming out. He wished to call the attention of the Committee to that, and if necessary he thought an extra pipe should be laid so that the water was carried away without forcing sewage matter up.
Mr. Swindall: I hope Mr. Perkins informed the Sanitary Inspector of it and did not only leave it to the full Council meeting.
Mr. Perkins: I am not an assistant Sanitary Inspector, and I do not intend running to the office. It is a serious matter which deserves the attention of the Council.
Mr. Perkins said: Another matter which I wish to bring before the Council is this. We are not in Rushden in full control of the water supply of this town. We form part of a Water Board and I am not a member of that Board. If I were I should be very anxious for an inquiry to be made into the conditions of the water supply of this town. My information is that we have only one pipe supplying the town which has a population of 15,000, and there is only one engine at the works. It is a very serious position and I hope the Health and Sanitary Committee will go into it, and if they think necessary, cause the Water Board to take action. It is time we had a second pipe and the engine duplicated. The town has grown, and yet we have the same size pipe as we had thirty years ago. The pipe has to cross the river, and if there was any accident there, we should be in trouble.
Mr. Coles said the engine was duplicated at Sywell. There were two engines there and when one had done its day’s work, it was given a rest and the other one set going. As regarded the pipe line, what Mr. Perkins said was quite true. The pipe went under the river at Hardwater Crossing, and in flood time there would be great difficulty in the event of a leak.
Mr. Perkins: Both engines at Sywell are in the same house, and it is all one to me.
The Acting Clerk called the attention of the Council to the fact that there were vacancies on the District Old Age Pensions Committee. Three representatives were appointed in 1908, and later the late Mr. T. Wilmott took the place of the late Mr. G. H. Skinner. The late Mr. Fred Knight had also been a member, but the only present representative of the Council was Mr. W. Bazeley.
The Council elected Messrs. Capon and Roe to serve on the Committee.