|Rushden Echo, 14th December, 1917, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
SEED POTATOES FOR WAR-TIME CULTIVATORS
Wednesday, present Councillors J. Spencer, J.P. (chairman), T. Wilmott (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., J. Claridge, J.P., C.C., J. S. Clipson, W. Bazeley, J.P., C. Bates, The Ven. A. Kitchin, M.A., T. Swindall, J. Hyde, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. J. Allen).
A meeting of the Allotments Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, November 14th, 1917, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), Thos. Wilmott, C. Bates, J. Claridge, L. Baxter, H. Smith, Tom Swindall, and W. Gutteridge.
The Chairman stated that he had convened the meeting in order to take into consideration the provision of seed for the ensuing year.
It was resolved to purchase a quantity of seed potatoes of the Early and Late Varieties on similar lines to last year, and the Surveyor was instructed, after consultation with the committee of the Allotment Association, to obtain quotations from potato merchants for the estimated requirements.
It was also resolved not to attempt to provide and distribute small vegetable seed.
A further meeting of the Allotments Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday November 28th, 1917, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), T. Wilmott, L. Baxter, H. Smith, J. S. Clipson, T. Swindall, and W. Gutteridge.
The Surveyor reported that as arranged at the last meeting, he had received from the Committee of the Allotment Association, through Mr. Gutteridge, an estimate of the requirements of seed potatoes, and the names of the varieties selected by them, viz.:-
The Allotment Committee further recommended that the seed should be obtained from the Fen district as was done last year. He had invited tenders, but up to the present had only received two; others were expected.
It was resolved to leave the matter in the hands of the Surveyor, Mr. Swindall, and Mr. Gutteridge to examine the tenders when received, with power to place orders for six tons of Early Potatoes and twelve tons of Main Crop.
The report was adopted, the Chairman stating that more land had been taken on the Irchester-road. In all, about twelve more war-time plots had been taken. He hoped that every small part of unoccupied land would be cultivated, so as to provide food during the war.
WAR SAVINGS COMMITTEE
A meeting of the War Savings Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, November 21st, 1917, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), John Claridge, F. L. Heygate, J. T. Colson, and the Rev. P. Robson.
ALBERT HALL MEETING
The Chairman reported that he and the Rev. Percy Robson attended this meeting on behalf of the local Committee.
WAR SAVINGS ASSOCIATION
The Treasurer reported that the audit of the various Associations up to September 30th had, with two exceptions, been completed.
The total receipts to date amounted to £17,004 10s. 8d., and the Certificates purchased 19,174. The number of Certificates taken up was 18,297.
A circular letter from Headquarters was received, asking the Committee to make every effort to encourage the purchase in their district of the new National War Bonds, and it was arranged that a circular should be issued in the name of Mr. Spencer, the Chairman of the Rushden Urban District Council, appealing to the inhabitants of Rushden generally to support the movement.
The report was adopted.
COUNCIL IN COMMITTEE
A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, November 28th, 1917, when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), T. Wilmott, C. Bates, W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, J. S. Clipson, J. Hyde, and T. Swindall.
HEALTH AND SANITARY REPORTS
The report of the Medical Officer for the month of November was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that since the last meeting 24 preliminary notices had been issued, calling attention to nuisances, etc., all of which were receiving attention.
Acting on the advice of the medical practitioner in attendance, two lots of infected bedding had been destroyed after deaths from consumption and the rooms sprayed and fumigated. It was resolved to replace part of the bedding destroyed at a cost not exceeding £1 7s. 6d. in each case.
The Inspector also reported that the drains at Nos. 25, 33, and 34, Roberts-street were in a choked condition, thereby causing a nuisance. It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a notice on the owner requiring him to abate the nuisance within seven days.
The Inspector further reported that a quantity of meat voluntarily surrendered had been destroyed as unfit for food.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work since the last meeting.
DAIRIES, COWSHEDS AND MILKSHOPS ORDER
An application had been received from Mr. Matthew Bates to be registered as a cowkeeper and purveyor of milk, and his name had been placed on the register.
The Inspector reported that he had made an inspection of the majority of the cow-sheds in the district, and found that a number of the occupiers had failed to carry out the periodical lime-washing of the premises.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a notice on the occupiers concerned requiring them to do the necessary lime-washing forthwith.
The letter from the Salvation Army Authorities referred to this Committee by the Council at their last meeting was considered, and the Highways Sub-Committee were requested to meet again on the site and report to the next meeting.
The Chairman and Vice-Chairman reported on their recent visit to the Health Conference in London, particularly with regard to the formation of a Ministry of Health.
The report was adopted.
FINANCE AND ESTATES COMMITTEE
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Tuesday, December 4th, 1917, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. J. Spencer (chairman), J. Claridge, and Fred Knight.
SURVEYOR’S CASH ACCOUNT
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
The Collector’s Accounts were also examined, from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums since the last meeting:-
The Committee also examined the Treasurer’s accounts, from which it appeared that he had received the following sums since the last meeting:-
And that the following balances were in his hands:-
TRADESMEN’S AND OTHER ACCOUNTS
A number of accounts amounting to £767 2s. 0d. were examined and passed for payment.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to invest £500, part of the balance at present in the hands of the Treasurer, in the purchase of Five-year War Bonds.
The report was adopted, the Chairman, in answer to Mr. Bates, stating that the Council had the money in hand at the present time, and the nation needed it.
HOUSING OF THE WORKING CLASSES
A resolution was received from the Rushden Allotment Association endorsing the proposed purchase of land for a scheme for the housing of the working classes, and suggesting that at least ten poles of land should be allowed to each house as garden ground.
Mr. Bazeley moved: “That a committee of three members of the Council be appointed for the purpose of getting the proposed building site for workmen’s cottages properly planned, so that a complete scheme can be submitted to the Local Government Board, for their approval or otherwise.” When that circular was sent by the Local Government Board to the Urban Council, Mr. Bazeley said, I believe they asked for a scheme to be prepared by the Council by October 15th this year.
The Clerk: No, they asked that replies to the questions put by them should be received by October 15th.
Mr. Bazeley: I read a fortnight ago that Mr. Hayes Fisher, the President of the Local Government Board, stated that all the notices were being sent out to the Local Authorities and that those which were sent in the earliest and were the most satisfactory would receive their first attention. We have got the offer of a very good site at a very reasonable cost, and I think it is our duty as a Council to prepare a proper scheme to submit to the Local Government Board at the earliest opportunity. I have just been reading books on housing by a couple of experts, showing that in the purchase of an estate a great deal is saved by getting the most expert planning of the whole of the estate before you start to build at all. If in building you find you can improve on the first plan, do so; but they point out various estates that have been schemed on town-planning lines, where it has proved a great saving to have this done. This proposition is so much in the interests of the town that I think it will be adopted unanimously.
Mr. Hyde: What powers do you propose to give this committee, if elected?
Mr. Bazeley: I suggest powers to get the field properly planned, and send the plans to the Local Government Board.
Mr. Hyde: It would mean engaging an architect. At whose expense? From what fund would the money come?
Mr. Bazeley: Gentlemen of experience find that with the small amount it takes to properly plan an estate a Local Authority is well repaid for the money so expended. A scheme must be prepared and submitted to the Local Government Board before they can consider the matter at all. It comes within the provisions of the
TOWN PLANNING ACT
that there must be a plan sent to the Local Government Board to show them how you intend to develop your estate.
Mr. Bates seconded.
Mr. Wilmott: Where is the money coming from to pay the architects? What is the good of appointing a committee of three if they have no power to move? I voted for the purchase of the land, but I had no idea you were going to plan the field before you knew whether the Local Government Board would allow you to buy the land. I don’t think it is wise to plan the whole of the field at present, as it may be 30 years before it is fully developed. If the building of this estate is to be altered as quickly as the last, I think you had better leave alone the planning of the back portions of the field, at any rate. Some of the other members of the Council thought we ought to have a few houses elsewhere in the town. I think our own Surveyor or Clerk could give enough information to the Local Government Board to enable them to sanction the loan for the land to be let for allotments. If you pass this resolution, the expense is going on before you know whether you can obtain sanction to buy the land or not. I never knew a builder pay an architect to plan the land until he had bought the site or had paid a deposit on it to secure it. I think it would pay better to build on the front part of the field, where there is a road, and make your provision for developing the estate; and then if the townspeople want houses in another part of the town you could build them, letting the back part of this field for allotments. If the present rules regarding road-making remain in force it would perhaps pay you better to build on the front of this field and let out the rest, so as to save road-making.
Mr. Claridge: If it is not necessary to send the plans to the Local Government Board, I think it would be better to send up to the Local Government Board without the estate being fully planned. I thought the Council were only going to build at the front of this field, and then have other houses in another part of the town.
The Chairman: It is stated by Mr. Hayes Fisher that the Local Government Board will consider no plans unless there is a fair amount of land for garden purposes. They have
THE HEALTH OF THE PEOPLE
in view. If we are to have a healthy people we must give them plenty of land. This land is acquired cheaply, and it seems to me that a committee should be appointed to consider the best development of the land. I do not think it would be a great expense at all. The Council were perfectly unanimous that there was a need of houses, and they were unanimous that the questions of the Local Government Board should be answered. Then, when we came to the selection of a site, four voted for this field, four abstained from voting, and no one voted against. I think it is in the interests of the town that we should have a plan prepared. We, as a public authority, should at least be equal to private individuals.
Mr. Hyde: My question has not been answered. I asked what powers you propose to give to this committee. If they are going to carry out this proposal they must have power to employ an architect, and if you are going to do that I should propose that the whole Council do it, and not three people.
Mr. Bazeley: The committee would report back to the Council before anything is done.
The Clerk: The committee would have to get the sanction of the Council before they incurred any expense.
Mr. Hyde: I do not think it is a thing which three men should decide.
Mr. Swindall: If you get a plan out for the whole of the field and submit it to the Local Government Board, and then want to build on the front only, wishing to build other houses in some other part of the town, I am afraid the Local Government Board would say you must fill up all this land first before they would allow you to build elsewhere. I cannot see the thing go through at all, and that is why I shall vote against it. It seems to me it would be ten years before you could build there.
The Chairman: Private enterprise cannot provide the houses needed for a good many years.
Mr. Swindall: Let us get on with the war first.
The Chairman: We have not opposed getting on with the war. We have let them have all the available money we had.
Replying to the discussion, Mr. Bazeley said: There is not much argument to reply to. Any public utility society which has the
WELFARE OF THE WORKERS
at heart, and which has bought an estate to develop the better housing of the people would always have the best advice before they started to build. As to where the money is coming from, if the money is spent it will come, of course, from the balance in hand, but that money would be well expended, and it has got to be expended before the Local Government Board would approve of the purchase of the site. The scheme has got to be prepared; it does not say that the roads have to be made, but that the land must be properly laid out. There is a difference between properly planning and starting to develop. You would show in your plan where you intend to plant trees, make roads, and have the garden ground for the tenants; and the Local Government Board would advise that a certain space should be allotted for a playground for the children, so as to keep them away from the roads. All that is expected to be provided now under the Town Planning Act. That is not going to cause a big outlay of public money nothing to make a fuss about. Mr. Wilmott’s policy is a “penny wise, pound foolish” policy. With regard to Mr. Claridge’s point as to going to other parts of the town where the roads are already made with the allotted space according to the bye-laws of the urban district, I am against that because I know the Local Government Board would not give us any financial assistance if we built in that way. If we get the approval of the Local Government Board to the purchase of this field, it is naturally, to my mind, the duty of this Council or of its successors to develop the whole of this field before they look elsewhere. That will be the most economic method and the right method to adopt. To buy a few plots here and a few plots there before you have built on this estate is not the public-spirited policy to adopt. I have been much surprised at the opposition to this scheme. Mr. Swindall says it will be ten years before we can build on the estate. I don’t believe any such thing. It would be twenty years before we could develop the estate if some of the members of the Council had their own sweet way. I think there is
AN ULTERIOR MOTIVE
behind this opposition. There does not seem a desire to make the scheme succeed. It is the same opposition that we had in the other scheme. Some of the members do not seem to look at it from a disinterested and public-spirited stand-point at all, and it makes one think that, owing to the Rent Restriction Act during the war, property owners are being touched, and they want to have a dearth of houses after the war so that they can get back a little of their own. When we see an advertisement in the local paper offering 10s. for the key of a house from 5s. 6d. to 7s. 6d. a week rent we ought to do something to meet the demand for houses. Public opinion will be taken on this matter. It would not mean a big outlay to get the best expert advice, because there is no money to be spent in road-making; my proposition is only to get a proper plan to submit to the Local Government Board.
Mr. Claridge: I wish to repudiate what Mr. Bazeley has said about any ulterior motive. I am in favour of the houses being built, but I want to see the best possible scheme carried out.
Mr. Wilmott: Nor have I any ulterior motive, and Mr. Bazeley knows that. If he had nothing to reply to, why did he say so much about it? I believe the Local Government Board will allow you to buy the land before you submit a complete scheme.
The Chairman: I believe we are all animated with a desire to serve the public and not ourselves.
Two voted for Mr. Bazeley’s proposition (the mover and the seconder), and five against. The proposition was therefore lost.
The Chairman then moved that a rough sketch of the field be sent to the Local Government Board with a view to their sanctioning the site.
Mr. Wilmott seconded, and it was carried unanimously.
The Rector wrote inviting the Council to attend an intercessionary service at St. Mary’s Church at 3 p.m. on the first Sunday in January, the day set apart by the King’s Proclamation as a day of national intercession.
It was unanimously decided to accept the invitation.
Mr. Bazeley said there was a good deal of adverse criticism with regard to the sanding of the roads on frosty days. There was just a slight sprinkling of sand in the centre of the road, and if a horse had to go to the side of the road to allow another vehicle to pass, down it went. The man in the street thought it was time they had a proper sand-spraying cart.
Mr. Claridge: I think it is the proper thing to do.
Mr. Wilmott: A £50 horse slipped down the other morning.
The Surveyor said he had been very severely handicapped by the want of horses. It was practically impossible to sand the streets with manual labour. One horse and cart would do it as quickly as a dozen men. He was sorry the Council did not purchase a spraying cart when he recommended it before.
The Chairman said the matter should be dealt with at the next meeting of the committee.