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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th December, 1931, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

No Alteration to Town’s Boundaries
Drains and Houses Discussed at Length

An official intimation that no alterations would be made to the Urban District of Rushden in connection with the County Council’s proposals under the Local Government Act, 1929, and that the rural parishes of Newton Bromshold and Higham Park would not be included in the boundaries was given at the monthly meeting of the Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday. The announcement was made by Mr. J. Roe (vice-chairman), following a conference at Northampton on Monday

The Council also discussed at length the question of the separate connection of the drains of each house erected, to the sewer, on which the Council insist, contrary to what was said to be the usual practice. Messrs. W. Packwood and Son, who had presented plans for two houses, had enquired of the Ministry of Health if this was necessary, and the discussion arose out of the Plans Committee’s report, which included a letter from the Ministry.

Other questions before the Council were those of the refusal of the Ministry of Health to sanction the erection of 12 parlour houses on the Irchester-road Estate, and the use of Griffith-street as a car park.

The members present were Messrs. L. Perkins, J.P., M.B.E., B.Sc. (in the chair), J. Roe (vice-chairman), T. Wilmott, T. F. B. Newberry, C. Claridge, F. Green, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, C. W. Horrell, C.A., T. Swindall, A. Wilmott, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, J. T. Richardson, D. G. Greenfield, M.D., with the Clerk, Mr. G. S. Mason, the Surveyor, Mr. J. W. Lloyd, and the Sanitary Inspector, Mr. F. S. F. Piper.

An apology for absence was received from Mr. A. Allebone, C.C.

The Finance and Estates Committee reported, in connection with their meeting of December 3rd, as follows :-

“Local Government Act, 1929. First general review of county districts. - A letter was received from the Clerk to the County Council stating that his special Local Government Committee after considering the observations of the various local authorities concerned had tentatively amended their proposal with regard to the Urban District of Rushden. A conference of local authorities would be held on Monday, 7th December, at 11.45 a.m., at the County Hall, Northampton, to consider the amended tentative proposals suggested by the County Local Government Committee to which this Council were invited to send representatives. It was resolved that the previous Sub-committee appointed, viz., Messrs. L. Perkins, G. W. Coles, and J. Roe, be requested to attend such Conference.”

The chairman said the delegates did attend the conference and he would ask the vice-chairman to report upon it.

Mr. Roe said that as they would remember the original proposals were that the boundary of Rushden should be extended to include Newton Bromshold and Higham Park, but a letter from the Clerk to the County Council last week stated that these proposals had been withdrawn. The delegates found, when they got to Northampton, that it was decided not to interfere with Rushden at all and not to extend the boundary in any way whatever. The idea of the County Council seemed to be to extend the rural areas, but they did not seem to be touching many of the urban areas at all.

Mr. Swindall: I think we can congratulate ourselves upon these proposals being withdrawn. I am pleased, myself.

Drainage Discussion

On the recommendation of the Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee, plans were approved as follows: House on the Wellingborough-road for Mr. George Marriott; two houses on the Newton-road for Messrs. T. Swindall and Son; additional sanitary accommodation in Spencer-road for Messrs. Sanders and Sanders; sun room to his house on the Hayway for Mr. Leslie Sanders; additions to their factory in Oakley-road for Messrs. A. Allebone and Sons, Limited; store shed in Spencer-road for Messrs. Sanders and Sanders; shed at the rear of No. 239, Wellingborough-road for Mr. A. E. Sumpter; extension to garage in Pightles Terrace for Mr. W. E. Sargent, shed at the rear of No. 33, High-street for Mr. G. S. North.

The Committee also reported that a letter had been received from the Ministry of Health forwarding copy of a letter received by the Minister from Messrs. William Packwood and Son, enquiring if the Minister would kindly inform them whether they are compelled to put in separate drains to each house. The Minister had replied to Messrs. Packwood and Son that he had no power to compel a local authority to allow the use of any particular system of drainage but that he was placing before the Council certain considerations which might possibly influence them in regarding their proposal in a more favourable light. The Committee discussed the matter at great length and ultimately resolved that they were unable at present to recommend the Council to depart from their usual practice of requiring each house to be connected with the public sewer by a separate drain.

Mr. Swindall said he was rather sorry to see that the Plans Committee had not approved some scheme whereby combined drains could not be allowed, as they were in Wellingborough and Higham Ferrers. Surely that could be done in Rushden. He saw that according to the report the Committee discussed the matter at great length, but were unable to do anything at present. Did that infer that in the very near future they would have some scheme for combined drains?

Different Interpretation

The chairman: I do not think the wording of the minute is exactly illustrative of the conclusion to which we came. I feel sure that we decided that in the future every application be decided on its merits. That was clearly done by the Committee and I am rather surprised to find no mention of it in the report. It was certainly decided that plans should not be turned down automatically because the houses would not have separate drains. Perhaps at their next meeting the Committee can record a paragraph to that effect. At it reads at present it is indefinite.

Mr. Horrell: I am bound to say that I differ from you, Mr. Chairman.

A member: Hear, hear.

Mr. Horrell: The impression left on my mind was that we had come to a decision that we were not prepared to recommend any change at present. That is vastly different, I think, from giving anybody the impression that we should consider each plan on its merits, and I am bound to say that I don’t think we agreed upon that. The difficulty so far as I understand it is that it has been the custom of the Council to insist upon a separate drain for each house, and that it is felt that it would be a great injustice to change the system for any plans coming before the Council in future. In the letter from the Ministry, if I remember rightly, there was some reference to the fact that the Council had power to alter their decision, but I do not think that we are expected to consider any plans in a different manner to what we have done in the past.

The chairman: I should like to ask the chairman of the Committee what is his impression.

Mr. T. Wilmott (chairman of the Plans Committee), said he partially agreed with both the chairman and Mr. Horrell, and thought the Committee was in favour of the condition that each drain should be separately connected.

An Old Act

Mr. Wilmott referred to the plans for 12 houses for Mrs. White, recently before the Council. He wanted to see such property come into the town and when they had such plans for a block of houses in future they would consider the matter. If they did not do so it would be a serious thing for the town, more so than the Council thought. There was no other town in England adhering to such regulations, which were inadequate. They would find nothing in the byelaws about it; the regulations came under the Public Health Act of 1875, and they had moved since then. He had come to the conclusion that if plans for similar properties came up they would be considered and it could not be said that no plan would be passed unless the property were to be provided with a separate drain.

Mr. Roe said he did not think it was a general scheme put before the Committee. It was only a question of whether the two houses of Packwood’s should have separate drains, and the Committee decided that they should, in accordance with their practice in the last 15 or 20 years.

Dr. Greenfield suggested that it was the legal question of what a drain was. He referred to the difficulties which might occur in the event of drains not being separately connected, and said the Council would have the responsibility in such an event. Why should they accept that responsibility? He hoped the Council would not reverse their decision.

Mr. Allen: Is it a fact that this particular firm offered to indemnify the Council?

The Clerk: I think they did, but it is an impossibility.

“Be Considered”

The chairman: I think it will be in order to pass this. If plans are sent to the Committee I have not the slightest doubt but that they will be considered and not thrown in the basket immediately. In answer to Mr. Swindall I can say that the question is not turned down for ever. It will be considered in the future.

Mr. Perkins added that he had a letter in connection with the matter which he handed to Mr. T. Wilmott to be dealt with in Committee.

The Committee’s report was passed.

An application was received from the Broadcast Relay Services Coy., Ltd., for permission to install overhead wires in the Rushden Urban District for the purpose of relaying broadcast services from a station they proposed erecting.

The application was deferred for a period of six months for further information to be obtained.

The Lighting Sub-committee reported that as instructed they had inspected Griffith-street and now recommended that an additional lamp be placed between the east end of Mr. W. W. Smith’s premises and the High-street South.

The Council approved the recommendation.

The question of the lower part of Griffith-street being used as a parking place was considered, and it was agreed, subject to the approval of the police authorities, to offer no objection.

In answer to a point raised by Mr. Allen, the chairman said it did not refer to the extreme lower part of Griffith-street.

“Dangerous Place”

Mr. Allen: Even assuming it is further up it is an intensely dangerous spot to park at all. There are no business places there and I fail to see the necessity for parking cars along Griffith-street at all. It will serve no purpose and it is a dangerous place.

Mr. Coles: It has been found that a large number of cars are parked in High-street South, which is not very wide there and really constitutes a danger. Can Mr. Allen recommend a nearer and more convenient spot than Griffith-street? If he can, I shall support it.

Mr. T. Wilmott: Mr. Lloyd, the Inspector and I discussed the matter, and I must say he did not seem very bright over it. I quite agree that the road is very steep and if any youths touched a brake there might be a serious accident. As a Councillor I do not like to be mixed up with it, but if the police say it is all right, well and good. It is in their hands at the present.

The chairman: If it is found dangerous the police can take action we are not committed definitely.

The Surveyor was instructed to complete the footpath in front of Messrs. John White’s factory in accordance with the suggestion submitted by him.

The Health and Sanitary Committee reported that the Sanitary Inspector had presented the usual monthly report of his work and inspections carried out during the past month.

The Committee also reported that they had again had under consideration the system in vogue for the collection of house refuse. Having regard to the large amount of capital outlay involved, if a system of freighters were installed, the Committee did not consider it advisable to effect a change at the present time and therefore deferred the matter for twelve months.

Gypsy Encampment

The Health and Sanitary Committee also reported that gipsies were again camping in the vicinity of Mortimer’s farm, and that the Sanitary Inspector had been requested to visit the site and report to the next meeting.

The Sanitary Inspector informed the Council that there were 12 persons living in one tent and a van. There was ample sanitary accommodation at the moment. Some time ago it was very bad, but just now it was satisfactory.

Mr. Allen: It is not true then that these people are occupying outbuildings of that farm?

Mr. Piper: No, only one square tent and a van.

The Committee’s report also stated: A letter was received from the District Secretary of the Rushden Municipal Employees Branch, asking the Council to be good enough to look into the wages paid to Mr. W. Groome who is employed in the Sanitary Department. The Surveyor informed the Committee that Mr. Groome was paid wages at the rate of 11d. per hour. He was partially employed in the Sanitary Department but it was really a miscellaneous employment and the rate paid to him was similar to that paid to other employees not specially allocated to any particular job. The Committee were unable to make any recommendation with regard to these wages.

In presenting the report of the Finance and Estates Committee, Mr. Green (chairman), commented on the fact that in connection with the General Rate, £10,927/7/0 had been collected during the month. This large sum was due to the discount paid, but it showed they were on the right lines in giving discount to get the money in quickly.

A letter was received from Mr. F. W. Nunneley, secretary to the Northants Agricultural Society, thanking the Council for their kind invitation to the Society to hold their 1932 show at Rushden and stating that they would be pleased to accept the invitation on the terms set out in the Council’s letter.

Housing Matters

Mr. Allen, chairman of the Housing Committee, reported on a meeting of the Committee held prior to the Council meeting that evening. He stated that, with the Surveyor, he visited the Ministry of Health in connection with the proposed erection of houses in the crescent in Irchester-road. As the Council knew, they were proposing to erect 12 parlour type houses, but the officials of the Ministry could not agree to this, in view, he supposed, of the tightness of the financial situation. There was no necessity, added Mr. Allen, for him to go into all the arguments for or against the scheme, but the deputation was unable to move the Ministry from their decision. With regard to the site, the Committee did not want to put up a type of house they did not like and for which they might be severely criticised in a few years’ time. It was the approach to the Council Estate, fronting the main road, with some good property opposite, and therefore they wanted a good type of house there. The deputation had tried to persuade the Ministry on this point but could not do so.

Mr. Coles said he understood there were plans for 12 parlour and 12 non-parlour type houses. No doubt the erection of the latter would proceed.

Mr. Hornsby said he quite agreed with the Committee in that they wanted a good type of house erected on the site. He did not want some they would be ashamed of to be erected.

Mr. A. Wilmott: Barns!

Mr. Hornsby: Badly as we need houses I would rather wait and put up decent houses on the site.

The Council unanimously passed a resolution that they would not adhere to a suggestion of the Ministry to build non-parlour type houses fronting the main road, and that as the Ministry had refused to sanction parlour houses, none would be built at all on that site for the time being.

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