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The Rushden Echo, 15th February, 1924, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Many Plans Passed for Subsidy Houses
Sanction for a Further Fifty Houses Secured
Can Builders’ Prices Be Kept Down?

Wednesday, present – Messrs. L. Perkins, B.Sc., J.P., (chairman), C. Bates (vice-chairman), T. Swindall, T. Wilmott, C. E. Bayes, C. Claridge, C. W. Horrell, C.A., F. Corby, J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, and G. W. Coles, J.P., with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper).

Housing Committee

A meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Jan. 16th, 1924, when there were present: Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), C. E. Bayes, J. Hornsby, C. W. Horrell, J. Spencer, T. Swindall, and T. Wilmott.

Tenants

The Chairman reported that ten of the houses now being erected on the Newton-road site under the House, Etc. (No. 2), Act, 1923 were nearing completion, and tenants were accordingly selected for them.

The Clerk was instructed to communicate with the Architect complaining of the slow progress being made in the erection of these houses, with a request that the work may be speeded up.

The report was adopted.

Plans, etc., Committee

A meeting of the Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Jan 24th, 1924, when there were present : Messrs. T. Wilmott (chairman), L. Perkins, C. Bates, F. Corby, G. W. Coles, J. Hornsby, and C. W. Horrell.

Plans

were presented for:-

Five houses in Oakley-road, one each for Messrs. Hales, Cox, Partridge, A. Groome, and T. Attley, and passed.

House on Higham-road for Mr. H. Goodband, and passed.

House in Carnegie-street for Mr. C. Jefferies, and passed.

Bungalow in Avenue-road, Court Estate, for Mr. H. F. Norman, and passed.

Two houses on the Alpine Estate, Irchester-road, one each for Messrs. Dodge and Wildman, and passed.

House in Fitzwilliam-street for Mr. B. H. Ladds, and passed.

House in Carnegie-street for Mr. W. Goosey, and passed.

House in Carnegie-street for Mr. G. Jones, and passed.

House in Irchester-road for Mrs. Pearson, and passed.

House in Spencer-road for Mr. F. V. Abbott, and passed.

Bungalow on the Court Estate for Mr. A. G. Sanders, and passed.

Two houses in Spencer-road, one each for Messrs. H. K. Scroxton and W. R. Scroxton, and passed.

Two houses in Carnegie-street, one each for Messrs. R. E. Silburn and R. Eden, and passed.

Two houses in Spencer-road (substituted for the plan passed at the last meeting), one each for Messrs. W. E. Capon and A. Gray, and passed.

Two houses on Higham-road, one each for Messrs. A. W. Allen and B. Fensome, and passed.

House on Higham-road for Mr. E. Martin, and passed.

Workshop at the rear of No. 28, Pratt-road, for Mrs. H. Bromage, and passed.

Applications for subsidies in respect of the whole of the foregoing houses were received, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Surveyor to issue certificates in respect of same as coming within the Council scheme for the subsidy of £100 each.

Subsidy Houses

The Surveyor informed the committee that the amount of applications for the £100 subsidy now exceeded the number originally sanctioned by the Ministry of Health.

The Clerk was instructed to forthwith make application to the Ministry for sanction to a further 50 houses under the scheme.

Miscellaneous Buildings

Applications were received from Mr. E. A. Frost and Mr. H. Underwood for permission to erect small motor-houses off Pratt-road and Robinson-road respectively, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to take no exception thereto.

Building Returns

The surveyor reported that for the year ended Dec. 31st, 1923, 54 plans had been approved for new houses, 21 of which had been completed and 31 in course of erection.

Factory Acts

The sub-committee appointed at the last meeting reported that they had visited the two factories from which applications had been received for certificates that they were provided with sufficient means of escape in case of fire, and had inspected the various exits, etc., but were unable to recommend, as the factories were at present, that the certificates be granted. The surveyor was instructed to request the owners to submit schemes showing how better means of escape could be provided, when the applications could again be considered.

Allen-Road

The Clerk reported that, as instructed, he had communicated with the abutting owners with regard to the repair of the footpaths, who now wished the Council to proceed with the making up of the road under the Private Street Works Act, 1892.

It was accordingly resolved to recommend the Council that Allen-road for a distance of 457ft. from its junction with Cromwell-road, not being at present levelled, paved, metalled, channelled, and made good to the satisfaction of the Council, be levelled, paved, metalled, channelled, and made good under and in accordance with the provisions of the Private Street Works Act, 1892, and that the expenses incurred in executing such works be apportioned amongst the premises fronting, adjoining, or abutting on the said street according to the respective frontages; and further that the surveyor be instructed to prepare and submit to the Council (a) specification of the above-mentioned works with plans and sections, (b) an estimate of the probable expenses of the works, and (c) a provisional apportionment of the estimated expenses among the premises liable to be charged therewith under the Act.

Harborough and Bedford Roads (South) Corner

The Chairman reported that he, together with the Surveyor, had interviewed Mr. Asher Abbottwith regard to the dangerous state of this corner owing to the advertisement hoarding there. Mr Abbott was prepared to sell to the Council a moiety of the land for £25.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to accept Mr. Abbott’s offer and then to have the hoarding removed and fence in the land.

Higham and Kimbolton Roads (South) Corner

The Clerk submitted a letter from the Clerk to the County Council stating that the Roads and Bridges Committee had had under consideration the question of the improvement of this corner and enclosing a copy of their report. The estimated cost of the improvement was £150 apart from the purchase of the land, and the committee were prepared, subject to a grant of 50 per cent. from the Ministry of Transport and a contribution equal to £12 10s. each from the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Councils, to proceed with the work.

It was pointed out that the original application was from the Higham Ferrers Corporation asking this Council to contribute towards the purchase price of the land required for the improvement, in all £23. The Council offered £12 10s.

The committee could not see their way to recommend the Council to make any further contribution.

Fire Brigade Equipment

A letter was received from the Town Clerk of Northampton with particulars of two steam fire engines which his Council had for disposal, and inquiring if this Council would make an offer for either or both of the engines.

The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Council were not contemplating the purchase of further engines at present.

The report was adopted.

Builders’ Prices

Mr. Coles expressed great pleasure at the large number of applications for subsidy houses, but he wondered how many of the suggested houses were likely to be built. Since three months ago the cost of building had gone up tremendously. There was a strong feeling that prices had advanced unnecessarily. If that was a fact, perhaps the members of the Council who were builders would clear the air on the point. He understood that the advance was equivalent of £100 per house, so that the subsidy would go to the people who supplied building material instead of the prospective house-owner. If necessary, he was prepared to move that the Ministry of Health be asked to investigate and, if necessary, fix maximum prices. If houses could be erected at the rate they were being applied for in the town, it would be a boon, but prices must be kept within reasonable limits.

Mr. Wilmott said it would be rather difficult to fix prices. In many cases where Mr. Coles thought there was a difference in prices in subsidy houses, it was not necessarily real. He could show that two men would easily make a difference to the extent of £50 in the same houses by requiring certain things provided. Up to the recent rise of 1d.per hour in builders’ operatives’ wages he did not believe there was a penny advance. But now that those wages had been increased, knowing of it, master builders would be fools if they did not allow for it in their tenders. Increases now applied to the making of bricks, owing to the advance in the cost of coal. Carting and haulage also now cost more. He shared Mr. Coles’s pleasure in the large number of houses being applied for. If he could get the labourers, he would be pleased to erect the whole lot himself. Builders were not likely to accept jobs to lose money. Until houses were alike it was difficult to say what they should be. The present Government were estimating the cost of houses at £500. He knew a good many people in Rushden who were getting houses at £300 to £400. He did not think the people above mentioned would stop their operations unless prices were advanced very considerably beyond to-day’s prices. With the muddling way house-building was going on, he would not be surprised if they got back to the £1,000 house again.

Mr. Spencer said he had heard of cases where prices were extraordinarily high. Whether builders wanted jobs or not he did not know. He was afraid the increased cost would interfere with the building.

Mr. Wilmott said that it might be that where a builder was full up with contracts he merely filled in other tender forms, but did not necessarily put the lowest he could, in view of his difficulty of obtaining labour.

Mr. Swindall asked whether application had been made for sanction to erect the 50 houses mentioned.

The Clerk replied that application had been made and acceded to. The houses should be commenced by April 25th and be likely to be finished by the end of the year. The conditions were not insisted on.

Mr. Swindall: If it were insisted on, it would be useless. It would stop a good many intending house-owners. Some of those on the list will not have their houses started on by next April.

The Chairman said that so long as reasonable effort were made to get the land, and perhaps the foundations laid, there would be no fear of failing to get the subsidy.

Finance and Estates Committee

A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 1924, at 10 a.m., when there were present: Messrs. L. Perkins (chairman), C. Bates, F. Corby, F. Knight, J. Hornsby, and T. Wilmott.

A number of accounts amounting to £2,334 13s. 9d. were examined and passed for payment.

Housing Subsidy Loan

The Clerk reported that a number of the houses coming within the Council’s scheme for a subsidy of £100 each were nearing completion and it was necessary that application be made to the Ministry of Health for sanction to a loan providing for such subsidies.

It was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Clerk to at once make application for sanction to a loan of £5,000 for this purpose.

The report was adopted.

Health and Sanitary Committee

A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 1924, when there were present: Messrs. C. Bates (chairman), L. Perkins, C. E. Bayes, C. Claridge, F. Knight, and T. Swindall.

Health and Sanitary Reports

The report of the Medical Officer of Health for the month of January was received.

The Sanitary Inspector reported that since the last meeting 19 nuisances had been dealt with, of which number three had been abated. Of the outstanding nuisances, 25 had been abated.

A quantity of beef offal, the carcase and organs of a pig, one and a half heads and one set of lungs from pigs, a quantity of sausages, and also some pears and several tins of canned fruit, all of which had been voluntarily surrendered, had been destroyed in the usual way as being unfit for human consumption.

Seven rooms had been disinfected after cases of infectious disease and a quantity of bedding disinfected at the depot also after cases of infectious disease.

The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work and inspections since the last meeting.

Rats and Mice (Destruction) Act

The Inspector also submitted a report of his work and inspections under this Act, which the committee considered satisfactory.

Petroleum Acts

Applications were received from Messrs. York, Ward, and Rowlatt and the Rushden Engineering Company for renewals of their licences to store petrol, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto subject to the stores being to the satisfaction of the Inspector.

An application was also received from Mr. Arthur Simpson for a licence to store 24 gals. of petrol at the rear of his premises, No. 22, High-street South, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to agree thereto subject to the store being to the satisfaction of the Inspector.

An application was also received from the Rushden Engineering Co., Ltd., for a renewal of their carbide of calcium licence, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto.

Smallpox Hospital

A letter was received from the Clerk to the Finedon Urban District Council with regard to the provision of a joint hospital for the various districts in the immediate neighbourhood and inquiring whether this Council would send representatives to a meeting to consider the matter.

The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Council had already provided a Smallpox Hospital with ample accommodation for the present, and did not therefore see their way to join in the scheme.

Cemetery

The Surveyor reported that he had had an interview with the Rector and the Rev. C. J. Keeler and explained to them the committee’s proposals with regard to the chapel, and they had suggested several variations which would involve additional expense.

The committee approved of some of the suggestions and authorised the Surveyor to obtain estimates for carrying out the work.

The report was adopted.

Parks Committee

A meeting of the Parks Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Feb. 6th, 1924, when there were present: Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), L. Perkins, C. Claridge, and T. Swindall.

Spencer-Road Entrance

The Chairman reported that the land each side the road indicated on the estate plan had been recently sold by the owners and houses were about to be erected thereon.

The committee were of opinion that, so far as the entrance to the Park was concerned, a 13ft. 6in. macadam roadway would meet all requirements, and recommended that this be constructed in the centre of the road at the cost of the Council.

The report was adopted.

Lifeboat

The Chairman reported that he had received a letter from Mr. F. Roberts, M.P., respecting the Royal Lifeboat Institution, asking that the Council call a town’s meeting to form a committee to assist in raising a certain sum of money, along with the rest of the county, to build and equip a lifeboat, to be called “The Northamptonshire.” It was also requested that a flag-day be held for the fund.

On the motion of Mr. Corby, seconded by Mr. Spencer, the Chairman was asked to call such a town’s meeting, and it was also decided to hold a flag-day in the town.

Mr. Perkins promised to try to get the life-boat on view in the town on the flag-day, if possible.

Mr. Swindall: I suppose if Dr.Barnardo’s or other similar institutions request the Council to act on their behalf they would do so.

Mr. Spencer: There are already organisations in existence to deal with them.

Mr. Wilmott: I take it that the request is that the Council ask local organisations to take up the duties of collecting for a lifeboat. We are not expected to do it, but are merely to call a town’s meeting for the purpose.

Mr. Perkins: I don’t thing we are expected to take all the flag-days under our wing. If we did it would be impossible to exist as a Council. Here is a request that is not likely to come again in 100 years. If I should be here then I shall be pleased to help again! The Council has no intention of running flag-days.

Police Court

Mr. Spencer gave notice that he should move at the next meeting that a full Petty Sessional Court be provided in Rushden.



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