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Rushden Echo, 12th January, 1945, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

Fifty ‘Prefabs’ In Recreation Field
Rushden Wins Concession From Government

  Rushden Urban Council’s action in applying for a share of the temporary houses though not on the list for an allocation was rewarded by the news at Wednesday’s meeting that the town may have 50 – and possibly more.  At the same meeting a site was agreed to after some opposition.

  The Housing Committee announced that in response to the Council’s application the Ministry of Health had agreed to allocate Rushden 50 temporary bungalows and might, if the Council desired, consider a further allocation “in the light of the ascertained capacity for production.”  The type has not yet been specified.

  The committee recommended the Cemetery Field in Park-road (which belongs to the Council) as a suitable site, and also recommended that enquiries be made with a view to purchasing a piece of land adjacent, making a total site of about five acres, conveniently situated in regard to water supply and in relation to the town.

  Coun. Allen objected to the site on the ground that the Cemetery Field and the land adjoining were “A sort of lung” in the centre of the town.  He said he would have no objection if the houses were to remain for only ten years.

  Coun. Cox, who is chairman of the Housing Committee, said the site was only supposed to be used for 10 years and might then return to its old use as an open space.

Used By Children

  “Was any alternative site thought of?” asked Coun. Richardson, adding that no other open space in the town had been used more by children.

  Coun. Cox: The Surveyor could perhaps answer better, but as far as we could see there was no other site so suitable.

  The Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) said a site was suggested on the outskirts of the town, but it had no water supply, whereas the Cemetery Field had been laid out for building.  If they bought the adjoining ground and the site reverted to “open space” they would have double the space they had now.

  Coun. Weale suggested building 25 bungalows on the land adjoining the Cemetery Field and 25 at the opposite end of the town.

  Mr. Weale asked if there was any guarantee of the bungalows being removed after ten years, and the Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) replied that the Act of Parliament stipulated 10 years only unless the Minister, at the expiration of that period, was satisfied that they should remain longer.

Site Approved

  Coun. Sawford said that some years ago he recommended the site as a suitable one for bungalows for aged people, but the land adjoining the Cemetery Field was not then available.  He thought the committee had done the best thing, and he hoped that at the end of 10 years the aged people could have the bungalows instead of living in the West end of the town.  The Cemetery Field had been much abused by the children.

  Coun. Allebone said he favoured the site because it would not have a long frontage to the public highway and because it was not remote.  “The people will like the bungalows,” he added.  “If they are kept nice and not overcrowded, you will have a job to get the people out of them in ten years.”

  Coun. Cox said they hoped to reserve a considerable part of the site as a playing ground for the children of that area.

  The report was then adopted, and the Surveyor was instructed to prepare a site plan.  It was resolved to ask for a wide-fronted type of bungalow.

  The Chief Financial Officer (Mr. B. W. Williams) estimated that the annual cost of each bungalow to the Council would be £32  16s., less a possible rent (exclusive of rates) of £26, leaving £6  16s. to be contributed from the rates.  The cost to the Government was estimated at £68  11s. per annum for 10 years.

  When Coun. George drew attention to 13 partially built houses, work on which had been stopped by war-time restrictions, Coun. Allebone suggested that the Government could be asked to allow them to be completed.

  Coun. Capon: The decision doesn’t rest with the Council; it rests with those who were responsible for laying the foundations.

  The Clerk said the position of these houses was considered some time ago, but at that time the amount to be spent on completing a house was limited to £200.  He thought it was now £500, but whether the owner would be disposed to make application to the Government he could not say.

  Coun. Capon said the Council and town would wish to extend congratulations to the Chief Warden, Mr. F. G. Deane, who had been awarded the B.E.M.  Mr. Deane had shown initiative, willingness to serve, and marked efficiency.  At the same time the Council would wish to place on record its appreciation of the services rendered by Civil Defenders of all kinds.  The town in general felt proud of its Civil Defence organisation.

Grateful Americans

  A very cordial letter to the Chairman from Lt.-General John C. H. Lee, U.S. Army, thanked the people of Rushden in the name of General Eisenhower and all members of the American Forces who had visited the town.

  Referring to “the hospitality and helpfulness of your people on so many occasions,” Lt.-General Lee added, “Through such understanding and natural kindness I believe we have more firmly moulded the friendly relations of our two nations.”  He described the stay in England as “an unforgettably happy experience.”

Other Business

  Eleven births (5 males, 6 females) and 16 deaths (6 males, 10 females) were reported.  Disease cases were: Tuberculosis 1, pneumonia 5, measles 3, whooping cough 10.

  A resolution was passed regretting the County Court Registrar’s proposal to close the Rushden office, and hoping that arrangements could still be made to keep it open, as it was considered that the size and needs of the town justified this.  At present the office is open for one half-day weekly.  “Staff difficulties” is the reason given for closing it.

  The resignation of Mr. J. Hornsby from the Wellingborough Area Assessment Committee, the Trustees of Rushden Parochial Charities and the Management Committee of Rushden Cottage Hospital was received with regret, and the filling of the vacancies was deferred for a month.

  Coun. Richardson was reappointed to the Rushden Tuberculosis After-Care Committee.

  In attendance were Couns. Dr. R. W. Davies, J.P. (Chairman), H. Waxing, A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, C.C., A. Allebone, J.P., C.A., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, A. F. Weale, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, E. A. Sugars, J. T. Richardson, J.P., and W. J. Sawford.

12th January, 1945

Black Market Gangsters?
Council’s Little Oversight

  Confronted on Wednesday by the remarkable revelation that it had been perfectly willing to pay nine times the proper charge for all-night street lighting during January, Rushden Urban Council refused either to smile or blush.

  A month ago the Council decided that the workers needed early morning street lighting – which meant leaving many of the lights on all night.  The cost was estimated to be considerably over £200.  That would be O.K.

  On Wednesday, however, the Highways Committee minutes told of a letter from the Gas Company regretting that the cost of the additional lighting had been inadvertently quoted as “per lamp per hour” instead of “per lamp per night.”  The cost of the extra gas lighting during January would therefore be about £19  7s.  6d.  The cost of the additional electric lighting was stated to be £15  4s.  9d.

Pleasant or Painful?

  “This is a pleasant surprise to me,” said Coun. George, the Highways chairman, “and to all the others, I am sure.”

  Coun. Allen was less complacent.  “It seems to me,” he said, “a peculiar thing that both the Highways Committee and the Lighting Sub-Committee should have been so deceived over this amount of money.  Obviously the others of us who were not on the committee naturally took their word for it, but I should like to state here and now that I think such a mistake as this ought not in future to occur.

  “I think the actual charge is nearly nine times less than the price quoted at the meeting when Mr. Paragreen’s resolution was put forward.  All of us voted for it, but I do think we should have more accurate information in the future.”

  Coun. Paragreen’s view of the case was that the Gas Company, after giving a price, found they could do it considerably cheaper.  He praised the company for sending the corrected price along.

Sordid £ s. d.

  “I suppose Mr. Allen is no exception to the other members and has made a mistake at some time in his life,” said Mr. Allebone with some warmth.  “Mr. Lloyd and I did say “It seems a bit heavy,” but it was not for us to say “Are you sure you’re right?”  It was properly typewritten out, and we had to accept it.  The Lighting Sub-Committee did not take into consideration the financial side of it.”

  “I am very sorry,” added Mr. Allebone, “to think some members of the Council consider it in the light of £ s. d. rather than public utility.”

  The remaining views were:

  Mrs. Muxlow: It is staggering when you come to think of it.

  Coun. Sugars: I think we can dispense with the question with regard to the cost.

  Coun. Capon: There is one councillor here, at least, who appreciates it.

  And so the Council proceeded to the next business.

FOOTNOTE – The Gas Company inform us that the original estimate was given verbally by 'phone and that during the last few years public lighting figures have varied considerably owing to war-time conditions.

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