|Rushden Echo, 12th July, 1907, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Rates On Cottage Property
A meeting of this Council was held at the Council Chambers on Wednesday night, when there were present: Messrs. F. Ballard (chairman), W. Bazeley (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J. Claridge, G. H. Skinner, G. Miller, C. E. Bayes, T. Swindall, J. Paragreen, C. Bates, and A. J. Dobbs, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. H. Hunter).
A special meeting of the Finance Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 12th June, 1907, when there were present:- Messrs. F. Ballard (chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, and A. J. Dobbs.
The Committee had again before them the list of cottage property owners who receive an allowance of 20 per cent. off the General District Rate, and it was resolved to instruct the Clerk to have the list printed and circulated amongst the members of this Committee in order that it might be further considered at the next meeting.
The report was adopted.
Plans, &c. Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday the 26th June, 1907, when there were present:- Messrs. F. Ballard (chairman), W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, G. Miller, J. S. Clipson and A. J. Dobbs.
were presented by:-
Messrs. Skinner and Miller for six houses in Portland Road and passed subject to compliance with Bye-law 58.
Infringement of Bye-Laws
The Surveyor reported the erection of a wooden building (a bicycle shed) by Mr. Selwood at the rear of his house at the corner of Harborough and Park Roads.
It was resolved that the Clerk be instructed to require Mr. Selwood to give the usual undertaking to remove the building when called upon so to do by the Council.
High Street South Improvement
The Surveyor submitted his estimate of the cost of carrying out this improvement, amounting to £377. This, with the cost of the property purchased, would bring up the total estimated expenditure to £677.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to approve the estimate and to apply to the County Council for a contribution of one-fourth of the cost of the properties purchased and one-half of the cost of the works.
Brook, Bedford Road
It was also resolved that the Surveyor be instructed to apply to the County Council for an iron fence to be erected on the retaining wall of the brook now being repaired by them on the Bedford Road similar to the fence on the Higham Road near the Borough boundary.
Steam Fire Engine
The Captain of the fire Brigade reported that the new engine was expected to arrive at Rushden on Friday next, and that Messrs. Shand, Mason, and Co. were sending their representative to make the necessary tests on Saturday afternoon. The Fire Brigade had invited the members of the Brigades of the neighbouring town to see the tests.
The Chairman reported that he had given permission to the Temperance Band to give concerts in the Council field on July 7th and 21st.
Price of Gas
The Chairman read a communication he had received from the Chairman of the Gas Company stating that, owing to the increased cost of coal, it was impossible to make any reduction in the price of gas this year.
The Chairman expressed the hope that before another year the price of coal would have been reduced and that the Gas Company would be able to make a reduction in their charges.
The report was adopted.
Council In Committee
A meeting of the whole Council in Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 26th June, 1907, when there were present:- Messrs. F. Ballard (chairman), W. Bazeley, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, J. Claridge, J. S. Clipson, A. J. Dobbs, F. Knight, Geo. Miller, J. Paragreen, and G. H. Skinner.
High Street South Improvement
The recommendation of the Highways Committee with regard to this matter was submitted and unanimously approved.
The Surveyor reported that in consequence of the night scavenging ceasing at the end of the month, it was necessary to make further provision for the day scavenging.
The Committee authorised the Surveyor to make the necessary arrangements with Mr. Smith for the provision of team labour for the month of July and in the meantime to advertise for tenders for the work from the 1st of August to the 31st March next.
The Chairman referred to the approaching visit of General Booth to the district and the Committee expressed a desire that the Council might join in any movement made by the religious bodies of the town to give the General a welcome at Rushden.
The Chairman said that after the committee meeting he saw Mr. Shorten with regard to the General’s visit, and he promised to see the other ministers of the town on the matter.
Mr. Claridge: I understood that it would not be possible for General Booth to call at Rushden.
The Chairman: Not to stop. There is an arrangement regarding Higham Ferrers.
The report was adopted.
A meeting of the Finance Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday morning, the 3rd July, 1907, when there were present:- Messrs. F. Ballard (chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Claridge, A. J. Dobbs, and Geo. Miller.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
Collector’s Fittings Account
The Committee examined the Collector’s fittings account from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums since the last meeting:-
Cemetery Registrar’s Account
From the Registrar’s account produced it appeared that he had received the following sum during the past three months:-
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 balances were as follows on the undermentioned accounts:-
Tradesmen’s And Other Accounts
A number of accounts were examined and passed for payment.
Old Water Works Plant
The Surveyor reported that he had received an offer for the purchase of the portable steam engine lately used at No. 2 pumping station and also an enquiry as to the price required for the oil engine.
The Committee considered that £20 was a fair price for either engine, and authorised the Surveyor to accept that price if offered.
In view of the re-distribution of the Collector’s work consequent upon the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board having taken over the water undertaking of the Council and the appointment by the Water Board of the same Collector at an independent salary, the Committee had under consideration the question as to whether any modification of the salary at present paid by this Council was required.
It was resolved to further consider the matter at the next meeting of the Committee.
Higham Ferrers And Rushden Water Board
It was resolved to recommend the Council to ask the Water Board to contribute an annual sum of £60 towards the use of offices and store yard and for the clerical work now undertaken by the Council’s Officers, apportioned as follows:-
and to offer to pay to the Water Board a sum of £7/10/0 per annum for the use of the telephone, the whole cost of which is at present paid by the Board.
Workmen’s Compensation Act
A letter was received from the County Council as to the insurance of workmen employed on the main roads and stating that that Council would pay the amount of the premium attributable to workmen employed on the main roads provided that the policy indemnified the County Council against any claim.
The Clerk informed the Committee that he would have a clause inserted in the policy to this effect.
General District Rate
The Collector submitted a general district rate which he had prepared in accordance with a resolution of the Council at 2/4 in the £ and it was resolved that the Council be recommended to seal the same at the next meeting.
The question of rating owners of cottage property on a reduced estimate was considered at length and it was resolved by a majority to recommend the Council, after the close of the present financial year, to rate the occupiers in all cases. It was explained that by adopting this course the allowance of a 20 per cent. reduction would be entirely discontinued and all properties would pay the district rate in full.
Mr. Claridge asked what power the committee had in the matter.
The Clerk: The committee was to consider the general question of rating owners and occupiers and to make what recommendations they thought fit.
Mr. Bazeley: I hardly understood that it was proposed to rate the occupiers in all cases.
The Chairman: It must be so, according to law.
Mr. Bazeley: I understood that in the case of property at £10 per annum and under, the rate must be levied on the Landlord and not the tenant.
The Clerk: It is not so. The Council, at their option, may rate the owner, but if they do that they are bound to give a reduction, of which 20 per cent. is the minimum and 30 per cent. the maximum.
Mr. Bazeley: I understood it was as I said.
Mr. Claridge: You are generally up-to-date, but you are a little bit out this time, it appears. (Laughter).
The Chairman: I am sure the Vice-chairman will accept the Clerk’s ruling. Of course, if any landlord agrees to pay the rate, we can accept the money, I take it. I move that the recommendation of the committee be received.
Mr. Skinner: It says the majority of the committee.
The Chairman: Yes, it was not unanimous.
Mr. Paragreen seconded the motion.
Mr. Swindall: I think we should have an explanation from the committee as to the reason they make this recommendation.
The Chairman said there had been a feeling among some of the members of the Council that compounding should be done away with. Twenty per cent. had been allowed on a certain class of property, though the landlord gave no guarantee that the rates should be paid whether the property was occupied or not, and it was felt that this was an unfair advantage given to these owners, as compared with owners of property rated at over £10. On all houses of 5/9 per week and under there was an allowance of 20 per cent., but on all property above that there was no allowance whatever. It was clear, therefore, that the allowance had to be made up by the other ratepayers. Some of the members of the committee felt that this was unfair, and their recommendation was to bring all the property on to an equitable basis. He moved the adoption of the committee’s recommendation.
Mr. Bazeley, in seconding the motion, said he thought the subject was deserving of special attention. The members of the Council were sent there to do what was just and right. The present arrangement with regard to small property was neither right in principle nor just to other ratepayers. He was opposed to the present system because it gave undue preference to the speculative builder, and he was surprised that the larger ratepayers had not kicked over the traces before now, seeing that they had to make up the amount which was allowed off the smaller property. Besides, why should not the working man who owns his own house have the allowance as well as the landlords? He thought they might estimate that for the last 16 years the owners of small property had been subsidised to the amount of about £400 a year. £400 going into their pockets when it ought to have gone into the district fund. If the allowance were done away with, he estimated that it would not cost the landlord more than about one-halfpenny per week per house. That did not look like such a big additional burden, and it would only make things equitable. It did not seem to him that the landlord ought to throw the burden on the occupier, though, of course, it would be optional for him to do so. He thought the landlord had been treated so well for the last sixteen years that he ought to thank his lucky stars that he had got off so lightly. He hoped the Council would not let
warp their judgment.
Mr. Paragreen: What was done before the 30 per cent. allowance was made?
The Clerk: That was adopted when the general district rate was first made.
Mr. Claridge said he should oppose the recommendation, as he did in committee. He did not know where the Vice-chairman got his figures from, but he himself made the additional cost per house come out at about 2d per week. A good deal had been said about being just and equitable. That was what he wanted. He did not think it would be fair or just if the 20 percent allowance were taken off. He thought the town was very much indebted to those who erected small property in the town years ago, not knowing what the return would be. The town could not have been developed without their assistance, and to do away with the allowance would be injustice to them. They wanted
To Encourage Building
in the town, but he was satisfied that if the motion were carried no one would build cottage property, for he would get no return for his money. There was a lot of property in the town that would not be worth having if that resolution was carried, for it did not pay 4 per cent. now. There was no property in the town rated as highly in proportion to the cost as cottage property, and they would do well to let things remain as they are. If the motion had been brought forward ten or fifteen years ago, there might have been something in it. He believed that if the resolution were passed the occupier would have to pay his own rate, and he did not object to that in principle, for occupiers would then take more interest in the work of the town, but he was afraid the cost of collecting would be very considerably increased. He believed the arrears would be very heavy, and that there would be
A Great Deal of Friction
Taking everything into consideration, he was afraid that the town would be the loser.
Mr. Skinner, speaking as an overseer, said the present basis of the rating was about three per cent. on the cost of buildings. He did not think the working man who owned a couple of houses had anything to grumble at because the house that he lived in himself and on which no allowance was made was generally a better house than the one he let. He thought the proposal was most impracticable. If every tenant paid a quarter’s rate in advance it might be all right, but if they were going to wait a quarter for their money he was afraid they would find themselves about £1,000 behind.
Mr. Claridge said Mr. Bazeley had made a great point about the injustice to the larger owners of property, but he had not heard a single complaint from a large owner, and did not think there was anything in the point.
Mr. Dobbs said it was with no bias that he moved in the matter, for he was not an owner of property, either big or little. But he objected to one man being treated different from another. When a working man had saved enough to build his own house he was charged at a higher rate in order to subsidise the owner of slum property. As long as they granted that allowance of 20 per cent. they would have the present class of house and no better. As for the builders stopping building, he would not have minded if they had never built at all, for the Council would then have been obliged to take the matter up and they would have had municipal buildings, with a better class of house. In giving the allowance in the past, the Council subsidised the speculative or gambling builder, and if these people lost money now they must remember that they gained a good deal in the past. If the tenants had to pay their own rates he was sure they would never grumble as much as the owners of small cottage property had done during the last year. To say that the occupiers would not pay their rates was a slur on the working men of the town. They would pay as long as they had any money, the same as they did their rents, and if they had a fault it was that they were too honest. If they knocked off the allowance it would probably cost a little more to collect the rate, but he asked the Council to take the step in fairness to those who had to pay the full amount.
Mr. Bazeley contended that the figures he gave as to the additional cost to landlords were substantially correct. He believed that many of the small cottages that were subsidised at present ought to be condemned.
Mr. Swindall said the Council were strongly condemned when they reduced the allowance by 10 per cent. 15 months ago, and he believed the action would be strongly condemned if they still further reduced it. It there were good reasons for making the allowance 16 years ago, there were stronger reasons now, because the prospects in Rushden were not so bright. It was a slur on the builders and the officers of the Council to say that jerry-built property had been put up in Rushden. He did not know whether some of their friends wanted bathroom, drawing-room, and everything for 5s. a week, but it could not be done. Cottage property paid its full share at present, and if the allowance were taken off he, for one, would be in favour of an alteration in the assessment. From a progressive point of view, it would be better if every occupier paid his own rates, but from his own experience he could say that it was difficult for the landlord to get the rent, and he was sure it would be more difficult for the collector to get the rates. They had in the town a number of gentlemen who had made a study of rating, and there was not one of them in favour of the proposal.
Mr. Dobbs: I never said there had been jerry-built property put up in the last two or three years, but such property has been put up in the past. I can take Mr. Swindall to it if he wishes.
Mr. Swindall: It’s the tenants who make it Jerry built, then.
The Chairman said the allowance the Council were now making totalled up to about £600 per year, which was about 4d. in the £ on the rates. Until about a year ago he understood that the owners had the allowance on the understanding that they paid the rates whether the houses were let or not. That was not so, however, and the deduction made was simply an allowance; it was in no sense compounding. He did not consider the present arrangement was fair.
A letter was read from the Ratepayers’ Association stating that at a meeting of the association a resolution had been passed to the effect that the proposal to abolish compounding would be disastrous and was totally impracticable and unworkable.
On being put to the vote, there voted for the committee’s recommendation Messrs. Ballard, Bazeley, Dobbs, Bates, and Paragreen, against Messrs. Knight, Claridge, Skinner, Miller, Swindall, and Bayes. The proposal was, therefore, rejected.
Estates &c., Committee
A meeting of the Estates, Cemetery, and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 3rd July, 1907, when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), F. Ballard, C. Bates, J. Paragreen, J. Claridge, G. H. Skinner, and Tom Swindall.
Health And Sanitary Reports
The Medical Officer reported that one case of infectious disease had been notified since the last meeting, viz.: of enteric fever; he had visited and inspected the house and surroundings but could find nothing likely to cause the disease.
The Sanitary Inspector presented his monthly report, from which it appeared that the work of re-draining was, with one or two exceptions, practically completed.
The Inspector reported that the nuisance in Griffith-street caused by the keeping of swine there by Mr. Smith was in course of abatement.
The Inspector further reported a nuisance in Robert-street occasioned by defective drains to the houses the property of the Rushden House and Property Co.
It was resolved to instruct the Inspector to serve the Company with a formal notice requiring them to abate the nuisance within one month.
The Inspector submitted a detailed statement of work done, complaints investigated, and notices served during the past month.
The quarterly report of Mr. Bainbridge was received, in which he stated that on the 29th and 30th May and June 1st, 3rd, and 4th, 1907, he visited 28 premises belonging to 26 cow-keepers and inspected 258 milk cows and heifers. The report referred to six cows which the Officer considered were not in a fit state for dairy purposes; it was understood that the cows in question were not being so used.
The following sub-committee was appointed to receive and if necessary confer with Mr. Bainbridge on his reports:- The Chairman, with Messrs. Swindall and Claridge.
The Surveyor reported that the sale of grass at the sewage farm, cemetery, and hospital took place on the 17th instant and realised as follows:-
The Clerk submitted copies of the Local Government Board’s most recent model Bye-laws for dealing with nuisances and it was resolved that a sub-committee be appointed consisting of the Chairman and Messrs. Ballard and Swindall to go through the Bye-laws and report to the next meeting of the Committee.
The Clerk read a letter received from Mr. E. W. Ives stating that he was prepared to supply the Council with a new precipitant which was stronger than Alumino-ferric and more economical and effective, and asking the Council to give it a trial.
The Surveyor was authorised to order a sample of about two tons and report the result to a future meeting of the Committee.
In reply to Mr. Bates, the Sanitary Inspector said the six cows referred to in Mr. Bainbridge’s report were not being milked.
Mr. Bates: If they were used people would want to know shoes they were so that they would know where to get their milk.
The report was adopted.
High Street South Improvement
On the motion of the Chairman, seconded by Mr. Bates, it was decided to apply to the Local Government Board for sanction to borrow £50 for the cost of the High-street South improvement.
Damage at The Cemetery
A report was received from the caretaker at the Cemetery to the effect that five boys had been caught damaging the trees in the cemetery. It was decided to take proceedings against one boy who was stated to be the ringleader.