|Rushden Echo, 15th July, 1921, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
A Question of Public Improvement
The Rents of Municipal Houses
Old Age Pensions at Sixty-Five?
| Wednesday, present Messrs. W. Bazeley, J.P. (chairman), T. Wilmott, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, J.P., L. Perkins, B.Sc., J. Hornsby, and C. Bates, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Acting Surveyor (Mr. Lloyd) and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. Piper).
The Clerk read a letter from Mr. Chas. Claridge on behalf of Mrs. John Claridge acknowledging with the thanks of Mrs. Claridge and her family the letter from the Rushden Council paying a tribute to the life work of her late husband. Mr. C. Claridge also thanked the Council.
Mr. Perkins, on a paragraph in the minutes, asked if any other work had been considered, or had been begun, to take the place of the work temporarily suspended in Spencer Park.
The Chairman replied that the question could be raised later.
Plans, &c., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 29th June, 1921, when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), T. Swindall, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, C. W. Horrell, and T. Wilmott.
were presented for:-
Fried fish shop in Newton-road for the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society, Limited, and passed.
Garage extensions off the Wellingborough-road for the Wargate Motor Engineering Company and no exception taken, subject to the ends being of corrugated iron sheeting and the consents of the adjoining owners being obtained.
Motor garage in Glassbrook-road for Mr. S. C. Brightwell and no exception taken.
Workshop at the rear of 38, Midland-road, for Mr. H. Mackness and passed.
Additions to workshop at his premises on the Higham-road for Mr. Robert Marriott and passed.
An application was received from the Ringstead Parish Council for the services of the Rushden Fire Brigade for that parish in case of fire.
The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Brigade would be pleased to attend, if not otherwise engaged, and to enclose a copy of the scale of charges for out-of-town fires.
A letter was received from the Ministry of Transport stating that assistance to a limited degree could now be given towards expenditure coming within the following categories:-
(1) The widening of roads, and improvement of corners, curves and gradients, on
(a) Roads provisionally classified in Classes I and II; and
(b) On roads not so classified.
(2) The acquisition of vacant land required, or likely to be required, for widening important roads or for the construction of new arterial roads, in cases where it can be shown that there is an imminent prospect of building operations being put in hand unless the land is required at once.
(3) The reconstruction or strengthening of important roads not ranking as Class I or Class II.
(4) The surface tarring of roads not ranking as Class I or Class II.
The Surveyor was instructed to prepare an estimate of the cost of tar paving certain of the district roads, and make application for a grant towards same.
The Surveyor submitted a letter from Mr. Albert Cox calling attention to the bad state of repair of the footpath in front of his house, and asking the Council to repair same.
It was resolved to recommend the Council, subject to the County Surveyor agreeing to the expense being charged to this year’s expenditure allowed for footpaths in the annual agreement, to construct an asphalt footpath on the west side of the road between Lime-street and Elm-street.
The Chairman reported that as instructed at the last meeting, he with Mr. Swindall had interviewed Mrs. Warner, the owner of Beaconsfield-terrace, with regard to the widening of this road at that point. They were received with every consideration but had been unable to get her to agree to the proposed improvement.
Newton Road Guide Post
As instructed at the last meeting, the Surveyor had obtained an estimate for the guide post recommended by the Ministry of Transport, amounting to £6 15s.
The Committee considered this price excessive and requested the Surveyor to obtain a quotation for an oak post and submit to the next meeting.
The Clerk was requested to enquire and submit to the next meeting the amount of the annual premium on a policy covering the Council against all outside liability.
Electricity (Supply) Acts
The letter from the Northampton Electric Light Co. Ltd., asking for the Council’s support in their application to the Electricity Commissioners for the latter’s approval to an arrangement for the supply of electricity in bulk to Rushden, referred to this Committee by the Council at their last meeting, was considered.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to support the application provided that the promoters agree to the following principle of policy:-
“That the expense of altering the position or depth of electric cables laid in the roadway, pavement or footway, where such alteration becomes necessary by the exercise of statutory powers or duties of a Road Authority or Sanitary Authority shall fall upon the Electrical undertakers.”
The report was adopted.
On the question of road improvements, Mr. Perkins said he thought the Council should if possible provide work for the unemployed in the way of widening roads or general improvements. The present was an exceptional year for unemployment, and consequently it was opportune to effect public improvements.
The Chairman said that the Clerk had told him that the assistance from the Government towards such improvements as might be considered would be so little that practically the whole burden would fall upon the Rushden authority. He (the Chairman) was of the opinion that the town was hardly in a position to bear the expense at present.
Mr. Knight brought forward the question of the suggested road through from Queen-street to the Station. They ought not to shelve the matter, but should persist. It would be a very great improvement and would remove much of the risk from motor traffic in High-street. If the ordinary means could not result in effecting the necessary preliminaries to the improvement he thought that they should consider other means.
Mr. Bazeley said that the deputation to Mrs. Warner discussed the matter very fully from the public standpoint, but Mrs. Warner was not in favour of consenting to give a right of way through to the Station. They wanted an amicable arrangement. At present he did not see they could get any further.
Mr. Hornsby said he agreed that the question should not be allowed to drop. He asked if the Salvation Army authorities had been approached. If their consent to widening were obtained, it might influence Mrs. Warner, and even that part alone would be a great advantage to the town as a public road. Was the road between the houses in Beaconsfield-terrace private property?
The Chairman said it was, and that Mrs. Warner was not willing to sell it to the Council. Further, the out-houses of Beaconsfield-place would need to be moved back from the road to allow a better approach to the Terrace. It was a question whether the Council could undertake the work at present.
Mr. Perkins said he did not think they should allow any private individual to override the wish of the majority of the townspeople. He proposed that the matter be further discussed by the committee and a report be given at the next meeting as to the effect of compulsory powers.
Mr. Wilmott said that if the Council bought the 18 houses and built a new Salvation Army Hall elsewhere no compulsory powers would be necessary, but they could not afford it.
The Chairman said that the question of the purchase of the houses could not be considered as the deputation had not had powers to raise it, and he did not know Mrs. Warner’s views on it.
Mr. Knight seconded Mr. Perkins’s resolution, which was carried.
Health and Sanitary Committee
A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 6th July, 1921, when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (in the chair), J. Hornsby, F. Knight, and J. Spencer.
Health and Sanitary Reports
The report of the Medical Officer for the month of June was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that 20 preliminary notices had been served since the last meeting calling attention to nuisances, etc., and the total number of nuisances now outstanding was 53.
A quantity of meant, tinned fish, fruit, etc., to the total weight of 1 cwt. 3 qrs. 8lbs., that had been voluntarily surrendered, had been destroyed in the usual way as being unfit for the food of man.
A quantity of bedding had been disinfected at the Depot, after cases of infectious disease, during the month, and three beds and two pillows destroyed at the request of the owner.
The question of the overflow pipe to a new cistern at the Conservative Club was referred to the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board to be dealt with.
The Inspector also reported that the flushing cistern to the w.c. at No. 9, Westbourne Grove, was out of order, 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 14 days.
The Inspector also reported that the floor in the front ground floor room at No. 106, Harborough-road was in a damaged and dangerous condition. It was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Inspector to serve a notice on the owner requiring him to repair the floor within 14 days.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.
The Inspector of Nuisances reported that the owner of Nos. 1-14 Woburn-place had not remedied the defects to this property reported to the last meeting.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a statutory notice on the owner requiring him to remedy the defects within 28 days.
The Inspector of Nuisances also reported in writing, that he was of opinion, after a smoke test, that the drains from the two w.c.’s at the rear of Nos. 76 and 78, Wellingborough-road were out of order so as to occasion a nuisance.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to empower the Inspector, after 24 hours’ notice to the occupier, to enter thereon and cause the ground to be opened and examine the drains.
The Inspector of Nuisances submitted a report with regard to a number of houses showing the nature of the accommodation for the deposit of refuse.
It appeared to the Committee by this report that the houses therein referred to were without a sufficient ashtub, ashpit, or other receptacle for the deposit of refuse and it was resolved to report to the Council accordingly, with a recommendation that notices be served upon the owners requiring them within 28 days to provide for each house a sufficient and proper receptacle.
The half-yearly report of the Cemetery Registrar was received, from which it appeared that during the half-year ended June 30th, 1921, there had been 73 interments, 35 grave spaces had been purchased, and five reserved for a period of 14 years. Eight headstones had been fixed, 14 graves enclosed with kerbing, and six additional inscriptions had been cut on existing memorials. Fees collected amounted to £118/10/- and none were outstanding.
Dairies, Cowsheds, and Milkshops Order
The quarterly report of the Veterinary Inspector was received, from which it appeared that on the 20th, 21st, and 24th June he had visited 28 premises and inspected 166 cows and heifers, making an individual examination of each udder. The condition of the cows, considering all the circumstances, was very good.
The Committee considered the report very satisfactory.
A letter was read from the Rushden Trades Council and Labour Party congratulating the Council on being one of the first 40 authorities to apply for powers to proceed with the housing scheme and on the expeditious manner in which they had proceeded with the work. They urged that the Council, having purchased the necessary land, that 80 more houses be proceeded with in order to obtain the Government subsidy, to supply the needs of the people and do away with overcrowding, and economically complete the whole scheme, the prices of building materials having fallen.
The Chairman considered that the Council would be wise to support the terms of the letter. He thought that the Government were not playing fairly in running back against promises made on housing. It would only be by local authorities and public opinion being stirred up that the Government would be induced to carry out the scheme. They were in a very strong position indeed with regard to the Newton-road scheme, and the Council should complete the 200 houses, which would touch only the fringe of the town’s needs. There were 200 more applications not yet considered.
Mr. Hornsby said he believed that the Government wanted to drop the country housing schemes, but it would be fatal to the people. He believed that the Council could get the suggested extra houses carried under the present scheme if they proceeded at once to apply for permission. He moved that the Housing Committee be asked to deal with the matter.
Mr. Bates seconded, and it was carried.
A letter was read from the County War Pensions Committee asking the Council to nominate a member to fill a vacancy on the Rushden committee.
Mr. Bates said that the Committee would be disbanded shortly according to a Bill in the House of Commons.
It was agreed not to make a nomination.
At the suggestion of Mr. Wilmott, Mr. Knight was asked to serve on the Finance Committee until the end of the financial year (and the life of the present Council) owing to the loss of a member in the late Mr. Claridge.
Finance and Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 6th July, 1921, at 10 a.m. when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), C. Bates, C. E. Bayes and T. Wilmott.
Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts
A number of accounts amounting to £1295/18/9 were examined and passed for payment.
Increase of Rent Etc., Act
Assisted Housing Scheme Having regard to the undertaking given by the Council to the Housing Commissioner when fixing the initial rents of these houses, that they should be subject to any increase authorised by the above Act, it was resolved to recommend the Council to instruct the Collector to give notice to all the tenants that their rents would be increased by the additional 10 per cent allowed by the Act, such increase to come into operation on the first Monday in October.
King’s Road Cottages It was also resolved to recommend the Council to give the tenants notice forthwith that the rent would be increased by a further 10 per cent at the expiration of one month from the service of the notice.
Tenders were received for the outside painting and the papering of two rooms inside of these cottages and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accept that of Messrs. Jacques and Timpson for £123/10/6, the lowest.
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 during the past month:-
The Committee also examined the Treasurer’s Accounts from which it appeared that he had received the following sums during the past month:-
And that the balances were as follows:-
It was resolved to recommend the Council to invite tenders for the outside painting and inside painting and colour washing of these buildings.
It was also resolved to recommend the Council to invite tenders for the outside painting of the Library.
Old Age Pension Act
A letter was received from the Women’s Co-operative Guild asking the Council to support the Portsmouth Pensions Committee by passing a resolution urging the Government to introduce a Bill providing that every person be entitled to an old age pension on making an application therefor and proving that they had reached the age of 65.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to agree thereto and pass such a resolution subject to the age of 70 being substituted for 65.
Referring to the paragraph “Kings-road Cottages,” Mr. Hornsby moved that the matter be deferred for six months as, he said, the present was not the time to demand additional rents. He believed that the Government when considering the measure had no idea at all of the great amount of unemployment that there would be when the increase became due. He did not know what was the position of the Council’s tenants, but he assumed that the majority were suffering as most people were in the town. If the Council put on another ten per cent. it would be an inducement to private property owners to follow the example. They should wait at least six months to see if there was any improvement in trade. As far as he could gather the cottages in Kings-road were a paying concern; therefore, why place an additional burden on the tenants? Perhaps some residents were suffering from hunger, but he hoped that the Council’s tenants were not.
There being no seconder, Mr. Hornsby’s motion was lost.
On the question of Old Age Pensions, Mr. Perkins asked why they should alter the age from 65 to 70. Very few people could work after they were 65 and he thought that that was a reasonable age. He proposed that the age be as in the letter.
The Chairman said he personally would like to adopt that course, but he wondered whether the country could afford the burden of expense.
Mr. Wilmott said that if they got the disqualifications removed first they could then try and reduce the age to 65. He was fully in sympathy with the principle.
Mr. Hornsby, seconding, said that the Government could find millions for wars.
It was decided to adhere to the committee’s recommendation, Messrs. Bates, Hornsby, and Perkins voting against, and Messrs. Bazeley, Wilmott, Bayes, and Knight voting in favour.