|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 14th March, 1947, transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Town Subsidises Park Band Concerts
Opposition to New Plan at Rushden
|Though Coun. A. E. Weale tried to shake the idea, band concerts at Rushden Hall were placed on a new footing at Wednesday’s meeting of Rushden Urban Council. The bands will be paid and collections at the park entrances will be abolished.
Asked by the Town Temperance and Salvation Army bands for a season’s grant of £20 to each in addition to the usual collections at the Hall concerts, the Parks Committee advised the Council to offer each of the local bands £10 per group of two performances (afternoon and evening) subject to collections being discontinued.
The Mission Band, though having no objection to taking fees for engagements, had stated that they would prefer to rely on public support and be independent of any grant from the Council.
The bands also asked the Council to arrange seats around the band-stand and improve conditions generally to make the concerts more attractive. The Surveyor is to consider seating arrangements under which a charge for chair hire would be made at concerts
Coun.Weale said he felt there was something just a little wrong when they were having to subsidise their bands out of the rates. He thought the Mission Band were showing a spirit of independence and were to be congratulated.
Two bands out of the four were connected with religious bodies, and to give subsidies was not wise. There were other organisations in the town that gave amusement and pleasure to the public and possibly they, too, would want subsidies.
The bands should be satisfied with taking a collection and he was convinced that if the people of Rushden appreciated what the bands were doing they would support them voluntarily.
Coun. W. J. Sawford said he had been agitating for a long time to end the system of collection boxes at the gates. It was very embarrassing when people going to the park had to stop and think whether they had any change, and some who, like himself were shy and nervous, would not like to go in if they found they had none.
It was the committee that suggested the system now recommended, and he thought that 26 Sundays of music for a ¾d rate was value for money.
Coun. J. Allen said they were out to get a high standard of music in the town and were justified in making the grant on that ground alone. Many towns engaged bands at much higher fees.
There was laughter when Coun. F. E. Brown remarked: “It seems from the result of the collections that there must be a large number of shy people in Rushden as well as Coun. Sawford.”
Coun. W. E. Capon: I should like to support the resolution, but I happen to be associated with a band and must refrain from doing so.
Replying for the committee, Coun. J. H. J. Paragreen said some bands in the town got up to £30 for an engagement, but the Council was securing them for £5 per concert.
Only Mr. Weale voted against the committee’s recommendation.
The Parks Committee allowed £100 in their estimates for preparing three acres of land on the Highfield-road estate as a children’s playground.
Coun. Brown inquired if the figure included provision for slides and swings. “If we are going to have a playground let’s make it one that the children will appreciate,” he said.
Coun.Paragreen said he was afraid amusement devices were out of the question at present, but when the time was opportune for purchasing some they would be estimated for.
In view of the extensive public demand for the Spencer Park tennis courts, an application by a local sports club for the exclusive use of a court was turned down.
Coun. Lawrence said it was desirable that they should do everything they could to stimulate outdoor sports and games for young people. If a high standard was obtained they usually found it was through organised club play. Opportunities for club tennis, however, were nowadays very small.
Coun.Paragreen replied that club players had the same opportunity as others of booking a court. It was unfair to reserve a court for the exclusive use of a club when there was a large queue waiting to book for a game.
Use of the Hall grounds for a hospital fete from June 14th to 20th was granted on the understanding that the public would have free access except on the first day.
“Link-road” was the name given to a new street off Wymington-road, near Harvey-road.
Coun. Cox thought the name very appropriate and gave the Clerk (Mr. A. G. Crowdy) credit for the “brain-wave.”
Then Coun.Waring called out that his neighbour, Coun. Paragreen, had suggested the next road should be named “Sausage.”
“I hope,” said Coun. Allen, looking as grave as possible, “that the residents of this road will not be connected with any particular Nazi organisation.”
Coun.Cox : What a nasty mind Coun. Allen has!
The Council declined the offer of delegated power to initiate proceedings for breaches of the building control regulations.
Coun.Weale explained that the Housing Committee did not wish to add to the duties of an already over-burdened staff.
“I hope,” said Coun. Waring, “it will not go forth from this Council that we cannot bite. I believe all those to whom licences have been granted will honourably accept the conditions, but if it were understood that we cannot take proceedings against those who defy us, there might be some bitter remarks.”
“We have no intention of shirking our duties,” replied Coun. Weale, “If there is any serious infringement, we shall take action by placing it before the proper authorities.”
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th March, 1947
Rushden’s Rate is Highest Ever
Tenpence was added to the rate and a penny in the shilling to the net rents of 756 Council houses as the result of Rushden Urban Council’s “Budget” meeting on Wednesday. The rate is now 18s. in the £ and the highest in the town’s history.
Coun. W. E. Capon, who presented the estimates, prefaced his main points with a few comparisons.
Fifty-six years ago, he said, when Rushden first became a separate authority, the rate was 5s. and produced £3,366.
In 1934-35, when he first presented the budget, it was 10s. 6d. and produced £45,027; in 1940-41, when he again introduced the estimates, a 12s. 4d. rate produced £59,913; and in the current year 17s. 2d. yielded £71,482.
The Exchequer grant had risen from £10,185 in 1934-35 to £13,127 this year.
Emphasising rising costs, Mr. Capon said a road labourer’s wage had risen from £2 7s. in 1934 to £4 6s. 10d., and staff salaries had also gone up.
Anticipated expenditure in 1946-47 was £71,243, and the actual spending was £71,215. Four committees had reduced their expenditure by £1,025, this including £580 on road maintenance and £335 on public lighting. The Health and Finance Committees, however, had overspent to the extent of £1,017, the bulk of which had gone in salaries and wages. Instead of the balance being increased by £289, it had been reduced by £355 and was estimated to be £9,008.
Mr. Capon paused to commend the prompt payment of rates and rents. The rents alone amounted to £26,000 and there were no arrears. Outstanding loans for housing totalled £393,388 and for other purposes only £15,323.
For the coming year the County Council and other outside precepts called for £51,729, which was equal to a rate of 12s. 4.22d. an increase of nearly a penny.
The Highways Committee wanted £139 more and the Health Committee an increase of £985, this including £660 extra for refuse collection and disposal and a sum for sewers. Salvage, for which this committee was responsible, had brought in £775 and made a profit of £130.
The Parks Committee with its estimate up by 20 per cent., had to repair paths, improve tennis courts, face long overdue repairs to the Hall, and meet an expenditure of £260 on band concerts.
A deficiency of £1,000 on the Housing Committee’s accounts arose in part from loans raised in connection with new estates from which no income had yet been derived, and for the rest part by other factors which were to be remedied by increased rents.
The increase demanded by the Finance Committee was £679. In all the total estimated outlay of the committee was £33,991, to which had to be added £1,296 to cover rates discounts, making £35,286.
A grant of £11,838 from the Exchequer and a provision of £207 for increasing the balance would bring the total requirement to £75,384.
Mr. Capon pointed out that the Exchequer grant was smaller than during the last two years, as there was no supplementary grant this time.
Improvements allowed for would make the year one of more than ordinary interest. Office furniture and equipment needed overhaul, and sooner or later the question of office accommodation would have to be dealt with.
Mr. Capon referred to the value of the Council’s 846 houses and pre-fabs, and to the £14,200 repair fund which brings in £375 per annum by way of interest.
After announcing that 18s.in the £ would be required, Mr. Capon said that, taking 15,140 as the population figure, it meant 1s. 11d. per head per week for education, roads, sanitation, water, library, housing, police protection, parks and other services. This he described as a very good return for money.
The effect of the increase would vary from 1½d. a week on houses rated at £6 to £9, to 3½d. a week on those rated from £18 to £20.
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th April, 1947
Pitsford Water Plan: Report Query
Concern about the Pitsford water scheme and its effect upon the Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board, was evident at Wednesday’s meeting of Rushden Urban Council.
Information gathered from the Press was rather scrappy. Much as they had confidence in the Water Board, he thought they should know if they were opposing the Pitsford scheme, and if so, on what grounds.
If it involved a county water rate, this should be separate and not involved in the general rate.
Coun. F. Green said the Water Board was distinct from the Council. At the moment they were not included in the Pitsford scheme, and it was out of their jurisdiction to make any comment on it.
Coun. A. F. Weale said the Council should be a position to discuss any matter contained in the reports received from the Water Board.
They should have direct knowledge of what was happening, and he suggested that at the next meeting they received a full report of what the Board had in mind.
After further discussion, it was agreed that as the Board were calling a meeting to discuss the Pitsford scheme the question was sub judice.
To Attend Meeting
On receiving from the Chief Education Officer a copy of the county development plan for education, the Finance Committee recommended that the County Education Committee be requested to arrange for a representative to attend a meeting of persons concerned with education in the Rushden area.
They suggested that invitations should be extended to all Higham Ferrers and Rushden school governors and managers, teachers and members of the Councils.
The report was adopted.
Notifiable disease cases reported included six of scarlet fever, three of measles and six of whooping cough.
Ten births and 12 deaths were notified.
At the close of the business, Coun. J. Roe moved a vote of thanks to Mrs. Muxlow for her services as chairman during the last twelve months.
He said he felt they could all congratulate her on the very able way she had carried out her duties.
She was the first lady chairman, and had given entire satisfaction, meeting the varied calls from the town with the great success they anticipated when they elected her.
Coun. Richardson, who seconded, said to Mrs. Muxlow: “We have run against each other in varied ways, you and I. The South Ward knows we two, and I don’t think we have anything to be ashamed of in regard to that.
“We appreciate that you have made history in Rushden; we appreciate your ability and the work you have done this year.”
Coun. Sawford wished Mrs. Muxlow long life and another term of office some time in the future.
“One or two of us,” he said, “myself especially, have given you a little anxiety sometimes, but you have met that and we have agreed to your rulings.”
Acknowledging a hearty vote, Mrs. Muxlow said she had tried to do her best because she felt she had a dual responsibility to the people who elected her and to her sex. She had been very anxious not to let the side down, and she hoped she had not done so.
Moving thanks to the Vice-Chairman, Coun.Waring remarked that Mr. Bailey had broken the tradition of silence by the vice-chairman, but had been justified in doing so.
Coun. Knight seconded and Mr. Bailey replied.
About 16 members of the Young Conservatives attended the meeting.
May be a Public Highway
Recommendations that Rushden Urban Council accept responsibility for the upkeep of Albion-place as a public highway and spend £100 on immediate repairs, were included in a committee report presented at the Council’s meeting on Wednesday.
Coun. T. J. Richardson referred to an occasion when Albion-place was mended by the Council, who asked “someone else” for the money.
Had the time come when they were to be generous, and were they taking the place over for the public at large for all time?
Coun. Cox: We have no real proof that there is a right of way, but we can find nobody on whom we could place any responsibility for these repairs.
Coun. Richardson then asked whether the Council would also take responsibility for Co-operative-row, a neighbouring and similar thorough-fare which also needed attention.
The Clerk (Mr. A. G. Crowdy) drew attention to another section of the report which stated that the Council’s action must not be construed as a precedent.
He had examined the position with regard to Albion-place and found that a public right of way had been exercised as far back as 1870 and probably before that.
If the Council applied the Private Street Works Act and litigation arose out of any attempt to recover the cost of repairs the onus would be on the Council to prove that Albion-place was a private street.
The onus was not on the owners to prove that the road was repairable by the Council.
In the case of Co-operative-row it had been suggested that it would not be difficult to prove that within living memory the road had been closed.
The report was adopted.
Coun. Bailey drew attention to the cost of inspecting meat at the Rushden abattoir, where supplies for a district of several miles radius were slaughtered and distributed.
He said that Rushden ought not to be called upon to bear the whole of the expense, and he wondered if some approach could be made to the Ministry of Health.
Coun. E. A. Sugars said he shared this view. During the whole of the war years and afterwards the Council had had to bear the whole of the expense, and at times this had been rather heavy.
Coun. Capon: I understand that the point has been raised a number of times.
The Clerk said the question had been raised by the Urban Councils Association but he understood the Ministry of Health had refused to take any action.
The Council’s officers were now considering whether they could obtain a grant towards expenses other than the Inspector’s actual salary.