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The Rushden Echo and Argus, 11th March, 1932, transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Housing Resolutions Discussion
Council Oppose Cheapest Houses On Best Site

Resolutions from the Housing Committee, which, if approved by the Ministry of Health would mean the erection of a cheap type of house on the Council’s best site, were referred back at the meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council on Wednesday.

It was also decided to ask the Ministry to receive a further deputation on the subject.

It will be remembered that the Ministry refused to sanction the erection of a larger type non-parlour house, and therefore, in view of the demand for houses, the Committee recommended the Council to proceed with a smaller type. Members were opposed, however, to erecting this type at the sides of the open space in Irchester-road, on the front of which the Council are hoping to erect the best type of property.

Direction Signs and Automatic Signals

The members present were Messrs. L. Perkins, M.B.E., J.P., B.Sc. (in the chair), J. Roe (vice-chairman), A. Allebone, C.C., F. Green, D. G. Greenfield, M.D., J. Allen, T. Swindall, C. W. Horrell, C.A., C. Claridge, L. Tysoe, A. Wilmott, W. E. Capon, G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, J. T. Richardson, with the Clerk, Mr. G. S. Mason, the Surveyor, Mr. J. W. Lloyd, and the Sanitary Inspector, Mr. F. S. F. Piper.

The late Mr. T. Wilmott

Before asking the Clerk to read the minutes of the last meeting the chairman made feeling reference to the passing of Councillor T. Wilmott, who had been a member of the Council for many years and given faithful service to the town.

“I will ask you to stand in silence to pay a tribute to his memory,” said the chairman.

The members then stood in silence.

Further Houses

The Housing Committee reported the receipt of a letter from the Ministry of Health referring to the Council’s application for sanction to a loan for the erection of twelve further houses on the Irchester-road site, of the non-parlour type, each containing a superficial area of 782 square feet. The letter stated that in view of the importance of obtaining costs permitting rents within the means of the lower paid workers, there did not appear sufficient reason for not accepting the lowest tender in respect of the smaller type of non-parlour house containing a superficial area of 756 square feet each. The difference in the amount of the tenders was approximately £28 per house, and the Ministry were prepared to entertain an application for sanction to a loan of an amount based on the tender for the smaller type.

The Committee reported that they had considered the matter at length and they recommended the Council that the tender of Mr. R. Marriott be accepted, the lowest, at £4,067, for the twelve houses, of the smaller type subject to the approval of the Ministry.

The Committee also recommended the Council to withdraw the previous application and to substitute therefor an application for sanction to a loan for £4,140 for carrying out the work.

Moving the adoption of the resolution, Mr. Allen, chairman of the Housing Committee, said the houses they proposed to erect would be at the sides of the crescent on the Irchester-road. The Ministry would not sanction the ordinary non-parlour type and therefore they recommended to the Council this smaller type.

“The Committee,” he continued, “were not greatly in favour of the smaller type of house, but at the same time they did not wish to see the housing problem delayed while there were so many applicants and they felt that in the best interests of the town it would be wise to proceed. In addition to that, while we have that plot not built upon, it does not appear that the Ministry would sanction any building on the proposed new road.

“Taking all things into consideration it would be wise to proceed with these twelve houses although they are of the smaller type.”

Mr. Hornsby: I am sorry that the Ministry would not sanction the minute we passed and give the contract to Mr. Marriott, as we decided some months ago. I think it is within the knowledge of everyone present that we refused to build non-parlour houses along the front of that portion and to get non-parlour houses of a very small type flanking each side, will, it seems to me spoil that portion of the estate.

“I would like to know just what reasons the Ministry gave. It states in the minutes that the reason is the demand for lower rents. Well, it is pleasing to know that the Ministry are solicitous for the welfare of the working classes in that direction, but I am inclined to think that it will be a mistake to build a very small type of house on that portion of the estate.

“I just wondered whether, on a further request to the Ministry, they would alter their decision. We would like at some time to beautify that part of the estate and to get this common type of house, with no provision whatever for outbuildings – and how can people keep their homes clean and respectable if everything has got to be done inside? – would, I think, be a great mistake.

“I remember ten years ago when Mond was at the Ministry of Health, the same thing occurred. We could not get what we wanted and put up a very small type of house which was no credit to the town or the tenants, and I did hope the Housing Committee would see their way to make a further recommendation. Personally, I am very disappointed.”

Mr. Tysoe: I should like to concur with Mr. Hornsby. We are going through a very depressing period and no doubt the Ministry think a smaller type of house would meet requirements. But we have seen so much slum property that we ought to build more parlour type houses, and I think the Ministry are considering the depressed condition of industry more than they are this Council and the convenience of the inhabitants of Rushden.

“I should like to see the matter referred back to see whether we cannot have a parlour type house built.”

Mr. Allebone: I quite agree with remarks made by previous speakers in as much as on this nice open space we wanted to plant trees and put seats and make it suitable for people to sit there and enjoy the fresh air, and so forth. I recognise the view of the Council that we do not want to create slums but to give an incentive for that type of tenant which this town wants. If you are going to put this cheap house on this site, how can you put the best type in front? We cannot do that.

Mr. Tysoe: Would it be “infra dig” if I said another word, Mr. Chairman? I was going to say that things will be better, and industry will be better. We are sure to have better times – it may be long or it may be short, and the time might come when we should regret building such houses. We hope for times when even parlour houses will not be big enough for the inhabitants!”

The chairman: For some years past I have been interested in the housing problem and ten years ago I went into the business with Mr. Madin. The Ministry must have known the scheme we have in view and I should be very sorry to see this go forward without further protest to the Ministry.

“If we put decent houses there they would do for better class tenants in the smaller houses leaving room for the lower paid workers in that way. We ought not to let this go forward like this and if other authorities took the same line the Ministry would understand the situation. We know the town and have got to live here, and I think it is a pity if a town like this is not large enough to decide what type is wanted. There is the same amount for each house, whether big or small, £7 10s.

“It is open for this Council to send a very strong protest to the Ministry that we are not in favour of getting down to the smallest type of house, especially considering the valuable site on the Irchester-road.”

Dr. Greenfield: I think it would be very unfortunate if the public got the impression from this meeting that we are going to build a particularly cheap type of house. The difference is only £28. I do not think the economy over these houses matters very much because some people want them. There is very little difference is size, but one thing which does strike me is that we shall be putting up the cheapest type of house on one of the best sites, and we ought to try and keep that particular site and put these houses on some other site. There seems to be no possibility of going to the Ministry and getting them to rescind their decision. I do not think we shall get anything out of it. But I do not think we should put the cheapest houses on the best site.

Mr. Horrell: That is a sound view, and it does not seem quite right to put these cheaper houses in front. I should like to suggest that the Ministry be asked to receive a deputation, consisting of the chairman and the chairman of the Housing Committee, to bring home to them the exact position. We have no objection to building these houses in some other spot, but I do object to that spot. I will move that the Clerk be instructed to write and ask the Ministry to receive a deputation, comprising the chairman, chairman of the Housing Committee, and the Clerk.

Mr. Spencer: I should like to support that. On the Housing Committee I was really opposed to the very small type being placed in that position. I think Mr. Horrell’s suggestion would be the best way out of the difficulty.

Mr. A. Wilmott: I quite agree, but the Committee had to decide whether we were to have these little huts or nothing.

Dr. Greenfield: I think it is most unfortunate if the opinion goes forth from this meeting that these houses are not fit to live in.

Mr. Wilmott: I approve of the resolution.

Mr. Allen: When we went to the Ministry we got the impression that a further deputation would be useless. Every authority has been forced to build similar types. It is unfortunate to build at this particular time, but there is a great demand for houses, and if we have got to get a new road first, it means twelve months before we get the houses, and I feel the need for houses is so great, that we ought to go forward with the resolution. I do not think the property will be so bas as is made out. There is very little difference in the size of the rooms and many of our houses on the estate have no outbuildings – those built in the Addison period have not. Time has already been wasted and rather than wait twelve months for a road, I am in favour of the resolution going forward straight away.

The amendment, to the effect that the Committee’s recommendations be referred back, and that the Ministry be asked to receive a deputation as suggested by Ald. Horrell, was then put and carried.

Mr. Wilmott: We shall get to know in a month’s time?

The chairman: We shall get a reply fairly early. Is it unanimous that we are willing to have these houses on other parts of the estate?

This was agreed to.

Congregational Union

The Clerk submitted a letter from Mr. J. Prentice on behalf of the Northants Congregational Union, asking if the Housing Committee would meet him with regard to one or two points in connection with the proposed purchase by them of a plot of land on the Irchester-road Housing Estate.

The Committee reported that the previous sub-Committee consisting of Messrs. Perkins, Capon and Spencer, were requested to meet Mr. Prentice.

Selection of Tenants

Following a communication from the Clerk to the County Council, the Housing Committee agreed to take into consideration the claims of tuberculosis patients when next letting houses.

Plans

On the recommendation of the Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee, plans were approved as follows: House and shop in Purvis-road for Messrs. T. Swindall and Sons; two houses in Park-avenue for Messrs. A. Sanders Ltd.; two houses in Park-avenue for Messrs. A. Sanders, Ltd.; house in Wellingborough-road for Mrs. Barwick; house in Wellingborough-road for Mr. A. Garley; two houses in Purvis-road for Messrs. T. Swindall and Sons; garage in Wymington-road for Mr. W. G. Walker; garage at the rear of his house on the Wellingborough-road for Mr. G. S. North; two open shelters on the sports ground of the Rushden Sports Limited; cellulose spraying shed near their factory in Irchester-road for Messrs. Radburne and Bennett, Ltd.

Public Lighting

The Lighting sub-Committee reported that as instructed they had visited and inspected the Hayway and had arranged for five additional lamps to be placed there. One additional lamp had also been placed in Oval-road.

The sub-Committee also reported that they had given the Surveyor instructions to place on order a further ten lamp columns with lanterns complete for use when necessary.

The Council approved the actions of the sub-Committee, on the recommendation of the Lighting Committee.

Public Lamps

A report from the Superintendent of Police was received with regard to the extinguishing of a lamp in Harborough-road, on February 17th by Walter Frank Smith, of No. 43, Harborough-road, a shoehand. The Lighting Committee expressed their keen disapproval of the action, but resolved before making a recommendation to the Council, to interview Smith at the next meeting.

Fire Brigade

The annual report of the Fire Brigade for the year ended 31st December, 1931, was received, from which it appeared the Brigade during that period had attended 19 fires, six of which were chimneys. The average time taken in the turnout for these fires was four minutes. Various competitions had been entered and at Morecambe the second prize in the Junior Steamer was secured, and the fourth prize in the National Steamer. At Skegness the first and second prizes in the Hook Ladder Competition had been won and the second prize in the Junior Steamer. The drills had been regularly attended. All clothing and equipment was in very good order and the Station had been kept in a thoroughly clean condition.

The chairman commented that the report was a very pleasing one and it seemed that the Brigade was well established and efficient.

The Council considered the report satisfactory, and agreed that thanks be accorded to the Captain.

Team Labour – Daywork carting

Tenders were received for the team labour required during the ensuing six months, and the Highways Committee recommended the Council to accept those of Messrs. C. Spriggs, C. Adams, and B. Folkes, at the respective prices quoted by them. This was agreed.

Direction Signs

The Surveyor submitted a letter from the County Surveyor giving full particulars of new and better direction signs which the Roads and Bridges Committee of the County Council proposed to install in the district.

Mr. Claridge: May I ask what these direction signs indicate?

The chairman: Some of them indicate the way to Kettering, but they are so small that one cannot see that until one gets right up to them. I think these show the road to London.

Mr. Claridge: Have they anything to do with signals? I wondered whether it was not time we drew the attention of the County Council to the dangerous crossing from Church-street to Newton-road. I cannot conceive a much more dangerous spot, and I think that in the interests of the public some recommendation should be made. We shall have a very bad accident there.

The chairman: Perhaps we might have some opinion from the members of the County Roads and Bridges Committee?

Mr. Horrell said the Roads and Bridges Committee had considered the mater, also the erection of automatic signals, but considerable expense was attached to that. Where a constable was on duty all day automatic signals might be put down. They would do their best to press the matter at the earliest possible moment.

Mr. Horrell also referred to the danger at the Oakley cross-roads.

Mr. Claridge: I am quite satisfied.

Earth Complaint

Mr. Spencer said he would like the attention of the County Council to be drawn to the heap of earth on the Wellingborough-road, near the entrance to Park-avenue. It would also be an advantage if the trees were removed as well.

Defective Yard Paving

The sub-Committee of the Health and Sanitary Committee, appointed to inspect the yard paving in connection with houses abutting Mannings Lane, Park-road, Harborough-road and Little-street, reported that they had visited the site and agreed that the paving was in a very bad state of repair thereby causing a nuisance.

The Committee recommended the Council to serve a notice on the owner requiring him to abate the nuisance within 28 days. This was approved.

St. Crispin Estate

The Sanitary Inspector reported a nuisance on this Estate caused by the effluent from the cesspools of various houses being allowed to percolate into the dyke on the Wellingborough-road, and the Health and Sanitary Committee recommended the Council to serve a notice on the occupiers requiring them to abate the nuisance. This was approved.

Examination of Milk

A letter was received from the County Medical Officer of health setting out the general aims of the County Laboratory in providing ready and economical means of detecting supplies of unwholesome milk. The letter also stated that the samples would be examined by the Medical Officer on the same day as received and a bacteriological report would be sent showing (a) the number of organisms per c.c. and (b) the presence or absence of B.coli. The Committee confirmed their resolution passed at the last meeting to co-operate in the scheme.

Farm

The Surveyor reported that he had received an offer of £1 12s. 6d. per acre for the right to graze the spare land at the Sewage Farm for the current year.

The Council accepted the offer.

The Surveyor also reported that acting on the instructions of the Farm sub-Committee he had sold a quantity of spare wood to Mr. R. A. Mole at the price of £10.

Council Treasurer

The Clerk informed the Finance Committee that the question of a bond, to be given by the National Provincial Bank Ltd., in respect of the Treasurer had been raised by the District Auditor. Mr. Heygate while being quite prepared to obtain such a bond had suggested that he resign his office on the understanding that the bank be appointed in his stead, as Treasurer, from April 1st next.

The Committee agreed and recommended the Council accordingly. The resolution was carried.

The chairman said the resolution simply meant that it became impersonal instead of personal. The same conditions would obtain.

A formal resolution accepting the resignation of Mr. Heygate and appointing the National Provincial Bank as Treasurer, was adopted.

Clerk

The Finance Committee recommended the Council that the Clerk, Mr. G. S. Mason, be re-appointed for a term of one year from the 11th instant, at the same salary and on the same conditions as previously held, also, that Mr. W. L. Beetenson be appointed Assistant Clerk for the same period. This was approved unanimously.

Letter of Thanks

A letter was received from Miss Sharwood, on behalf of the Rushden Tuberculosis After-Care Committee, thanking the Council for the use of the Council Chamber for meetings.



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