|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th March 1953, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
U.D.C. Grants Preview of Business
But Promptly Retracts on Budget News
Within a minute of deciding that its committee reports could be published and discussed in the Press before the monthly meetings, Rushden Council ruled on Wednesday that particulars prepared for next Monday’s Budget meeting must remain secret. It was a curious anti-climax to statements that the council had nothing to be afraid of, but the concession is an important one that will bring Rushden into line with many other authorities.
Only one member, Councillor W. Brown, spoke against the resolution proposed by Councillor R. R. Griffiths and seconded by Councillor A. Green. This suggested that pre-publication should be allowed “without comment,” but the Council decided that comment should be allowed. The only restriction is on “those items marked by the Clerk of the Council,” and the Clerk (Mr. A. G. Crowdy) announced that he would have to ask for general guidance on this matter.
Mr. Griffiths said local government affairs would greatly benefit by increased public interest, criticism and support. Councillor A. A. Allebone, who made the first suggestion that comment should be allowed, said intelligent comment would increase public interest far more than the mere publication of committee minutes.
Mr. Brown’s objections were that editors would not welcome the clause concerning the marking of certain minutes, and that Councillors would be approached by members of the public after the advance news had been published.
During a long and lively meeting the Council sent two reports back to Committee and reversed another. They rejected a Health Committee decision threatening proceedings against a High Street tradesman under the Food and Drugs Act, the majority arguing that he should have an opportunity to put his case before the Committee this in spite of the fact that he was said to have ignored communications from the Council.
In the second case, a Housing Committee minute was sent back. It referred to a suggested change of site for shops on the Upper Queen Street Estate, stating that no action could be taken because of progress already made with the provision of houses.
On the motion of Councillor W. Brown, the Council overrode the Highways Committee’s refusal to send a Highways Superintendent to a three-day conference.
The Chairman (Councillor J. Allen) and other members expressed great regret at the resignation of Mr. H. C. Allen through ill-health after 27 years’ service as housing manager. Mr. Allen also referred to the recent death of Mr. Joseph Hornsby, who was a member of the Council from 1919 to 1937, and Chairman in 1927-8. He referred to Mr. Hornsby as “an able Councillor and very good citizen of Rushden.”
No action was taken on a letter from Mr. D. E. Wills complaining that an unofficial taxi-rank was being operated in College Street.
Rents of all houses, except the former almshouses and those in Spinney Close, were advanced by two pence a week as from April 6.
The Surveyor (Mr. A. Millar) was requested to prepare a scheme for culverting the brook through Spencer Park.
The Housing Committee considered four applications to erect houses of not more than 1,000 square feet, and these were approved as follows: Roman Estates (Ilford) Ltd. (pair of houses, Bedford Road), A. Sanders Ltd. (block of three houses and garage, Talbot Road), W. F. Elmore (house in Quorn Road) and E. M. Green (bungalow, Upper Queen Street).
A preliminary application was received from the Misses Sanders, “Moorland House,” Hayway, for a licence to erect a house up to the maximum of 1,500 square feet. The Housing Committee approved the issue of a licence subject to consideration of plans.
The Housing Committee considered a Government circular urging local authorities to build more non-traditional type houses owing to the substantial reductions in price. As contracts had already been arranged for all houses for which sites will be available during the current year, however, it was decided to take no action.
Ten applications have been received for the tenancy of shops on the Upper Queen Street estate.
Government approval has been given to the proposal for erecting 10 garages on the Upper Queen Street estate.
Representations have been made by the Council to the Urban District Councils’ Association over the problem of finding accommodation for the families of American Service men, reported the clerk. The Association had agreed to submit representations to the Ministry in support.
Licences for the temporary occupation of 96, High Street South, and 8, Little Street, were renewed for a further period of six months.
The Council decided to contribute to the Water Board one half of the annual contributions required in respect of four cottages being served by an extension of the water main in Wellingborough Road.
Building plans were as follows: Change of use from dwelling house to offices, 1, Carnegie Street, Wilkins and Denton Ltd; bungalow, Upper Queen Street, Mr. A. Green; garage, Woodland Road, Express Dyeing and Cleaning Co; boundary wall on land at Washbrook Road, A. Allebone and Sons Ltd; garden tool-shed, 161, Highfield Road, Mr. E. Williamson; hand-gate access, “Stonehurst,” High Street, G. H. Bull Ltd; site plan for 116 houses Upper Queen Street site, Rushden U.D.C.; garden tool-shed, 21, Gloucester Crescent, Mr. R. W. Fairey; site plan for bungalow, Newton Road, Mr. H. R. Mead; extension to factory, Allen Road, P. Collins and Co; extension to caravan site to accommodate 40 caravans, Bedford Road, Mr. A. Folkes; garage, Talbot Road, F. Hawkes (N.V. Engineers) Ltd; front wall and fence to Athletic Club, Newton Road, Rushden Athletic Club and Institute; pair of semi-detached houses, Bedford Road, Roman Estates (Ilford) Ltd; garage and coals, 87, Park Avenue, Mr. P. W. Rich; conversion of outbuilding into annexe, Westward Hotel, Mr. P. S. Neville.
Asked if they would contribute towards the cost of improving the ditch in St. Peter’s Avenue, 11 out of 12 property owners declined and nine more did not reply. Councillor E. A. Sugars said that in view of the owners’ attitude nothing could be done.
Lighting in Coffee Tavern Lane has been completed and an order has been given to connect up the lamps in Blinco Road and Fletcher Road. The surveyor was also instructed to provide a lamp each in Link Road and Harvey Road.
Residents in Palm Road who have made private arrangements to have the road tarmacadamed asked for an existing lamp standard to be moved. The surveyor reported that the cost of removal and conversion to electric light would be approximately £9. He was instructed to proceed with the work subject to the residents agreeing to pay £5 towards the cost.
A new brick wall to be erected in front of Rushden Athletic Club will mean a widening of the footpath. The Council have undertaken to make up the footpath to the new line and consider it a desirable improvement.
The United Counties Omnibus Co. have submitted a letter giving particulars of the services for Court Estate via Newton Road and Bedford Road. In view of the facilities and the size of the estate they do not feel that any improvements can be made at present. The matter will be reviewed if any further developments to the estate occur.
The Highways Committee decided to press for an improved Saturday service.
The head teacher of Tennyson Road County Modern School complained of the condition of the roads and footpaths in the district, particularly the main roads. The complaint is to be forwarded to the County Surveyor with a request that improvements should be made.
Inquiries about the possibility of a site belonging to Rushden Co-operative Society being used as a temporary car park are being made following a report that cottages in Rectory Road are being demolished.
When the room used by the Pensioners’ Parliament in Rushden Hall is required in connection with restoration works the organisation is to be provided with alternative accommodation in a room on the right of the entrance hall.
Arrangements for a series of band concerts in the Hall Grounds from May 3 to September 20 were approved. It was reported that three local bands had agreed to a series of engagements. Rushden Ministers Fellowship was arranging four open-air services, two without bands.
20th March 1953
Rushden Rate Up By 1s 6d
At a special budget meeting on Monday, Rushden Urban Council decided to levy a rate for the year of 24s in the £, an increase of 1s 6d on the current year. Councillor C. G. Faulkner (Finance Committee Chairman) said the aim was to achieve “rate stability.” No capital scheme was jeopardised and the natural expansion programme was not seriously impaired.
In moving the new rate, Councillor Faulkner said he regretted that the general picture was again one of rising expenditure in all services, despite extensive efforts by all spending committees to reduce their budgets.
Anticipated working balance for the coming year was £17,000 “a little less than the figure (£20,000) which the Finance Committee feels is a reasonable minimum,” he added.
Councillor Faulkner continued that to reduce the council’s expenditure to £40,370, £1,675 was to be taken from balances. That was the Coronation celebration figure, a non-recurring item, and it was felt it would be good policy to meet it out of surplus.
Expressed in rate poundage the Coronation figure was a 4.62d rate. In point of fact, it was a reduction of the Finance Committee’s estimates by £1,250 and a reduction of the Highways planning estimates by £425 the council’s contribution to the church clock.
Increase of £1,720 for public health was mainly due to wage advances and new vehicle charges. Little could be done about the Housing Committee’s increase of £1,441.
Councillor R. R. Griffiths expressed concern that they would be left with a working balance of only £15,000 when it was considered that £20,000 was a reasonable minimum. “How many times in the next few years is this fund going to be raided?” he asked, adding that he thought the public should not be allowed to get the idea that Coronation celebrations were going to cost them nothing.
The public had already made their minds up what rate would be levied for the Coronation and were prepared to pay it, said Councillor A. Green.