|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 15th May 1931, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Council to Erect Shops on New Estate?
Enquiries for Church Sites
Plans to be Prepared for Further Houses
Matters in connection with the Irchester-road Housing Estate provided the principal business at the monthly meeting of the Rushden Urban District Council on Wednesday evening, when lengthy discussion took place on a recommendation by the Housing Committee that plans should be prepared for one or more shops on the site reserved in Tennyson-road. Comment was made by several members on the application, received by the Committee, from the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society Ltd., and the question of the method of tenure of any shops which might be erected was also discussed.
Letters were received from the County Congregational Association and from the Rev. P. Barwell Spriggs, on behalf of the Oakham Church Extensions Board, enquiring with regard to sites for Churches on the Irchester-road Estate, and it was stated that the Rushden and District Free Church Council have already been making enquiries in this connection.
The Council approved a resolution to serve notice to quit on three Council house tenants who had heavy rent arrears.
The Council agreed to the preparation of plans for a further 22 house houses on the new estate.
Mr. J. Allen, chairman of the Housing Committee stated that although his name had not yet appeared in the Press as chairman of the committee he had already been bothered with applicants for houses, and a warning was again issued to such canvassers.
Reference was also made at the meeting to the effect that the Clerk, Mr. G. S. Mason, had completed 40 years’ service in that capacity.
The members present were Messrs. L. Perkins, M.B.E., J.P., B.Sc. (in the chair), J. Roe (vice-chair), T. Wilmott, A. Wilmott, W. E. Capon, J. T. Richardson, T. Swindall, F. Green, T. F. B. Newberry, A. Allebone, C.C., J. Spencer, J.P., C. Claridge, J. Allen, C. W. Horrell, C.A., G. W. Coles, J.P., J. Hornsby, L. Tysoe, with the Clerk, Mr. G. S. Mason, the Surveyor, Mr. J. W. Lloyd, and the sanitary Inspector, Mr. F. S. Piper.
Before the business of the meeting commenced, the chairman said there were two items he would like to mention. The first was to welcome a new member of the Council, Mr. W. E. Capon, whom they were all pleased to see present. Mr. Perkins said he would like to have done this at the previous meeting, but it was unfortunately overlooked.
His second reference was to the Clerk of the Council. “To-night,” said Mr. Perkins, “Mr. Mason completes his fortieth year of service as our Clerk, as he was appointed on the 22nd of May 1891.” (Applause.) “I am not going to wish him another forty years’ service because several of us would not be able to see him finish it! But we do wish to record our congratulations to the Clerk on having served this town so long.
The Housing Committee reported that they had considered the provision of shops on the Irchester-road site and has received applications from the Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd., and Mr. R. D. Cooke, of Wollaston. The Council were recommended to have plans prepared for one or more shops on the site reserved in Tennyson-road.
Mr. Coles asked if they were to understand that the Council proposed building shops up there.
Mr. Allen, chairman of the Committee, said the Council were prepared to build shops there. That was the idea of the resolution.
Mr. T. Wilmott called attention to the two names in the resolution. Was the Council going to have tenders for the shops, or were there any more applications to come in? What were these two names for? he asked.
Mr. Horrell’s Question
Mr. Allen replied that the two applications mentioned were the only ones received so far. The Committee had decided to recommend that the Surveyor prepare plans for one or more shops. The second applicant was not quite sure of his qualifications and therefore his application had been deferred for further consideration.
Mr. Horrell: Do we understand that anyone asking for a shop is going to have one built for him? Or are we going to build the shops and then let them?
The chairman said they were all agreed as to the need for shops there, but they would turn down any application unless there was a reasonable chance of the applicant taking the shop and doing something with it. If they were going to have shops and they knew quite well that the Co-operative Society wanted one there was the recommendation that the Surveyor draw up the plans which might meet with the requirements and it would be an advantage to the Council to possess them when they met in committee to discuss the question. They had decided that they did not wish to sell any land for shops, and they did not want to put up shops which people might say were no use to them. “We feel the Co-operative Society would be one of our most successful applicants, but that does not,” added Mr. Perkins, “prevent others who wish to have shops.” It would be advisable to let the Surveyor get on with suitable plans.
Mr. Coles: “Before the Surveyor prepares plans, would it not be as well if a deputation from the Council, with the Surveyor, met the management Committee of the Co-operative Society to discuss the question and the plans?
Mr. Horrell said the Council should decide what type of shop they wished to erect.
80% of the Trade?
Mr. T. Wilmott remarked that while he had nothing against the Co-operative Society, it was said that they had 80 per cent of the trade and perhaps someone else would like something of the other 20 per cent! If the council wanted to put up shops to let, others in the town should have an equal opportunity.
Mr. Tysoe said the Co-operative Society had a big share of the trade of Rushden and if the Council wanted to build shops to suit, they had got to get plans and see if they were acceptable.
Mr. Spencer stated of one application that it was either to buy or else rent; the second one applied quite recently and the case was under consideration. Others had had an opportunity if they had wanted it.
Mr. Wilmott suggested that it should have been advertised.
The Chairman commented that they often got better advertisement through a little discussion at the Council meetings. The easiest way would be for the Surveyor to prepare plans and submit them to the whole Council in committee. They would have to decide the terms upon which they would let the shops he thought it had better be leasehold. Any responsible people, who would be likely to make a success of a shop, would have equal consideration from the Council. The Surveyor would know how to arrange a shop.
Mr. Allebone: The first thing to be decided by the Housing Committee is the question of principle. I am quite satisfied that we have got to put shops on the estate and I am also convinced that it would be no use putting up shops to be let on a yearly tenancy. They had better be leased for five, ten or forty years; that can be decided upon. We have to ask for people who anticipate having a shop, and what type of shop they require. If you are going to let a shop for forty years, I think the tenants are entitled to say what type of shop it should be. I think the Council should lay down the principal of tenure for whoever takes a shop. Then ask for applications and then consider how the shops shall be built.
Mr. A. Wilmott said that was just the conclusion arrived at by the Committee. The Co-operative Society, he added, would be likely to stay. If they only had these smaller applications and trade was bad, they were going to have shops empty. A lease should be a minimum of ten years, said Mr. Wilmott.
Mr. Swindall: When we discussed this before it was decided that no shops should be built. (Several members: No! No!) No land should be sold for shops. (A member: That’s different).
Mr. Coles: The suggestion made by Mr. Allebone is admirable and meets the case. I am not speaking as a Co-operator, but as a Councillor, and one interested in the town, and I do not want shops to be put up that no-one would want. Ninety per cent of the people on the estate belong to the Co-operative Society and it is no use putting up shops that would be useless.
Mr. Allen said that he could not see that anything of that description entered into the matter. The resolution simply recommended that the Surveyor prepared plans for one or more shops.
The chairman: We know the Surveyor will plan for shops most likely to suit applicants. We know one application has been made by the Co-operative Society but that does not exclude others.
Mr. Perkins emphasised that little lock-up shops would not be sanctioned by the Committee.
The resolution was carried.
A letter was received from Mr. John Prentice, on behalf of the Northants Congregational Association enquiring if the Council had a site available on the Irchester-road Housing Estate suitable for a Free Church, and if so the price required.
The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Council would be prepared to sell a site but before agreeing on the position and price would prefer the Association to send representatives the view the estate.
A letter was also received from the Rev. P. Barwell Spriggs, on behalf of the Oakham Church Extension Board, enquiring if the Council would be willing to sell a site, preferably near the Knuston boundary, and if so, the price, etc. Consideration of the application was deferred by the Housing Committee.
Referring to the two applications, Mr. Allen said the first was received a considerable time ago and even before then the Local Free Church Council had asked for a site there. It was therefore decided that the second application, received only a short time ago, should be held over and the two separated. There was plenty of room for two or several churches, but it was better that the first application should be got out of the way and the second have a good choice of any of the remaining sites.
Mr. Coles pointed out that the letter from the Rev. P. B. Spriggs asked for a site considerably removed from any other.
Three cases of rent arrears of tenants in Council houses in Irchester-road were reported to the Housing Committee and it was stated that although repeated promises had been made to clear their books, the tenants had failed to do so. The Committee recommended to the Council that they be served with one week’s notice to quit in each case.
Not a “Pious” Resolution
Replying to Mr. Hornsby, the chairman said that while they regretted having to take the action they could not do otherwise or else they would put themselves in a foolish position. It could not be passed as a “pious” resolution, although if the arrears were paid within a week it would be alright.
Mr. Hornsby said he supported the resolution, which was carried unanimously.
The Housing Committee recommended the Council to have plans prepared for 22 houses, to be built at the south-east end of the open space abutting on the Irchester-road, for submission to the Ministry of Health.
The chairman said the Ministry of Health desired local authorities to push forward housing schemes.
The recommendation was approved.
The Council also agreed to obtain tenders for the making of two short lengths of road from Westfield Avenue to the site of the proposed houses.
In presenting the report of the Housing Committee, Mr. Allen said that although his name had not as yet appeared in the Press as chairman of the Committee he had already been bothered by applicants for Council houses. (Hear! Hear! and laughter). If the present rate continued he or his wife would be answering the door all the time! A resolution by the old Council deplored this canvassing and Mr. Perkins, the ex-chairman of the Committee would bear him out in stating that the needs of the applicants were not to be met by pestering members or the chairman of the Housing Committee.
Mr. Perkins said that no person had aided his case by canvassing, during the last five years.
Hall Grounds Applications Refused
“Protection from Higham Ferrers”
The Clerk submitted a letter to the Finance Committee from Messrs. Shoesmith and Harrison with regard to the guarantee given by the Council to the Northampton Town and County Benefit Building Society in respect of a mortgage by a subsidy house owner. There was owing for principal £330 13s 3d and for interest £17 4s. The letter stated that the Building Society had passed a resolution to sell the property by auction and asked to be informed whether the Council would pay off the mortgage and take up the deeds or whether the Society should proceed to sell the property and then claim for any deficiency which might arise under the guarantee.
The committees recommended the Council to take over the mortgage and to themselves offer the property for sale by auction.
The chairman said this was the first case of its kind to come before the Council.
The rates clerk submitted to the Finance Committee a summary of irrecoverable amounts totalling £511 15s 9d., chiefly for unoccupied property, and unfinished property.
The following tenders were received for the making up of Hayway, the construction of footpaths and the laying of a storm water drain: H. Wilmott £3,439 11s 0d, Childs and Co. £3,478, R. Marriott £3,627, Thompson and Co. £3,469. On the recommendation of the Highways Committee the Council accepted the tender of Mr. H. Wilmott, subject to the approval of the Ministry of Health, and agreed to apply to the Ministry for a sanction to a loan of £3,600 for the purpose of carrying out the work.
In moving the acceptance of Mr. Wilmott’s tender, Mr. T. Wilmott, chairman of the Highways Committee remarked that it was a long time since the Council had had such good tenders before them.
On the recommendation of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee, plans were approved as follows:- 4 houses in Upper Queen Street for Messrs. T. Swindall and sons, who had stated that the sewer in Upper Queen Street had not yet been put in and they proposed to do what was necessary so far as these houses were concerned, subject to an allowance being made to them of the cost against their apportioned expenses when the street is made up (this being agreed to by the Committee); garage in Victoria-road for Mr. J. J. Page; garage in Beech-road for Mr. H. Mackness; amended plan of showroom in Wellingborough-road for Mr. F. Caswell; shed at the rear of 18, Washbrook-road for Mr. J. S. Mason, subject to the written consent of the owner being produced to the Surveyor.
Factory Fire Exits
A circular was received from H.M. Inspector of Factories informing the Council that in his opinion the premises occupied as a factory by Messrs. F. Skeeles and Co. Ltd., in Moor-road, were not provided with such means of escape in case of fire for the persons employed there as could reasonably be required, and the Surveyor was instructed to inspect the factory and report.
The Surveyor informed the Plans and Highways Committee that Messrs. R. Tarry and Co., Ltd., had applied for a certificate that their factory in Collage-street was provided with sufficient means of escape in case of fire. Mr. Lloyd added that he had inspected the factory and was satisfied that it was furnished with reasonable means of exit. The Council granted the usual certificate.
An application was received by the Highways Committee from Mr. J Joyce as to the construction of a road connecting Carnegie-street and Station-road, and the matter was referred to the chairman of the Council, the chairman of the committee and Mr. Allebone to inspect the site.
As a member of the Cemetery Sub-Committee, Mr. Tysoe drew attention to the fact that watering cans, provided for the use of those who tended graves, were often thrown down and not placed in the racks provided at each entrance of the cemetery, for the purpose. Expense had been gone to in providing the cans and racks, and Mr. Tysoe expressed the opinion that the public might at least appreciate what was done and try and assist.
The chairman referred to the difficulty in any town of any size, in encouraging tidiness, and noted the litter and fish and chip papers left in the streets.
An application was received by the Hall Committee from the secretary to the Rushden and District United Working Men’s Clubs’ Fund for the Blind and Crippled Children, asking permission to hold their annual fete and gala in the Hall grounds on July 11th.
The Clerk was instructed to reply that the Committee regretted that they were unable to accede to the application and to suggest that the fete be held in Spencer Park as in previous years.
An application was received by the Committee from the Rushden Men’s Adult School for permission to hold an open-air school in the Hall Grounds on Sunday, July 19th. The Hall Committee reported that they could not see their way to grant permission and that the Clerk, in so informing the School had been instructed to offer them Spencer Park for the purpose.
It was reported that the following had been elected chairmen of committees:- Parks, Baths and Hall Committee, Mr. J. Spencer; Plans, Highways and Lighting Committee, Mr. T. Wilmott; Housing Committee, Mr. J. Allen; Health and Sanitary Committee, Mr. T. Swindall; Finance and Estates committee, Mr. F. Green.
A letter was received from the Clerk to the Kettering Urban District Council proposing resuscitation of the Northamptonshire Association of Borough and Urban District Councils, and to the holding of a conference, in view of the forthcoming conferences by the County Council with local authorities, in connection with the review of county districts under the Local Government Act, 1929.
Mr. Coles moved that the invitation be accepted. He said that they would be having before them the most important business they had ever had to deal with, in connection with the possible alteration of boundaries, and if they desired to take a strong lead they must have the support of other Councils. And that could only be obtained by discussion with other Councils.
Mr. Claridge seconded.
Mr. Swindall: We had a similar invitation from Finedon. (Several members: No! No!) But we should do well to join the Association.
Mr. Spencer said that while he supported the resolution, they were entirely compact and insisted on being so.
It was stated that in past years Mr. Coles and Mr. Claridge and the Clerk had attended meetings of the Association.
The chairman, vice-chairman and Mr. Coles were elected as delegates to any conferences which might be convened.
Mr. Tysoe said he hoped they would protect them from being absorbed by Higham Ferrers! (Laughter.)