|Transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 15th November 1957
Baths ‘horrified’ council committee
Inspecting the bungalows built in Cherry Orchard for old people, the housing committee of Rushden Urban Council ordered that the baths must be taken out and others of a different type substituted. At the council’s meeting on Wednesday, the committee’s chairman, Mrs. G. Marriott, said the baths were not of the type they expected to see. The whole committee was “horrified.”
Other members complained that the baths were unsuitable for old people and Mr. R. H. S. Greenwood, who realised that the committee had to change the design of houses near the town cricket ground, said the council would soon be a “laughing stock.”
Mr. F. E. Brown said the responsibility rested with “the surveyor who has left us.”
The new baths will be similar to those installed at “Risdene.”
Opposed by the Finance Committee in view of the present high rate of interest on loans, a proposal by the Housing Committee to proceed with the erection of about forty garages on the Upper Queen Street estate was heavily defeated though tenders will be invited in the hope of an early change in the situation.
The council agreed to contribute one-third of the cost of a sewer to drain eighty acres of land between Manor Road and St. Margaret’s Avenue. The land is to be developed as a private housing estate.
It was agreed to spend £660 on the first stages of the scheme to develop “Pung’s Lane” and land adjoining. The work includes levelling, excavation, culverting of a brook and a step-way into Station Road. A car park is planned and the road will ultimately be widened to 24ft with two 8ft footpaths.
The Highways Committee reported that the police have been asked to deal with congestion caused by the parking of vehicles in Alfred Street and Park Road, and Mrs. Marriott called attention to danger caused by parking on Higham Hill.
Notified that the Post Office telephone department intends to lay a cable in the Harvey Road footpath, the council has invited the department to explain an apparent lack of co-operation. In June, when told that Harvey Road was to be reconstructed, the department said it had no proposals for works there.
Local loans invited by the council have been discontinued for the time being, following a rush of investments since the raising of the interest rate last month. Of a total investment of £80,625, £40,100 has been received since October 1.
Mr. E. A. Sugars spoke of the “shocking” condition of the room used by pensioners at Rushden Hall and of the need for cleaning out and redecoration.
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 22nd November 1957
These streets endanger the elderly
In some streets of Rushden elderly people fear for the safety of their limbs and car owners dread having to drive up to their own homes.
They are residents of streets on the Rushden Hall estate, a private estate, which was begun just before the war. The road surfaces are unsatisfactory and many times the Council has been asked to attend to them, but the residents have always been told to wait.
St. Margaret’s Avenue, Upper Park Avenue and Church Hall Road, have the worst roadways and Rose Avenue does not compare with other road stretches in the town.
Possible future action was mentioned in an item in an Urban Council report recently, which stated: “A letter was received from the Ministry of Housing and Local Government stating that the Minister would be prepared to consider an application for loan sanction in respect of works in St. Margaret’s Avenue, Church Hall Road, Upper Park Avenue, Rose Avenue and Park Avenue, subject to compliance with the statutory procedure and to any objections from property owners being satisfactorily disposed of.”
Draft proposals have been submitted to the Council for the apportionment of expenses for the private street works and are to be incorporated in detailed schemes at the next meeting.
Don’t Want to Pay
The reaction of the people living in the area affected has been varied. Some have taken the news as encouraging and look forward to an early improvement; others do not like the idea of having to pay some of the money themselves. In another section there is resigned feeling that nothing will ever be done.
In many cases the houses have been built for nearly 20 years, during which time most of the roadway has been nothing more than a roller-coaster ride with sudden bumps into bricks and splashes into muddy pools.
Apart from proving a discomfort for motorists, the roads have been dangerous for the elderly. A few weeks ago a woman went out in the evening and fell hard after tripping over the uneven surface. Her leg was extensively bruised and she is still unable to sleep on that side.
Inadequate street lighting as well as the condition of the road was blamed for this incident.
Twelve people living in St. Margaret’s Avenue recently signed a letter asking the Council to provide an additional lamp at the treacherous spot during the dark winter nights, but this request has been deferred until the Council deal with the estimates for the next financial year.
In Upper Park Avenue a request was sent to the Council two years ago and the reply was that no extra lamp could be provided.
Mr. Gilbert Lancaster, who wrote the letter, said this week that he was so disgusted he tore the letter up when he read it. In his avenue one of the two lights is out of commission and has been for over a week. This has brought increased hazards, he says.
Manhole covers sticking up four or five inches above the ordinary level in the centre of the road make motorists wary, as do gutter drain gratings jutting out higher than the surface of rubble.
Large stones and bricks constitute much part of the surface in some of the streets. Sand and large clumps of rough grass as well as deep ruts and pits cause tall vehicles to sway dangerously from side to side.
The residents do their best by filling up holes with ashes but this method is far from satisfactory.
“I have been in this house for 18 years and I have been told many times we shall get a proper road, but I shall not believe it until I see it,” said one woman.
“We just want to be like everybody else and have a smooth road,” said another. “We want to feel it is safe to walk or drive along at night,”
22nd November 1957
Litter campaign: response is poor
Although it is some time since Rushden Urban Council sent a letter to the town’s traders asking them to provide receptacles for litter in their premises, the amount of litter in the streets does not seem to have decreased.
A tour of the town on Wednesday morning revealed a considerable amount of litter lying about in the streets. The majority of the papers were sweet papers, chocolate wrappings and chewing-gum packets, but there were also paper bags, cigarette packets and matchboxes.
The letter sent out by the council, signed by Mr. H. W. Ellis, Senior Health Inspector, referred especially to the danger to health which arose from litter and, in later comments to this paper he referred to the fact that flies fed on the sweet stuff on thrown-away wrappers, particularly those from ice-cream and ice lollies.
Wednesday’s tour revealed no ice-cream papers or ice lolly wrappers, which seemed to bear out the view that at this time of the year the problem presented by the sale of these commodities is negligible.
On the other hand, in the hall grounds a small paper bag, bearing an ice cream advertisement which may have contained ice cream before being discarded, was found on the grass. Generally, however, the parks were fairly clear of litter.
Manton Road seemed to be one which had suffered most from litter-bugs, being strewn with a large number of cigarette packets.
As various shopkeepers pointed out to a reporter, however, the provision of litter bins in shops will not prevent the throwing down of cigarette packets or sweet papers.
Cigarette packets are thrown away when the last cigarette is smoked hours or even days after the customer has left the shop and sweet papers are thrown away as the sweets are unwrapped, not when the sweets are bought.
The idea of the litter bins, however, seems to be slowly gaining favour. Received coolly at first and still not acted upon in some instances, it is now considered as “quite a good idea” by a number of shopkeepers, particularly with next summer and the sale of ice cream in mind.
A typical comment came from Putnam and Sons, Ltd., in Newton Road, where it was said that a receptacle would be provided even if the Council themselves did not supply it.
This question of the Council’s supplying the receptacle, however, is a thorn in the flesh of the council’s aim to rid the town of litter.
It was mentioned at last week’s meeting of the council and it is felt by some people that if the Council want litter baskets in shops they should provide them. Shopkeepers are willing to put the basket in a prominent position if they are supplied, but “we already pay high rates, you know” is a strong feeling.
22nd November 1957
Rushden Council in Brief
Items approved by Rushden Urban Council last week included:
The housing committee has fixed the net rents of bungalows at Cherry Orchard at 15s 11d a week, but reported that after allowances for Exchequer subsidies the economic rent would be 40s 3d.
Forty-eight additional houses were brought into occupation during the last Council year making a total of 1,557 houses and 41 garages with a gross rental (including rates) of £93,391.
Provision of further bungalows on land between Rose Avenue and Highfield Road has been approved in principle.
Because most of the tenants will be elderly, it was announced, the gardens of small homes at Cherry Orchard and Short Stocks will be maintained by the Council.
Cases of notifiable disease during October included ten of pneumonia.
Drainage schemes for Harvey Road, Link Road and land near Sanders Lodge are under consideration.
Sanction has been given to the raising of a loan for work proposed in St. Margaret’s Avenue, Church Hall Road, Upper Park Avenue, Rose Avenue and Park Avenue. Eight letters from property owners in Church Hall Road have urged that work should begin and 12 residents in St. Margaret’s Avenue have urged that a view of the delay in carrying out street works an additional street lamp should be provided.
The Highways Committee want to prohibit cycling on the footpath between Windsor Road and Gloucester Crescent and is also watching other footpaths.
The extension of Rose Avenue is to cost £4,000 and fencing between the avenue and Highfield Road will cost £178.
Manning’s Lane is to be improved by the Ministry of Transport in Conjunction with a trunk road improvement.
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 13th December 1957
Foreign Books for Rushden Library Despite Opposition
Twenty books in foreign languages are to be purchased for Rushden’s public library as the result of a vote taken after a debate at the Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday.
Mr. R. H. S. Greenwood repeated a former objection to stocking such books, other than text books, in a library of Rushden’s size.
Mr. F. E. Brown told of young men in the town who had been learning Russian, and Mrs. A. Perkins, chairman of the Library Committee, said that five picture books in German and five in French stocked during the past year had been taken out regularly.
Mr. Greenwood, the proposer, and Mr. R. R. Griffiths, the seconder, were the only members to vote for an amendment which would have stopped the purchase of books in foreign languages.
Postal services were the subject of much criticism, especially as problems such as the Saturday second delivery, which has been discontinued, had not been discussed by the Post Office Advisory Committee which was set up last year.
Mrs. Muxlow described the setting up of this committee as “a bit of window-dressing a sop.” She complained that mail was delivered to her Newton Road home “any time between a quarter past eight and ten o’clock” in the mornings.
Mr. Griffiths suggested that emergency grit now heaped on grass verges should be placed in bins as at Wellingborough.
He also submitted that more traffic would be diverted through Rectory Road and Washbrook Road if the lighting were improved. Mr. Freeman told him that any member could have this question brought forward for inclusion in next year’s estimates.
Mr. Brown spoke of confusion caused by one-way traffic signs near the Duck Street car park.
At one point in the meeting, when committee recommendations were getting rapid approval, Mr. Griffiths complained that reports were going through “like a sausage machine.” Without some comment by the committee chairman, he said, the Council could get nothing over to the public.
Mr. Alan Allebone replied that if members took the trouble to read the reports there was no need for comment.
Following an inspection of bins by the Medical Officer it was decided to discontinue the collection of kitchen waste in the town.
The Highways Committee, noting an improvement in Park Road conditions, says it has asked the police to give further attention to congestion caused by parking in Alfred Street. The County Council is being urged to construct a bus waiting bay on Higham hill.
Proposals for the making-up of St. Margaret’s Avenue, Church Hall Road, Upper Park Avenue, Rose Avenue and Park Avenue, were formally adopted.
13th December 1957
Council in brief
Rushden with Wellingborough, Higham Ferrers, Raunds and Irthlingborough is to form a county sub-area for Civil Defence operational control purposes.
Some council tenants have been interviewed about their rent arrears.
An analysis of housing applications showed that of 153 applicants, 67 are living in rooms and the rest are already tenants. Of 78 who want bungalows or flats only eight are living in rooms.
In reply to questions, Mrs. G. Marriott, chairman of the Housing Committee, said there was a preliminary waiting period of 12 months before applicants came on this list. Taking into account the number of homes in course of erection, she thought the general period of waiting would “not be so long.”
Baths to be substituted for those first installed in the Short Stocks bungalows will cost £19 7s 3d each.
It was reported that 114 council houses in the Irchester Road district have no hot water supply in the bathroom. The question of providing supplies (estimated to cost £100 per house) is being considered.
Mrs. Marriott told Mr. R. H. S. Greenwood that it was not yet known whether the Finance Committee could approve this scheme.
The erection of four police houses at Short Stocks and two near Rose Avenue is proposed by the authorities.
The council sealed closing orders in respect of 94 High Street South and 14 Bedford Road.
Owners of land near Sanders’ Lodge were reported to be willing to discuss a scheme for sewering the area.
Floodlighting of the new Duck Street car park has been arranged at a cost of £35.
The County Council will be asked to make orders prohibiting cycling on the following footpaths: Windsor Road to Gloucester Crescent; Succoth Place (from car park to High Street); Spinney Close to Chester Road; Spinney Road to Westfield Avenue; Tennyson Road to Birchall Road.
In view of restrictions on expenditure, the Ministry of Housing is not prepared to sanction a loan for making up Link Road. The Highways Committee, however, is pressing for a change of attitude.
Following objections by the council, the Post Office Telephones Department has cancelled the proposed laying of cables in newly made-up Harvey Road.
The county surveyor has been asked for news of the proposed road improvement near St. Mary’s Church and of the experimental traffic diversion via Rectory Road.
With a view to possible adjustments of service, the Librarian (Mr. J. English) has been instructed to take a census of the number of borrowers attending the library at various hours.