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Rushden Echo, 11th November, 1921, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
The Municipal Housing Scheme
Rents Agreed To by The Ministry of Health
More Councillors Asked for Better Appliances for Fighting Fire

Wednesday, present Councillors W. Bazeley, J.P. (chairman), T. Swindall (vice-chairman), F. Knight, J.P., C. Bates, J. Hornsby, C. W. Horrell, L. Perkiins, B.Sc., C. E. Bayes, and T. Wilmott, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. Piper).

’Buses

In reply to Mr. Bates, the Chairman said that the Bedford motor 'buses had observed the regulations laid down by the Council, and the Desborough ‘buses would do so as from Friday in next week. The company had changed hands, and the new directors had had to be consulted, which accounted for the delay in this case.

Housing

The Chairman reported on the conference of local authorities regarding the stoppage of Council housing schemes held at Irthlingborough, which was attended by Mr. Knight and himself. The Councils represented were Kettering, Rushden, Higham, Rothwell, Desborough, and Irthlingborough. After useful information had been given the conference thought it advisable that the Councils should act independently and not collectively. Each Council would therefore make out their own case and present it to the Ministry of Health. They conferred with the representative of the Ministry, and were able to report some little progress.

Plans, &c., Committee

A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 26th October, 1921, when there were present: Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), T. Swindall, C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, C. W. Horrell, and T. Wilmott.

Plans

were presented for:-

New factory in Station-road for Messrs. Jaques and Son, Ltd., and passed subject to the existing building line being observed.

Open shed in Station-road for Mr. W. G. Wilmott and no exception taken provided that provision be made for roof water.

Workshop at the rear of No. 4, Duck-street, for Mr. A. Sanders, and passed.

Slaughterhouse and stock pen in paddock off the Washbrook-road for Mr. T. Swindall, and passed.

Additions to No. 24, Church-street, for Mr. F. Reynolds and passed.

Additions to office at the rear of No. 80, Newton-road, for Messrs. W. Packwood and Son and passed.

Bungalow on the Higham-road for Mr. L. Tysoe and passed subject to the drains being to the satisfaction of the Surveyor and the front bay window of the building not projecting in front of Mr. Pack’s property.

Wooden building at the rear of No. 2, Station-road, for Mr. Sayer and no exception taken.

Barn at the rear of No. 5, Denmark-road, for Mr. G. H. Rowney and no exception taken.

Wooden building at the rear of No. 28, King’s-road, for Mr. A. Houghton and no exception taken.

Assisted Housing Scheme

An application was received from Mr. Copson, the occupier of No. 25, Trafford-road, to erect a bicycle shed at the rear of his house and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto.

Washbrook-Road

The Surveyor submitted a letter from the Ministry of Transport stating that before deciding with regard to a contribution towards the construction of a footpath on the north side of this road they would require a plan and full details of the proposal. He estimated the cost of constructing an asphalt footpath with iron kerbing at £1 6s. per yard.

It was resolved to include the whole of the footpath from No. 77 to No. 127 and from No. 1 to 9, and the Surveyor was instructed to prepare a plan and submit the particulars required.

West-Street

Attention was called to the bad state of repair of the footpaths in West-street.

It was pointed out that this was a private street and the Surveyor was instructed to prepare an estimate of the cost of repairing the footpaths and road, and submit to the abutting owners, with an intimation that, subject to the work being at once carried out satisfactorily, the Committee would be prepared to recommend the Council to take over the same as a highway repairable by the inhabitants at large.

Public Lighting

The Lighting Sub-Committee reported they had given instructions for further lamps to be placed out, which now brought the total up to 176, against the pre-war number of 227.

An application was received from the lamplighters for an increase of wages in view of the increase of lamps, and it was resolved to recommend the Council that they be raised from 30/- to 33/3 per week.

Allotment Footpath

A letter was received from the Secretary to the Allotment Society stating that the footpath leading from Cromwell-road to the Cricket Field was being used for vehicular traffic, with a result that their fence had been broken, and asking the Council to erect a post or two in order that the footpath could only be used by pedestrians.

It was resolved to accede to the request and the Surveyor was instructed accordingly.

The report was adopted, with the exception of the paragraph dealing with West-street, which was referred back, on the proposition of Mr. Swindall, seconded by Mr. Wilmott, on the ground that the recommendation went further than the Committee intended.

Finance and Estates Committee

A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 2nd November, 1921, at 10 a.m., when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), C. Bates, C. E. Bayes, F. Knight, L. Perkins, and T. Wilmott.

Tradesmen’s and Other Accounts

A number of accounts amounting to £3,071/8/0 were examined and passed for payment.

Stalls

The Committee considered the question of the tolls payable for the stalls on the vacant land in Alfred-street, at length, and ultimately it was resolved that the matter be deferred for six months.

The report was adopted.

Health and Sanitary Committee

A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, the 2nd November, 1921, when there were present:- Messrs. W. Bazeley (in the chair), J. Hornsby, F. Knight, L. Perkins, and J. Spencer.

Health and Sanitary Reports

The report of the Medical Officer for the month of October was received.

The Sanitary Inspector reported that 18 preliminary and three statutory notices had been served since the last meeting calling attention to nuisances, etc., and the number now outstanding was 66.

One house had been disinfected after a case of cancer and one bed destroyed.

The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the month.

Sale of Crops

The Surveyor reported that the sale of crops at the Sewage Farm by auction was held on the 10th October and realised £262/7/0 an increase of £37 in comparison with last year.

War Memorial

Attention was called to the practice of placing glass and stone jars, bottles, etc., for the reception of flowers, on the Memorial.

The Committee did not consider the placing of these unsightly receptacles on the Monument at all desirable, and expressed a hope that the public would in future desist from such practice.

The report was adopted.

Rents

The Ministry of Health wrote as follows:- “Rents. Scheme No. L17; site, Trafford-road. With reference to your recent conference with the Regional Finance Officer and the District Valuer, in connection with the above-mentioned section of the Council’s Assisted Scheme, I am directed to inform you that, in all the circumstances of the case, no objection is raised to the Council’s proposal to charge an inclusive rent based on the following figures, exclusive of rates, water charges, etc.:- Class A2, living-room, scullery, two bedrooms, 6/5 per week; Class A, living-room, scullery, three bedrooms, 6/9 per week. I am to add that approval is given to inclusive rents on the understanding that, in the event of a future increase in the rates, the exclusive rents will be raised pro tanto.”

The Clerk said the figures mentioned were the Council’s own figures.

The Chairman said it was very gratifying that the Ministry of Health had adopted the Council’s figures, and Mr. Knight endorsed that view.

British Legion

A deputation (Mr. Cox and Mr. C. Felce) was received from the Rushden branch of the British Legion with regard to the nomination of one of their members to one of the Council houses. The deputation asked that the Council should let one of the new houses to a family, including a tuberculous patient, so as to prevent overcrowding in another house, and avoid possible infection.

In reply to Mr. Cox, the Chairman said that every house of the non-parlour type was let to an ex-Serviceman.

Mr. Felce urged that if there were any houses vacant they should be let to cases in which there were large families or people whose health demanded plenty of fresh air. He suggested that many of the occupiers of the houses had obtained the cottages by some statements which would hardly bear investigation.

The deputation having withdrawn, the matter was dealt with in committee.

Fire Engine

Mr. Horrell, in accordance with notice given at the last meeting, moved that the Council seriously consider the purchase of a motor tender capable of towing the present fire engine, a full complement of men and the whole of the appliances to any part of the town from the Fire Station. He said there was no necessity to waste time referring to the present antiquated and inadequate means of getting the fire engine to fires. The problem was too serious to allow of delay. He suggested that a motor tender with 20-horse power be purchased. He had inquired of Mr. D. Nicholson and members of the Fire Brigade and it had been agreed that it would be best to get a 20 h.p. Schneider motor which Mr. Nicholson was prepared to have tested in Rushden. Mr. Nicholson had a French chassis on order, and that would be an advantage owing to the rate of exchange; it could be bought for £525 brand new. Then a body could be put on it to carry men and equipment for £150, so that £675 at the outside would purchase the lot. If the Council wished, they could get prices from other firms.

Mr. Hornsby agreed that the matter was very important and it was patent to everyone that a more up-to-date appliance should be provided, as was seen when Mr. H. Jaques’ factory was burnt down. He thought they would have had a report from the Fire Brigade. Before the Council committed themselves he thought that the Fire Brigade Committee of the Council should confer with the Fire Brigade and report at a future meeting.

The Chairman said that a motor had been wanted a long time and only £ s d had held a scheme up. They would probably decide to raise a loan for the purpose.

Mr. Horrell said he did not object to Mr. Hornsby’s suggestion, but he said it was false economy to put off the matter.

Mr. Wilmott pointed out that the matter had twice last year been brought before the Council by the Fire Brigade, so that there was no object in asking for a report from them. It was suggested that the smaller engine be sold to a village authority.

Mr. Swindall seconded Mr. Hornsby's proposition and said that the Plans Committee could deal with the matter and report to the next Council meeting.

Mr. Wilmott saw no reason to put off the matter except to refer the question of raising the money to the Finance Committee.

Mr. Horrell said that the present season, with lights and fires in full swing, was the most hazardous, and factories were stocked with machinery which would cost two or three times as much as it would some years ago.

Mr. Perkins seconded Mr. Horrell’s proposition, and said that with more efficient means of getting to fires insurance companies’ terms should be better.

Mr. Horrell: I have heard it said that the £700 could be raised by subscription, which shows the strong feeling on the subject.

Mr. Knight mentioned that a second-hand motor could be bought for £200 cheaper, a question that the committee might like to consider, but they did not want a derelict engine. He also pointed out that the firemen having to run to a fire and push a hose cart and 4 cwt. or 5 cwt. of appliances were not physically able to tackle the fire as fresh men could.

After further discussion it was unanimously decided to provide a motor appliance, the Plans Committee being asked to carry the scheme into effect.

Speed Limit

A letter was received from the local branch of the Boot Operatives’ Union, respectfully requesting, in the interest of the general public, and the people of Rushden in particular, that, owing to the great amount of traffic and the narrowness of certain parts of High-street, and the great danger as a result of rapidly moving motor vehicles, steps be taken by the Council to limit the speed of such vehicles from Hayway to the bottom of Wymington Hill, to not more than seven miles an hour.

Mr. Bates asked what was the position of the Council in the matter.

The Clerk: The Urban Council can make representations to the County Council, who are the only authority to limit the speed.

Mr. Bates moved that such representation be made to the County Council.

The Chairman suggested notices warning motorists to drive carefully through the town. Seven miles an hour might be very dangerous – even three miles an hour might sometimes prove to be a danger to the public. He thought that would be more effective than a definite speed limit.

Several members of the Council concurred.

Mr. Perkins thought the warning would be more effective than a speed limit, and in particular there should be warning notices near the schools.

The Chairman’s suggestion was carried.

Congress

An invitation was extended to the Council to send representatives to the Public Works, Roads, and Transport Congress and Exhibition at the Royal Agricultural Hall, London, Nov. 17 – 25.

It was decided that the Surveyor should attend.

Proposed Increase of Councillors

The following letter was received from Mr. T. E. Wigginton and Mr. E. Freeman (joint secretaries): “At a joint meeting of the Rushden Trades Council and Labour Party and the Co-operative Political Council, held on October 17th, it was decided to ask the Rushden Urban District Council to take such steps as are necessary to increase the number of Councillors from 12 to 16.”

The Clerk said it would be necessary to get the County Council to make an order.

Mr. Bates said he was at the meeting at which the resolution was passed. They had thought that the town was large and important enough to have a Council of 16 members. He moved that a recommendation be made to the County Council to that effect.

Mr. Hornsby seconded and said that often they had not more than ten members present and still fewer if others were ill. Increased membership would he considered beneficial.

Mr. Perkins said he had an open mind on the matter. But in making drastic changes they ought to have some stronger reasons for doing so and from more than one section of the community. Personally he would rather that the matter be left until after the March elections so that the public might be allowed to give their opinion on the matter.

Mr. Bates in reply to Mr. Wilmott said there had also been a suggestion of dividing the town into wards.

Mr. Wilmott said it would be best in that case not to jump into the scheme.

Mr. Bates said the idea was by no means new. That was the fourth time it had been raised. The Council had been in agreement but it had been said that the County Council disagreed.

The Clerk said they had not made a recommendation to the County Council.

Mr. Knight thought it would be too late to get the alteration made before next March as the County Council would not meet in time. They could not very well increase their membership unless they divided the town into wards. There might be 50 candidates for 16 seats and many voters would spoil their papers especially with the Guardians being elected at the same time. There would be endless confusion. He moved that a committee go into the matter.

Mr. Bayes seconded.

Mr. Hornsby said that if there was not time to get the change for the next election he and Mr. Bates would withdraw their proposition, as they did not want to rush the matter. They recognised that it was a big job. The wards would upset the register.

It was finally agreed that the chairman, vice-chairman, with Messrs. Knight, Perkins, Hornsby, and Bates, form a committee to inquire into the subject and report at a future meeting.



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