|Rushden Echo, 12th November, 1943, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Council Talk of Large Follow-Up Schemes
The Clerk (Mr. T. L. Watts) reported that, as instructed at the last meeting, he had written to the Ministry of Health, protesting against the curtailment of Rushden’s housing scheme from 180 to 60 houses for the first post-war year. The Minister replied that he had no desire to question the reasonableness of the programme, and was content to rely upon the Council’s first-hand knowledge of local requirements. He was prepared to accept the programme of 180 houses, would consider an application for the purchase of land, and was anxious that the matter should receive urgent attention.
The Housing Committee stated that they had land for 30 houses in Newton-road and 30 on the Highfield estate. They also had a suitable site in mind for the other 120 houses, and recommended that the Clerk, after making certain enquiries, should apply for permission to purchase the land.
With a view to continuing the housing programme after the first year the Surveyor has been instructed to report on sites suitable for development.
In presenting the report, which was adopted, Coun. George said the Housing Committee had had the site for 120 houses in mind for a considerable time and there was no difficulty in arriving at a decision. He was perfectly sure that, with the approval of the Ministry and the removal of other obstacles the scheme would be in shape when the war ended.
It Looked Tiny
Coun. Roe urged the committee to make haste, saying that when he attended the county planning conference the small number of houses proposed for Rushden as compared with other towns was very noticeable. Rushden’s scheme looked a very tiny one.
Dr. Davies said there was a plan, not yet reported to the Council, for a very large area and a great number of houses. The Council could meet privately, if they liked, and be told about this scheme.
The Chairman (Coun. A. F. Weale) said he felt certain that the committee would not let the matter rest by any means. They would be almost entirely in the hands of the Ministry, and their progress would depend on the supply of labour and materials, but when these factors were favourable they would be ready.
Coun. Allebone: The committee know what we want, and I am satisfied they are doing all they can.
Coun. Sugars said that although there had not been much in the Press or before the Town and County Planning Committee, they were thoroughly alive to the position.
Winding up the discussion, Coun. Capon said he had discussed housing with a high official in London, who assured him that the Ministry had not so far decided what their plans would be. There was no decision with regard to subsidies, for example.
Reports by the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) and Clerk indicated that no suitable premises are available in the town for requisitioning and conversion into living quarters for families inadequately housed. No action could be taken, either, under the new scheme for repair of houses at a cost not exceeding £250 per house.
It was decided to subscribe to the National Housing and Town Planning Council and so qualify for representation at future conferences arranged by this organisation.
Another Charity Campaign
Much discussion arose from a motion by Coun. Capon that the Chairman should call a town’s meeting to consider what steps could be taken to raise money “to assist India, China, Russia and such other countries or deserving war charities as may be decided upon by the meeting or subsequent meetings.” The resolution was seconded by Coun. Waring.
Coun. Allen, describing the resolution as “a pretty comprehensive thing,” said some of the help which might be given to other countries was a matter for organisation by the Government, and he would like to point out that there were other deserving organisations round about them, some of which would require a good deal of money after the war. If they did not keep faith with the men who returned, what had been done for China and other countries would not weigh very much with them. They must have some local fund whereby they could help these men, and he hoped they would keep in mind such organisations as the British Legion Benevolent Fund and the Red Cross.
Coun. Sugars said the Red Cross Penny a Week Fund was always appealing to them to increase contributions. He thought they had got to look at home first.
Coun. Allebone said he had been very impressed by what the returned prisoners had said about the British Red Cross. If India, China and Russia were deserving of help, what was the good of what a little town like Rushden could do? The relief must go in kind; it was a national affair.
Two or three members held that the resolution left the town’s meeting perfectly free to make its own decisions. Mr. Capon amended his resolution, however, so that no particular cause was mentioned, and in this form it was adopted.
In the quarter ended September 30th the Free Library issued 27,606 volumes, compared with 28,723 for the same quarter of 1942. The details were: Adult fiction 18,530, non-fiction 4,238, juvenile fiction 3,403, non-fiction 1,435. In addition about 100 books were lent to the A.T.C. and Air Scouts, 19 to the Home Guard and 50 to the G.T.C.
Adult membership increased by 118 to 4,152 and juvenile membership by 59 to 1,814. The number of new books added to stock was 462.
Miss N. L. Groome has presented to the Junior Library a set of reproductions of famous pictures, one of which is to be displayed every fortnight, together with a note on the artist. Miss E. A. Lucas is lending some framed water colours depicting local scenes, and Mr. A. W. Head has given a book on aircraft.
An offer of a free supply of the American “Christian Science Monitor,” a daily journal, was accepted with thanks.
It was agreed to amend an old library rule to provide that from April 1st next persons employed in Rushden who are not residents or ratepayers shall be required to pay a quarterly subscription of 1s. for the privilege of borrowing books.
In view of the evidence that the library needs more books, especially for juniors, the Library Committee asked for an allowance of £100 above the sum which has been budgeted for this purpose. The Finance Committee stated that they viewed such increases with disfavour, but in view of the circumstances they agreed to an allowance of £50.
Coun. Bailey, ex-chairman of the Library Committee, emphasised that the circulation of books, especially in the Junior Library, had shown a tremendous decline. There had been a tremendous desire for books among the juniors, but the stock was inadequate.
Coun. Waring: I hope this request will be taken as a broad hint that we shall want more next year!
The expenditure of £50 was sanctioned.
The only building plan was of a store in Manning-street for Mr. R. Parker.
A resolution asking the Traffic Commissioner not to approve the ‘bus stopping place near the Railway Hotel at the end of the experimental period was submitted by the Highways Committee and confirmed.
Members learned that the County Council has agreed to widen by 4ft 6in. the footpath between the ‘bus stopping places near St. Mary’s-avenue and in Skinner’s Hill.
The United Counties Omnibus Co. is still trying to find an alternative stopping place to the one outside Mrs. Claridge’s house.
The Eastern Counties Omnibus Co. wrote asking the Council to indicate the ‘bus stops by means of markings on the pavements, but the Highways Committee replied that this was the company’s responsibility. They also suggested that the signs should be fixed to adjacent walls and not painted on the paths.
An insurance claim for £98 has been made in respect of the recent fire at the storage depot in Newton-road.
No objection was offered to the erection by the N.F.S. of garages, sleeping quarters, mess room, kitchen, etc. in the Newton-road depot yard, but it was stipulated that the buildings should be vacated and if necessary removed within a reasonably short time after the end of the war, on notice being given by the Council.
It was reported that the contractors were at work on the alteration of No. 93, High-street, in readiness for its use as a British Restaurant. The cost of the alterations was now given as £790 and of the equipment as £485.
Stand-by duty by the Rescue Service has been the subject of further correspondence with the County Controller, who is re-submitting the question to the County Emergency Committee.
Asked to consider the formation of Urban Co-operative Cultivation Clubs for people who could not cultivate an allotment by themselves, the War Emergency Committee decided that no scope for such clubs existed locally. They referred to the already considerable cultivation of allotments in the town.
It was agreed that the Christmas treat for evacuee children, towards which the L.C.C. is expected to send a cheque, should be left in the hands of the local Boot and Clothing Fund.
The Clerk reported that a show of training films for Fire Guards and the other Civil Defence services would be held at the Ritz Cinema) kindly lent by the management) on Sunday, November 28th.
A letter of appreciation is being sent to Miss F. Cripps, who has returned to London after four years’ work in Rushden as an evacuation helper.
Coun. Capon said they could not speak too highly of this lady’s services. Nothing was too much trouble for her, and no distance was too great for her to walk.
Mrs. Muxlow, endorsing the tribute, said they were very sorry that ill health was the reason why Miss Cripps had left.
The Medical Officer (Dr. D. A. McCracken) reported four cases of tuberculosis, two of scarlet fever and two of pneumonia. In October there were 20 births (12 males, 8 females) and 16 deaths (4 males, 12 females). Eleven of those who died were aged 65 or over.
The health Committee recommended the purchase of “a suitable garment” to be worn by the Cemetery Supt. At all funerals, and the Council agreed.
“What sort of garment do you suggest?” asked Coun. Roe.
Coun. Paragreen replied that the Clerk was making enquiries. What the committee wanted was approval of the principle that the superintendent should wear some garment that was appropriate to the occasion.
Coun. Waring: Do you want a coupon.
A Member: No, it is coupon free.
Coun. Richardson spoke of the desirability of making a temporary footpath with clinkers near the cemetery.
Notice was received that the winter closing hours for shops would be 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and 6 p.m. on other days. For hairdressers the time is 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 7 p.m. on other days.
Coun. Sawford asked if the Council had any jurisdiction over Sunday opening, and the Clerk replied that the matter was one for the County Council and was governed by the Shops Act.
Mrs. Muxlow, Coun. T. W. Cox and Mr. W. Ainge were elected as consumer members and Coun. Sawford as a trade employee member of the Wellingborough Area Food Control Committee.
Up to October 30th the amount of rate collected for the second half-year was £4,047, an increase of £361 on the amount collected at the corresponding date last year.
The Surveyor reported that salvage to the value of £80 was sold during October. It included 11 tons 17 cwt. paper and cardboard, 1½ tons scrap iron. 11 cwt. bones and 2 tons 3½ cwt. kitchen waste.
Members in attendance were: Couns. A. F. Weale, J.P. (Chairman), Dr. R. W. Davies (Vice-Chairman), A. H. Bailey, J. Roe, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., F. Green, J.P., Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. George, T. J. Swindall, J. E. Dilks, J. H. J. Paragreen, H. Waring, W. J. Sawford, E. A. Sugars, and J. T. Richardson, J.P.
The Chairman assured Mr. Roe of the sincere sympathy of his fellow councillors in his sad bereavement.