|The Rushden Echo, 15th October, 1920, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Municipal Housing Scheme
Wednesday, present Councillors J. Claridge, J.P., C.C. (chairman), W. Bazeley, J.P. (vice-chairman), F. Knight J.P., J. Spencer, J.P., J. Hornsby, T. Swindall, L. Perkins, B.Sc., C. E. Bayes, T. Wilmott, and J. Tomlin, with the Clerk (Mr. G. S. Mason), the Surveyor (Mr. W. B. Madin), and the Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper).
A letter was received from the Charity Commissioners stating that the War Charities Act now applied to charitable efforts made on behalf of the blind. The effect is that organisations working for the benefit of the blind must now be registered.
Committee’s reports were taken as follow:-
A meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Monday, Sept. 20th, 1920, when there were present: Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
The Clerk reported that as instructed he had written to the Housing Commissioner enquiring if an Arbitrator had yet been appointed to decide upon the amount of the rents to be charged, and pointing out that four of the houses would be ready for occupation in the course of a few days and that it was difficult to proceed to select the tenants until the amount of rent had been fixed. The Commissioner had replied requesting that Form D106 might be forwarded at once as pending submission of this form the matter was not ripe for arbitration. Form D106 is a statement showing the estimated expenditure and income in respect of the property, and the Clerk explained that it was difficult to prepare the figures with any accuracy in the absence of any certain information as to the ultimate cost of the houses and the amounts of the rents to be charged. He had, however, filled in the form in respect of the first section of the scheme on the basis of the original contract with Mr. Fisher, viz., £14,500 for the 24 houses and rents as suggested by the Council. The form had been returned to the Commissioner with a covering letter stating that it was filled up from materials at present available, and must not be taken as reliable for the purpose of any statistics or as a basis for the payment to the Council of the subsidy to which they would be entitled. He had also informed the Commissioner that the Committee would now proceed to let the houses as completed at the rents suggested by the Council, and had received no contrary instructions.
The Sub-committee appointed to select tenants were instructed to act accordingly.
The Clerk also submitted a letter from the Housing Commissioner approving the proposals to construct roads and sewers at a maximum cost of £4,400 13s. 6d., the letter stated that any cost in excess of 2½ per cent. over the estimate, other than due to increases in the cost of materials or rates of wages, would not be allowed to be charged against the Housing scheme.
The Committee considered this satisfactory, and instructed the Surveyor to carry out the work in Newton-road by direct labour and to obtain tenders for the other street works.
Mr. Fisher’s Contract
The Architect’s Certificate for £1,500 was submitted, and a cheque for that amount signed in favour of Mr. Fisher.
Messrs. Henson’s Contract
The Clerk was instructed to write to the Architects with regard to the commencement of the work of Messrs. G. Henson and Son, Ltd., requesting them to inform Messrs. Henson that unless they could give a definite undertaking to commence at an early date the Council would have no alternative but to relieve them of the contract.
A meeting of the Housing Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, September 29th, 1920, when there were present: Messrs. F. Knight (chairman), J. Claridge, W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, J. Spencer, and T. Wilmott.
Messrs. Henson’s Contract
A letter was received from Mr. J. W. Fisher stating that Messrs. G. Henson and Son, Ltd., were quite willing that their contract for the erection of 24 houses should be cancelled.
The Committee resolved to recommend the Council to cancel the contract accordingly.
It was understood that the Rushden Master Builders’ Association would be prepared to accept the contract for the erection of these 24 houses on the same terms and at the same prices as their present contracts, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to agree thereto subject to the approval of the Housing Commissioner.
Mr. Knight, as chairman of the committee moved the adoption of the reports. He said that Messrs. Henson’s contract was made a considerable time ago, but the contractors apparently took no steps towards starting upon the work, and the committee took a serious view of the position. Messrs. Henson said there was very little prospect of getting bricklayers, etc., and were quite willing that the contract should be cancelled.
Mr. Swindall thought the 24 houses in question should be pushed on as rapidly as possible.
The Clerk presented a report of the meeting of the Housing Committee held that evening, when a letter was received from the Ministry of health, stating that they could not regard the initial rents fixed by the Rushden Council as sufficient. The Ministry suggested that the initial rents be fixed at not less than the following: Type A, living-room, scullery, and two bed-rooms, 7s. a week; type B, living-room, scullery, and three bed-rooms, 8s. 6d. a week in both cases exclusive of rates and water charges. The Ministry requested that the Council should be good enough to give careful consideration to the figures named, with a view to their adoption. The committee, however, felt that they could not accept these figures, and offered a compromise, viz., type A, 6s. 6d. a week; type B, 8s., both exclusive of rates. The rates would bring them up to 9s. 7d. and 11s. 8d. respectively, as against 8s. 3d. and 10s. which the Council originally fixed.
Mr. Bazeley, as an amendment to the committee’s recommendation, moved that the Council adhere to their previous decision, and have this matter settled by arbitration. He was certain that the rents they had fixed before were the outside that any working people should be called upon to pay for these houses. He knew that when the men were on full work, with the wages paid in this district, the rents previously fixed were the very utmost at which the houses would be occupied. To relieve this Council of the responsibility of fixing such ridiculously high rents for such accommodation, he moved that the matter be referred to an arbitrator to decide.
Mr. Perkins seconded, and said it did not seem right that those who had been “squeezed out” during the war should be penalised simply because building was suspended during the war. He knew it was against proper principles that they should let houses at such a price that they would not pay their way, but they had had to suspend a great many principles during war-time. For once he agreed with Mr. Bazeley that they should as a Council fight it out. They came to their decision as a Council because they thought the rents they had decided upon were right and just, and he did not see why anyone else should now come in and interfere.
The Clerk said the committee that night were exactly of the opinion expressed by Mr. Perkins if they thought they could get good terms, but by going to arbitration they might get the rents raised instead of reduced.
Mr. Wilmott protested against the statements of one or two of the members in committee in insinuating that property owners were seeking to get the rents put as high as possible. Because of what was said in committee he should now vote for the matter going to arbitration not for the reasons advanced by some of the members but because by arbitration they might get an economic rent.
Mr. Swindall said he thought they would be going far better by trying to follow the recommendation of the committee. If they referred the matter to arbitration it was possible that the charges would be higher.
Mr. Spencer said that no doubt he was the culprit referred to by Mr. Wilmott. He thought the rents fixed by the committee were absolutely just. They had already gained a considerable triumph, and if they could gain more it would be to their advantage. He suggested, as a further amendment, that the rents be fixed at 6s. for type A and 7s. 6d. for type B. This would be a considerable increase, and they would be trying to meet the Housing Commissioner in a proper manner.
Mr. Hornsby said they ought to think of those who were houseless, many of whom had been out to fight for the country. If there was a spell of bad trade they would have difficulty in letting the houses at such high rents. He should vote for the matter going to arbitration.
The Chairman said that some of them wanted to put the rents of these houses at figures which would be unfair to those who had been out to fight the nation’s battles. The amounts fixed by the committee were reasonable, and if the matter went to arbitration the rents would probably be raised.
For the amendment to go to arbitration there voted Messrs. Spencer, Perkins, Bazeley, Wilmott, and Hornsby; against, Messrs. Claridge, Knight, Tomlin and Swindall. The amendment was carried. Mr. Spencer did not proceed with his suggested amendment.
Mr. Perkins asked upon what basis the houses were being allotted to the applicants. If this could be known by the public it would probably save a lot of disappointment.
Mr. Knight said they had absolutely decided, from the very outset, that the ex-Service men should have the first claim on the houses.
Mr. Perkins: And after the ex-Service men?
Mr. Knight: I do not think there will be houses left after the ex-Service men have been supplied.
Plans, etc., Committee
A meeting of the Plans, Highways, and Lighting Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, Sept. 29th, 1920, when there were present: Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), W. Bazeley, C. E. Bayes, C. W. Horrell, J. Spencer, T. Swindall, and T. Wilmott.
were presented for:-
Engine house at the rear of their premises in George-street for Messrs. Harris Brothers, Ltd., and passed.
Bay window to 53, High-street, for Mr. F. Simpson, and agreed to subject to the projection not being more than 1ft. 6ins. from the main wall, and the height being increased to 10ft. 6ins.
Coal barn at the rear of the Trade Union Club House on the Higham-road, and passed.
Extension to a shed near Rectory-road for Mr. A. Abbott and no exception taken.
Leather shed near their factory in Portland-road, for Messrs. A. Sargent and Sons, Ltd., and referred back for the written consent of the adjoining owner to be produced.
Motor house in Sartoris-road, for Mr. H. Knight, and passed.
Shed at the rear of No. 51, Hayway, for Mr. w. M. Horrell, and no exception taken.
Open shed in yard off High-street, for the Advance Boot Co., Ltd., and no exception taken provided the written consent of the adjoining owner be produced.
The Surveyor reported that a census of the traffic on the Irchester and Wellingborough-roads was duly taken during the week ending September 11th last in connection with the proposed classification of roads by the Ministry of Transport. The gross number of vehicles registered was:
The Lighting Sub-Committee reported that they had been unable, as instructed at the last meeting, to make an inspection of the town with regard to any further lamps considered necessary, but hoped to be able to report to the next meeting. They were also instructed to make arrangements for the lighting and putting out of the lamps.
A letter was received from the Higham Ferrers Corporation calling attention to the dangerous state of the advertisement boarding situate at the north-east corner of this road near the Higham Ferrers boundary and asking for the co-operation of this Council in trying to get the matter remedied.
The Surveyor was instructed to inspect the hoarding and ascertain if the structure were in such a state of repair as to be dangerous to passengers on the highway. The Clerk explained that the Council had no power to prevent a building of this nature being erected. The report was adopted.
Finance & Estates Committee
A meeting of the Finance and Estates Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, October 6th, 1920, at 10 a.m., when there were present Messrs. J. Claridge (chairman), W. Bazeley, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, T. Swindall and T. Wilmott.
Surveyor’s Cash Account
The Committee examined the Surveyor’s cash account with the wages books, the expenditure shown therein being as follows:-
The Collector’s accounts were also examined, from which it appeared that he had collected the following sums during the past month:-
The Committee also examined the Treasurer’s accounts, from which it appeared that the following sums had been received by him since the last meeting:-
And that the balances were as follows:-
Tradesmen’s And Other Accounts
A number of accounts amounting to £2,360 2s. 9d. were examined and passed for payment.
Memorandum Of General District Rate
The Rates Clerk submitted the following Memorandum of Rate made the 31st day of March, 1920:-
A list of the irrecoverable amounts was also submitted, and it was resolved to recommend the Council that the same be written off as such.
Slaughtering In Unregistered Premises
The Clerk reported that the proceedings against Mr. E. Warren for slaughtering a lamb in unregistered premises had resulted in a conviction being recorded, Mr. Warren being fined £2 2s. and £5 5s. costs.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to pay Mr. J. C. Parker’s fee of £3 3s., and to allow Mr. F. S. Piper the sum of 10s. 6d. for his expenses.
Health & Sanitary Committee
A meeting of the Health and Sanitary Committee was held at the Council Buildings on Wednesday, October 6th, 1920, when there were present: Messrs. W. Bazeley (chairman), J. Claridge, J. Hornsby, F. Knight, and J. Tomlin.
The report was adopted.
Health And Sanitary Reports
The report of the Medical Officer for the month of September was received.
The Sanitary Inspector reported that 23 preliminary notices had been issued during the past month in connection with nuisances, etc.
Twenty-six articles had been disinfected after infectious disease, six of which were full-sized beds.
A hind quarter of veal, voluntarily surrendered, had been destroyed as unfit for human consumption.
Ten houses had been inspected under the Housing Town Planning, etc., Act.
The Inspector gave a detailed statement of his work during the past month.
The Inspector of Nuisances submitted a report with regard to a number of houses showing the nature of the accommodation for the deposit of refuse.
It appeared to the Committee by this report that the several houses therein referred to were without a sufficient ashtub, ashpit, or other receptacle for the deposit of refuse, and it was resolved to report to the Council accordingly with a recommendation that notices be served upon the owners requiring them within 28 days to provide for each house a sufficient and proper receptacle.
An application was received from the Wargate Motor Engineering Co. for a licence to store 112lbs. of Carbide of Calcium on their premises in Wellingborough-road, and it was resolved to recommend the Council to accede thereto subject to a proper store being provided.
The Sanitary Inspector also reported that the preliminary notice served on Mr. W. Smith to provide spoutings to his premises abutting on Co-operative-row had not been complied with.
It was resolved to recommend the Council to serve a statutory notice on Mr. Smith requiring the work to be done within 28 days.
The Surveyor reported that he had prepared an estimate of the cost of repairing this road, which amounted to £30, and had apportioned this amount amongst the abutting owners as follows:-
The amount of the apportionments had been supplied to the parties concerned, who, however, did not appear altogether satisfied with the manner of the apportionment, and the Surveyor was instructed to inform those not agreeing that unless they could do so the Council would have no alternative but to put the Private Street Works Act into force and carry out the necessary repairs under the powers of that Act.
Dairies, Cowsheds, & Milkshops Order
The quarterly report of Mr. Parks was received, from which it appeared that on 6th, 7th, and 9th September he visited 29 premises and inspected 178 cows and heifers, making special examination of their udders and throats.
The report was considered very satisfactory.
The Clerk reported that as instructed a notice had been served upon Mr. A. Lilley that the Council intended on October 1st to proceed to carry a sewer through his land in order to provide an outfall sewer for the drain recently constructed by Mr. G. Chettle for his slaughter-house.
A letter had since been received by the Surveyor from Mr. Lilley stating that he should not allow the work to be commenced until the end of October.
The Surveyor was instructed to inform Mr. Lilley that he would commence the work in Monday next.
The Surveyor reported that the work of laying out the new part of the Cemetery was now complete.
The Cemetery Sub-Committee reported that they had met at the Cemetery and had given instructions for the whole of the paths to be topped with tar. The Committee approved.
A memorial was received from the occupiers of the houses in Winchester-road adjoining the Cemetery asking that the trees at the rear of their houses might be removed as it was impossible to cultivate the gardens owing to absence of light.
The matter was referred to the Sub-Committee to consider and report.
The Depot Sub-Committee gave a lengthy report on the work of the new electric vehicle and also with regard to the tips.
It was resolved that the Committee visit the tips and that the matter be again discussed at the next meeting.
Housing (Additional Powers) Act, 1919
The Inspector of Nuisances reported that he had visited No. 18 Harborough-road, and found that the house had been connected with the adjoining factory of Mr. H. Jaques, and used for trading purposes. The house was in a very dilapidated condition, and if used as a dwelling would necessitate a considerable expenditure on repairs and cleansing. He was informed by Mr. Jaques that he converted the premises into part of his factory about January 26th, 1920. This was contrary to the provision of this Act, which was passed on December 23rd, 1919.
The Committee having regard to the condition of the house and to the fact that the provision of the Act had not been brought to the public notice at the date of the conversion did not recommend the Council to take any action in the matter.
Mr. W. R. Smith, M.P., forwarded a letter with regard to the employment of ex-Service men, and this was referred to the Manufacturers’ Association.
A letter was received from the Northants County Council stating that the Ministry of Agriculture are desirous of holding a National Rat Week during the period November 1st to 6th, and asking the Rushden Urban Council to assist in the matter and to preserve definite statistics as to the results obtained.
It was decided to join in the Rat Week Campaign and to offer three prizes for the largest number of rats killed (£1, 10s., and 5s.), no number below 20 to be counted.