|Rushden Echo, 15th October, 1943, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council
Council Outcry Against Housing Curtailment
Ministry’s Ruling to be Challenged
British Restaurant is Improved (On Paper)
| Advised by the Government to reduce its post-war housing scheme from 180 to 60 houses for the first post-war year, the Rushden Urban District Council on Wednesday expressed great dissatisfaction and decided on a protest to the Ministry of Health.
Though still awaiting final approval, the British Restaurant scheme was seen in new and better shape, because it has now been agreed to do the cooking on the premises instead of receiving ready-cooked supplies from Earls Barton.
When the Council agreed to lend two of its chief officers for part-time service to the Higham Ferrers Town Council a pertinent remark on the subject of “carrying the baby” brought the brightest moment of the evening.
A few months ago the Housing Committee submitted a programme for the erection of 180 houses in the first post-war year. In view, however, of “the urgent need to conserve public capital expenditure,” the Ministry of Health has expressed the opinion that this programme should be limited to 60 houses, for which the Council already owns sufficient land.
Coun. George, presenting this report, said the Ministry’s letter was most disappointing.
“If this is the last word about it,” he continued, “of course there won’t be many houses built, and I’m rather afraid the heroic Army when they come back will be homeless. We shan’t be able to help them very much.”
Coun. Allebone said the Housing Committee had been asked to plan for a post-war period, and the post-war housing programme had been discussed several times. He was pleased when he heard they were planning for 180 in the first year, because that was above their average building rate before the war. He was very disappointed now, however, and felt they should point out to the Ministry their waiting list and the great shortage of houses. Sixty houses in the first year would be totally inadequate.
Coun. Mrs. Muxlow agreed. “If we go on at this rate,” she said, “it will take about 40 years to house people who need houses after the war.”
Coun. Waring said that at the recent meeting of the Town and Country Planning Committee he found that other authorities had planned proportionately larger schemes. The Council could not be satisfied while they were behind the other parts of the county in the number planned.
Coun. Sugars said they had hoped there would be an opportunity to raise a loan and get on with the task of filling up the sites near Knuston and in Newton-road.
Coun. Allen moved that a protest should be made and the Ministry asked to receive a deputation. Even 1,000 houses was not an unreasonable proposition over a period of years, and they should not be fobbed off with 60 for the first year. The Ministry should be shown the facts they had in their possession.
Word of Warning
Coun. Capon said he thought they would all support the main part of the proposition, but there was one danger they did not know under what conditions the houses were to be built. They only expected that the Government were going to subsidise them they did not know. It was common knowledge that the Minister the other week opened some houses which cost over four figures with land and other items extra.
Speaking again, Mr. Allebone said he feared that unless a larger policy were laid out there might be a standstill period after the erection of the first 60 houses.
Coun. Richardson seconded the protest proposition, and the Chairman (Coun. Weale) said they were pledged with regard to post-war housing to see that justice would be done.
The proposition was then carried unanimously.
New Proposals for The Restaurant
War Emergency Committee minutes announced that the British Restaurant Scheme has been approved by the Ministry of Food and can proceed, the cost being estimated at £986, which includes £351 for equipment.
Following a change in the Ministry’s policy, however, a better scheme has become possible, and the food, instead of being brought from a distant centre, can be cooked on the premises. This involves an extension of the original plan for the conversion of No. 93, High-street, as room will have to be found for a solid fuel range, two 20-gallon boilers, a steaming oven and a potato peeler, all of which will be provided by the Ministry.
“The committee,” stated the report, “feel that there are definite advantages to be gained from the cooking and preparation of meals on the premises, although it is realised, on the other hand, that additional kitchen staff will be necessary, thus adding to the running costs of the restaurant. The committee have therefore approved in principle of the cooking of meals on the premises, subject to submission of an amended plan and revised estimate of the cost.”
A later report showed that these estimates had been prepared and forwarded to the Ministry for approval. The capital cost, including equipment, had been advanced to £1,265, and the estimated annual charges from £1,400 to £1,500.
Coun. Capon stated that no further word of a definite character had yet been received from the Ministry.
Coun. Sawford enquired why it was that the Ministry suggested this change of plan after they had gone to the expense of erecting a cook-house at Earls Barton for supplying a number of British Restaurants over a district, on the same lines as the one at Desborough.
Coun. Capon replied that the Council in the first place suggested that they should do their own cooking, but the Ministry turned it down. Now, however, all over the country places similar to the one at Earls Barton were being earmarked for other purposes.
A letter from the Higham Ferrers Town Council mentioned that their Surveyor and Sanitary Inspector (Mr. A. E. Lloyd) would be retiring on November 30th, and asked for the part-time help of the Rushden Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd) and Sanitary Inspector (Mr. F. S. F. Piper) for the duration of the war. This, it was explained, would obviate a full-time appointment and conform to the Government’s policy of conserving man-power. In view of war-time conditions the duties would not be onerous.
Assured by Mr. J. W. Lloyd and Mr. Piper that they could perform the duties satisfactorily without interfering with their work at Rushden, the Finance Committee recommended the Council to agree, leaving the two officers to arrange terms of remuneration with the Higham Ferrers Council.
There was a hearty general laugh when Coun. Allebone naively enquired: “I take it that this is where we carry the baby a little bit farther, isn’t it?”
“Yes, exactly” replied the Chairman.
“Will this be permanent?” asked Coun. Green.
“It is only temporary,” answered the Chairman.
Coun. Waring said he was rather surprised that the committee allowed the terms of remuneration to be decided between the borough and the officers concerned.
“The committee did consider that,” said Mr. Allen, “and after discussion with the officers concerned and very full discussion among themselves they decided that the only reasonable way was for the officers and the Higham Council to settle the monetary matter between themselves.”
The report was adopted.
A decision by the County Council that one or more Rescue Services should stand by every night has been queried by the War Emergency Committee, partly on the ground that this work (for which subsistence allowances may be paid) would add to the strain of war-time conditions on part-time personnel who have their daily work to do in addition to Civil Defence duties.
In compliance with orders received from County Control, stand-by duty began on October 1st pending a reply to the committee’s representations.
Mr. Capon told the Council that the committee did not think it was necessary for a standby party to be on duty, considering that they were in the fourth year of the war.
It was agreed to nominate Coun. Mrs. Muxlow, Coun. T. W. Cox and Mr. W. Ainge for reappointment as consumer members of the Wellingborough Area Food Control Committee. Under new regulations the committee now required two additional consumer members and an “employee” member representing retail food trade employees. It has been agreed that Rushden should nominate in the latter case, and the Council decided to nominate Coun. W. J. Sawford, who is grocery and milk manager to the Rushden Co-operative Society.
Taking up the complaint at last month’s Council meeting that people waiting for 'buses between Skinner’s Hill and St. Mary’s-avenue create congestion which forces other pedestrians off the footpath, the Highways Committee proposes to construct a parallel footpath and has instructed the Surveyor to approach the County Council on the proposal.
There was much satisfaction when Coun. Allebone announced that the County Council had agreed to take responsibility, this being a trunk road, and would make another path, 4ft. 6in. wide, as suggested.
A report showed that the Highways Committee and the Traffic Manager of the United Counties Omnibus Company are considering how they can meet a complaint from Miss E. Claridge of annoyance and discomfort caused to the occupiers (one of whom is bedridden) of the house opposite the ‘bus stand at Skinner’s Hill by running engines and children sitting on walls.
The Housing Committee has been considering a scheme under which house rents would be collected 48 times a year (cutting out the holiday weeks) and the amount of rent increased accordingly by an average of 10d. Pending enquiries, however, no decision has been made.
It was announced that a list of properties which might be requisitioned (under wider powers recently conferred by the Government) and used for housing purposes has been prepared and is being investigated.
Coun. George added, however, that he did not think many properties in Rushden could be dealt with under these powers.
The only building plan was for the construction of lavatories at the Y.M.C.A. Building.
At the suggestion of the police it was agreed to have a white line painted in Park-road, marking the limit of a new stand for factory workers’ buses.
Presenting a Rating Committee report, which showed a net increase of £34 in rateable values, Coun. Cox said it had been found that several wooden structures had been put up without application for the Council’s approval. The committee felt that the public should be reminded of their obligation to submit details.
Court Estate Unlucky
The Post Office Telephone Department wrote regretting that the erection of a telephone kiosk on the Court Estate could not be undertaken in present circumstances, but would be re-considered when conditions were more favourable.
It was decided to extend the period of street lighting to 11 p.m. each evening, Coun. Green observing: “The theatres are open a bit later than they used to be.”
After a statement by the Surveyor on his policy of effecting repairs in Pightles-terrace the Highways Committee agreed that all practical steps were being taken.
No objection was raised to the placing on underground electricity cables in Wymington-road, Hall-avenue and between St. Margaret’s-avenue and Park-avenue, or to an overhead line across the sandpit between Hall-avenue and St. Margaret’s-avenue.
The Medical Officer (Dr. D. A. McCracken) reported two cases of tuberculosis, one of scarlet fever, three of pneumonia and one of whooping cough during September. There were 22 births (13 males, 9 females) and 9 deaths (6 males, 3 females). All who died during the month were aged 65 or over.
The Sanitary Inspector and two members of the Food Decontamination Squad were authorised to attend a demonstration at Nottingham on October 24th. The Council also learned that the annual conferences of the Sanitary Inspectors’ Association, which have been suspended during the war, are to be resumed.
A rough path from the Sewage Farm to the neighbouring allotments is proposed by the Farm Sub-Committee, and the Allotment Association is being consulted.
It was decided (subject to Timber Control regulations) to obtain offers for the right to cut and remove more than 800 ash trees near the Sewage Works.
The recent sale of crops at the farm realised £167.
Owing to labour shortage no action was taken on a complaint that the front rooms of some of the Council houses in Newton-road are darkened by large trees on the cemetery boundary.
The Council agreed to a request from the Ministers’ Fellowship that they should issue invitations to the Remembrance Sunday Service at St. Mary’s Church on November 7th, thus making the occasion an official one.
Taking up a suggestion made last month, the Finance Committee has appointed a sub-committee to consider the provision of a plaque commemorating the Weapons Week, 1941 when the town contributed £250,092. Plaques marking the success of Warship Week, 1942, and Wings for Victory Week, 1943, have been presented to the town by the Admiralty and Air Ministry respectively.
It was agreed to implement the new national scale of cost-of-living bonus for Local Authorities’ staffs as from October 1st.
Valued at £122, the September salvage included the following quantities: Paper and cardboard 12 tons 12 cwt., bones 13½cwt., rubber 1 ton 10½cwt., kitchen waste 17cwt., tins 34 tons 7cwt., light iron 31 tons 3cwt.
Members present were Couns. A. F. Weale, J.P. (Chairman), Dr. R. W. Davies (Vice-Chairman), Mrs. O. A. H. Muxlow, A. H. Bailey, A. Allebone, J.P., C.C., T. W. Cox, F. Green, J.P., 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. An apology for absence was received from Coun. J. Roe.