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Transcribed by Gill and Jim Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 26th September 1958

Fault lies in bad service

In its longest meeting for several years – lasting more than ninety minutes, on Wednesday evening – Rushden Urban Council expressed strong views on the threatened cessation of passenger service on the Wellingborough – Higham Ferrers branch railway.

Replying to a letter in which the Transport Committee admitted that “a proposal” would be placed before the Transport Users’ consultative Committee because the service was un-remunerative, the council carried a resolution declaring any deficiency to be due to faults in the services offered to the public.


The Commission will be asked to meet representatives of the council to discuss suggestions for improvements and the resolution also invites Higham Ferrers Town Council to join in the representations.

Mr. E. E. Newell said it was not Rushden’s fault that the service was un-remunerative. It was not surprising that the branch line lost money when one looked at the train service and fares.

Travel and luggage difficulties which would arise for Rushden people if the service closed were pointed out by Mr. R. H. Marriott and Mrs W. M. Lean. The chairman (Mr. F. E. Brown) said they would be borne in mind when the right time came.

Mr. A. H. Bailey spoke warningly of some views expressed by the Library Association. One deprecates the retention of autonomous library powers by authorities serving a population less than 40,000. Another suggests £5,000 a year as a minimum amount to be spent on books by an autonomous authority.

After opposition by Mr. R. H. S. Greenwooda proposal to sell a strip of Hall Estate land in High Street South to Florence Simpson Ltd., was carried by 10 votes to five.


Two members and two officers will attend a housing conference at Brighton in October although it means that they will miss the council’s next meeting. This, too, was taken to a vote after Mrs. Lean had objected to the cost of four delegates.

It was reported that the chairman and members of the Parks Committee inspected the ditch in Spencer Park on August 23 and found it “in a reasonable condition.” This report went through without comment.

A Parks Committee report showed that on the suggestion of the Surveyor (Mr. W. J. Anker) the experiment of equipping “adventure” playgrounds for children has been left over until next summer when it may be carried out on a site where supervision is available.

This postponement arises from incidents at the Upper Queen Street playground, where it was reported a sandpit has been badly damaged. Two brick and concrete tables, had been broken up, and sand completely removed from the pit on two occasions. Drainage holes had been blocked and broken glass had been left in the sand. This sandpit has now been dispensed with.

It was decided to seek a grant in connection with a children’s playground in the Highfield area.

The committee also reported that the park football pitches were more than adequate to meet demands.

Messrs. D. Dickens and R. H. Marriott, with the Clerk and the Surveyor were appointed to attend the annual conference of the National Housing and Town Planning Council at Brighton in October.

Arising from the Medical Officer’s annual report, the Public Health Committee has noted the very great benefits accruing from the out-patients clinics at the Memorial Hospital. The Clerk is to ask the Regional Hospital Board whether it is possible to provide local facilities for X-ray examinations.

All houses in South Terrace have been vacated; it was reported by the Public Health Committee. The council agreed to pay a total of £2,150 in compensation to owner-occupiers of one house in Dell Place and seven in Sussex Place. There will be small payments in respect of three other houses in Sussex Place.

Replying to observations in the annual report of the Nene River Board, the Health Committee is informing the board that the council intends to proceed with sewage disposal improvements at a cost of £60,000 as soon as the necessary approvals can be obtained.

Hot water supplies are to be laid on at the public conveniences in Newton Road.

An applicant’s appeal against the refusal of the planning authorities to permit the erection of a petrol filling station in Bedford Road has been upheld by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government.

Lack of progress on the Duck Street widening was reported to be due to the withdrawal of labour in connection with tar spraying and other road works and to the annual holidays.

The council decided to take over Grafton Road, five frontage owners having agreed to pay a portion of the cost.

The Highways Committee reported that traffic congestion in Alfred Street has been discussed with the police. It appeared that a “No Waiting” order would be necessary if the street was to be kept clear.

The committee proposes a meeting with County Council, police and Road Safety Committee representatives to discuss the experimental traffic diversion and the general problem of traffic restrictions and parking arrangements in the town.


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 24th October 1958

New move in rail fight

A new development in the fight to save the local rail passenger service was announced at Rushden Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday. Three representatives of the council, Messrs. F. E. Brown (chairman), E. E. Newell and R. R. Griffiths, will meet a Transport Commission official for discussions on November 11.

The council is applying for corporate membership of the Railway Development Association in order to obtain expert advice, and will consider calling a public meeting – as suggested by the National Union of Boot and Shoe Operatives – if necessary.

The chief debate on Wednesday concerned the anti-spitting notices about the town. Feeling they were having no effect, the Health Committee proposed to remove them, but they will be retained as the result of a well-backed amendment moved by Mr. J. E. Wills and seconded by Mr. Griffiths. Mr. Wills claimed the disappearance of spittoons from licenced premises as proof of progress, but Mrs. W. M. Lean said she had frequently seen people spitting beneath the notices.

Mr. C. Norris forecast a substantial improvement in traffic conditions at the “Oakley” cross-roads as the result of a County Council scheme to remove the “island” at the junction of Irchester Road, the introduction of bollards to separate traffic there, the re-siting of the bus shelter, and other measures.

It was agreed to ask Bedford Rural Council to take steps against offensive smells said to emanate from premises in Wymington.

The Surveyor (Mr. W. J. Anker) has been asked to report on houses which are on the market with a view to their conversion into flats for old people.

A regulation which provides that no poultry or pigeons shall be kept on the premises is to be omitted from future rent cards, reported the housing committee. Tenants will still be required to obtain approval before erecting poultry houses.

Rents of eight houses on Trafford Road are to be increased by 3s 1d a week when improvements are completed.

It was reported that 53 additional houses were brought into occupation during the past financial year, and that the gross rental, including rates, amounted to £101,421.

The housing committee has been advised that part of the children’s playground in Hove Road could be used as a site for 40 or more garages.

Traffic conditions on the A6 between Hayway and Washbrook Road have been inspected by county officers and a scheme may be introduced for widening the carriageway and providing a bus waiting bay.

The general problem of traffic arrangements in the town will be examined at a special meeting of the highways committee and the police on November 3.

Two seats on Wymington Road are to be placed on paved areas to obviate the difficulty of keeping the grass cut.


Many Queen Street houses are to be re-numbered. Those concerned are in Queen’s Terrace and on the south side of the street between High Street and Rectory Road.

A scheme for the renovation of the cemetery chapel was approved. New parts of the cemetery brought into use in the future are to be developed as a “lawn” cemetery, and the Garden of Rest may be developed to provide for the scattering of cremated remains and the inscribing of names on a communal memorial stone.

No objections to the Woburn Place clearance order have been received.

The health committee reported that to comply with the Litter Act. 1958, the town needs 170 litter bins, costing between £600 and £750. The scheme was approved in principle, but for the present only 14 bins – for High Street, College Street and Church Street – are being ordered.


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 21st November 1958

Major plan for traffic approved

A major traffic plan for the town – one that would convert High Street and Rectory Road into one-way streets – was approved at a meeting of Rushden Urban Council on Wednesday.

Devised by the Highways Committee with police co-operation, the scheme is for submission to the County Council with a request for action. It proposes one-way traffic, south to north, in High Street between Church Street and Station Approach, in Station Approach (west to east), Rectory Road (north to south) and Victoria road, between Rectory Road and High Street (east to west).

Provision in the town plan for road improvements which will enable southbound traffic to go on through Park Road instead of turning down Newton Road.

Bus stops in Station approach and Rectory Road (near the C.W.S. factory).

Halt signs in Victoria Road (near High Street), Queen Street (east of Rectory Road) and Newton Road (west of Rectory Road).

A request to the United Counties Omnibus Co. to provide an entrance to their garage from Newton Road.

Traffic boards at the junction of Fitzwilliam Street and Wellingborough Road.


Resumption of two-way traffic at the southern end of Duck Street, to encourage the use of the Duck Street car parks.

Unilateral “waiting” for periods up to 30 minutes in the wider parts of High Street.

No waiting between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. in Station Approach; the west side of Rectory Road; the east side of Rectory Road between Queen Street and Rectory; Alfred Street; top portion of College Street; Duck Street, from High street to 100 feet south of Carnegie Street, Victoria Road.

An additional clause was to ask the Ministry of Transport to consider moving the A6 pedestrian crossing near the foot of Hayway to a position near “The Beeches.”

The only part of the original scheme to be deleted was a clause which would have permitted short-period waiting on the north side of Victoria Road.


Points debated, however, included meal-time congestion at the junction of Rectory Road and Newton Road, the need for bigger signs at the Skinner’s Hill, where the “switch” of northbound traffic will still be voluntary; the line of sight for drivers turning right from the top of Fitzwilliam Street; whether two-way traffic should be restored in Duck Street before the road is widened; and whether waiting should be banned in the lower part of College Street.

After a keen debate the council decided to oppose the development of the former Mission cricket ground in Irchester Road as a housing site. If the council’s attitude – based on the general town planning proposals – is endorsed by the county planning officer, the trustees of the late John Clark, as owners, may be able to require the council to purchase the land.

Voted Against

After arguing as to whether or not the field would be suitable for a public open space, the members voted heavily against the site owners’ proposal.

Mr. R. R. Griffiths was nominated as a hospital manager, Mr. R. H. Marriott as a primary school manager, and Mr. H. W. Ellis for work on the County Advisory Committee for Old People’s Welfare.

Mr. H. Waring wrote resigning his position as a co-opted member of the Library Committee and is to receive a letter of thanks for his many years of service.

When a block of flats and maisonettes is built on the Rose Avenue site the housing committee will make an experiment in laying out the land in front as an open space instead of fencing it into separate gardens.

A pitch in Spencer Park will be rented to Mr. C. W. R. Thurston for pleasure fairs during the next three years, at a payment of £200 each year.

A contract was entered into with W. P. Holyoake and Co. Finedon, for the provision of two flats at the Rushden Hall at £2,197.

The Highways Committee reported that the Duck Street improvements scheme now in progress will provide a carriageway, completed except for the final surfacing but suitable for traffic, and kerbs and footpaths, only one of which will have its final surfacing at present.

The council agreed to take over Lime Street as a highway repairable by the inhabitants at large, subject to the customary maintenance period of six months.

In connection with the projected improvements at the Oakley crossroads, it was agreed to the bus shelter in Wellingborough Road being moved to a new position.

New litter-baskets in the town are to bear the slogan “Help to keep Rushden tidy.”

The Public Health inspector (Mr. M. W. Ellis) reported on steps taken following complaints about smoke and grit from factories in Harborough Road and Crabb Street.

Permission was granted for the erection of an illuminated street map in Newton Road.

The name of Mr. R. R. Griffiths will be submitted to the County UDC association for nomination as a representative on the Kettering or Northampton Hospital Management Committee.


The Rushden Echo and Argus, 19th December 1958

Rents rise: idea upsets member

To mention a probable rent increase just before Christmas is unfortunate, in the opinion of Mr. R. R. Griffiths, who criticised the Housing Committee at Rushden Urban Council’s meeting on Wednesday.

Mr. Griffiths said he thought he must have been misled when the housing revenue position was last considered. He was commenting on Mr. J. E. Wills’ statement as chairman of the committee, that council house rents would probably rise because of the increase in loan charges.

Mr. Wills recalled the advice given by the treasurer to raise the rents last year. “But we refused to do it,” he said.

Now, he thought, the increase would be at least a shilling.


Members also complained of neglect to keep gates and fences in repair; or garden walls from which coping stones were missing, and of renovated houses where people taking a bath might strike their heads on the water heater.

A £15, 980 contract for the erection of a block of six flats and six maisonettes in Rose Avenue was placed with F. and R. Windsor, Ltd., subject to sanction.

An application from W. W. Chamberlain, Ltd to discharge 65,000 gallons of trade effluent into the town sewers from the John Street factory was refused after a report that the views of all officers concerned had been sought by the Health Committee.

Dairy Petition

A petition against the use of premises in Station Road as a dairy and delivery centre for the Blousic Dairy Company has been received from 16 residents in the neighbourhood.

The Highways and Planning Committee, who were prepared to support the petitioners, will reconsider the question as the result of requests by Mr. E. E. Newell and Mr. C. Freeman.

Declaring the Free Library to be the Cinderella of all the committees, Mr. A. H. Bailey said there had got to be a change of attitude by the whole council. Merely to restore the cuts which had been made would not be sufficient, and he would be making recommendations in January or February.

Holes “deep enough to make goldfish ponds” were said by Mr. R. H. Marriott to exist in the roads of the Highfield district.

Mr. C. Norris, as chairman of the Highways Committee, agreed that they would have to be dealt with in the next estimates.

The Clerk (Mr. G. H. Crowdy) announced that the Woburn Place clearance order has been confirmed.

A statement on the housing revenue account showed that the surplus next March is now estimated to be £440 compared with the original estimate of £1,430. The housing committee warned that an increase of rents would probably be required for the next financial year.

The tender of Robinson and Bucklin, of Kettering, for the internal decoration of 186 houses, at £1,813, was accepted.

Some pine trees are to be removed in order to allow more light and sun to reach prefabricated bungalows on the Southfields Estate.

Footpaths and carriageways in Short Stocks and Slaters Close are to be completed at an estimated cost of £2,050.

A letter has been received from three Trafford Road tenants who object to the proposal to use part of the Hove Road playground as a garage site. No action on the letter is recommended by the Housing Committee.

The Highways Committee has decided that it cannot recommend a contribution toward any temporary work in Woodland Road.

An early report on further properties to be dealt with under the clearance scheme has been asked for in order to facilitate re-housing.

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