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Developments - late 1950s

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 20th July 1956, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Development plans for Rushden and Higham

Development plans for Rushden and Higham Ferrers in the next 15 years are explained in a written analysis published by the County Council this week.

The proposals are divided into two separate periods – 1956-61 and 1961-1971. Scheduled for the first period are: The long awaited extension of the South End School:

Continuance of public and private housing schemes, with the provision of roads and sewers for new estates.

Erection of an ambulance station, and the provision of a health centre and an old people’s home (all in Rushden).

Put back to the 1961-71 period (in which the housing programme is expected to be completed) are:

Extensions to the Newton Road School;

A Rushden-Higham Ferrers by-pass road;

An additional car park;

A central bus station;

Public open spaces and Municipal offices for Rushden Urban Council.

More People

Estimated population of the two towns (20,238) is expected to increase to about 20,800 by 1971. With people at present living in unfit houses, and those on council housing lists, the number to be housed in the next 15 years is estimated at 3,943. For this purpose it is estimated that 115.7 acres are required. (In fact 246.7 acres have been allocated for housing in the Town Map area).

Site extensions to South End School and Newton Road School amount to 2.35 and 0.23 acres respectively. The analysis states that the existing primary school in Higham Ferrers will be retained – but if it is found necessary to establish a grammar school in the area it would serve Rushden, Higham Ferrers, Irthlingborough and Raunds and would probably be located at Higham.

The County Council ambulance station, in Station Road, Rushden, is scheduled for completion in 1957-58, and other social service project for the district include a new health clinic, off Rectory Road, Rushden, and an old people’s home at “The Shrubbery,” Rushden.

New Industry

New sites allocated for industrial purposes cover 48.67 acres, and are situated adjacent to the proposed by-pass road, Higham Ferrers, off Wellingborough Road, Rushden, off Shirley Road, Rushden, and Bedford Road, Rushden.

Attention is also drawn to the need for attracting other light industry into the town, provided the population to serve the new industry is brought into the town at the same time.

The by-pass road is east of the town in the area reserved for it on the Town Map, and in order to relieve congestion in Rushden’s shopping centre, an additional car park is to be provided off Newton Road. Newton Road is also to be the site of a central bus station.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 22nd March 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Car parks won’t solve High Street problem

New car parks planned by Rushden Urban Council for College Street and Duck Street may help, but there is not likely to be an end to people parking outside shops in High Street and then moving along the street and stopping again, Rushden traders were told on Tuesday.

Giving his report at the annual meeting of Rushden and Higham Ferrers Chamber of Trade, the secretary, Mr. R. A. Evans, said no progress had been made in the fight for one-way traffic in High Street, although Rectory Road was to be sign-posted as a North-South diversion.

“The council is planning new car parks in College Street and Duck Street, and it is felt in the council chamber that by providing car parks on a lavish scale the authorities are doing as much as can be expected,” said Mr. Evans. He felt that the car parks would not stop the parking-while-shopping habit in High Street.

Mr. Evans said that during last summer’s carnival the chamber’s exhibition tent had at times been filled to overflowing. He urged the chamber to seize any similar opportunity which might arise. Unless there was something like a carnival to attract the people the public would not support any exhibition put on by themselves alone.


"It has always been the same," he continued. "It is perhaps a tragedy that we have not in the town a place big enough where such an exhibition could be held to attract the public at the right moment."

Members learned that during the year their surplus had increased by £29 15s 3d to £50 18s 10½d. by £29 15s 3d to £50 18s 10 0½d.

Officers elected: President Mr. E. G. Tomkins, senior vice-president Mr. A. C. Wright, junior vice-president Mr. G. Knight; treasurer Mr. E. V. H. Preedy, auditor Mr. L. G. Roberts, secretary Mr. R. A. Evans.

Committee: Mrs. D. Johnson, Messrs. A. W. Freeston, A. Saxby, A. S. Knight, G. R. Johnson, W. Keller.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 18th October 1957, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Traffic is Not Using New Car Park

Although a week has passed since the blue and white parking signs were put up, Rushden’s latest and largest car park is not yet attracting more than four or five vehicles at a time.

Duck Street car park 1957
The new Duck Street car park

It is off the centre part of Duck Street, just “round the corner” from the foot of congested College Street. The entrance is wide and the sloping ground offers room for about 100 cars, which means that it could more or less solve Rushden’s parking problem for the present.

Although many tons of brick and rubble have been put down over a period of several months the present surface is temporary. It lacks a hard finish and parking spaces cannot be marked out on the gritty top, but there is so much room that an orderly deployment of cars should present no difficulty.

Part of the site still awaits development and some of the land will be required for a sewage pumping station and pipes. When this work is done the Urban Council will be able to complete the park and bring its final capacity to about 150 vehicles.

In the meantime why is the motoring public so slow to take advantage of the new facilities?

For one thing, there is a notice excluding heavy commercial vehicles. Until a stronger surface is provided there is a limit of one ton un-laden.

In the second place College Street, where an area of carriageway is marked off for parking, and Alfred Street, where it is not prohibited, are between the new park and High street – the place where most of the motorists have shopping or other business to do.

Or it may be a case of time being needed before the park becomes known, especially to non-residents. The so-called Co-op car park between High Street and Rectory Road is not yet known to some of the villagers who come into Rushden at odd times. It is usually full in the daytime, however, and began booming from the word “Go”.

According to some observers motorists in general have revolted from the primitive act of walking. In the more extreme cases they cannot bear the thought of walking more than 20 or 30 yards and would rather give High Street a miss than revert to pedestrianism.

This week, at any rate, College Street has continued to carry its familiar burden, and Alfred Street, which the police have been watching, has been far from clear. All the other popular parking places adjacent to High Street have had “business as usual.”

Cars parked
Perhaps some impending developments will drive the street-throttlers into the Duck Street arena. It is the Urban Council’s declared intention to keep one side of Rectory Road clear when a voluntary southbound traffic diversion begins. Then there is the widening of “Pung’s Lane” – the portion of Duck Street linking up with High Street. Some preliminary work has already been done, and the days of the unofficial parking place at the top of the rise are undoubtedly numbered.
It is in that neighbourhood, however, that the next official car park will develop, for a site at the lower end of the lane has recently been cleared so that the council can get to work.

By that time, it appears, Rushden will have more car capacity than most of its neighbours. The present need is to use what is on offer.

When these pictures were taken the new car park in Duck Street, Rushden, was almost empty, yet one side of Alfred Street (top) held a complete row of parked vehicles. Even so, this was not one of Alfred Street’s “blue” days, for parking has often been continuous on both sides. Even the bombed site in High Street (centre) is usually packed with up to 15 vehicles, and College Street (lower) with an approved parking space in the foreground, has to have an “unofficial” car queue on the other side, although the new park, which could do away with all the congestion, is only just round the corner.
The Rushden Echo and Argus, 29th November 1957, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Rector Will Sell Green-Belt Field
A proposal to sell Rushden’s Rectory field as a building site has been explained by the Rev. I. E. Douglas-Jones, Rector of St. Mary’s, following news that a housing scheme has been before the planning authorities.

The field, which has been preserved as an open space since the far-off days of Cannon J. T. Barker, was mentioned in the last list of plans considered by Rushden Urban Council. It figured in plan No. 293 – an “outline application” regarding a “housing estate” at rectory field, off Robinson Road – and the developers were named as Arthur Sanders, Ltd. There was “no objection to the proposals.”

Useful ‘Lung’
The field is hemmed in by houses in Portland Road, King’s Road and Robinson Road and adjacent to the rectory at the western end, and St. Mary’s Church Institute. For many years it was used for sport by young people connected with the church, but in recent times practically no authorised use has been made of it. Though not easy to see from the surrounding streets it appears in aerial pictures as a useful “lung.”

About three acres will be sold if the deal goes through, but many negotiations are in prospect before the sale will be an accomplished fact.

Told that news of the scheme had caused a certain amount of surprise in the town, the rector said frankly that the field had become “a positive, nuisance” to him.

“Children,” he said, “climb over the walls, pull bricks out and make a nuisance of themselves all day long. It is no use to us as a church. It is hopeless as a football pitch, and to make it suitable would cost thousands. If the young people want to play football nowadays they want a proper pitch.

“It is the whole tendency of the diocesan authorities” continued the rector, “to encourage incumbents to get rid of any valuable land they don’t want. Because of the inflationary tendencies we have got to try and realise our assets.”

The sale of the field was first mentioned in church council and diocesan circles about three years ago.

“We shall be retaining the Institute land and also a strip across the bottom of the field” explained the rector. “This will be quite adequate for young people if they want to kick a football about, and we shall retain the paddock unless the health authorities want it for the health centre they have been discussing.

No Use Retaining It
“I agree it is a nice green belt, but it is no use retaining it if the children are going to create damage. I would like to see it retained as an open space if the public authorities want to use it, but of course the authorities never give the price that builders will.

“I have no doubt,” he continued, “that the people of King’s Road and Portland Road will not be too pleased, but mind you, some in Portland Road have gone so far as to cut little gaps for the children to go through and play in the field. I don’t mind children playing there so long as they are not destructive.

“The land is not sold yet. It has to go through a lot of processes yet, but it is no use going on with the negotiations unless there is permission to develop the land.”

People Don’t Realise
The field is the personal property of the rector and if it is sold the money will go to the church commissioners, who will invest it and use the income to supplement the Benefice.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 28th November 1958, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Petitioners object to new estate plan
The proposed development of the Hall Avenue Estate at Rushden would join up two existing estates of the town and become a useful neighbourhood unit; it was agreed at a local inquiry held in the council chamber on Wednesday.

Although there were no official objections – both the County Planning Authority and the Local Authority supported the idea – it is not popular with people living on adjacent land.

When Mr. V. H. Loney, an inspector of the Ministry of Housing and Local Government, conducted the inquiry, he was handed a petition which had been sent to the County Council, in opposition to the application for development permission made by A. Sanders, Ltd., Rectory Road, Rushden.

The petitioners objected that when they bought their respective properties, they had been assured that the land in question would remain a “green belt.”

Sixteen people signed the letter and the inspector was informed that 12 of these had previously received circulars about the proposal from the County Council.

Mr. J. Mather, who attended the inquiry, made verbal objection to the proposed development on the same grounds, for himself and on behalf of seven neighbours. When he bought his property at 92 Hall Avenue, in 1940, he was assured by the house agent that the adjoining land would remain undeveloped he said. His neighbours had received similar assurances.

The inspector, who was told by Mr. O. M. Jones (deputy clerk to the county council) and Mr. M. Gregory (county planning officer) that nothing was known about such assurances, said the objections would be noted and made known to the minister.

Another letter was read to the inspector by Mr. A. G. Crowdy, who said it had been received by Rushden Urban Council. A woman living in St. Margaret’s Avenue wrote to say she would be glad to see the land developed as she did not want it returned to being a “rat-infested, thorny wilderness.”

The land concerned in the inquiry covers 86 acres and A. Sanders Ltd., have applied for permission to build houses on the site.

Appearing for the applicants, Mr. A. N. Groome said that the Hall Avenue estate was the only large areaof the town left for development and official support was being given for the proposal.

No ‘Piecemeal’
Mr. John L. Wilson, estate agent, declared that it was essential for the whole estate to be developed by one company capable of bearing the heavy initial expenditure. “Piecemeal” development, which had taken place in the past, could only lead to bad planning and would result in an odd area of land being left undeveloped, he said.

Mr. Crowdy, clerk to the Rushden Urban Council, said the council wished to see the area developed to provide a connection between Irchester Road and Wymington Road, as the only access between the two at present was via the congested town centre.

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