|The Rushden Echo, 30th June 1967, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Anger over plan for ‘shanty town’
Rushden Urban Council has come under fire for its decision to seek a compulsory purchase order for the six-acre garage and allotment site off Hayden Road.
Only one councillor spoke out against the decision at the last council meeting, but it is not popular among some of the people who own garages or cultivate land on the site.
At the moment the site is covered by numerous garages of various types, shapes and sizes, some well-constructed, others in a dilapidated condition. In between there are areas of cultivated and uncultivated ground.
The council wants the land for its future house building programme. They intend to construct old people’s houses, garages to replace those they take over and houses.
At this stage it is thought the houses will be used to accommodate people from the Southfields prefabricated estate, which is nearing the end of its useful life.
A spokesman for the council told the “Echo” that the land was owned by so many people it was almost impossible to attempt to negotiate with the owners individually.
“That is why we have taken out a compulsory purchase order. But that does not mean we will not try to negotiate individually where possible,” he said.
“All owners will be compensated and we do plan to build garages to replace those already on the site.”
Mr. R. D. Gilhooley, the only councillor to speak out against the decision, said the council would have to be prepared to pay high compensation. In its present use it was showing a good return per acre.
He said there were some elderly people who had invested their nest eggs in garages to let to help them maintain their independence.
He was against having the site redeveloped because he thought there were better sites available in the area.
“There is a field at the end of Manning Street which is undeveloped,” he said.
Some people have likened the rows of oddly shaped garages on the Hayden Road site to a “Shanty Town” and Mr. Gilhooley agreed that the site “did not look very nice,” but added, at least it was hidden from view.
“I’m mainly concerned with the people who are going to be dispossessed, rather than how the site looks,” he said.
Someone else who has complained to the “Echo”, is Mr. Cliff Perkins, 134 Cromwell Road, who owns two plots solely used for gardening on the land which the council may purchase.
“It is impossible to compensate me for the pleasure I get from growing my own fresh vegetables and flowers, even if the council pay me for taking away my land,” said Mr. Perkins.
Mr. Perkins lives for his garden and it is a real source of pleasure to him.
“I have no back garden in which to grow anything, and if the plots I have are taken, where am I going to find another piece of land anywhere near my house?” he asked.
Mr. Perkins mentions four roads where there have been gardening plots in the past, but which the council have since claimed, and he wonders where, unless you have your own garden, can someone now do a little gardening for pleasure.
The pleasure is greatly reduced if you have to walk or cycle some miles to tend your plot, he claims.