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Hayden Road Allotments
The Rushden Echo, 1st April 1966, transcribed by Jim Hollis

The ‘Shanty Town’ For Cars

Hayden Road Allotments
Some of the garages
Rushden has a “Shanty Town”, a collection of occasionally ram-shackled one-room buildings pieced together from old wooden planks and rusting corrugated iron to make homes.

However, Rushden’s “shanty town” is not a social problem, only motor cars live there.

Fronting Hayden Road there are some solidly built concrete garages, most of which are let by the owners, but behind this veneer, bounded by a rough track on either side, are a hundred and three other garages for cars which have sprung up since the death of the allotment.

The allotments were owned by the Rushden Allotments and Smallholdings Association, but steadily plots were sold to private individuals, originally for gardening use. Never was it thought that the adequate potting sheds would become garages.

Land Wasted

Now, much of the land is wasted, many old sheds are not used at all and the small padlocks on every one of the garage doors seems a vain protection against the would-be thief armed with a crowbar.

For years Rushden Town Football Club has been campaigning to have Hayden Road made up, but now it is in an even worse state than ever. Football enthusiasts refuse to drive along the un-adopted road, leaving their cars at either end or walking to the football ground.


The club feels that people using the garages should contribute something towards the making up of the road and, in fairness, some of the owners agreed to do this.

Mr. Ken Ambridge, secretary, explained that the club had obtained a list of the owners from Rushden Urban Council. “We wanted to know whether they could be cajoled into helping in the making up of the road,” he said.

He realised that they were not frontage owners, but Hayden Road was used by the garage holders practically every day.

It would seem that these garages, whatever their state, serve a very useful purpose. Where else would cars be kept if there was no off-street garage space for them?


The area planning officer, Mr. C. W. Hounsell, explained that all private garages on the allotment site were on limited planning approval. This means that owners have to reapply for approval every year.

“There is a need for garages and it gets the cars off the road, and as far as we can see there is no objection to them,” he said.

One allotment holder told the “Echo” he had always provided for himself in a small way and he regretted that more “youngsters” did not take to gardening.

Just As Well

He realised that cars had to be put somewhere and that if the allotments were not used for their original purpose they might just as well be used for garaging cars.

Several times he had been offered money for his plot of land, but he had never accepted it. If he had it would have meant that even more garages would have fronted onto Hayden Road.

The Rushden Echo, 30th June 1967, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Anger over plan for ‘shanty town’

more garages
More garages
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.

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