|The Rushden Echo and Argus, 15th January 1960, transcribed by Gill Hollis
‘One-way’ criticism by the Co-op
One-way traffic may well mean the end of Rushden High Street as the town’s main shopping centre, according to a magazine distributed by Rushden Co-operative Society. The writer accuses Rushden, Higham Ferrers and District Chamber of Trade of “starting all this” and suggests the Chamber has gone headlong into something that can have fatal effects on its own members.
“Councillor Allebone,” writes the local edition, “got quite heated about the request made by some of Rushden’s Labour councillors that the society should be directly represented at the meeting to discuss one-way traffic in High Street.
“If reports in an evening paper are to be believed, Mrs. Muxlow was also amazed at this desire. Sometimes I wonder if the city fathers (or mothers) really know what goes on in the town.
“The society pays more rates than any other trading organisation in the town; it has more shops than anyone in High Street; most of the townspeople are members of the society, and yet when an important item such as the one-way street is to be discussed, the Chamber of Trade must be there, but the society is deemed impertinent if it says that it should be represented.
“When one talks about the society refraining from participating in politics, antics such as this make one wonder whether we ought not to be even more politically minded.
“In the end it would appear that the meeting was abortive anyway. Most people attending agreed that the one-way street was necessary to enable a free flow of traffic, and it would appear that there was general agreement that parking in High Street should be allowed.
“This parking, in my opinion, will undoubtedly restrict the free flow of traffic in High Street and increase the danger to pedestrians.
“The Chamber of Trade, who were the motivating force behind the one-way street effort, would be well advised in future to have discussions with other trading organisations before going headlong into something that can, in the long run, have fatal effects on their own members.
“The effect of the one-way street may well be the end of Rushden High Street as the main shopping centre, and I am sure that was not in the minds of the Chamber of Trade when they started all this.”
The writer goes on to assert that the urban council “had no mandate for this dislocation in the shopping habits of the people of Rushden a matter that might be interesting at the next local council elections.”
The writer declares the influx of “outside speculators” to be a bad thing for the town and confesses: “While I am critical of the attitude of the Chamber of Trade on many things, I would rather do business with them than with the representatives of these outsiders.”
The article is headed: “Why this bias against the society?”