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The Rushden Echo, 17th January, 1936, transcribed by Gill Hollis
Rushden Urban District Council

Road Appeal To Ministry Of Transport

Demand For Footpaths In Dangerous Bedford-road

Sunday’s Fatal Accident Cited

Centralisation Condemned: Move To Secure Return Of Local Control

  Sunday’s fatal accident along the Bedford-road and the condition of in-town footpaths prompted a storm of criticism at the Rushden Urban District Council’s meeting on Wednesday.

  “Centralisation,” which involves the control of Rushden roads by the County Council, was roundly condemned, and after a decision to approach the Ministry of Transport concerning the need for footpaths in Bedford-road, the Council instructed the Highways Committee to explore the whole question of regaining local control.

  The Surveyor reported that as instructed he had prepared an estimate of the cost of extending the footpath on the south side of Newton-road for about 160 yards.  The cost would be £100, and the work would be carried out by the Council’s own men.

  Owing to the narrowness of the road near Rectory Farm it was decided to proceed with the work of providing a footpath there.

  Mr. Wilmott explained that the path went up to the end of the houses on the bend.

Accident Expected

  Opening the wider question of footpaths, Mr. Spencer said that after the fatal accident on the Bedford-road he wondered whether additional representation could be made to the County Council regarding the need of footpaths, and also in Kimbolton-road.  Many people walked on those roads, and they were liable to accident.  It was very dangerous for pedestrians, but there was nowhere else for them to walk.  He moved that the county council’s attention be called to the lack of footpaths in these two roads.

  Mr. Wilmott seconded.

  Mr. Richardson: As recently as a month ago we were moving the very same thing, and we felt than that the time would come when the thing that has happened would happen.  It will happen again if footpaths are not provided.

  Mr. Allen said he supposed the resolution would be a little more strongly worded than before.  They could call attention to the very serious danger there was, especially at the Bedford-road, to pedestrians.

Fruitless Requests

  Mr. Roe: We have already called the County Council’s attention to it, and they have done nothing, and I think we should go a little further than that and write to the Ministry of Transport.  There ought to be footpaths there.  It is dangerous along the Bedford-road in the day-time, apart from the night-time.

  Mr. Roe moved a resolution to this effect, and Dr. Greenfield seconded.

  Dr. Greenfield said that he had spoken on this subject several times before, and he did not know how many times they called the County Council’s attention to the matter.  He supposed some hundreds of people lived along the Bedford-road now.  It was not a very great way to go, and he thought the people living in what was a little town in itself up there had some right to a footpath.

  Mr. Hornsby said he would like to see the footpath carried to Avenue-road.  It was very essential that a path should be made there.

  “I was up there for a walk this afternoon,” Mr. Hornsby added, “and it is one continual buzzing by of motors.  Unless you are very careful you can easily get killed.  I do sincerely hope that something can be done in the matter at once.”

Calls On County

  The Chairman said he was a member of the Roads and Bridges Committee of the County Council, and he had stressed this point several times, but few could appreciate the number of applications the Council received for footpaths all over the county.  There was continual ribbon building, and in spite of legislation it was difficult to stop it.  Houses were going up in proximity to all the towns, and footpaths were being asked for all over the county.

  Although in the estimates every year there was a strong feeling that they did not allow enough for footpaths (Mr. Spencer: Hear, hear) the amount was increasing year by year, and it was impossible to do it all.  They must recognise that however much they knew of their own locality – and they naturally thought theirs was the worst – there were other areas equally bad.

  Mr. Allebone pointed out that the Rushden Council might have had the same experience in regard to one of its own roads; an unfortunate accident might have happened at Newton-road, where they were just putting a footpath themselves.  They were sorry for what had happened, but they must not blame one authority.  Although there was no footpath, that was not the direct cause of the unfortunate accident in Bedford-road on Sunday.

“Disgraceful” Paths

  Both resolutions were carried, and the Council with therefore approach both the County Council and the Ministry.

  Mr. Roe called attention to the bad state of the footpaths in Higham-road and parts of Irchester-road.  “The inhabitants of this town pay their rates to this Council,” he said, “and part of these rates is for the maintenance of highways and footpaths.  If we in our wisdom delegate our powers to other authorities, it is still our responsibility to see that they are carried out.”

  Describing the paths as “in a shocking state and a disgrace to the town,” Mr. Roe said that if members had walked up Higham-road in the weather they had had during the last fortnight they would realise the state they were in.

  The Chairman: It is not we who delegate powers.  The powers are conferred on the County Council by the Ministry of Transport.  If they were to give delegation to Rushden they would have practically the same application from every authority.  The great trouble is this centralisation, and how we can get over it I don’t know.  There is no doubt we have had improvements in Rushden that we could not have had if we had been the authority, but in some things, such as when footpaths are pulled up for electric light and gas mains – in the small jobs – the lack of attention to detail is almost scandalous.

Rushden’s Equipment

  “I think the only way would be that we should attempt to consider what would be our upkeep for our own roads, and make strong representation for delegated powers to let us do our own.”

  On the Irchester-road, Mr. Allebone added, they had a resolution two months ago.

  Mr. Roe: Nothing has been done.

  The Chairman: The state of the footpaths there is appalling, and yet nothing has been done.  While they are working at Irthlingborough, maybe, they can’t get here.

  Mr. Spencer moved that the Highways Committee go into the matter.  As the members knew, he said, he had never been in favour of this centralisation.  The Council had a complete set of officers and the full equipment for carrying out the work efficiently.  The control being taken to Northampton had been to their disadvantage.  The County Councils had huge grants from the Ministry of Transport, and if Rushden had those grants he thought they could do a lot more.

  The resolution was carried.

Health Fete Proposed

Financial needs of Town Social Service Committee

  A letter from the secretary of the Social Service Committee asked the Chairman to call a town’s meeting with a view to holding another fete to assist the health services of the town.

  Mr. Allebone said they had a fete two years ago and were successful in raising a considerable amount of money for the health services.  Before calling a meeting, however, he would like the opinion of the members.

  Mr. Wilmott said the fete was certainly a great success, but he heard many comments that it would not be advisable to have one every year.  It was suggested by some that they would be more successful every three years.  The committee were well off for funds.

  Mr. Capon: I don’t know which organisation Mr. Wilmott refers to as being well off for money – it doesn’t apply to boot manufacturers, anyhow, though it may apply to retired ones (Laughter).  The organisation I am connected with could do with money, particularly the Social Service Committee.  We did our work at Christmas in faith, but we cannot do as much as we would like in the town through lack of funds.  If it is thought that one fete in three years would be sufficient, it is a matter for the town’s meeting to decide.

  Mr. Spencer: There would be no harm in considering it, and I move that a town’s meeting be held.

  Mr. Roe: Would it not be advisable first of all to call the old Fete Committee together and ask them to discuss the matter and recommend?

The Unemployed

  The Chairman: Whatever happens, I think this Council, irrespective of the old Fete Committee, should either give a lead or say they don’t think it is necessary.

  Mr. Dilks: I think this Council should give a lead to the town.  These unfortunate men, many of them, will never get another position.  Are we to leave them to their own resources, or is the town prepared to shoulder the responsibility which belongs to the town?

  Mr. Perkins: It is on the committee that the work falls, and I think we should leave it to them.  They are even more important than the Council in a matter like that.  We as a Council would not make a success of it.

  Speaking “as a representative of one organisation in need of funds,” Mr. Cox said he hoped they would consider the question sympathetically and call a town’s meeting.

  Dr. Greenfield said that unless the Council was prepared to ask the organisations what were their needs for the next twelve months there was no way of seeing whether the fete should be held this year or next year.

  It was then decided to call a town’s meeting as suggested.

Busy Fire Brigade

  In his annual report of the Fire Brigade for 1935, Chief-Officer R. F. Knight said the personnel of the Brigade was unchanged.  All the members continued to work enthusiastically, and all drills had been well attended.

  During the year the Brigade had attended 13 fires, as follows: three dwelling houses, three factories, one club, one workshop and storeroom, two field fires, two chimney fires, one stack fire and farm buildings.  Nine of these fires had been in Rushden and four out of town, two being at Stanwick, and one each at Higham Ferrers and Irchester.

  “The Brigade,” continued the report, “attended the North Eastern District Competitions held at Irthlingborough on July 6, and, I am pleased to say, met with great success.  Prizes gained were as follows: 1st senior steamer competition, 1st hook ladder competition, 2nd hook ladder competition, 2nd junior motor pump competition, 2nd escape competition. This was the first occasion on which our team had been successful in the senior steamer competition, having had second prize on at least ten occasions.  This year, however, they made no mistake over it, and beat the next brigade by over four seconds.  The time recorded for the drill was twenty-five seconds, which was a record for the competition.

Motor Pump Needed

  “Before concluding, I should like to repeat the remarks I made in last year’s report, when I advised you that it was necessary for the Brigade to be supplied with a combination motor pump and escape, and dispense with the services of the old steamer and tender.  At a serious fire the Brigade would be severely handicapped in not possessing the equipment named, owing to being unable to attack the fire from every point of vantage.”

  The Chairman said it was an interesting report, of which they should be proud.  In every case the turnout was extremely quick and earned the commendation of everybody.

  With reference to the request for a motor pump and escape, Mr. Allebone said that a year ago the sub-committee could not see their way to accede to a similar request.

  Mr. Perkins remarked that when one came down the Newton-road past the Fire Station one could see a huge ladder put against the wall.  Supposing there was a fire in a house anywhere in Rushden, they could hardly expect to get a huge unwieldy thing like that into position.  They had just had an example in a town in the North of England where a whole family was burnt out.  Fire was a friend sometimes, but he called it a dangerous friend, and it was a terrible thing that all these children should have been killed when they might have been saved had the proper equipment been at hand.

  On Mr. Perkins’s motion, seconded by Mr. Allen, it was decided that the question be investigated by the proper committee.

Isolation Hospitals

Council Favours Inclusion in Wellingborough Scheme

  Alternative schemes for isolation hospital accommodation were submitted by the County Council, which would in either case bear the whole of the cost but make a charge to each authority in respect of user.  One was for the use of the Kettering hospital by a joint Hospital Board for an enlarged district, and the other was for the constitution of a separate Board for the Wellingborough district, with the extension of the present accommodation at Wellingborough.

  In view of the failure of a proposal for the hospital at Kettering to serve the whole county, the Council agreed to support the Wellingborough scheme.

  Mr. Perkins said the matter would of course go to the County Council and be dealt with there.  They could not have done it on their own initiative.  Everything had been gone into most carefully.

  Mr. Spencer said the first scheme would have been too expensive and of less use than the other one.

Mr. Roe Complains

  The Lighting Sub-Committee reported that the Gas Company had offered to instal a number of new type inverted lamps, in place of the present square lanterns, in a street in the town at their own expense.  The Company desired to demonstrate the effectiveness of the four-burner lamp with reflector.  Their offer was accepted, and the sub-committee was appointed to select a street for the experiment.

  The sub-committee was also authorised to place new lamps in Wymington-road and Harborough-road.

  “This report,” Mr. Roe complained, “is quite misleading to those members of the Council who are not members of the Lighting Committee.  The offer of the company was to light Wellingborough-road from the ‘Oakley’ to the top of Skinners-hill.  I don’t see why it should not have been stated.  There is no need to go rambling about the matter.”

“Kind” Gas Company

  Mr. Wilmott: The company suggested Wellingborough-road, I know, but the whole of the committee felt that that should be left, so we had no alternative to finding other places.  We recommended Wymington-road and Queen-street, but the Gas Co. turned down Queen-street.  We had definite instructions to leave Wellingborough-road for the time being.

  Mr. Spencer: Of course, Mr. Roe is somewhat interested in the Gas Company.

  Mr. Roe: I was not saying that, but I want it correct.

  Mr. Spencer: Some of us are in favour of the overhead method, and, however kind and generous the Gas Company are, we don’t want anything to interfere with that.  If they put a different type of lamp there it would be very awkward for the committee at some future time to ask them to remove them.

    Recommendations of the Kettering conference of local authorities in regard to a scheme for fire brigade co-operation were approved, and the Clerk (Mr. W. L. Beetenson) was appointed to serve on a joint committee which will prepare a final scheme for submission to the various authorities.

Building Statistics

  Building plans were as follows: Bungalow, Bedford-road, Mr. C. G. Lane; extensions to the Railway Hotel, High-street, Messrs. Campbell Praed and Co., Ltd.; abattoir at Dail Farm, Bedford-road, Rushden Industrial Co-operative Society, Ltd.; garage, St. Mary’s-avenue, Waverley Building co.; wooden shed at 54, St. Margaret’s-avenue, Mr. J. Scholes.

  Building statistics for 1935, presented by the Surveyor (Mr. J. W. Lloyd), showed that plans were approved for 156 private houses and 32 Council houses, a total of 188; and houses completed were 166 private and 87 Council, a total of 253.  At the end of the year 42 private houses and 29 Council houses were in course of erection.  Other plans approved were for six additions to houses, 12 additions to factories, six additions to shops, two church schools, a cinema, an abattoir and 43 sundry buildings, chiefly garages.

  Mr. Wilmott observed that he thought this was a very good record for 1935.

  The Housing Manager (Mr. H. C. Allen) reported a reduction of about £6 in the rent arrears.

Brighter Highfield-Road

  The planting of 100 additional trees in Highfield-road was approved.

  A report from the Veterinary Inspector, who had examined 157 cows on 15 premises, showed that with one exception the cows were clinically normal.  The great majority of the cows inspected during 1935 were in good condition.

  The Cemetery Registrar reported 74 interments during the second half of 1935.  Twenty-one grave spaces had been purchased, eight reserved for a first period of 14 years, and three for a second period of 14 years.  The number of graves planted to order was 65, and the number otherwise cared for was 165.

  At the Chairman’s suggestion the Council agreed to send a letter of sympathy, as the Finance Committee had already done, to Councillor G. W. Coles, J.P., who is ill.  Mr. Allebone expressed the hope that Mr. Coles would soon be restored to his usual health.

  There was an amusing incident when the Chairman called in error on Mr. Perkins to present the report of the Housing Committee.  Members laughed heartily when Mr. Perkins replied, “I am pleased to say that I am not the chairman of the Housing Committee.”

  Members present were Messrs. A. Allebone, J.P., C.C. (Chairman), J. T. Richardson (Vice-Chairman), J. Roe, T. W. Cox, D. G. Greenfield, M.D., F. Green, L. Perkins, M.B.E., J. Allen, W. E. Capon, J. S. Denton, A. Wilmott, J. Spencer, J.P., J. E. Dilks, W. J. Sawford, J. Hornsby and E. A. Sugars.

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