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District Council – Urban Powers Enquiry

November 1907

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Friday 08 November 1907

District Council – Urban Powers Enquiry

The application of the Thurnscoe Parish Council for urban powers formed the subject matter of the County Council inquiry some months ago.

Subsequently, however, friction arose with regard to the northern boundary, this hitch arising after the County Council had granted the order. The Local Government Board thereupon ordered another inquiry, which was held yesterday at the Parish Hall, Thurnscoe and was conducted by County Alderman Smithies and County Councillor Wood, who were attended by Mr. C. M. Bird, assistant solicitor, from the office of the Clerk of the Peace Wakefield.

Among those present were Mr. J. H. Cockburn, solicitor, Rotherham, representing the Parish Council; the Rev. T. T. Taylor (chairman) and most of the members of the Parish Council, and Messrs. F. E. Nicholson (clerk), H. M. Marshall (assistant clerk), W. R. Crabtree (surveyor). F. J. Allott (nuisance inspector), Mr. H. Baker, and Dr. McLean (medical officer of health), representing the Doncaster Rural District Council.

Alderman Smithies, who presided, said in the past the County Council thought they had discretion to vary the original proposals, but now the Local Government Board said they had only discretion adopt or refuse the proposal before them. As the proposal before them differed somewhat from the previous one, they would have through the evidence again.

Alleged Mismanagement.

Mr. Cockburn, for the Parish Council, said they were not applying for the whole of the parish to be constituted as an urban district, but much as was shown in the unconfirmed order. The parish acreage was 1,150, and the population 3.132, which, with the reduction of 52 from the northern portion, would bring it down to 3,100. Since the previous inquiry additional houses had been erected, and the population had risen to 3,415. The ratable value for Poor Law purposes amounted to £25,126. and a penny in the produced £104 13s. 10d. The calls paid by the parish for the year ending September 30th, 1907, were:—

Poor Law, £3,034; general expenses, £1,121; special sanitary rate, £1,800; total, £5,955.

The growth of Thurnscoe was rapid, and 20 years ago it was purely rural in that locality. The Hickleton Main Colliery Company had found work for about 2,000 persons, and the erection of houses had proceeded apace.

Water was obtained from the Hemsworth Rural District Council, and the streets were well lighted. Indeed, he ventured to say there was scarcely another new place in Yorkshire so well-equipped for the benefit of the community.

Proceeding, -Mr. Cockburn said the roads had been shockingly neglected by the Doncaster Rural District Council, whilst the sewage outfall works were in a bad condition. It was nothing short of scandalous. The filter beds, too, had not been turned over for years. Strong complaints had been made, and farmers who had lost valuable cattle spoke of taking action against the District Council. Grievous neglect because the Doncaster authority has too much to do summarises the rest of Mr. Cockburn’s argument. The Colliery Company, the largest ratepayers, he said, supported the application. Evidence in support was also given by the Rev. T. T. Taylor (who is lord the manor), and Messrs. D. Fawcett and M. Noakes, all members of the Parish Council.

The Real Cause of the Application.

Mr. Marshall submitted the case for the Rural District Council. Referring to the 2,000 colliery employes, he said Mr. Cockburn had been careful not to inform them that they did not all reside in the parish. If Thurnscoe did obtain the order, the loss to the Rural District Council would not be 2d. in the £. but nothing. With regard to the Doncaster authority’s jurisdiction over the township, he maintained that the officials spent a good deal of time there. The recommendations of local members, constituting special sub-committee to deal with sanitary and highway matters, were invariably accepted. The Rural District’ Council had always given Thurnscoe the very best attention, and to emphasise this point sketched the various improvements they had carried out. The general sanitary affairs had, be contended, been well attended at a minimum of code, the highways had been tremendously improved, the water scheme was in good order, and the sewerage scheme, until recently, had also been a satisfactory state. The real cause of the application alleged he that under the present system of local government there was only room for one Thurnscoe Rural District Councillor, and that there were too many aspirants for the office. The township was too small to be constituted an urban district, but not too to be efficiently managed by the Rural District Council.

Mr. Wilde- manager of the Hickleton Main Colliery, said they would require 50%, more men in a short time. Three hundred more men were wanted now.

A vote of thanks to the County Council’s representatives brought the inquiry to a close.