Conisborough and Urban District Powers – Final Day of the Inquiry.

June 1898

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Saturday 18 June 1898

Conisborough and Urban District Powers.
Conclusion of the Inquiry.

The County Council inquiry to consider the proposal to confer Urban District powers upon Conisborough and Cadeby, in consequence of a proposal from Conisborough or to confer the same powers upon the portions of Denaby, Cadeby and Conisborough according to a map deposited at the Denaby and Cadeby Main Colliery Company at the County Council officers, was resumed yesterday at Conisborough, before the County Council Committee, composed of Messrs. E. A. Mackie (in the chair), F. Hall. W. Ramsden, and G. Whiteley, with whom was Mr. Vibart Dixon, solicitor, from the County Council offices. Mr. Waugh, instructed by Messrs. Alderson. Son and Dust, appeared for the Conisborough Parish Council: Mr. Boyle, instructed by Messrs Broomhead, Wightman, and Moore, appeared for the Denaby and Main Colliery; Mr. Bairstow appeared for the Doncaster Rural District Council: and Mr. H.H. Hickmott represented the Doncaster Parish Council. The other parties were represented as on the previous day.

Mr. H.H. Hickmott, who opposed the Conisborough scheme on behalf of the Denaby Parish Council and ratepayers of Denaby, and supported the colliery scheme, said the only desire of Conisborough was to get a large ratable value for the purpose reducing the rates within the remainder of their parish. The people sought to protect themselves, as far possible, to ask for urban powers for themselves, and to seek to protect themselves from any adverse position the colliery company might take up. With regard the sewage scheme at Conisborough, although they had contributed £2,700 to the cost, they had derived no benefit and, in fact, the system was incapable of properly coping with the needs of the district. Denaby was in an ideal position. Fortunately, they had in their district a colliery company, which had chosen to provide for the wants of the neighbourhood. Denaby possessed water, gas, recreation ground, institutes, and libraries. They got the water free of cost. Some time ago—in February -there was cause for complaint, but the matter was inquired into and the cause discovered and remedied. The supply was now pure and wholesome and the district had been singularly free from epidemics. A new ecclesiastical district for Denaby and a burial ground would be provided. Should the new Denaby urban be formed, the people of New Conisborough would have the use of the libraries and institute. With regard to the water supply there was not yet an understanding with the company.

Mr Crabtree the waterworks engineer for Doncaster said the district was in the authorised limit of the Doncaster water supply, and up to 7 years ago this applied Denaby. In 1895 Doncaster made arrangements for Sheffield and Rotherham to get a very large supply from the Little Don. Therefore any arrangements that might be made by the Denaby Company, which was within the Doncaster authorised district would not prevent Doncaster from laying duplicate mains in the district.

The Chairman said it would be a fight, then, as who should supply the water. As the company owned the bulk of the properly, they could compel their tenants to take their supply.

Mr. Waugh said if the supply was handed over to the proposed Denaby urban district, it would no longer be a private supply, but a public one.

Mr. Crabtree said Doncaster would have the power of saying whether the supply was a pure one or not.

Mr. Boyle said as far as the water was concerned the company were willing to bind themselves in any way the committee, the resident, might think fit, to hand over to the proposed Denaby Urban District Council their water rights, free of any expense whatever, the only provision being that their property, which was now supplied, should be continued be supplied free.

Mr J. Cockburn, who was present on behalf of Mr J.F. Fullerton, the largest landowner at Denaby, said, having regard to the very handsome offer made by the colliery company, he desired very heartily to support the Denaby application, and the farmers would like be joined to it, as Conisborough could not serve them.

Mr Boyle in stating his opposition to the Conisborough case, said the South Yorkshire Navigation, unanimously supported Denaby and opposed the Conisborough scheme. According to the evidence of the Conisborough witnesses, the committee could not under any circumstances, approve of that scheme. To include such a large agricultural district in an urban district was unusual. If urban powers were granted to Conisborough, they would not be able to utilise them, and they had not taken any satisfactory steps to get a water supply. The Denaby district seemed to be an ideal one for an urban district. The Council would step into district where there was already water free cost, and the company would undertake to supply much gas as was required at 3s. 6d. per thousand feet, whereas Conisborough could not supply it under 4s. 6.  per thousand. They would also hand over their schools.

Mr. Vibart Dixon said they could not do that: they could only hand them over to another body of voluntary trustees.

Mr. Boyle said they would do all they could in that way. The district would get school buildings free of any capital outlay. The only defective thing in their district was the sewer which Conisborough had supplied. Denaby did not think that Conisborough should be improved at their expense. They would rather remain with Doncaster than be put under the power of Conisborough.

Mr. H. Chambers, director of the Denahy and Cadeby Colliery Company, called by Mr. Boyle, said he had lived in the district about 16 years. The population in the proposed urban district of Denaby had increased since then from 1.700 to 6.000 and was increasing rapidly. The collieries were responsible for the greater part of the increase, as they employed 3000 hands. The company paid about half the rates the district. In July 1897, the rateable value of Conisborough was £28.868 and the company were rated £11,352; the ratable value of Denaby was £20,474 and the company share was £16,207; in Cadeby £11.225, and the company’s proportion £9,646. He bore out Mr. Boyle’s statement in regard to what the colliery company had done for the district. They were now constructing a reservoir to ensure a regular supply of water. If Denaby was included in the proposed Conisborough district, the company would make Conisborough pay for the water and gas. The education in the schools had been free since 1891, before then they charged 3d. per house per week whether there were twelve children or none. When Dr. Wilson reported months ago that the supply was contaminated after leaving the Cadeby boring, took immediate steps, and prevented a continuation of pollution. The company were carrying on extensive building operations at Denaby.

Cross-examined by Mr. Waugh witness said that the majority members of the Denaby Main Council were employed at the colliery.

Mr. Waugh: Coming to the benefit, you have conferred, you have supplied a public house?—Witness: Yes.

And pawnshop? (Laughter.)—We have provided a public-house so that it can be properly conducted. If the colliery company consulted their own interests it would pay them a great deal better to sell at the price public-houses were fetching rather than have it managed.

Mr. Waugh: It is rather a good thing, is it not, for the miners to get their wages at the colliery in morning, and to go to your public house and pawnshop in the afternoon?

The Chairman: I don’t think you need go into that.

Mr Waugh: I don’t want to labour it; I am only on a question of philanthropy. (Laughter.)

Mr. Boyle: As a matter fact, it is not our pawnshop; we own the building.

Mr. Chambers said there was a second pawnshop, owned Mr. Caleb Kilner.

Mr. Kilner said he only built the shop, and disposed of it immediately.

In further cross-examination witness said the South Yorkshire Navigation Company had complained of their sewage going into the river Don but they had nothing do with that.

Mr. Dixon said the responsibility rested upon the local authority.

In further cross-examination, witness did not think the Denaby proposal would take the most valuable part of Conisborough.

Cross-examined by Mr. Bairstow: The sewage scheme was not laid down as originally chosen by the local committee. Denaby included Cadeby because was it was probable that further accommodation for colliers would be provided there.

Mr. Waugh said he had three expert witnesses, including Mr. A. H. Allen, public analyst of Sheffield, had tested the water and found that was pure at the taps as the boring. He would hand in the analyses.

Mr. Ernest Robinson, builder and contractor: Mr. Jones, miner: Mr. George Butcher, colliery deputy: Mr. H. H. Smithers, architect and John Hoyle, schoolmaster gave evidence in support the scheme. The latter said the schools were three and earned grants.

In answer to Mr. Vibart Dixon, the witness -aid the children at the schools were the children of the Denaby Main miners. The accommodation was full.

Mr Baddiley, solicitor, who appeared for the school Board, said no children except those of miners were allowed in the schools, and therefore the school had no right to the grants.

Mr Hickmott then called evidence in opposition to the Conisborough scheme. William Cox. miner. New Conisborough, said the men were satisfied with the water they got from Cadeby. The people objected to the Conisborough proposal, because it would an increase in their rents 3d. per week.—Mr. Thomas Weston, a large ratepayer, of Denaby Main, unconnected with the colliery company also gave evidence—Mr. George Dobbs, former, said there were farmers holding 1,920 acres out of 4.200 acres in the Conisborough parish, who were opposed the Conisborough scheme.

Mr. Newstead, on behalf of Lord Yarborough, said the greater portion of the estate was outside the Conisborough district. They were in favour of the Conisborough proposal, and opposed to of Denaby. They had made their own sanitary and water arrangements for their land in Conisborough, and would rather be left out of the proposed urban area. Mr. J. Cockburn said the farmers of old Denaby would prefer to join Denaby and not Conisborough

Captain Saville said the landowners and farmers of Cadeby did not approve of either scheme, and would rather remain as they were.

Mr. Bairstow, who opposed both schemes on behalf of the Doncaster Rural District Council, said the Council did not consider that the time had come when urban powers could be given to either of the contesting districts. He could not see that the County Council would sanction any arrangement that would simply for the benefit of property owner, and therefore did not propose to into details with regard to the Denaby proposal. There had been no facts stated that showed that the Rural Council had negligent, or that the districts should have powers conferred upon them that they desired. If there had been any shortcomings the administration of the district it was due the inefficient way district representatives had served them the Rural Council. Neither of the parties seemed to have any idea as to what urban powers were. There was not the slightest community of interest between Cadeby and the other two districts. They were proposing to take one-fifth of the ratable value of the rural district, one-fourth of the population, and one sixteenth of the district roads,

Mr. Baddiley said the Conisborough School Board favoured the Conisborough scheme, and opposed that of Denaby.  The Conisborough School Board thought they had been hampered in carrying on the work of education by the colliery company.

Mr. Waugh, in summing up the Conisborough scheme, said with regard to the Denaby scheme, there had been no evidence given to justify dividing the old village of Conisborough. There was no reason why urban powers should be given two a district which only included the property and buildings of a colliery. The colliery company were really representing the Denaby Parish Council. He had no doubt that it would a very good thing for the company if they could get the control the district. The scheme was not a bona-fide application for powers. That was a solemn farce on the part of Mr. Chambers, as representing the company, giving himself a free water supply as representing the Parish Council. He wondered how often the force had been acted before the proceedings commenced. (Laughter.)

He could not see that there would any injustice in joining Conisborough and Denaby.

Mr Boyle to sum up his case, whereupon Mr. Waugh objected.

Mr. Vibart Dixon upheld Mr. Waugh’s objection, a decision which drew forth applause from the public.

Mr. Boyle said had his clients liked, they could have packed the room with their supporters.

Mr Hickmott emphatically denied that the petition of the Denaby Parish Council was the work of the colliery company. It was only reasonable that the colliery company, being the largest ratepayers, should take interest in the matter. They had spent a considerable sum of money in the district.

Mr. Waugh: They have got it back in their rents.

Mr. Boyle: That absolutely untrue.

Mr Waugh said Mr Hickmott was summing up for the colliery and not the Parish Council.

Mr Hickmott, continuing said if Denaby was joined to Conisborough the people would have to pay for things from which they would get interest.

This concluded the inquiry.