Conisborough Water Supply – Doncaster Rural District Council

December 1901

Mexborough & Swinton Times, December 27th

The Position of the Doncaster Rural District Council
Mr Chambers & Mr Holmes – An unpleasant Retort

The meeting of the Doncaster Rural District Council, was held on Tuesday afternoon at the offices, High Street, Doncaster, Mr G Battey (Vice Chairman, who represents Wadworth) presided, and the other members present were the Rev. E.S.DeCourcy Ireland (Adwick le Street), Mr W Latham (Austerfield), Ald W Chadwick (Bentley), Mr T Smith (Burghwallis), Mr J Sowerby (Clayton with Frickley), Messrs F.Ogley and C.Holmes (Conisborough), Mr W.H.Chambers (Denaby), Mr J Briggs (Fenwick), Mr G Lockwood (Hickleton), Mr T Harrison (Marr) Mr S.E.Parkin (High Melton), Mr D Fait (Owston), Mr WR Holden (Rossington), Mr W.Watson (Sprotbrough), Mr A.E.Badger (Thurnscoe) and Mr G Guest (Warmsworth)

The officials in attendance were the Clerk (Mr F.E.Nicholson), the assistant Clerk (Mr H.M.Marshall), the sanitary surveyor (Mr C.C.Barras) and the highway surveyor (Mr W.R.Crabtree)

The main subject of discussion was the water supply of Conisborough.

A letter was read from Mr Simmons, stating that owing to the alterations required in the scheme by the Local Government Board, an estimated additional cost of £277 will be incurred, and that as the Rural District Council were to provide the rising main and overflow pipe, a further £600 will be required. There was also an additional £10, which raise the extra sum to £888, making the total estimated expenditure on the scheme £5,888. The resolution passed at the meeting of the Conisborough Parish Council on the previous evening was also read.

Ald W Chadwick, as the Chairman of the Sanitary Committee, move the adoption of the following recommendation from that committee:

“that application be made to the local government Board for sanction to borrow the further sum of £888 for the Conisborough water supply, to cover the deepening mains and providing a reducing pressure valve and also the cost of a rising main to the reservoir and the overflow pipe from the reservoir; and that they be asked to hold a further inquiry.”

Speaking in support of recommendation he expressed surprise that Mr Chambers, who was present at the local enquiry held at Conisborough, did not set things right when the statement was made to the Local, Board Inspector that the Colliery Company would deliver the water into the reservoir. It was very unfortunate that they should have to have those additional sums piled on to the original estimate. There been a misunderstanding all-round with respect to the matter.

Mr Ogley said he hoped the Rural Council would not ask for another inquiry which would only delay the scheme further.

Mr Holmes seconded the adoption of the recommendation. He said it was not right that the matter should be sprung upon the Council just at the time when they thought everything was going on nicely. The tenor of his remaining remarks were similar to that of his utterance at the Parish Council meeting on the previous evening. If it was not the intention of the Colliery Company to lay the rising main, why was not the point put right at the local enquiry? The Parish Council regretted very much, that anything should have arisen that would have a tendency to impede the water supply, which was very necessary and urgent, but their intention was to prosecute, as far as possible, their opposition to the sum of £600 being added to the original estimate.

Mr Ogley remarked that if a further enquiry were demanded and granted, it would probably cause a delay of two years. If they could do without, an enquiry it would be much better.

Mr W.H.Chambers, who owing to the lateness of the train which he travelled, entered the room during the progress of the discussion, said it was very regrettable indeed that the misunderstanding had arisen. He did not think it arisen from anything he had said. It was a pity that the agreement was not improper written form instead of a verbal understanding. (Hear, hear).

On behalf of the company he did not give the Council to understand that the water would be delivered by the company into a reservoir, and he did not see very well how they could put it in any other way, except it might have been qualified to some extent. The water from the borehole was now pumped into the company’s reservoir, and if the company had not undertaken to deliver the water into the reservoir to be constructed by the Rural Council, and which was placed in a higher level, it would have necessitated the Rural Council putting in other pumping arrangements; therefore, the company did undertake to deliver the water, pump the water to an higher level.

He could not quite see how they could have been any misunderstanding in the first instance with regard to the placing of the pipes. He did not think it was a fault of the Council. It must have been a misunderstanding of the engineer, because when the Montagu trustees were approached to sell land for the purpose of a reservoir, they were also asked at the same time to grant a way leave for mains from the company’s reservoir to the reservoir to be constructed for the supply of old Conisborough. The way leave was obtained by the Council from the Montagu trustees and although the Montagu trustees confirmed that power upon the Council, the Council could not confer it upon anyone else; it did not give anyone else the right to lay pipes. If there had been an understanding that the Company were in the first instance to lay the pipes, what had the Council got to do with obtaining a way leave? The company would have sought the way leave and got the right to lay the pipes. It was never intended from the very beginning that such an outlay of expenditure of £600 should be incurred by the Company, or anything like it, in laying the pipe. When the company undertook to supply the water at the very moderate price of sixpence per thousand gallons the water would have to be pumped from a borehole something like 135 yards deep, and then another additional height from 120 or 130 feet. The Colliery Company would also probably entail a large expense in addition to the pumping machinery, as well as the cost of sinking a new borehole. Suppose another enquiry were to be held, what option had the Rural District Council? There was only the alternative scheme of supplying Sheffield water in place of the borehole water. The Sheffield water was to be charged for at the rate of 10d per 1000 gallons. The engineer Mr Simmons explained to the sanitary Committee that although an additional £600 would have to be added to the estimate for the borehole water, it was only about a third of the cost of laying the mains from Hill Top, that would be required under the Sheffield supply scheme. In addition to that, there would be the cost of the overflow pipe, which would be hundred and £50 before they got over the brow of the hill, and then he (Mr Chambers) did not know where the overflow would go to.

Mr Holmes: Mr Chairman, I rise to a point of order.

Mr Chambers (sharply): Sit down, and just mind your own business; I am not addressing you.

Mr Holmes: We are not discussing an alternative scheme.

The vice-chairman ruled that Mr Chambers might show what the alternative scheme would be, but should not give statements as to the cost.

Mr Chambers said he was not pressing the borehole scheme upon the Council, it might be said he was interested in it. He could not help but be interested in the colliery company. That was an unfortunate position perhaps for him, in alluding to the business, but he was also interested in the welfare of the people of Conisborough; he lived there.

Ald Chadwick: Surely a member can rise to a point of order without another member telling him to mind his own business.

Mr Chambers said the company did not care two pins about ssupplying the water; it was only for the interest of Conisborough people generally. If the Sheffield water was adopted after the borehole supply had been offered of such very reasonable terms was only fair to the Council to tell them that if an alternative scheme were put before the Local Government Board the colliery company would asked the Local Board to define an area, and then, so far as the company were concerned, Conisborough might get their water from Windermere if they liked.

Mr Holmes said he had not introduce an alternative scheme into the discussion. At this Sanitary Committee meeting he had said he was prepared to accept the inevitable. All the Parish Council objected to was that the conditions on which the borehole water was to be supplied should be altered.

He added: I complain that when I rise to a point of order I should be told by another member of this council to hold my noise and sit down. It is your place, Mr Chairman, and not that of a member, to order me to sit down if I am wrong. I object to that course of proceeding, and ask Mr Chambers to withdraw.

Mr Harrison: I think he ought to withdraw.

The vice-chairman: I certainly think Mr Chambers was rather hasty.

Mr Chambers, I shall withdraw the remark; I only objected to the interruption.

Mr Harrison spoke in favour of the further enquiry been asked for. There have been a palpable misunderstanding, he said, and whether the fault of being with the colliery company of the Rural Council he did not know. The additional expenditure would probably amount to £1,000 and the people of Conisborough, who were asked to pay the money, ought to have an opportunity of considering the question.

The Rev. E.S.DeCourcy Ireland said it appeared to him to be one of the most stupid blunders the Rural Council had made since he had been a representative. He suggested that the matter was one for the lawyers to decide decide upon the words, “the colliery company shall deliver.” If the rural Council, had requested easements and way leaves they seem to have given the case away; if the colliery company were to deliver the water surely it was their duty to get the way leaves. The more they probed into the matter the deeper they got into the mire.

Mr Holmes said he had asked that the agreement between the colliery company and the Rural Council should be entered into before the local enquiries, so that they would know upon what grounds they were going, but he was told that it was unnecessary.

Mr Badger suggested that if the Local Government Board inspector had done his duty when he held the enquiry he would have elicited the fact.

Ald Chadwick, who was present at the enquiry, said the Local Government Board Inspector did ask if the Company or the Council were to convey the water to the reservoir, and he was told that the Colliery Company would delivery. The Inspector then went so far as to say, “Will you please write that on the plan? and Mr Simmons did so.

Mr Badger: Then it is quite clear. The engineer is at fault.

Mr Ogley asked if it was the engineer then why should the Rural Council, for that little amount, cause another enquiry, which would mean more delay, when the people of Conisborough were all crying out for water?

The recommendation was put to the meeting and carried 11 members voting for it with only Mr Ogley against. His point was that to ask for an enquiry would be to cause delay.

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