Conisborough’s Struggle For Self-Government – Local Government Board Inquiry

February 1899

Sheffield Daily Telegraph – Thursday 23 February 1899

Conisborough’s Struggle For Self-Government.

Local Government Board Inquiry

Mr. Herbert H. Low, Local Government Board Inspector, attended at Church school, Conisbrorough, yesterday morning, for the purpose of hearing the appeal made the Doncaster Rural District Council and others against the order forming the Parish of Conisborough, the township Denaby, and part of the township of Cadeby into an urban district.

It will be remembered that in the early part of year, the County Council held inquiry into the application of the Conisborough Parish Council for urban powers, and in October the County Council granted the application.

There was quite array of legal talent! Mr. Waugh, barrister, Bradford (instructed by Messrs Alderson Son, and Dust, .Sheffield) again appeared for the Conisborough Parish Council; Mr. W. Baddeley, appeared for School Board, Mr. Wedderburn, Q.C. (instructed by Messrs. Wightman, and Moore, of Sheffield) represented the Denaby Parish Council and several ratepayers; Mr. Bairstow appeared for the Rural District Council; Mr. H. H. Hickmott, Rotherham, was present for the Great Central Railway Company, South Yorkshire Navigation Company, several ratepayers in the rural part Conisborough, ratepayers in Denaby, and also for the Cadeby parish ; Mr. Parker Rhodes, Rotherham, was present behalf of Mr. J. S. H. Fullerton, J.P.; Mr. Edmonson watched proceedings behalf of Mrs. Copley, a large property owner in Cadeby; Mr. Spencer Bowen represented die Denaby Colliery Company; Mr. appeared for Lord Yarborough; and Mr. Vibart Dixon watched the proceedings for County Council. Amongst those present were Mr. W. H. Chambers, manager the Denaby Colliery Company; Mr. F. Nicholson, clerk to Doncaster Rural District. Council; Dr. Mitchell Wilson,  C. Barras, Mr Caleb Kilner. Mr. R. H. Sharp, Mr. H.J. Sharp, Mr. H. S. Witty. Mr. W. W. Norwood, Mr. F. Ogley, Mr. Godfrey Walker, J.P.: Mr. .1. Brocklesby (secretary of the Jonesborough Urban Powers Committee; Mr. C. Holmes chairman of the Conisborough Parish Council), and Mr. S. Whitfield.

After a lengthy legal argument as to the mode of procedure, it was decided that Mr. Wedderburn should state the case on behalf of the appellants.

Mr. Wedderburn stated that an order had been made after the holding of inquiry by the County Council, whereby starts of the rural district of Doncaster, consisting of the whole of the parish of Conisborough, the whole of the parish of Denaby, and part of the parish Cadeby, should turned into an urban district.

After speaking the geographical positions of the parishes proposed to made an urban district, Mr. Wedderbum stated that the only connection that existed between Conisborough, which was purely agricultural, and Denaby was that some 200 men employed at the Colliery preferred for the present to live in Conisborough. A few years ago, a great industry came to Denaby—the colliery company—and around Denahy Main a large population had gathered. The interests of the population were centred in coal and coal alone, and the two had nothing whatever in common with the large parish of Conisborough. The proposal of the Conisborough Parish Council, which seemed without precedent, was to form the agricultural parish of Conisborough and the other parts named into urban district. The Conisborough people could not pretend that they had any claim for ‘urban powers if they stood themselves. They did not desire to be by themselves, and what they desired was that, they should form into urban district, and that the other district, which by itself was entitled to be an urban district, should be tacked on. He did not think at present that it was desirable to turn Denaby into an urban district, but it would be far better to turn into an urban district than to confirm the present order. The principle on which a district should made an urban district was when it had ceased to be rural in character, in matters health, above all, water, in matter of sewage, also roads, and so on.

They always found that the application came from the district which had reality become urban district. The district applying for urban powers always sought to include reasonable belt of land near by which was likely to extend and become urban district. The Conisborough people sought to impose upon Denahy a burden, and give them nothing in return. They were endeavouring to force on the hard-working population of Denaby a thing they did not want. A number of people in the agricultural part of Conisborough also objected to being saddled with urban rates. The reasonable desire of the people had had been overlooked this matter, and there was a large majority of people against urban powers. They also wanted to know what Denaby were going to get in the future.

Conisborough were seeking to get a good water supply, and the object of that proposal was to get that water supply and make other people pay for it. They wished to tack on themselves the large colliery district, with a large rateable value, for the purpose of reducing their own rates by increasing their rateable value. He was quite aware that was a question as to whether the Local Government Board should confirm the order, and it was not for him to suggest any alternative scheme. The condition of things in the present time were such that no one would think of paralysing them in constituting it an urban district. The colliery company had brought in that district a large population, and they had provided that population not only with work, but with the physical and mental necessities of life. They had supplied the houses with an abundant supply of pure water. They had supplied the houses with good drainage. In addition, they had also provided the district with schools, markets, recreation ground, institute, and place for religious worship. The colliery district of Denaby had also become a separate ecclesiastical parish and it would shortly have its endowed church and its convenient burial ground.

At present, for the purpose of burial, Denaby people had to go either or Mexborough, and pay double fees. Three years ago, a similar thing was proposed the Conisborough people, but such great amount opposition was met with that it was dropped. The rates in Denaby were only half what they were in Conisborough. In conclusion he argued that the people of were greatly opposed to the order because benefit whatever would he obtained.

Mr. W. H. Chambers (manager of the Denaby Main Colliery Company, and Chairman of the Denaby Parish Council) was examined at some length, and bore out the opening statement of Mr. Wedderburn. He said that pressure had been brought to bear on the men employed at the colliery in order to divert their views on the question. Witness was cross-examined at considerable length as to water, gas, and sewage. He held that affairs were managed better now than they would if urban powers were granted. If some change had to made, the best solution to the difficulty would to make Denahy itself an urban district.

Mr Simmonds, civil engineer, of Doncaster, gave evidence to the condition of Conisborough sewage works. Apart from the colliery there was community of interest between Cadeby and the proposed urban district.

Mr. Frederick Fowler, civil engineer, Sheffield, also gave evidence in support of the contention that the Denaby sewage works adequately dealt with the sewage, and also they could not be joined very well to the Conisborough system.

Mr. Alfred Henry Alien, county analyst, produced reports showing the satisfactory condition of water from the samples he had analysed. Mr. W. H. K. Stock, public analyst for the county of Durham and the borough of West Hartlepool, gave reports to samples of water he had analysed from Denahy.

Mr Ernest Robinson, builder and contractor Denaby Main, gave evidence to the general satisfaction which existed in the way affairs were managed at Denaby Main.

Mr. Spencer Bowen then opened his case for the Denaby Main Colliery Company.

Mr. H. W. Smethhurst. architect to the company, produced returns of the number of houses in Main and New’ Conisborough owned by the conically. The company had also had plans approved for 131 new houses. The sanitary condition of the houses was very good, and in accordance with by-laws. The witness proceeded to show what had been done for Denaby Main by the colliery company.

The inquiry was then adjourned until this morning at 10.30.