Merger Plan – Conisbrough Halt – Farewell To Surveyor.

March 1946

South Yorkshire Times March 16, 1946

Conisbrough Call a Halt
Doncaster Assumption on Merger Plan Repudiated

If Doncaster desire to absorb Conibrough in their imposing boundary extension scheme they will first have to go to Conisbrough and explain in Conisbrough Council chamber the benefits they feel Conisbrough would receive if they agreed to Doncaster’s proposals. This was the view expressed by Conisbrough Urban Council members on Wednesday when there was a lengthy discussion on the subject of amalgamation.

Keeping An Open Mind

The council had before them two recommendations from the General Purposes Committee. The first, which was approved stated that the Clerk (Mr. R. W. Birch) submitted a circular report of the conference held at the Wath-on-Dearne on February 14th, and after discussion, the Committee recommended that they keep an open mind on the question until concrete information concerning each authority is made available for consideration.

The second minute stated that the Clerk had reported that each member had now been supplied with statistics issued by the Doncaster County Borough Council together with an extract of the proceedings of a conference held at the Mansion House, Doncaster, on February 12th and attended by representatives of the Doncaster County Borough Council and the Urban Districts of Adwick, Bentley and Conisbrough, when it had been resolved that the respective Councils represented at the conference be recommended to agree to boundary extensions including, inter alia, the forgoing mentioned District Councils. After discussion, the minute continued, it was recommended unanimously that this committee repudiate the resolution of the Doncaster County Borough Council as the Conisbrough Borough Council as the Conisbrough representatives had not been invested with mandatory powers.

The Council on Wednesday finally decided, on the motion of Coun. J. I. Webster and County Coun. B. Roberts. J.P, that they repudiated the statement made that the Conisbrough Urban Council had agreed to the amalgamations with the Doncaster County Borough Council and that the Urban Council could not agree with the resolution submitted by the conference for consideration at present.

Another Secret Meeting.

County Coun. Roberts, one of the three Conisbrough representatives at the conference, explained that they had attended a number of meetings at Doncaster, and Doncaster had told them and others that they would like them to join Doncaster. A number of meetings had been held which were supposed to have been secret. He had heard that there had been another secret meeting to which Conisbrough had never been invited. He did not know what had happened at the meeting.

At the meetings they had attended they had done so to try to ascertain what they would have to offer Conisbrough if Conisbrough did see fit to join in with them.

Conisbrough had also wanted to know what Wath and other people had to say. They had been asked at several meetings what Conisbrough’s intentions were, and they had replied that they had no mandate from the Council or from the ratepayers to join in with anyone. They were told at their very last meeting by the Clerk to the Doncaster County Borough Council ”What has Conisbrough got to say? It is about time that Conisbrough said where it stood.”

County Coun. Roberts declared that they replied as before that they were not willing to join with Doncaster because they had no mandate. They would have to have a mandate from the whole of the Council and the whole of the ratepayers.

Coun. Roberts pointed out that there was also the County: they had not heard them yet. If they went into it fully and thought it out for themselves they rather felt that Doncaster would not give them benefits they now stood to receive. It was wrong for them to say that Conisbrough had agreed in anyway. Coun. R. H. Shephard, another conference delegate endorsed all the statements of Coun. Roberts, and the third delegate, Coun. T. Shephard, declared that none of them agreed that Conisbrough should go in to the Doncaster Borough. The Doncaster scheme was to extend as far as the Denaby railway crossing and strike a line across to Marr and Pickburn, thereby taking in the whole of the Doncaster coalfield. The total tonnage of coal produced outside the present Borough boundary was far in excess of that inside, he said.

Coun. J. T. E. Collins pointed out that the present rate levy per head of population at Conisbrough was £4 13s, 11d per head. Conisbrough were not prepared to agree to that. ”Whilst the rates may be high in Conisbrough and while we require a number of things doing in Conisbrough.” Coun. Collins said ”there is nothing at the moment which we can see that Doncaster can offer us to induce us to go in with them. We are going to-night to repudiate this resolution because Conisbrough is not going to be a party to amalgamating with Doncaster.”

Main Things Left Out.

Coun. A. M. Carlin said that Doncaster had sent along a few statistics, but the main things, he contended, had been left out. It had been stated that Conisbrough’s representation would be two members. Conisbrough had a population of 16,000. If Conisbrough Parks came in they might have three representatives on a population basis. He held that Doncaster must come to Conisbrough or must let them have some word on the rating question. The townspeople would have to have a voice on the whole matter and town’s meetings would have to be held.
It was mentioned that on its present constitution Doncaster’s electoral wards had a population of 6,000 per ward, and members held that on that basis Conisbrough would be entitled to nine councillors and an alderman.
Summing-up, Coun. D. Sheldon (Vice-chairman), presiding, said that Conisbrough wanted more information. Conisbrough was not going to throw itself away, and they were not going to rush at this things, or going to be rushed into it.

Farewell To Surveyor.

At the conclusion of the meeting, farewell was taken of Mr. Harry Thirlwall for 25 years, the first and only Surveyor to the Authority, who was attending his last official meeting of the Council before his retirement at the end of this month. Many tributes were made to his services and on the motion of Coun. Sheldon and Coun. Collins (as the member with the longest service) it was decided to place on record the Council’s highest appreciation of the splendid service rendered the Council and the district by Mr. Thirlwall.

Paying tribute to Mr. Thirlwall were Couns. Sheldon, Roberts, Webster, Carlin, R.H. Shephard, A. Wellings, T. Shephard, G. Oldfield, Collins, C.W. Wright, R. W. Birch (Clerk), J. Brocksom (”South Yorkshire Times”) and T. Dennett (”Sheffield Telegraph”).
Coun. Sheldon said that Mr. Thirlwall had been one of the pioneers of the Urban Council: he was one of the first officials appointed and he had seen the Council grow from babyhood. Mr. Thirlwall would leave two monuments by which he would never be forgotten: the Memorial Park and the Daylands Housing Estate, and he was indeed grateful to him for the work he had accomplished in the district.
Mr. Thirlwall thanked the Council, Mr. Birch and the Press for their kind remarks, and added that during his 25 years with the Council he must have carried out £750,000 worth of work and he had always tried to do his best for Conisbrough.

Coun. T. Shephard suggested that Mr. Thirlwall’s photograph should be hung in the Council Chamber, and his proposal was adopted.

Coun. Collins urged that strong representations should be made to obtain improved transport facilities from the Mexborough and Swinton Traction Co. At Denaby, absenteeism was being caused as result of men catching colds by standing out in the damp weather for buses after they had completed their work underground. They wanted a five minute service.
The Clerk stated that the company had no more buses to put on service, but they had 10 vehicles on order.

Coun. A. Wellings, chairman of the Pleasure Grounds Committee, reported that application is to be made forthwith to H.M. Office of Works to schedule the Castle as an ancient monument.