Urban Powers Inquiry – 2. Opposition to the Proposal – A General View

February 1901

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 08 February 1901

Opposition to the Proposal

A General View

Mr Wedderburn all the case for the appellants. He pointed out that for the purpose of an appeal of that kind it was provided that a petition, signed by not less than 16 of the County elected in the Doncaster Rural District, to be presented. He thought he was right in saying they had really obtain the signature of nearly ½ of the County elected. There were 5,482 County elected, and of those 2,340 had signed a petition in opposition to the County Council order. After point out the real object of enquiry was to either cause the acceptance or rejection of the scheme, and not the sanction of a modified or altered scheme. Mr Wedderburn submitted that the simple question was:

Was the scheme presented to the inspector a good scheme in the sense they it would give anything to anybody that they really wanted, and take nothing from anybody that ought not to be taken away. Really the case of Cadeby alone would be fatal to the scheme, even if the case of Denaby Main was not so absolutely strong.

After pointing out that that was the fourth enquiry, he said that as a result of the third enquiry the County Council had practically re-enacted their first order, and now the opposition were there for the fourth time, he represented a vast majority, with confidence that the Local Government Board will once more protect them. The longish bandwagon quoted to number there to start work at to

Proceeding Mr Wedderburn contended that the parish of Conisborough was really into separate watersheds, divided by the ridge known as North Cliff, the two-parts being respectively known as Old Conisborough and New Conisborough. Cadeby Parish, a portion of which was sought to be included, was also in an entirely different watershed. If the Colliery Company had not looked after the population which they in a sense created, but left the local authority to deal with the wants of the people, the result would have been that the rates in Denaby would be very high, and readily enough, the Inspector might be pretty certain that Old Conisborough will never have desired to share in that expense. As it was the Colliery Company very properly and wisely provided for the wants of their population. The Company gave free supply of excellent water to the whole of Denaby, and good cheap gas; they made and repaired all streets other than main roads, to the satisfaction of the Rural District Council; they provide for the scavenging in Denaby, and there had never been any complaint about it. The Colliery Company had further provided fine schools and free education, a market Hall, and Institute, allotment gardens, and a recreation ground. They had also endowed the living of a new church, and Denaby Main have been constituted a separate ecclesiastical parish.

As regarding provision for burial, the Company laid out a cemetery which was now in use. A system of sewage disposal was required, and for Denaby that must be a separate system, independent of the sewage disposal of Conisborough. The question was not uncommon – whether a private company or local authority – whether or not the government was good. It could not be contested at the government of the Colliery Company could be the subject of any complaint. So far as Denaby Main was concerned there was no need whatever for any alteration in the present condition of things. He suggested that the action of the Conisborough Parish Council was caused by a feeling of jealousy. The fact of the Colliery Company having given certain things to Denaby was no reason why Denaby should be asked to give similar things to Conisborough; and the fact that Denaby were self-supporting to the action of the Colliery Company was no ground for asking that it should support other people; and yet that was really the old of the case.

Continuing, Mr Wedderburn suggested that when the Local Government Board refused to confirm the first order of the County Council the latter were very much annoyed.

Mr Vibart Dixon objected to the suggestion unless it was supported by evidence.

The Inspector after some argument to Mr Wedderburn and Mr Vibart Dixon, said he did not know that he was a very great point.

Mr Wedderburn, proceeding, said he did not think that County Council accepted judicial mind in the matter, having more or less bad by the course they pursued invited the second application for Urban Powers from the Conisborough Parish Council. He further submitted that the matter now become really a battle to see whether or not the County Council was to be successful and beat the Local Government Board. The County Councillors who held enquiry did not seem to have the very least grasp of the real principles by which these matters were decided. The promoters contended there was a community of interest between the places that were thought to be included in one Urban Council, but the petition showed that there was certainly no community of feeling.

In order to show the kind of government which Denaby would be subjected if an ever Council were formed he pointed out that since the last enquiry the Conisborough School Board decided to build new schools. They had employed an architect named Mr George White, and he put forward plans which worked out at £23 a head for the combination. The result was that the Education Department would never have given them a loan because the highest possible limit for the education department was £10 a head. Even that was quite extravagant in a place like Conisborough, for the Colliery Company had succeeded in building their admirable schools at £4 7s 2d a head. That showed what the government would be if the change was made. While submitting that there is now no community of interest in the burial accommodation, Mr Wedderburn said that for the future the Denaby Main people “would not draw the sad procession from Denaby Main down to Conisborough or across to Mexborough, but will go to their own cemetery.”

The subject of burials was now altogether out of the question. He submitted further that there was no community of interest in education. Before the scheme for urban powers were brought forward the Colliery Company were contemplated providing additional accommodation for schoolchildren, but they had decided not to do anything more in that direction till they knew the urban power scheme was permanently dead.

When the application was first started in 1898 the case was largely rested in water, indicative probably of the ultimate fate – “Unstable as water thou shall not stand.” Mr Wedderburn detailed the history of the water supply, which is well known to the people of the district, and said water was now supplied from a borehole at Cadeby. The water in the supply was originally discovered a little, and had a gaseous taste, but these defects did not now exist. There have been dissensions among the members of the Conisborough Parish Council regard the water supply, and three schemes had been before them, but they had never been able to make up their minds. The Doncaster Rural District Council, sick I suppose, of the decision of the Conisborough Parish Council, and said in effect, “You people are unfit to decide the matter; we sat we cannot stand your shilly-shally or hesitation any longer,” and the Rural Council were now applying to the Local government Board for a loan of £6,000 to enable them to construct a reservoir made in the necessary pipes to provide Conisborough with a supply from the Cadeby bore Hole.

In support of the contention that there was no community of interest between Conisborough and Denaby in the matter of sewage disposal works, he said that when the existing sewage system was constructed Mr George White, the engineer made a great mistake. Mr White apparently did not see that the real truth was that Old Conisborough must be drained one-way and Denaby drained another. The results had been disastrous. So far as Denaby was concerned, that portion of the system was absolutely useless. In some places the fall of the pipes was actually the wrong way. At the last enquiry before the County Council Commissioners, Mr White did not appear, but afterwards sent his written evidence to Mr Vibart Dixon.

Mr Vibart Dixon here interposed with an explanation. He said he thought Mr White felt the remarks were made about him might be injurious to him, and he was exceedingly anxious to have some opportunity of explaining his position. Mr White made certain statements to him (Mr Vibart Dixon) which he told him cannot be put in evidence in any way whatever, nor was it put before the County Council committee in formulating their report; the report, it will be seen, was entirely silent upon the point.

Mr Wedderburn added that even after enquiry November last, and the application of the Doncaster Rural Council for a loan to carry out new sewerage scheme, Mr White caused a letter to be written on his behalf, by the solicitors to the Montagu trustee, and sent to the Local Government Board. He regarded the act a doctor told me that is not so Mrs s regrettable.

In conclusion, Mr Wedderburn commented on the case of Cadeby, which he pointed out was a different Parliamentary Division than Denaby Main.