Urban Powers Inquiry – 4. More Evidence for the Opposition

February 1901

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 08 February 1901

Conisborough Urban Powers Inquiry

More Evidence for the Opposition

Water Engineer’s Evidence

Mr Edward Michael Eaton, civil engineer practising at Westminster, said he was for 30 years engineer to the Sheffield Water Works, and he had known the whole of the valley of the river Don from its source above Dunford Bridge to the River Humber for 30 years. Old Conisborough and Denaby were into separate drainage areas, divided by a  ridge called the North Cliff.

Cadeby, on the other side of the Don, in his physical conditions had nothing whatever to do with either Conisborough or Denaby.

The Cadeby bore Hole was in a perfectly satisfactory condition so far as protection was concerned.

In reply to Mr Waugh, the witness said both the Conisborough and Denaby drainage areas met at one point on the River Don, known as the Devil’s Elbow. While whichever drainage scheme was adopted the one to go to outfall works at Denaby or to existing outfall works, pumping water probably be necessary for houses situated in the lower part of the two districts.

A Word for the County Council

Mr Vibart Dixon at this stage obtained permission to make a statement on behalf of the County Council.

He said he would like to get rid of a little prejudice which had been introduced. Mr Wedderburn had inferred that the County Council enquiry was conducted by gentlemen were not very well versed in matters of that kind, and that might account for errors of judgement.

The Local Government Board had had so much to do with reports of inquiries made on behalf of the West riding County Council that they would know that members of the County Council had conducted a large number of such inquiries. The report before the Inspector showed the views of the County Council committee, and he would like the Inspector to say whether the report did not give it a good, true and fair summary of was brought before the committee by both sides. In the case of the last appeal there was no difference of opinion, at all events between the County Council and the Local Government Board, that an urban district should be formed.

In support of this, Mr Vibart Dixon quoted a portion of the letter from the Local government Board, in which it was stated:

“The Board do not consider they are empowered to alter areas which are included in an order of the County Council, and the only course open therefore was to disallow the order in question.” If that meant anything it meant that if they could have modified boundaries so as to leave the urban district which they themselves thought desirable than they would have confirmed the audit.

It was stated by Denaby in the memorials of 1898 that the time had come in local government ought to be given to the district. That was only two years ago, and said nothing had happened in the meantime to make it undesirable.

More Evidence for the Opposition

Mr Thomas Banks, mineral agent for the Cadeby estate of Mrs Bewicke Copley, said he agreed with the evidence of Mr Chambers on the point of the alleged subsidence below the line of the sewer.

The Reverend Joseph Brookes, Vicar of Denaby Main, ecclesiastical parish, said that though the Colliery Company and endowed the living they were not the patrons and he was absolutely independent of them.

Generally the present government of Denaby was reasonably good. The opinion of the witness was that Denaby would not gain anything by the proposed scheme. He had heard the matter discussed, and the overwhelming opinion of the people was against the scheme.

At this stage the enquiry was adjourned until 10:30 am on Tuesday.

Interesting Statements

The enquiry was resumed on Tuesday morning.

The Inspector designed to clear up some points to which reference was made at the first sitting. In reply to his questions, Mr W.H. Chambers said the number of miners employed by the colliery company who lived in Mexborough was about 1,000, in Denaby and New Conisborough (Denaby Main) about 2,000, and in Old Conisborough 214, a total of 3214.

The original lease of the Denaby Main colliery dated from 1861, a year before the colliery was started, and had since been renewed in May 1896 for 50 years. The Cadeby colliery lease dated from 23 January 1889 460 years. The total depth of the Cadeby borehole was about 135 yards.

A lengthy argument ensued here as to the manner in which the County Council Mr Waddy, representing the trustee became possessed of a copy of the transcript the shorthand notes of the last enquiry before the County Council Committee, and it was explained that the County Council purchased two copies, one which was acquired by Mr Waddy.

Opinions of the Vicar

The cross examination of the Reverend J Brooks was begun by Mr Waugh. The witness said the cemetery for the Denaby ecclesiastical parish was opened in September last, and there have been up to date 21 funerals. In the occasion of the first interment the witness heard something of complaints that the ground was wet, being clay, but the land was now been drained, and he did not think there was any reasonable grounds for complaint.

He had heard the expression of opinion that the rates would be considerably increased if the new district was formed. He could not say that was the main reason against the proposed new district, but it was one. Another reason was the probability of the people not been any better government than at present, but perhaps not so well, judging by the acts of the local public bodies already in existence.

He thought possibly it would be better in the colliery district like that if the backyards of the cottages were asphalted, and he was glad to see the colliery company had already done that in the case of about 10 houses in new Conisborough.

Re-examined: He had made himself acquainted with the action or inaction of the Colliery Parish Council, and he did not think it was likely to inspire anyone with confidence.

A Fear of High Rates

Mr George Carew, manager of the British and Colonial Explosive Supply Association, Ltd said his company rented 30 acres of land from Mr J.S.H. Fullerton at Denaby, and they carried on business. The company were assessed at £300 assessable, and £250 rateable values in respect of their premises. He knew nothing about the people being opposed to the confirmation of the County Council Order. His own company were opposed to the scheme they did not see that they could get any benefit.

In reply to Mr Wall, the witness said the company employed 30 men and women. The only objection of the company was on the ground that the rates will be increased.

Mr George Edwards, draper, carrying on business at Strafford Terrace, New Conisborough and Doncaster Road, Denaby, said his opinion was that if the order was confirmed there will be heavier rates to be paid.

Mr Albert Alfred Henry Noble, manager of the Denaby Co-operative Society’s business, said the society had 400 members representing the same number of families, and the majority of the people were opposed to the scheme. The objection was solely on the ground of the rates.

Statements as to Sewage

Mr David Balfour, junior, civil engineer and partner in the firm of Messrs Balfour and Sons, Westminster and Newcastle upon Tyne, said he had a large experience in carrying out works of main sewerage and sewage disposal and was at present engaged in regard to some 30 schemes.

The witness was present at the enquiry into the application of the rural Council for sanction to borrow £10,000 in order to carry out an amended system of sewerage and sewage disposal gave evidence and was cross examined.

No suggestion was then made as to subsidence affecting the existing sewers. The witness had drained some 30 colliery districts in Yorkshire, Durham and Northumberland, and held the view that the Denaby and Conisborough system could not be affected by subsidence.

In cross examination, the witness expressed the opinion that the existing scheme could not be made to work satisfactory at expenditure from £2000-£3000; that would simply mean patching up the scheme, and in the any would not be less expensive in the scheme is firm had prepared.

Another lengthy argument arose as to the use made the shorthand note of the last enquiry, an eventually it was agreed by both sides of the traffic should be put in and accepted as evidence.

Mr Wedderburn intimated that he had no further evidence to call, and desired to call attention to a number of petitions against the confirmation of the County Council Order, signed by tenants and occupiers of Denaby Main and of Old Denaby, the Denaby Parish Council, the Denaby and Cadeby Collieries Co Ltd, Denaby Main Co-operative Society, attends the ratepayers of Conisborough, in both excluded and included parts, the Cadeby Parish meeting, and Cadeby residents.

He was told there were no petitions in favour of the scheme.