Urban Powers Inquiry – 9. Speeches for the Appellants

February 1901

Mexborough & Swinton Times – Friday 08 February 1901

Conisborough Urban Powers Inquiry

Speeches for the Appellants

Mr Bairstow said the Doncaster Rural Council, which he represented, believe there was a very important matter of principle involved. He appeared further as representing Mrs Copley, not so much perhaps as a matter of principle as a matter of pocket. In that respect he fancied he resembled other parties were taking part in the inquiry the delay of the Rural Council in regard to the supply of water to Conisborough was solely owing to the ability of the Parish Council to make up their minds. If there was any complaint to be made against existing sewage disposal scheme it should be made against the men who suggested and adopted it – the Conisborough local committee. That would rather suggest the incapacity of the people of Conisborough to govern themselves rather than a defect in the Rural District Council.

As a legal question he desired to put before the Inspector the contention that by the Local Government Act of 1888, under which the application was made, the Local Government Board and no power to include a part of Cadeby mentioned. It was thought simply and merely to include Cadeby, not for the purpose of local government for purposes of rating. Such an application will certainly not within the Act, which was not a rating Act.

Mr Williamson, on behalf of the railway companies in the South Yorkshire navigation company, said they were perfectly satisfied with the present system of government, and their full confidence that the advances they had received in the present form of government will be received in the future.

Mr Wedderburn spoke last at considerable length.

He commented first on the nonappearance of witnesses for the promoters, saying that the first inquiry there were 11, the second five, and the third for, and at the present known. There had been some talk of subsidence in the course of the proceedings: the case itself had subsidised. They had their case of a rural parish not content with making some further but asking for additions before it was itself in order. The counterproposal of the Denaby people that had been spoken of was merely put forward as a method of defence. One thing the Denaby people ask for more than anything else was that they should be left as they were, and no urban district constituted at all.

In regard to the letter of 15 June 1899, from the Local Government Board, which are being quoted, Mr Wedderburn said it did not follow that the local government Board and already determine on the particular area submitted in the second scheme. He did not believe that the Local Government Board had already, before the inquiry was held, determined to include, against justice, either Denaby or Cadeby. The position of the colliery company was that they would not both give and paint. The object was to make them pay. It might be found that they would pay less than they gave, but they would not do both, and the people to whom they were making substantial gifts prefer to keep those gifts rather than get the pay. The feeling against the scheme was unanimous in Denaby and Cadeby. Not a single fact had been induced in evidence to prove that the colliery at Cadeby and cause increase of rate in Conisborough and new Conisborough. If the colliery company had to pay equal to the present School Board rate of 9 ½ d in the pound the rateable value of Cadeby colliery shaft, they would have to pay £650 a year. So far as Denaby was concerned in the matter of sewage treatment there was a complete diversity of interest.

Again commenting on the nonappearance of witnesses, Mr Wedderburn said if any had been called he would have asked who were the guarantors, and whether or no there was now at the back of the scheme a substantial and good popular feeling, or whether the scheme had been pushed in order to make the Local Governments submit, and so that the guarantors could get their money back, which they could only get if an urban council was formed. The inspector would have heard some discussion on that point if witnesses and gone into the box.

At various part of his address Mr Wedderburn severely criticised the printed report of the County Council Commission, well that the previous inquiry and contended that it was not a fair statement of the evidence then tendered.

He concluded by saying the County Council, in his view, and made it a test whether or no sufficient persistency will compel the Local Government Board to give up the exercise of their judgement as to what was best. If the Local Government Board submitted, it might be the prelude to what many of them thought would be a disastrous thing, namely, the placing of its functions into the hands of the County Council.

The inquiry then ended.