IMPORTANT MEETING AT MOLDGREEN.
In compliance with the resolution passed at the last meeting of the Local Board a public meeting of the inhabitants of Moldgreen and the township of Dalton, to consider the proposed incorporation of Huddersfield, was held in Malham Place schoolroom on Monday night, Mr. John Day being appointed chairman. The meeting was largely attended.
The Chairman, in opening the proceedings, wished the subject to be fully and freely discussed and decided by the ratepayers, and thus relieve the Board of the responsibility of taking any steps themselves. He, at some length, explained the interview with the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners, and the deputations from other Boards. The reason he was in favour of the movement was that they would be able to obtain a good supply of water, and also get rid of the nuisance caused by the manure depot. He urged that the expense of a corporation would be little if anything in excess of the amount they paid at present, while the benefits would be considerably increased.
In reply to a question by Mr. Hanson,
The Chairman said the charter would include the whole of the township, as apportioned in the present district.
Mr. Robson suggested that if they were included with Huddersfield it would give them the right of voting in the election of a member for the borough, and that would be worth something. He explained his impression as one of the deputation from the Local Board, that if the district thought proper they could, when incorporated, have their expenses kept separate and their rates levied as at present.
Mr. E. Sykes, another of the deputation, explained the mode in which a system of sewerage would be dealt with under a corporation, viz., that each separate district or ward would have to pay for its own drainage.
Mr. Hanson enquired if, in the event of the charter being obtained, Bradley Mills and the bottom of Dalton would have to join in paying the expense of gas and watching?
The Chairman thought it would be unfair to call on the ratepayers of Bradley Mills and the bottom of Dalton to pay for benefits they did not receive. His impression was, the rates would be levied in the same manner as they were at present.
Mr. Mills (clerk to the Local Board) thought the chairman was wrong. In the charter of incorporation Moldgreen, as a whole, would be considered one district and rated as such, but if Dalton and Moldgreen were subdivided they would each be rated separately.
Mr. Sykes said the corporation would gain no additional powers to those possessed by the Local Board with reference to the supply of water, but he considered it much more likely for one united community to obtain a good and constant supply of water, and be better able to bear an outlay of some £160,000 or £170,000 than a small place like Moldgreen could bear the expense of obtaining water for itself. The Penny Spring would not be sufficient to supply Moldgreen, and looking at the question in whatever light he could, he saw no better plan than joining Huddersfield.
Mr. W. E. Hirst, one of the Waterworks Commissioners, stated that the clerk to that body received a letter from the clerk of the Improvement Commissioners, asking what course the latter would take if the town was incorporated. The Waterworks Commissioners decided at their meeting on Friday night, that they would do all in their power to assist in the application for a charter. There was, therefore, no fear so far as the Waterworks Commissioners were concerned, for they would be prepared to hand over those works to the corporation when the charter was obtained. He cautioned them against being too sanguine as to an immediate supply of water for Moldgreen, as they must not expect that to be obtained for at least twelve months. Their arrangements would have to be made, pipes laid, and many other obstacles surmounted before that was accomplished. Notwithstanding the extensive works at Longwood, at present they did not contain more water than sufficient to supply Huddersfield, but he took it for granted, that the corporation would at once set to work to get a supply of water for the entire corporate district. He believed there was an abundant supply of good water on Meltham Moors, and quite sufficient to supply all the requirements of this district. He did not see any difficulties that could be raised against the supply being obtained, and he believed the corporation would set about it in self-defence, as that body could not allow a reproach to rest on Huddersfield, that any large district like Moldgreen or Lockwood should remain without a supply of water. It would only be a question of time, and when that supply was obtained property in Moldgreen would be considerably enhanced in value. He spoke as a Moldgreen, and not as a Huddersfield man, and believed there was no other way possible for them to obtain water except through Huddersfield. They would never get a company up among themselves. He knew many gentlemen had gone to the Improvement Commissioners' Board with a determination to see if something could not be done to obtain that supply, but had come away convinced of its impossibility by themselves, on account of the great expense attached to it. His candid opinion was that they would never be able to get a supply of water until they were merged into a large town and become a great people. After alluding to the Storthes depot and the means which would be at the service of the Commissioners for the removal of their night soil, Mr. Hirst resumed his seat amid applause.
Mr. J.I. Freeman endorsed all that was said by the previous speakers, and considered it of the greatest importance that the district should be incorporated. They would then possess a vigorous authority, and centralised power for the benefit and comfort of the district. They would have better gas, good drainage, and a better supply of water, as well as police. At present they were overrated and overtaxed, and had nothing to show for it. They had three rates in the year, amounting to 3s. 8d. in the pound, while Huddersfield was managed with 2s. 1d. in the pound, out of which they paid £2,000 per annum for their police.
The Chairman corrected the statement of rates, showing that the average rates for seven years had not been more than 2s. 1d. in the pound.
Mr. Henry Brooke (one of the Improvement Commissioners) was in favour of the district being incorporated, but should object to its being carried out at Bradley Mills, if Bradley Mills and the bottom of Dalton were to be equally rated with the rest of the district, because they would not receive equal benefits of lighting and watching. Mr. Brooke advocated at considerable length the above portion of the Local Board district being detached from that district for rating purposes.
Mr. Gelder, and several other gentlemen, considered this was a question to be decided by the Commissioner or Inspector sent from London to enquire into and divide the corporation into districts. After pointing out the little difference there would be in the payment of the police under the corporation and what was now paid for the county constabulary, Mr. Gelder moved—
Mr. Brook urged that it would be unfair to include Bradley Mills, which was already heavily rated, without corresponding advantages with the rest of Moldgreen. He explained that the Huddersfield Commissioners did not wish to force any district to join them in the application; all they required was a simple corporation for Huddersfield township proper, and they did not wish to rate any other district for expenses incurred within the present 1,200 yards boundary.
A long discussion ensued, in which Mr. Gelder, the chairman, Mr. Mills (the clerk), Mr. Robson, Mr. Wild, and others took part, when
Mr. Robson seconded Mr. Gelder's motion.
Mr. Hanson, in order to end the discussion, moved—
This introduced another long discussion, in which the arguments for and against the separation were repeated. The discussion was ultimately terminated by Mr. Hanson withdrawing his proposition, it being understood that no one in the meeting would oppose such separation before the Inspector, if that authority saw fit to accede to such a course. After some further conversation, Mr. Gelder's resolution was altered to read as follows:—
On being submitted to the meeting it was carried unanimously, amid loud cheering.
Mr. Henry Brook then moved—
Mr E. Sykes seconded the motion.
Mr. J. Hirst moved as an amendment—
This was seconded by a person in the body of the meeting. After another desultory conversation, Mr. Hirst withdrew his amendment, and the motion of Mr. Brook was ultimately submitted to the meeting, when seven or eight hands were held up in its favour, the rest of the meeting voting in opposition to it, and the chairman declared the resolution negatived.
A vote of thanks, moved by Mr. Brook and seconded by Mr. Freeman, to the chairman concluded the meeting.