Proposed Incorporation of Huddersfield.
On Monday afternoon the adjourned meeting for the consideration of the question of the proposed incorporation of Huddersfield was held in the Board-room of the Poor Law Guardians, John Street, William Moore, Esq., occupied the chair. There was a larger attendance than at the former meeting.
The Chairman said there would be no difficulty respecting public opinion in Huddersfield on the question of is Incorporation of the town, but some opposition might arise from misunderstanding in the out-townships. He then called upon any person present to state their views upon the subject.
Mr. B. Robinson stated he was in favour of a corporation being obtained when the Improvement Act was asked for; and now he was willing to do anything he could to forward the movement.
Mr. Wm Crosland said he should like to hear the opinions of gentlemen who were present from Lockwood and Paddock. For himself, as one interested in property in the last mentioned place, he would say a corporation would have his support.
Mr. Thornton, Paddock, was there only in his private capacity, but he should like to know what radius is intended to be incorporated?
Mr. Hopkinson, jun., Lockwood, said he had an interest in buildings in that village where there was a sort of square which 100 persons lived in, which had not been free from fever for seven years. 'They all wanted to prolong their lives, and to effect that they must have sanitary improvements carried out. He, as an inhabitant of Lockwood, wished that place to be taken in with Huddersfield.
Mr. John Ashton, Lockwood, remarked that the observations of the previous speaker at the last meeting were not according to truth if they referred to Lockwood proper; but had they been confined to Rashcliff they would have been about right. They had both water and gas in Lockwood proper, and did not want any sanitary improvements; still they were in want of a bountiful supply of water, and if Huddersfield would be in a position to supply that to the out-townships the promoters of the meeting should let them know what their scheme was.
Mr. Abbey, surveyor, of Lockwood, remarked that if the Huddersfield Commissioners had finished their own town, they might turn their attention to Lockwood. But that was not the case. They would find nothing in Lockwood worse than Back Buxton Road, Newtown, Zetland Street, Bath Buildings, St. Paul's Street, and East Parade, Huddersfield, yet in Lockwood they had no public body.
Mr. Geo. Brook, jun., thought they should first determine upon the area they proposed to include for their municipal borough, so that when political changes came Huddersfield would be in a position to take advantage of them. If they wont for a Corporation, they should include Lindley, Longwood if possible, Lockwood, and Moldgreen, and unless they could obtain the incorporation of these places they had better let the job alone.
Mr. Boothroyd said a corporative body would give some status to the local authority of the town which they had not as Commissioners. Under the corporate system the ratepayers would be fully represented, and by means of ward meetings the improvements required would be more easily attained than under present circumstances. With respect to the remarks of Mr. Brook he observed that it was understood at the previous meeting that they were to go for something worth going for.
Mr. T.W. Clough should have liked a larger attendance of persons from the out-townships, in order that their objections might be stated and met. The out-townships would not be called upon to pay the Huddersfield Improvement rates. There was a special means of getting rates for special purposes in the out-of-town districts under a charter of incorporation: the amount of which for lighting purposes, for instance, could not exceed 6d. in the pound, On the last occasion when the feeling of the ratepayers was tested on the subject, there were some 2,500 in favour and 181 against obtaining a charter, and of the latter number 43 were non-resident in the town. He should like to know what expenses the out-townships were afraid of? If Huddersfield did not apply for a separate Court of Quarter Session, there would be no clerk of the peace or clerk to the magistrates required, and probably few if any borough magistrates would be requisite unless they had a borough court for police purposes, the mayor being a magistrate during, and the year after, his mayoralty.
Major Crosland said from what had passed it was fully evident that the promoters of the meeting were not yet ready to bring the question before a public meeting. They should be ready to meet the out-townships with some definite project. He agreed with Mr. Geo. Brook, that they should not go for a charter unless they had an ample area for incorporation; for if they went for a charter for Huddersfield within the limits the cost would be more than the worship. Whatever might be the area of the new Parliamentary borough, that of the Municipal borough should be co-extensive, and he thought that area should include the present Parliamentary borough of Huddersfield, Lindley, Mold Green, Lockwood, and Dalton. So far as he was concerned as a Huddersfield and, Lockwood ratepayer, he should go for a corporation for a district such as that indicated, but if it was only to make the present 1,200 yards or even the present Parliamentary borough into a Corporation, he should wash his hands of the movement.
Mr. Thornton, Paddock, was glad to hear that the idea of taking only a portion of different townships was not countenanced, for such a proceeding as that taken on the Improvement Act being obtained was very unfair. At that time Huddersfield took a thirteenth part of the roads and one-third of the rates of the township. Only let the committee show the out-townships that they were going to have some improvement for their money they would be prepared to pay for it; but if they were to have no control over the funds, and they were doubtful whether they should have any improvements, they might well be jealous of the steps about to be taken for their incorporation.
Mr. J. Hobson, in justice to the Huddersfield Improvement Commissioners, stated that the 1,200 yards was fixed as the limits of the town by their predecessors. He was, however, ashamed to confess that the Improvement Act had not answered its purpose, one half of the town being un-sewered. That arose, he thought from the absence of ward representation. After showing how the taking in of the whole of those adjacent townships would affect the poor rates, out of which the borough rates would he taken, be urged the necessity of the out-lying districts being consulted by the committee.
The Chairman thought it was time to propose a resolution.
Mr. Keighley, whilst a resolution was being drawn up, explained that the high price of labour consequent upon the erection of mill property and other buildings adjacent to the town was the cause of many improvements being delayed, and quoted some statistics, showing that, taking the rateable value of the present limits of the Improvement Act and its population per acre, and comparing it with that of other incorporated towns, there was no probability of Huddersfield being benefited pecuniarily by being joined by the adjacent villages.
Major Crosland and Mr. Ashton having made a few observations,
Mr. Geo. Brook moved, and Mr. Dean seconded a resolution appointing the following committee to carry out the objects of the meeting:— Wm. Moore, Esq., George Armitage, Esq., T.P. Crosland, Esq., Wm. Willans, Esq., L.R. Starkey, Esq., B. Shaw, Esq., Messrs. H.B. Taylor, Wright Mellor, C.H. Jones, Jos. Beaumont, jun., Josh. Turner, D. Sykes, B. Robinson, Robt. Appleton, F. Learoyd, Edw. Clayton, Luke Gledhill, J. Hopkinson, Josh. Boothroyd, Robt. Jackson, F.J. Wigney, Joshua Hobson, John Moxon, Henry Hirst, jun., Charles Hirst, John Sykes, George Brook, John Eastwood, James Jordan, with power to add to their number.
The proceedings then terminated.