Leeds Mercury (24/Oct/1919) - Huddersfield Land Scheme

The following is a transcription of a historic newspaper article and may contain occasional errors. If the article was published prior to 1 June 1957, then the text is likely in the Public Domain.


Negotiating a Great Property Deal.

If negotiations which have been in progress for some months should reach their hoped-for conclusion, Huddersfield will have successfully disposed of the cause of its notoriety with respect to the land laws, and the Corporation will have become, in a large measure, its own landlord.

Briefly, the negotiations, which have hitherto been known to only a few prominent citizens and officials, have been conducted with a view to the purchase of the Huddersfield estate at present in possession of Sir John F. Ramsden.

The estate, which extends over 4,500 acres, and embraces approximately five thirteenths of the whole borough, including the most central portions, carries with it an enormous rent-roll.

Sir John Ramsden, who succeeded to the baronetcy in 1914, owns about 150,000 acres, of which 8,589 acres are in Yorkshire, and it was stated some time ago that the Yorkshire properties produced a gross rental of £167,601 a year. The value of the Huddersfield property alone, however, is stated to be now much higher than this figure.

Informal Negotiations.

The negotiations have not been conducted by representatives empowered by the Corporation, and, indeed, it was stated at the Town Clerk's office yesterday that the Corporation have neither purchased nor considered the purchase of the estate.

There is no doubt, however, that the informal negotiations which have been conducted have been carried on in the nope that the Corporation might be willing, and would acquire the necessary powers, to obtain possession of the property.

The transaction, which is as yet incomplete, was initiated, it is understood, by the present Mayor (Mr. C. Smith) and two other members of the Corporation, Alderman E. Woodhead and Councillor W. Dawson, the intermediary being Mr. S. W. Copley, formerly of Huddersfield, and now of London.

Mr. Copley amassed a considerable fortune in Australia, and since his return to this country has been identified with several big financial transactions. Not so very long ago he was the principal in the purchase and re-sale of a considerable block of property close to the railway station at Huddersfield. It is understood that in the present transaction he is prepared to run the risk of the Corporation not acquiring the property.

The question of the purchase price is still outstanding, and in many quarters yesterday the hope was expressed that the premature disclosure of the negotiations would not prejudice the successful termination of the negotiations. The scheme would first, of course, have to receive the sanction of the Corporation, and then powers would have to be sought from Parliament to effect the purchase.

Various rumours have been in circulation as to the price offered for the Ramsden estate, the figures varying from £1,200,000 to £1,500,000.

An official announcement of the result of the negotiations. will be made in a few days.