Yorkshire Evening Post (30/Oct/1919) - Huddersfield as its Own Landlord

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.



This afternoon, the question of the municipality of Huddersfield becoming the owner of the freehold sites of the town, will be discussed for the first time by the Town Council.

The fear seems to have arisen that the original schemes is going awry, and that Mr. S. W. Copley, who negotiated the purchase of the Ramsden estate, may keep it for his own use. This is a misinterpretation. Mr. Copley has merely disclosed what he will do in the event of the Huddersfield Corporation not being able to purchase the property from him.

It can be said at once that, in responsible quarters in Huddersfield, not the smallest doubt is entertained of the scheme going through. The self-appointed committee of three, which has been conducting secret negotiations with Mr. Copley for some months past, decline to make any statement on the point, one way or the other; but it can be taken for granted that the three gentlemen concerned would count their labours as wasted, and suffer keen disappointment if the Town Council refused to ratify what they have done.

Mr. Copley, who is a far-seeing business man, is prepared for any contingency. This is only to be expected. If the estate is left on his hands, then, he says, he will give tenants of houses every opportunity to obtain final ownership of the premises they occupy, this by purchase in instalments. What his course would be in the case of the valuable business portion of the town he has not divulged, but there is no great apprehension en the point.

Opinions as to what the policy of the Corporation should be are nearly unanimous. A few members of the Town Council were inclined at first to be incensed because, as they said, the negotiations had been carried on behind their backs by a committee which had no authority. Since then they have came tn recognise that to buy the estate on behalf of the town, the method pursued was the only practical one.

The three members of the negotiating committee are all Liberals, and, as far as can be learned, all their political supporters, and also the members of the Conservative party, are in favour of the Corporation taking over Mr. Copley's purchase. The Labour party's attitude is summed up in the remark today of one of its members, "Surely, a proposal which means the land for the people is up our street."

The disgruntled ones seem to be a small body of property owners in the business portion of the town who are not exactly enamoured of the prospect of their promises becoming municipalised and *officialised."

"Within certain limits" said one of those men today, "Sir John Ramsden has not been at all a bad landlord, and if I were certain that under the Corporation's ownership I should be no worse off than under Sir John's I would not grumble."

The Town Council at their meeting this afternoon, will not be called upon to make a definite decision with regard in the purchase of the property. Those is no mention of the mattes on the printed agenda, and at is expected that it will be brought forward in a statement to be read by the Mayor.