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CHESHIRE COUNTY COUNCIL. + A quarterly meeting of the Cheshire County Council was held at Chester Castle on Thursday, the Chairman (Colonel Dixon) presiding. The attendance included the Duke of Westminster and the Hon. Alan de Tatton Egerton, M.P. Lord Tollemache wrote apologising for absence. THE ELECTIONS. It was decided that Saturday, March 5th, should be the date of the County Council elec- tions, and that Thursday, March 17th should be the date of the meeting for the election of chairman and vice-chairman of the Council. DEE FISHERY BOARD. The following were appointed the representa- tives of the Council on the Joint Fishery Com- mittee for the district of the river Dee The Dake of Westminster, K.G., Messrs. John Thompson, S. H. Sandbach, and J. J. Evans, with the Rev. C. Wolley-Dod, and Captain Congreve, while Mr. Albert T. Wright was reappointed the representative of the Council on the Joint Committee for the Lancashire Sea Fisheries District. LANCASHIRE AND THE DEE. NO ENCROACHMENT. The CLERK (Mr. R. Potts) reported the intention of the Lancashire County Council to apply to the Board of Trade for an order amalgamating the Lancashire and Western Sea Fishery Districts, and extending such district when amalgamated to include a portion of the river Dee. He had also received a copy of a Memorial to the Board of Trade from the fisher- men of the Connah's Quay District against the proposed inclusion in the estuary of the odee. lIe added that he had written the Board of Trade, giving notice that the proposed inclusion of a portion of the Dee would probably be Strenuously opposed by the Council. Mr. JOHN THOMPSON proposed:- That this Council objects to the extension of the proposed Lancashire and Western Sea Fisheries District so as to include from the existing limit of the present Lancashire Sea Fisheries District so much of the river Dee as is on the seaward side of a line drawn from Burton Head, in the county of Chester, to Connah's Quay, in the county of Flint, and that the Clerk to the Council be and is hereby authorised to intimate to the Lancashire County Council that unless their application to extend the proposed district as before mentioned be with- drawn, this Council will withdraw its approval to the amalgamation of the Lancashire and Western Sea Fisheries Districts, and will appear in opposition to any application that may be made to the Board of Trade for an order to give effect thereto, the consent of this Council to such amalgamation, and to the increased contribution in Respect thereof having being made upon the Understanding that the present Sea Fisheries Dis- trict of the ri\ er Dee was not interfered with. What he asked them to vote upon was whether the supervision of the sea fisheries proposed to be undertaken by Lancashire and the Western Sea Fisheries District should extend in the estuary of the Dde or not. Mr. FRANCIS GREG. (Bollington), in seconding, said he felt very strongly that the proposed amalgamation would be no benefit to anybody except Lancashire. The resolution was carried. Mr. THOMPSON next moved :— That in the event of the Lancashire County Council not withdrawing their application to extend the proposed district as aforesaid, the olerk be, and he is hereby, authorised to take steps and incur such expenses as may be onsidered necessary to oppose the application r,?lualgfaTaati°n as well as for extension. • A. i". WRIGHT thought they might expecfc some reason given why they should now oppose the amalgamation. Dr. HEWITT (Northwich) seconded, remarking hat they ought to take the necessary steps to oppose, unless the conditions they had laid Uown were complied with. Mr. THOMPSON said if Lancashire gave way with regard to the extension, the Council ^°uld not oppose the amalgamation, but if they did not give way, the Council would Oppose the amalgamation. The resolution was carried unanimously. CHESHIRE CHEESE. Arising out of the minutes of the Technical Instruction Committee, Mr. ROGER BATE drew attention to the excellent work carried on at «ie Worleston Dairy Institute. As an instance, mentioned the case of a young woman who !"ent there, coming from a family unsuccessful making good cheese with a stock of about cows, and as a result of the instruc- tion obtained at the institute, she became dairymaid on a large farm belonging to j-'ord Crewe where 120 cows were kept. They also been able to _turn out some very efficient teachers. Students came to the Institute from Herefordshire, Sussex, Yorkshire, and other parts of England, and during the last Jeftr they had had students who had paid them *100 in fees. There was an impression that Cheshire cheese had declined in quality, but that was not the place to enter upon the Question though there was plenty to say upon 'Jk He thought they would agree they ought 10 manufacture the article required by the Public, and ought to suit the taste of their customers, the operatives in the neigh- bouring counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire, *ho Want;e(j a cheese as rich as butter, very ™"d, and to be eaten new. In making that class of cheese farmers studied what would 'lDke the most money. Some farmers were <8hll making the old fashioned long keeping cheese, but the bulk of them made an article to Produce the most money quickly. Mr. p. SPEAKMAN (Runcorn) mentioned that Jae got his cheese from the Worleston Institute. Recently an officer had some of it at his house, and he liked it so much that he asked him to send him some to India. It was sent out and all the officers liked it very much. With the Bishop of Chester he hoped they would all ask for Cheshire cheese when they went abroad. (Hear, hear.) UARKBT GARDENERS AND THE AGRICULTURAL SCHOOL. It appeared that at a meeting of the Holmes Chapel Agricultural and Horticultural School Committee a memorial was presented from market gardeners and others residing in Macclesfield and the neighbourhood, asking the committee that garden produce from the Agricultural School should not be sent to the 'tnarket at Macclesfield. The committee re- solved That'the prayer of the memorial be not enter- ^ined, but that instructions be given to the fener at the school that care must be taken *hat the practice of underselling be not had ^course to. 4RWER8 AND THE SWINE FEVER REGULATIONS. i, It was reported that at a recent meeting of he Executive Committee under the Diseases of ^nimals Acts, 1994, the Clerk laid before the ^Umittee the following resolution passed by Nantwich Farmers' Club, viz :— fev in the opinion of this meeting the swine 'VertT .regulations and restrictions now in force are y. injurious to Cheshire farmers who are large of e+u 8 of pigs, while at the same time in spite dia restrictions there still exist some cases of the that8"8-6' a"u^ we repectfully submit to your Council far», Would be greatly to the advantage of res?^tS- an^ dealers generally if the present to °^ons were revoked, and arrangements made :Hia<kla^e farmers to remove pigs in or out of ^erif 8 under licence if necessary, so as to pre- ""t the loss consequent on compulsory sale as at £ A.nd further to give facilities for the ;jnrrying on of the ordinary trade of the district n 8tore pigs which is so much crippled by the preseBt regulations. „ .p And also a letter from the Audlem Parish t<.°Uncil upon the subject matter of such resolu- when after hearing the views of the chief thereon, it was resolved :— Yi: at the; Clerk reply to the foregoing commnnica- » that the committee do not feel justified at *n asking the Board of Agriculture to 3?„• e their order under which the Markets and Order, 1896, is now operative in this county. PROPOSED EXTENSION OF CHESTER. seemed from the minutes of the Local *f0vernment Acts Committee, that at a meeting * at Crewe, the Clerk laid before the com- 5^ttee letters from (a) the Town Clerk of the of Chester, transmitting plan shewing reposed extension of the City of Chester by "deluding within the borough parts of the Parishes of Newton-by-Chester and Greftk f0ughton, in the Chester Rural District, and Jso the whole of the Hoole Urban District, so asking for the appointment of repre- sentatives to confer with representatives ^Pointed by the City Council upon such LroPosal, &c. /M The Clerk to Hoole t.r an District Council enclosing copy resolu- ob? °f the Council of that district Jecting to the proposed incorporation of that ^'strict. (C) The clerk to Newton-by-Chester Council, enclosing copy of resolution Port? by that Council that they object to any citl? of the parish being included within the of Chester, (d) The Chief Constable on Proposal. The committee resolved :— °Pt>OKiftlle Coun<5il be recommended to CowV0n 10 the proposals of the Chester Town 'and to support the objection of th ban District Council and the Newton Parish Council, and that the matter be referred to the Parliamentary Committee to take action in the matter; that the Clerk intimate to the Town Clerk of the city of Chester that, having regard to the last resolution, the committee do not consider it advisable to appoint representatives to confer thereon with representatives appointed by the City Council. The minutes were adopted without discussion. THE STRIKE AT UPTON ASYLUM. Mr. JOHN THOMPSON said a letter had been received from Messrs. Grayson and Ould, architects for the extension of Upton Asylum, which was rather instructive. They stated:- There are more non-unionist plasterers on the work, and the contractors are expecting they will have more applications from men, but so far as we can hear there seems to be no pro- bability of the strike coming to an end. THE MAIN ROADS PROPOSED DECREASE OF WORKMEN. The COUNTY SURVEYOR (Mr. H. F. Bull) reported that he had inspected the whole of the main roads in the county, being accom- panied in each district by a sub-committee. The bub-committees, in their general observa- tions, said :—The sub-committees consider the roads generally are in good order and greatly improved. That more finger-posts were required throughout the district, and that the mileage should be marked on those arms which point to outlying places not marked on the milestones. That there is still a quantity of kerbing to be done, and footpaths required, but that they consider that they could not recommend an increase of the grant which is usually allowed each year for that purpose. That in some of the rural parts where difficul- ties arise in the main-road workmen finding cottages convenient to their work in which to reside, the Council should provide or erect such cottages. That the sub committee are of opinion that there should be a reduction in the number of the main-road workmen permanently in charge of the roads by increasing in some cases the lengths of road assigned to certain of such men, and the sub-committee recommend that the county surveyor should take this matter into consideration when dealing with the amounts to be provided in the estimates to be expended on manual labour during next year. Mr. JOSEPH BECKETT (chairman of the Main Roads Committee) moved the adoption of the minutes. Mr. THOMAS BAXTER (Frodsham), in second- ing, said by erecting cottages for the men nearer the scene of their work they would enable the men to do more work than at present, and the saving thus effected would be very good interest on the outlay in building the cottages. Cottages were already built for the policemen, and the roadmen were quite as much entitled to them. Capt. CONGREVE thought the old toll houses might be used for the men. They were good enough for the old turnpike men, but perhaps they might not be good enough for modern ideas. (Laughter.) The minutes were adopted. THE POLLUTED DEE. UNNECESSARY WELSH ALARM. Mr. T. W. KILLICK (Altrincham), referring to the recent Local Government Board enquiry into the application for the formation of a joint committee to enforce the Rivers Pollution Prevention Act, 1876, in the watershed of the Dee, pointed out that there was no need for the alarm across the border on the subject. The committee would only have the power of enforcing the Act, and its powers were very strictly limited. In the first place there was the power of dealing with solids put into a stream so as to interfere with its due now in the next place there was power of dealing with sewage pollution, but that was not an offence if the poliuter proved he was using the best practicable and available means, and in the last place there was the power of dealing with manufacturing pollution, but here again there was no offence if the polluter proved he was using the best practicable and available means, and also in this case application had to be made to the Local Government Board for permission to prosecute. There was not the slightest fear of any unjust treatment or any tyranny, for as a matter of fact the Act was rather too lenient to the polluter. If the Chester Water Company said they would give them a contribution it was to the advantage of everyone, and to the dis- advantage of nobody. Why their friends across the border in Wales should be so frightened of the Chester Water Company he confessed he was utterly unable to understand. Mr. THOMPSON said the Welsh authorities made the mistake of supposing that the Council wanted them to help in purifying the water, whereas they wanted them to help in preventing the impurification of the water. THE FAIR WAGE CLAUSE. A REBUKF FOR THE TRADES COUNCILS. It appeared that at a meeting of the General Purposes Committee, held at Crewe on October 15th, the Clerk laid before the committee the memorial from the Combined Trades and Labour Councils of Cheshire, as to inserting a fair wage clause in all contracts made by the Council, and which was referred to this committee by the Council at its last meeting, and a copy of which is set out in the proceed- ings thereof. The committee resolved:— That the Council be recommended to impose a condition upon all persons or firms carrying out work for the Council to pay such rates of wages and observe such conditions of employment as are generally accepted as current for competent work- men in each trade in the district or districts where such work shall be carried out, and that this recommendation be referred to the Standing Orders Committee to prepare for insertion in contracts standard clauses to give effect thereto and to submit the same to a future meeting of the Council Mr. E. MILNER (Northwich) having moved the adoption of the minutes, Mr. DUNCAN GRAHAM proposed as an amend- ment :— That the report be not adopted, this Council being of opinion that it does not fall within the scope of its functions to intervene in its corporate capacity in any question affecting the relations between employers and employed. It was their desire, he knew, to prevent anything like sweating, but the resolution of the General Purposes Committee touched a phase of a question which was agitating the country. For example, they were threatened with a strike in the cotton trade, which would have most disastrous results, and they also had in progress the disastrous engineers' strike, which was undoubtedly causing numerous orders to be placed out of this country. He hoped the Council would reflect before it com- mitted itself to an expression of opinion on one phase of this important question. He took up no attitude either for or against trades unions, and he took an entirely dispassionate view of the labour question, and he did not think the Council was called upon to express an opinion on the subject. Mr. JOHN THOMPSON, in seconding, con- tended that it was not for the Council to interfere in a question of this kind, and that they had better go on their even way as they had done. He believed hitherto the contracts of the Council had been carried out in a way satisfactory to everybody, and the only enquiry they bad made was as to the contractor's respectability and competency to execute the work. Mr. C. H. PEDLEY (Mayor of Crewe) said they had had the clause in their contracts in Crewe for six or seven years, and it had worked satisfactorily. Dr. HEWITT (Northwich) said the object of the committee's resolution was not to interfere in disputes, but to word their contracts in such a manner as to prevent disputes. Mr. FRANCIS GREG (Bollington) in supporting the amendment, said the resolution, instead of avoiding friction, would cause the maximum of friction. Mr. PLATT HIGGINS, M.P., in supporting the resolution, hoped it would not go forth that the County Council was less concerned for the wel- fare of the workers than the House of Lords. He was in favour of the clause, because it would give anyone who wished to make a complaint to the Council in a matter of this kind a locus standi. Mr. MILNER said the object of the clause was to enable them to intervene in the case of a contractor who did not pay a fair wage. I Mr. G. B. BAKER (Rode Hall) and Mr. W. R. EARP (Daresbury) both supported the amend- ment, the latter remarking that he failed to see what good the clause would do to anyone. It could not benefit the ratepayers, because four- fifths of them were workmen, and if they benefitted them they must also take the money out of their (the workmen's) pockets. Mr. C. H. BOOTH (Dukin field) contended that the clause would debar a contractor living in one district from tendering for work in another district, if the standard rate of wages in his district was not the same as that in the other district. Mr J. E. BARLOW, M.P., supported the reso- lution, considering it their duty to see that the district, if the standard rate of wages in his district was not the same as that in the other district. Mr J E. BARLOW, M.P., supported the reso- lution, considering it their duty to see that the work they gave out was given out on fair and equitable conditions. Dr. Hodgson (Crewe) and Mr. W. Barron (Hyde) supported the resolution, and Alderman Beeley and Mr. E. H. Greg opposed it. Mr. JOHN THOMPSON explained that there were not long ago tenders given for some work in the county. The tenders from builders who were under the operation of the fair wage clause averaged about R9,000, while the tenders given by those not supposed to be under the clause averaged about £ 7,300. There was a difference of about 26 per cent, in the amounts. On a division the amendment was put first, and the Chairman declared that the ayes' had it. The result, therefore, is that the resolution of the Committee in favour of the clause is defeated. COUNTY FINANCES. A LOW RATE. The CHAIRMAN of the FINANCE COMMITTEE (Dr. Atkinson) moved :— That a county rate of 2Jd. in the £ be levied for the purposes of the county for the ensuing six months, and that precepts be issued accordingly that a general police rate of one-eighth of a Id. in the JE1 be levied for the purposes of the police fund for the ensuing six months, to be collected and paid with the county rate that the following local police rates be levied for the ensuing six months, the same to be collected and paid with the county rate Broxton district at one-half of a Id. in the £ Altrincham three-fourths, Eddis- bury one-half, Nantwich five-eighths. Middlewich three-fourths, North Wirral l, South Wirral seven eights, Hyde 1. Macclesfield five-eighths, Stockport three-fourths, Runcorn seven-eighths that the following hundred bridge rates be levied for the ensuing six months, the same to be collected and paid with the county rate, viz. Bucklow Hundred, one-eighth of a Id. in the JE, Macclesfield one-sixteenth. Dr. ATKINSON explained that the bills and accounts submitted, and which provide for expenditure to be met before the meeting of the Council in February next, amounted to £ 66,281 13a. 7d. The like this time last year was R77,283 10s. lid.. The general cash balance of the county fund now was R68,960 9s. 7d., com- paring with £ 58,47415s. 7d. this time lastyear. In the accounts now submitted provision was made for all expenditure, which would probably be met upon the architects' certificates before the next Council meeting, on account of the works being proceeded with at the Upton Asylum and the Runcorn and Egremont Police Stations and Magistrates'-rooms; and also the balances on account of the Park side laundry extension and the new Dee Bridge. The amount paid so far on account of the works at Upton Asylum was £ 68,621 Is. 2d. The balance still due to Flint- shire on account of the new Dee Bridge was £ 494 10s. 9d., and it was expected that they would make this payment shortly. These large expenditures which had had to be met of late out of loans, have necessarily increased the in- debtedness of the County Council, the county debt now being R117,817 Os. Bd., but it was a satisfaction to be able to report that the new loans had been effected at the lowest rates at which it bad been possible to get them. The County Council owed nothing to the bank, and although there was a large balance in hand on the current account, the actual working balance of the County Council was not more than ten thousand pounds. With regard to the annual estimates which, pursuant to the Local Government Act, it was necessary to consider at this half-yearly period, the Finance Committee had pleasure in saying that they would not require to exceed the estimates as approved by the Council in May last, and for the half-year now entered upon the rates then estimated would practically be sufficient to meet all requirements of the County Council up to the end of the financial year. The rates levied by the County Counoil this year would compare very favourably with previous years, and were of much less amount in the aggregate. Mr. J. J. EVANS (Bebington) seconded, and Dr. HEWITT, in supporting the resolution, said it was satisfactory that in the eighth year of its existence the Council was able to levy the extremely low rate of 21d. They might congratulate themselves that notwithstanding the enormously increased responsibility thrown upon them such a low rate would cover the whole of their expenses. The local authorities in his district were eminently satisfied. The resolution was carried.


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