Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

13 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

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AMMANFORD.

IBRYNAMMAN.

I CWMAMMAN.

GORSLAS. I

I ____LLANDILO.,1

I PENYGROES.

Rhestrau Manwl, Canlyniadau a Chanllawiau
Dyfynnu
Rhannu

I PENYGROES. A reception concert in honour of Mr. R. Evans, Mr. Whitridge Davies, Mr. John Keene, and Mr. M. Davies, all discharged men, was held at the Penygroes Council Schools on Friday evening last. Stoker Morgan Morgan, Caerbryn, occupied the chair, and the following artistes contributed to the programme:—Miss L. M. Davies, Saron; Miss May Williams, Voelgastell; Mr. Henry W. John, Caerbryn; and the Penygroes Silver Band (conductor, Mr. D. Williams). Mr. D. W. Hughes, Gorslas, accompanied. The guests were presented with the usual gifts by Mrs. Griffiths, Gorslas. Mr. David Mainwaring proposed a vote of thanks to all who had taken part, Mrs. Williams seconding. Mr. H. W. John sang the solos of the Welsh and English National Anthems, bringing a very pleasant concert to a close. This week's concert will be held to-morrow (Friday) evening in the Congre- gational Vestry. It will be good for the cause of the recep- tion business to enlighten the inhabitants of Gorsddu with regard to the son of Mr. Wm. James, of Gorsddu, who has been home on leave recently, and who did not have a reception concert. Mr. James interviewed the local committeeman (Mr. George Bancroft), and asked him to inform the Committee that he did not desire to have any concert for his son, and that, if a concert was held, his son would not be present; further, that if the Committee should decide to send the usual gift to his son, it would be returned. There- fore, the Committee considered it would only be a waste of time and energy to promote a concert for this particular soldier. Also, owing to a misunderstanding, Priv. Noah Jones, of Gorsddu, has gone back to depot without having a concert held to wel- come him but half the usual sum of money has been advanced to him, and he will re- ceive the remainder when he next ccmes home, when he will also be honoured with the usual concert. Outlines of Local Government I HOUSING AND TOWN-PLANNING. The problem of the last generation was to provide gas and water; the problem of the next is to provide light and air. "-Professor Muirhead. I believe the housing question to be at bottom a religious question, and that it is necessary to face it in the light of the Chris- tian ideal of life and character. "— E. Hand. The housing problem, alike in town and country, is frauiht with the most vital issues; a cheap, sanitaty, spacious, stable fabric of a home, in wholesome, agreeable, and stimu- lating surroundings, is a prime necessary of wholesome family life. Such a home is im- possible for the vast majority of the people under existing land tenure.J. A. Hobson. The housing problem in this country has become acute, and may now be stated as con- sisting in (see Housing in England and Wales," a pamphlet recently issued by the Ministry of Reconstruction): -L-,k-ge of houses amounting to between 300,000 and 400,000 for England and Wales. This is quite apart from any further shortage which would be created by the closing of slum houses. According to the Report of the Census of 1911, no fewer than one-tenth of the popuation were living under overcrowded conditions; and this, notwith- standing the fact that people are only re- garded as being overcrowded if they are Living more than two to a room, including living-rooms, and that children under four- teen are only counted as half a person. The shortage is widespread. We have no room to live." (b) A large number of defective and in- sanitary houses which are unfit for human beings to live in. (c) In many towns, slum areas consisting of crowded and narrow courts and streets. Powers of Local Authorities. I Various Acts of Parliament were passed during the 19th century and the present cen- tury for the purpose of improving the condi- tions under which the workers were housed. The following are the chief enactments:— (1) Many of the provisions. of the Public Health Acts (particularly the Act of 1875) deal with housing questions; (2) The Housing of the Working Classes Acts, 1890 to 1903, and the Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909; (3) The Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, 1899; (4) The circular recently issued by the Local Government Board, offering financial assistance to Local Authorities. Under all these Acts the Local Authority, —i.e., the Borough or Urban District Council in the towns and the Rural District Council in the counties—is the responsible authority for carrying out the law, subject to the general supervision of the Local Government Board. 1. Powers of Councils under the Public Health Acts. An Urban District or Borough CouRcil have considerable powers in con- trolling the erection of buildings. The Coun- cil can only control buildings on certain specified points; they have no general rights to interfere in matters of taste ov convenience. The Council cannot reject plans at their own discretion, but only on the ground that they are contrary to an Act of Parliament or to the existing by-laws, but they must reject .hem if they are contrary to either; they have DO power to excuse compliance with their own by-laws. New building lines may be prescribed before approving pans, but not after, and on tendering compensation. Building by-laws may be made by the Council as to: ( I ) Level, width, &c., of new streets; (2) strllc- ture of walls, chimneys, &c., of new build- ings (3) sufifciency of air space; (4) drainage, &c. And may enforce the observ- ance of them in various ways. The Council may not hinder enterprise by delaying the approval of plans. They must approve or disapprove within one month of the proper and regular deposit of the plans and notices required by the by-laws, and if the builder can shew that his building contravenes no statute or by-law, he is safe in commencing work after that period, without receiving approval. On the other hand, the Council have the drastic remedy of power to pull down a building which contravenes a statute cr a by-law, or is begun aftet proper notice of disapproval, or within a month of deposit- Irig plans. No building in any street in any urban dis- trict may be brought forward beyond the front wall of the building on either side with- out the consent of the Council, ever though the builder owns the laud in lront. If the Public Health Acts Amendment Act" 1907, Part II., has beert extended to its district, the Council have certain re/.trding plans. .The most important are. that aUer lapse of three years, if the work has not been com- menced, the approval of the plans may be declared of no effect, and that Councils may retain plans deposited with them. Before 1907 these powers were often obtained by local Acts. Back-to-back houses may not be built unless the street plans were passed before May, 1909. 2.- The provisions made by the Housing of the Working Classes Acts, 1890 to 1903, and the Housing, Town Planning, &c., 1909, are remedial, constructive, and preventative. (1) Remedial Provisions provide for (i.) Improvement Schemes under Part I. of the Act of 1890 for large areas: (a) Prepared upon representation of the Medical Officer of Health or two magistrates or twelve ratepayers; (b) Scheme drawn up and advertised, and notices served on owners. Must pro- vide for the dispossessed unless the Local Government Board otherwise decide. (c) Local Government Board hold a local enquiry, and may confirm the scheme with or without modifications, which must be put into operation by the Local Authority. (ii.) Reconstruction Scheme: under Part II. of the Act of 1890 and (a) Prepared upon similar representations Part I. of the Housing and Town Planning, &c., Act, 1909. (b) Scheme drawn up and notices served on owners, but need not be advertised (c) Enquiry held and similar procedure adopted as in the case of Improvement Schemes. (iii.) Houses: (a) Any house unfit for human habitation must be closed by a "closing order" (b) Action may be taken by the Medical Officer of Health or four or more househo lders. Notice served on owatr, who has a right of appeal to the Local Government Board (c) After thref months, if the owner does not render house fit for habitation, the Council may issue a demolition order," which must be enforced within six months. (2) Cohstructive Provisions under Part III. of the Act of 1890 and Part I. of the Act of 1909 enable a Council to (a) Acquire land by agreement or com- pulsorily by means of an order confirmed by the Local Government Board; (b) The Council may build and manage houses; lay out public streets, or con- tribute towards the cost of streets; (c) May lease the land to any person who will undertake to build the class of houses required. For such leasing, the consent of the County Council is re- quired in rural districts, and of '•he Local Government Board in urban dis- tricts. (.3) The Small Dwellings Acquisition Act, 1899, may be adopted, whereby the Local Authority may advance to a ratepayer four- fifths of their valuation of a house to be occupied by the applicant. Value must not exceed £400, and not more than £300 can be advanced. Rate of interest must not ex- ceed one-half per cent. above the rate at which the Local Authority can borrow from the Public Works Loans Commissioners. (4) Public Utility Societies. The Housing Acts authorise the Public Loans Commis- sioners to advance loans to Public Utility Societies (that is to say, Co-operative or other societies registered under the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts, and limiting their profits to 5 per cent.) equal to two- thirds of the value of the property. (5) Preventative Provisions. The Housing and Town Planning Act, 1909, provides that in the case of every house let after Decem- ber, 1909, if the rent is not more than i40 in London, S.26 in a place of 50,000 popu- lation, or £16 elsewhere, there is an implied warranty on the part of the landlord to the tenant, that the house is reasonably fit for human habitation. The only exception is that if the letting is on lease for three years or more and the lessee is responsible for repairs. It is the duty of every District or Borough Council to make a periodical inspection of their district for the purpose of ascertaining whether any dwelling-houses are unfit for human habitation, and records of such inspec- tion must be kept in a form prescribed by the Local Government Board. (6) The Circular recently issued by the Local Government Board. It was decided by the War Cabinet in July, 1917, that substan- tial financial assistance would be given to those Local Authorities who are prepared to carry through without delay, at the conclusion of the war, a programme of housing for the working classes which is approved by the Local Government Board." In a circular issued by the Local Govern- ment Board, it is stated that this assistance is to take the following form. An annual grant is to be made for not less than seven years sufficient to relieve the Local Authority of three-quarters of the excess of the amount of the loan outstanding, over the then value of the property, which will be met by the State. Briefly, therefore, in the case of approved scheme:- the State will bear three-quarters of the loss and the Local Authority the re- mainder. But there are some districts where it would be a serious burden for the Local Authority to have to bear even a quarter of any loss. In all cases where one-quarter of the estimated annual deficit would involve the levying of a rate of more than a penny in the f-, the Local Government Board is to have discretion to increase the Government grant. But the loss to be borne by the Local Authority in such case must not be reduced below the produce of a rate of a penny in the £." This assistance is only to be available for a limit time after the war, and subject to the condition that in all ordinary cases build- ing shall be commenced within two months, and completed within twelve months, from the date of the Local Government Board sanc- tioning the loan for the scheme." As regards the loans for the schemes, it is stated that any loans by the State for the purpose of assisted schemes would be made at the full market rate of interest current from time to time, and not at the preferential rates ordinary allowed for housing loans, in order (1) that the whole of the State assistance may be given under one head, and (2) that Local Authorities may be encouraged to borrow on their own credit rather than to have recourse to State capital funds.' Where the Local Authorities, in spite of admitted need, fail to take adequate steps. Mr. Hayes Fisher has plainly hinted in public speeches that they will be suppanted by some other authority who will see that houses are built." (Extracts from Housing in England and Wales," a pamphlet issued by the Ministry of Reconstruction). Dejeels in the Housing Acts. The Acts are, to a great extent, mad null and void by the immensity of the problem. In face of overwhelming need, the action of Local Authorities in regard to the housing problem has been pitifully small. The main reason for this is the ruinous coii oj compul- sory purchase. The fear of adding over- whelming burdens acts as a drag on even the most zealous Local Authorities. For example, the Metropolitan Board of Works spent one •nd a half million sterling on merel y pulling down old houses. Manchester has spent £ 160,000 in displacing 2.600 persons Greenock, £ 127.500; while the Wolver- hampton Impvovemt o* Scheme added a sum :>f £7,000 a year to the rates. The fact is that legislation dealing with the demolition of slums is not nearly drastic enough. The responsibility for the condition of bad houses should fall on the owner, not on the com- munity. Reforms. Mr. Arthur Page Grubb suggests the fol- lowing reforms:— (I ) To extend the period for repayment of loans made by Local Authorities for building purposes. (2) The adoption of stringent regulations respecting all single-family houses which are converted into tenements; e.g., the strict limitation of the number of persons allowed to occupy such converted buildings. (3) In order that the inspection may be rendered as impartial and thorough as pos- sible, medical officers of health and sanitary inspectors should be placed under the control of'the Imperial Government. [The Medical Officer of Health for the borough of Llandovery (see South Wales News," January 10th, 1919) asked the borough to make representations to the Local Government Board with a view to their appointing an inspector to come down tc report on the condition of housing in the borough. Having regard to his private prac- tice, he thought this would be fair, otherwise it might give the impression that he was against everybody in the town. He men- tioned the case of a farm in the rural district concerning which he had to report to the Rural Council some time ago. The man had never come near him since, nor was he likely to. There were a number of Councillors who owned houses. ] (4) To penalise the owners of slum pro- perty who batten on the degradation and misery of the overcrowded poor. (5) The alteration of the leasehold system. The pernicious land system blocks the way to all progress. In every branch of social reform the enquirer is brought up short by: the land question. But let us not forget that the one decisive factor in solving the housing, as well as all other social problems, is the awakening of interest and the exercise of his power by each citizen. No interests can ulti- mately withstand aroused and instructed public opinion. Let our aim be "to build Jerusalem in England's green and pleasant land." Bibliography. I (1) Housing in England and Wales; published by His Majesty' s Stationery Office. 2d. (2) Houses for the People (Fabian Tract). I d. (3) Cottage Plans and Common Sense (Fabian Tract). 11. (4) Homes of the London Poor. Octavius Hill. (Macmillan) I s. net. (5) Housing. Percy Alden and E. E. Hayward, M.A. (Headley). I s. set. (6) Housing Conditions of Manchester and Salford. T. C. Marr. (Sherratt, Man- chester) Is. net. (7) No Room to Live. G. Haw. (Daily News Office). 6d. net. 8. The Housing Handbook. W. Thomp- son. (Aldridge). 2s. 6d. net. (9) The Housing of the Working C lasses. Dr. E. Bowmaker. (Methuen). 2s. 6d.

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