|The Rushden Echo, 14th June 1968, transcribed by Jim Hollis
Victory in fight for homes
Only a month ago five Rushden householders looked at their possessions and counted their savings for soon they thought that they might have had none at all; that their homes would be taken from them for virtually nothing.
Now the Rushden Urban Council’s classification of these houses as unfit to live in has not been accepted by the Ministry of Housing. The householders in Orchard Place can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that this has saved them several hundred pounds and probably safeguarded their old age.
It was on May 1 that they went to the public enquiry at the Rushden Town Hall not to object to the council’s compulsory purchase order for the properties but against the “unfit” classification.
The finding of the Ministry of Housing Inspector was that the five houses, numbers 3, 4, 10, 11 and 19, were not unfit although it was said that the council were justified in obtaining the whole area for clearing and redevelopment.
This means the District Valuer, when making his estimate if the value of the houses will do it on what he feels is the market value of the property instead of just site value which could have been well under £50.
The property must now be worth several hundred pounds to the owners.
What was the reaction of the residents?
The “Echo” broke the good news to 75-year-old World War I veteran Mr. Henry Rowthorn, at number 11 Orchard Place, on Monday afternoon.
Mr. Rowthorn had been sent the result of the inquiry but could not understand the local government jargon and the various references to housing acts and their sub-sections.
After we explained that he had won his fight together with the other householders he said he was very pleased if this was the case and felt it was “a great relief.”
“At the moment I only have the rates to pay on this house but if I went into a council flat it would mean moving expenses and things like new carpets which would take all my savings.
“If they had taken my house for just the land value I would have had nothing for my old age. Living on just a pension would mean that I could only just get by, skimping on things to save for a holiday or a new suit,” he said.
A number 19 Mr. Albert Thornton was another relieved man. He was very pleased at the decision and said that it seemed a long, long time waiting for the result of the inquiry.
Mr. Thornton is the only householder on one side of Orchard Place who objected and at first he was not going to bother. He changed his mind, however, and is now very pleased he did.
Of the other residents concerned, Mrs. Gladys Windsor has already moved from her house at number 10, and Mr. Jack Cave is away on holiday, no doubt relaxing now he knows the good news.
Also as a result of the inquiry the Minister has decided that numbers 13, 14, 15 and 18 Orchard Place should receive good maintenance payments in addition to site value and number 9 may receive this payment although this decision will be made later as the inspector was not able to see inside the house at the time.