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- CHESHIRE AGRICULTURAL SOCIETY.…

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ITHE GROWTH OF SHOTTON. I…

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I THE GROWTH OF SHOTTON. COMPETITION FOR A HOTEL LICENCE. BREWERY COMPANY'S SUCCESSFUL BAIT. Considerable interest was manifested at Hawarden Brewster Sessions on Wednesday in three applications for one new provisional licence for a hotel to be situated near Shotton Station, on the Wrexham, Mold, and Connah's Quay Line. The magistrates on the bench were Messrs. W. Carstairs Jones, J. Watkinson, H Hurlbutt, J. Reney, S. K. Muspratt, and F. L. Hancock. The applicants were Richard Darbi- shire, landlord of the Glynne Arms Hotel, Hawarden, for whom Mr. W. H. Churton appeared; Robert Williams, of the Anchor Inn, Flint, a tenant of the Kelsterton Brewery Com- pany, represented by Mr. R. V. Bankes (in- structed by Mr. T. W. Hughes), and John Rowden Freme, of Wepre Hall, Connah's Quay, who was represented by Mr. Seagar, barrister, Liverpool. The applications were not opposed. There was a little preliminary sparring between Mr. Churton and Mr. Bankes as to whom should open the ball, and the Bench, in deciding to hear Mr. Darbishire's case first, said they would hear all the applications before giving their decision. THE FIRST APPLICATION. Mr. CHURTON said Mr. Darbishire asked the magistrates to grant him a provisional licence in respect of apiece of land adjoining Shotton Station. This was not the first time an appli- cation had been made for a licence at Shotton. He had the honour last year to make an appli- cation for one, but then he was concerned for the tenant of the Kelsterton Brewery Company. On that occasion he had a considerable amount of opposition on the grounds that the plans he then furnished to the Bench were not sufficient, so far as the house and its rooms were con- cerned, and that the application was made in respect of a piece of land opposite the schools. He had not the good fortune to be successful on that occasion, but he trusted he might be more fortunate that day. He thought he might urge from the fact that there were three applications for the licence, that there was clearly a want on the part of some- one at any rate for the erection of a hotel somewhere near Shotton Station. The reasons why a licence was necessary for the place were manifest. Building was rapidly going on there, and the traffic at Shotton Station had very considerably increased. He contended that Shotton was worthy of a decent hotel. He did not ask the Bench to encourage the erection of a drinking shop; there were no doubt too many drinking shops in the country, but no one was the worse for the erection of a decent hotel, a place where accommodation was given for man and beast, and not only for drinking. Mr. Darbishire ought to be pretty well known. He had held the licence of the Glynne Arms Hotel, Hawarden, for 14 years; he was connected with no brewery, and did not intend that the house should be tied, his intention being to put his son into the business. There were people who objected to tied houses, but this house would be entirely un- tied, because it would be Mr. Darbishire's own property. A short time ago there was a sale at Shotton, and Mr. Darbishire bought the only piece of land at that sale on which a public house could be erected. There were strong grounds indeed for the erection of a hotel near the station. The station was an exchange station; there were something like 200 book- ings a day, and something like 400 passengers daily changed trains there and had to wait very considerable periods at the station without any means of getting any accommodation what- ever. In addition, a large number of people went to the station in traps, and has no means whatever of putting their traps up. The piece of land in question contained 1,264 square yards, and £948 was given for it, the vendors making a good thing out of it. Mr. Cartwright, the manager of the railway company, was present and he would give evidence in support of the application, and would tell them it would be a convenience to passengers to make an entrance from the station footway iato the hotel. The house would be a three-storey one, and would contain every possible convenience. There would be a large public yard at the back, containing accommodation for horses and traps. while there would also be coach houses, a large cart shed, and a tennis lawn in front of the house, adjoining the station premises. The house was estimated to cost £2,429. It would be a great accommodation to the ladies and gentlemen whom came from Chester to play golf; the golf ground was just over the river, and there was no place where those who took part in the game could get anything to eat or drink. There were also large works erected on the other side of the river. He did not know that the workmen there were all persons who would go to a house of this kind, but if they wanted to go there they would get every possible accommodation. There was not a decent hotel in the place. The beerhouse at the Nine Houses was 720 yards away; the New Inn at Wepre was 777 yards distant, and the Hawarden Castle Hotel at Queen's Ferry was 1 mile 231 yards away. He bad the support of a very large majority of people in the neighbourhood in making his application, and there was a strong feeling in favour of Mr. Darbishire. He thought the Bench would say there was a bona fide desire to erect a hotel there which he trusted would be perfectly satisfactory to the neigh- bourhood. Evidence having been given by Richard Darbishire and Henry Gibson, surveyor and architect, Wigan, who prepared the plans for the hotel, Mr. Cartwright, manager of the Wrexham, Mold, and Connah's Quay Railway Company, testified to the growth of the traffic at Shotton since the opening of the direct line to Liver- pool. During the six months ending June, 25,000 tickets were issued at the station. Shotton was a terminal station for the Chester and Connah's Quay section, and a large number of people changed trains there. Sometimes passengers had to wait in the station five, fifteen, or twenty minutes, and if the main line trains were run late, they had to wait considerably longer. From a railway point of view, the hotel would be a great public con- venience. t Mr. T. B. Barnett, bank manager, Hawarden, said he was a contract ticket-holder on the line, and he had to change at Shotton each journey both in going to, and returning from, Chester. It would be a great convenience to passengers if a respectable hotel were erected adjoining the station. It would also be convenient if it were possible to put a horse and trap up near the station. Mr. W. Newton, road surveyor; Mr. Jellicoe, retired farmer, Shotton Mr. Hugh Hughes, farmer, Northop, gave similar evidence. Mr. Edward Taylor, shipwright, Shotton, who has canvassed the neighbourhood on the subject, said a good many of the inhabitants who were opposed to the granting of a licence last time were now in favour of it. They wanted, however, a free, not a tied, house, some of them considering it best to choose the lesser evil. He obtained 101 signatures to a memorial in favour of the application. Mr. WATKINSON Did you obtain the signatures on the understanding that it was to be a free house ? Witness That was the understanding. Mr. WATKINSON: What is to prevent it to- morrow morning being made into a tied house ? We must deal with facts. If you give the public to understand that this is to be a free house you are getting those signatures not intentionally, rather under false pretences. Mr. CHURTON was afraid they could not pledge any house in the kingdom. Mr. WATKINSON No, of course not. Mr. CHURTON then put in the memorial in favour of Mr. Darbishire's application. It was signed by Mr. Rowley, colliery owner and others. Mr. Thomas Henry Haswell, schoolmaster, Shotton. expressed himself in favour of a private as against a tied house. Many of them did not care whether they had a house or not, but if they were to have one they wished Mr. Darbishire to have it. Mr. James Coppock said they did not support public-houses, but they did not oppose Mr. Darbishire's application. THE BREWERT COMPANY'S APPLICATION. Mr. BANKES, in making the next application, said Mr. Robert Williams had been 32 years in the Anchor Inn, Flint, he was a town councillor in that borough, and had carried on his business to the utmost satisfaction of the people there. The Kelsterton Brewery Com- pany were, of course, the owners of the piece of land in respect of which the present application was made, and Mr. Robert Williams would be their tenant. Tbey felt rather strongly that they had some claim on the magistrates in this matter, because they applied last year for a licence, the result being that there were now, two more applicants in the field. Mr. Darbishire's purchase was not made until after his clients had applied for a licence, and he imagined Mr. Freme had only come forward when he heard there were two others. If Mr. Robert Williams was given the licence' the Kelsterton Brewery Company were willing to give up the licence of the Anchor Inn, Flint, and they were also willing to relinquish the licence of the Prince of Wales Beerhouse, Connah's Quay, which was an 1869 licence. They were prepared to give up the latter at once, and that of the Anchor Inn as soon as Robert Williams had got into the new hotel. If the magistrates granted the application the result must be satisfactory to the Temperance party in the county, because the numbers of licences would be one less. They proposed to spend X2,500 upon the building. It was urged that Mr. Darbishire's site was nearer the station, but he (Mr. Bankes) said his clients were the people who found the place out. It would be the bitterest cut of all if they were beaten on the ground that Mr. Darbishire's site was nearer the station, because when the Brewery Company found the place out and saw it was going to increase, they thought it better not to have the hotel too close to the station. They were afraid the railway com- pany would object, because as a rule companies did not care to have public-houses too close to their stations on account of porters and signalmen getting drink. The brewery company's piece of ground was only 100 yards from the station. With regard to tied houses he pointed out that the chief constables of Liverpool, Manchester, and Chester, stated at the licensing commission that the result of their life long experience was that brewers' houses with managers were more than twice as well conducted as private houses. Mr. Fenwick, of Chester, said he had come to the conclusion that the police could have no objection to tied houses, as they were well conducted, their agreements were stringent, and the owners looked well after them. There was some slight misapprehension about tied houses. Of course anybody who came to their hotel and asked for a standard article such as a bottle of Bass's beer, or Guinness's stout could have it. It was only the draught beer that was tied, and he was prepared to prove that their beer was a good standard article. Mr. HURLBUTT Are you speaking from personal experience ? (Laughter.) Mr. BANKES: My doctor does not allow me to try it. (Laughter.) I wish to say that if it is not good you will not drink too much of it. (Laughter.) In conclusion he remarked that they were the first to bear the brunt and heat of the day and ought to have the licence. The applicant then gave evidence, stating that he had testimonials from the Rector of Flint (the Rev. Ll. Nicholas) and others. Mr. R. Cecil Davies, Chester, gave evidence as to the plans; Mr. George Fryer stated that he would prefer to stable his horses in a place a little removed from a station; and Mr. McNaught, managing director of the Kelsterton Brewery, gave evidence, stating that they intended to build a good hotel. Mr. MUSPRATT Like the King's Head, Holy well ? Witness: Yes. Mr. BANKES: We have some hope that Mr. Hooley will come to stay there. (Laughter.) THE THIRD APPLICATION. Presenting tho case for Mr. Freme, Mr. Seagar claimed that his client had the prior claim, because he was really the original inhabitant. He was the owner of the land before the population arrived, and before the railway company were thought of. Mr. Freme was deprived of the land by the railway com- pany for the public benefit, and he certainly had some claim upon the favourable considera- tion of the Bench. After alluding to the fact that the necessity for a house was so marked, that there was no opposition to the present applications, he pointed to the growth of Shotton. Mr. Freme had, he said, 185 applications for 10 new houses built on his property, and they were inhabited as soon as they were built. He was about to construct 30 new houses, and 20 more were about to be built by another contractor. He understood about 15 houses had been constructed recently in addition. The houses bad been taken by persons employed at the Borras and Iron Works close to. Mr. Freme was the owner of a very considerable amount of property in the district adjoining the proposed site of the hotel, and he proposed to cover a large area of the land with pretty houses in the same style as the hotel, and a great deal in the style of Port Sunlight village. It was proposed to build the house somewhat in the ancient Cheshire style of architecture, with none of its inconveniences, and all its picturesqueness. The house would stand back from the road, and would be put opposite Mr. Darbishire's site. It would im- prove the appearance of the locality, and would be the sort of house to be frequented by golfers and cyclists, for whom the present accommodation was very scanty. There was a long, straight, and thirsty road with no house in view either backwards or forwards. The Borax and Iron Works were going to be increased, and there would be a large influx of workmen into the district, so that probably in twelve months the population would be doubled. Referring to the changing of trains at Shotton he said passengers at present were compelled to stay in that little bit of a shed, stuck on sticks, which was called a railway station—(laughter) —until the next train arrived, or until they got lumbago. (Renewed laughter.) The proposed house would be built in the best style, and would cost between 92,000 and £ 3,000. Evidence was given by Messrs. John Ingman (Connah's Quay) and Geo. P. Allender, architect, and the magistrates then retired. On their return, the chairman said their decision was that the Kelsterton Brewery Co. should have the licence, on condition that they doubled the proposed stabling accommodation, gave up the licence of the Prince of Wales beerhouse at once, and that of the Anchor Inn, on entering into occupation of the new hotel. Mr. BANKES gave an assurance that these conditions should be carried out.

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