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J y. PARISH CODICILS. n;. i., <; u.- J Bases Parish Councils.—At the annual meeting of the Essex Local Government Committee, the clerk (Mr. J. H. Nicholas) reported that there had been a failure to elect a Parish .Council at Ashen. Only two attendod the Parish Meeting. A similar thing happened at Barling., At Belsham St. Paul tha newly-elected councillors had failed to write the Qeceasary declarations. At Elsenham a Parish Meet- fbg wa'8 cilled, achairman appointed, but no nomi- nations were handed in. At West Mersea the full number were nominated for the Parish Council, but two only out of the' 12 signed thtf declaration1, the e,c hra I others refusing to do this. It was also reported that at Great Stambridge the election was not held on the proper day, owing to a mistake by the vicar. At Wivenhoe only three councillors had consented to serve. There had been a failure to elect a Parish Council at Tillfngham (near Mai don), owing to some informality. Mr. Fitch said that all was wrong at" this parish. ^Laughter.) Mr. Benjamin Dow was both chairman and clerk of the late Parish Council; he was a very good man, but he did not know at all what to do. It was really unfortunate for the parish that such a state of things existed, but probably the same thing would occur again if they ordered a fresh election. (Laughter.) The Clerk read an extract from a letter Written by Mr. Dow, in which he said, I consider -there is no difficnlty at all here, but the Scripture sayq, 'Every fool will be meddling. (Laughter.) The Clerk said they might appoint Deputy Councils to act in these cases. Mr. Johnston Would it nbt be well to do that, instead of going through the farce of ordering new elections ? The Clerk said these Deputy Councils could only act temporarily. It was decided to order that fresh elections should take place in all these parishes, with the exception of Great Stam- bridge, Mr. Fitch proposing they should "grant absolution to the vicar," and. confirm the election. Coronisifting on thlB matter, the County Council Times says: Strange as it may seem, there are more than a few parishes still without Parish Councils which do not seem to have any overwhelming desire to possess the privileges which a Parish Council could Eve them. The Essex Local Government Committee id an amusing report to make at its annual meeting with regard to some of the parishes in Essex. In each of two parishes only two members at- tended the Parish Meeting. In another a meeting was called and a chairman elected, but, having got so far, the parishioners teem to have decided to rest on their oars, for the matter was carried qo further. In several cases Councils were elected, but the successful candidates declined to serve or to sign the declaration. In one parish a chairman was elected at the Parish Meeting Who, well meaning but helpless, could only express his disgust at the failure to elect a Parish Coqncil by, quoting Scripture. Altogether the rural parishes of Essex seem to be in such a state that the best thLpg they could do would be to go to this gentleman for advice. He might remind them that Heaven helps those who help themselves "-which sounds Scrip- tural i even though chapter and versq cannot be. JUB- •ignea to if. Allotments Inquiry at Bodham.—The Bodham Parish Council have for some time been endeavour- ing to hire by agreement, on reasonable terms, land suitable for allotments, but have not succeeded. They tyave, therefore, applied to the County Council to authorise them to obtain the same by compulsions There are nine applicants for allotments, who want in all some 10 acres of land. The piece the Council wish to hire for a period of 14 years is known as OtterV Field, and is of an estimated extent of 10 acres. It is owned by Mr. J. S. Mott, of Barning- ham Hall, and is at present in the occupation of Mrs Harriet Ann Mack. The County Council directed an inquiry into the application to be held îW Mr. C. Louis Buxton and Mr. Robins Cooke. A Careful Council. The Parish Council ot Shaftesbury the other day approached its neighbour Council of East Stour, Dorsetshire, with a view to a ,Iegmy,aon celebration of the Queen's reign, in which "Festivities bore a part. But the East Stour eouncil- meo were of a frugal mind," and accordingly trans- raMttejJ to their brethren/pf the Shaftesbury parish the following determination Resolved, to buy a, wheel-bier to celebrate the Jubilee, and not to join in the Shaftesbury festivities and hospital scheme. The Dwellings of the Rural Labourers.-The ques- tion of the proper housing of rural labourers has oeen recently receiving attention at the hands of Parish Councillors and others; and thereanpnt, ip the course of an interesting article, the Councils' Grazitte remarks The problem really resolves itself into, a simple question of finance. This question may be divided into two parts: (1) Can capital be ex- pended on the erection of labourers' cottages, witji such reasonable-seourity and with such prospect of obtaining a small interest thereon as would justify' the Government in either themselves advancing money for this purpose, or sanctioning advances by. rural local uthorities ? (2) If so, should the money be advanced out of local rates or from the National Exchequer ? At the recent conference of the Rural Labourers' League, two practical sugges- tions were propounded. Mr. T. W. Cook advocated the loan of money by the Government for the, p«r- pose of building cottages at 2k" per cent., while t. P. S. Stephenson, M.P., suggested that Pural Dis- trict Councils should be given power to raise loans for acquiring land at long leases on which to build cottages, the management of these to be delegated ooa Parish Council or committee. Forbpth of these proposals there is, we think, a -to be said, and the principle of each of them has already, in relation to kindred subjects, been adopted by Parliament, and found to work with success. In Ireland, for example, legislation on eimilar lines to the first-named suggestion has been tried with satisfactory results; while in our urban districts power has been given to the local authori- ties, undpr certain circumstances, to raise money for the erectiop of artisans' dwellings. In the case of Ireland, we believe, it has been found Sossible to arrange Government loans on con- itions which provide a very fair measure of security, aod little diflteulty has been experienced in obtaining the moderate interest charged. However depressed agricplttute may be .in England, there does not seem to be any valid reason for supposing that Government 108Illt could not be carried out with at least as much snceeas as. has attended the experiment in Ireland. The analogy .between the expenditure of money by urban autheritjeB in building artisans' dwellings and the scheme advocated by Mr. Stephenson is not so complete, inasmuch as the larger wages obtained by the artisans and the more substantial character of their houpos necessarily afford better security than could be found in, the case of cottages for rural labourers. Still, we beliere that if the rural authori- 1" ties were allowed to raiio money and acquire land for this purpose, there would not be any serious risk of loss to the ratepayer, provided, of course, that in the erection of the cottages due regard was had to the amount of rent which could be obtained therefrom. On the whole, it appears to us that a scheme under which the Government advanced money at, say, two and a half, per cent., on, reasonable conditions, to 1 either rural authorities or private individuals for the purpose of building cottages, would be attended by very little risk of loss either to the ratepayer or to the National Exchequer. There is one important aspect of the problem about which only a word can now be said. We refer to the difficulty experienced in some districts in obtaining land for building pur- poses. It is obvious that it is of no avail to provide a means of obtaining the money required if land is also not rendered available. We are not particularly attached to the principle of compulsory acquisition, but it must, we think, be conceded that'there is at lepst as much justification for putting it into force for the purpose of obtaining land for building pur- pcttes there is in the case of allotments." i. a;

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