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----_----MOUNTAIN ASH.

+..-Recreation Ground for…

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+. Recreation Ground for Miskin. OCAL GOVERNMENT BOARD INQUIRY. STRONG REMARKS BY THE INSPECTOR. On Tuesday, Mr. Edgar Dudley, F.S.I., one bf the Inspectors of the Local Government Board, conducted an inquiry At the Town Hall, Mountain Ash, into an application by the Dis- trict Council for sanotion to borrow zCI,734 for the purpose of providing a recreation ground at Miskin, Mountain Ash. There were present, Couns. W. Davies, Griffith Evans, Silas Wil- liams, Rev. E. V. Tidman, W. Lamburn, Mr. J. M. Linton (deputy clerk to the Council), Mr. Stock (accountant), Mr W. Thomas (sur- veyor), Mr. A. Morgan (director of education), and Mr Williams (architect to the Education Committee). The Inspector elicited the fact that there was no opposition to the scheme. Mr. J. M. Linton said the area of the dis- trict was 10,503 acres; population at the last census 31,093, and the estimated population at present being 43,000; rateable value, £ 187,399; assessable value, £ 144,000; outstanding liabili- ties, £ 29,426; loans sanctioned but not exer cised, nil; total indebtedness of the Council, £ 159,760, including the indebtedness due for iburiai purposes, £ 168,810. There was no over- Araft, INSPECTOR ANNOYED. :At this point the Inspector said these figures Should have been supplied to the Local Govern- ment Board prior to his coming there. It was very 'difficult to conduct an inquiry without 'having the details beforehand.—Mr Linton: 'All the information asked for has been suppli- -led-rnspector Dudley: That is not the ques- tion. Why did you not as business men, give all the information at first ? What is the poor rate for, the year?—Mr. Linton: The accountant Will obtain it. Mr. Stock, the accountant, went out to get the information which led the Inspector to say Ith,ati he never saw anything more unbusiness- like, in Ins life. There was no information if&?TO66ming.—Mr. Linton! I never heard this asfe&d-'fer at an inquiry before.—Mr. Dudley Kwarmly) I have conducted several inquiries here and I have always asked for it. Mr. Stock now informed the Inspector that epoor rate for the year was 4s. 2d.; gen- eral district rate, 3s. 2d.; making 7s. 4d. in all. A penny rate yielded J6644. The Council asked for sanction to borrow the amount repayable in thirty years. Mr. Thomas, the Council's Surveyor, stated that the existing recreation ground were the Victoria Ground, Darrenlas, 7.42 acres, the ground in this case having been given in ex- change for another plot in Aberdare, and the Penrhiwceiber Recreation Ground, 4 acres, the ground being given free on condition that the Council made the roads, etc. These were. not sufficient for the needs of the district. The Council had negotiated for a plot in the Mis- kin area, and the proposed plot was 2,821 eores. Inspector: Can you give it me in roods tfbd perches?—Mr. Thomas: Two acres, 3 roods, ill perches. Inspector: And the priqe to be paid for it?— Mr. Thomas: £ 1,734 The Inspector: What is that per acre? Is it not reasonable that all this information should be supplied before hand? Why should it be necessary for me to have to get all, this information by asking questions.—Mr. Lin- ton: The Local Government Board could have had all this information if they asked for it.— The Inspector: Why should it be necessary to write for it? You should certainly have sup- plied these -details.-Mr. Linton: They were never supplied nor asked for in previous in- quiries, and there has been no suggestions from the Local Government Board that they were required.—Inspector: I should think it would havae suggested itself to you as a busi- ness man that this information was required. Let us, however, get on. What is the price per acre?—Mr. Thomas: £ 770. There are certain provisions that the Council should make certain roads. The Inspector: This is the first I have heard bf that. Do you not think as business men that I could consider this application better if these particular as had been supplied me? What about the costs?—Mr. Linton: The Council pays the vendors' costs and their own. We are not. asking for a loan for that. The ground is freehold. FURTHER COMPLAINTS. Mr. Thomas said he estimated the cost of taaking the roads would be JB562. The Edu- cation Committee had taken the adjoining plot, .72 acres, for JB457. which was at the same rate per acre. The Council proposed to pay for the making of the roads out of revenue.—The Inspector: Why does not the Education Com- mittee pay a part of the cost of making the road ? As it appears now the Educataion Com- mittee gets the land for 2770 an acre, while the cost of this recreation ground will be JB970 and, £ CJ%-rME. Thomae WO that tbit pou I 4& had not yet decided the question of how the cost of the ro&dmaking would be allocated be- tween the Council and the Education Commit- tee, and he was only giving the Inspector the total cost. The Inspector: Do you not think that it would be more satisfactory if these details had been settled beforehand, and the information given me? It is a very strange way to pro- ceed?—Mr. Alfred Morgan, Director of Educa- tion I can assure you, sir, that the Council will not allow the Education Committee to score over them. Whatever the Committee ought to pay they will be called upon to do so.—Coun. W. Davies said that the portion re- quired for the Education Committee was se- cured before the question of acquiring the larger site was taken up. # The Inspector: My point is that the own- ers get practically £ 1,000 per acre for this piece of ground for recreation purposes. It is a very great price to pcay.-Coun. Davies: We fully recognise that. We felt that the price was vastly beyond what we. had hoped to get it at, but at the same time we recognised that there was no place for the children to play except by trespassing on other people's property or. in the street. In either case they were liable to be prosecuted, and as we had no alternative we were compelled to pay this price. The Inspector: You are, by having a recre- ation ground on this spot, and by making these roads, materially increasing the value of the vendors' land, which, I .understand, lies all round. In Bolton, recently, the owner of the land gave five acres free for such a purpose, and land is dear at Bolton.-ML W. Davies: The same thing was done in Penrhiwceiber, but here we cannot help ourselves.—The In- spector: When you pay for land to build a school upon that increases the value of the adjoining property, but not to the extent that a recreation ground does. VERY HIGH PRICE. Mr. W. Davies: I strongly urged that view on the representatives of the owners, Mr. A. Morgan. The land in this district will fetch that .price if sold for building purposes. It is a very crowded district. I do not know whether you have visited the spot.The In- spector: No, but I will do so. I do not say anything as to its commercial value. All I say is that £ 1,000 an acre is a very high prioe to pay for land for recreation purposes.—Mr. ) Stock: We had to pay JB800 a year for land for a cemetery. You will remember that, for you held the inquiry.—Rev. E. V. Tidman: The Cemetery was cheaper than this by a couple of hundred pounds an acre.—The In- spector The land is freehold ?—Mr. Linton: Yes, but the minerals are reserved. At this point the communication which had passed between Messrs. Nixons, the owners of the land, and the Council were read, and the Clerk said that no provisional agreement had been entered into,- but the letters were binding. —The Inspector: What is proposed to be done with regard to the laying out and the fencing ef this ground?—Mr. Linton: The Council has not yet considered that question. The Inspector: I do not see any reason why this inquiry should be held. Why deal with a matter like this in the piecemeal fashion you have?—Conn. W. Davies: We did not think there was any necessity for an inquiry.—The Inspector: You did not expect to be allowed to have the sanction of the Local Government Board to pay £ 1,000 an acre for ground for recration purposes without an inquiry? Why not bring all the facts before us? Suppose that in six months you require money to fence and lay out this ground you will require another inquiry—Mi*. W. Davies: That will be paid out of revenue.—-Inspector :■ It is altogether most unbusinesslike.—Mr. Davies As a Coun- cil we were most anxious to do something to procure somewhere for the. children to play. The Inspector: That is right enough, but why not consider the whole cost? Very often applications come before the Board, which seem fair enough on the face; but the contingent costs make them undesirable. To place a case like this piecemeal before the Board does not give the Board fairplay. If the fencing costs another £ 1,000 an acre you can see for your- self that it must put a; very different com- plexion on the matter, and must affect the de- cision of the Local Government Board. How can I report to the Board on the soundness and reasonableness of this proposal when I can not get the whole facts before me?—Mr. A. Morgan: It is wellnigh impossible to get any other plot of land for the purpose in that neigh- bourhood. VALUE OF OTHER LAND. In reply to inquiries by the Inspector as to the cost of other land in the immediate neigh bourhood, he was informed that the County School site cost ;61,000 An acre, and that the owners got 2d. a yard as ground rent for build- ing land in the district.—The Inspector asked how the Council proposed to get, say, £ 200, if that amount was allocated to the Education Committee towards the cost of the road, and Mr. Morgan said they would have either to bor- row or to pay it but of revenue.—The Inspec- tor: This morning is very unsatisfactory.—Mr. Morgan: I am afraid you began badly by los- ing your train (laughter). At this stage Mr. Williams, the architect to the Education Committee, came to the inquiry, but he could not add much to the information already given, but pdinted out that a portion of the road leading to the school had already been constructed at the cost of the Education Com- mittee.—The Inspector asked if there was any further evidence, and being told there was not asked those present if they had anything to say. Coun. Silas Williátnff said that the feeling of the members of the Council and the members of the Education Committee, was unanimous in favour of this application. The children had nowhere to go to play without being liable to be proseouted.—The Inspector: I quite ap- preciate the necessity of a recreation ground.— Mr. Williams said that all the land around was being rapidly taken up for building purposes, and that was practically the only plot available. On behalf of the Council^ and especially the par- ents and children, in that locality he appealed through the Inspector to the Local Government Board to sanction the application, so that the children might have, a chance to develop them- selves physically as well as mentally.—Coun. W. Davies said he would like to endorse what had been said by Mr. WillianjB. There was no other ground available, and it was perfectly clear that it Was a most undesirable state of things for the children in such a crowded lo- cality to be without any recreation ground of any Kind. He felt that the cost Was very great and the price paid greatly in favour of the landlords. He hoped, however, that the appli- cation would be granted for the sake of the children. The Inspector, having closed the inquiry, visited the spot and will report in due course.

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