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IMPORTANT TO FLINTSHIRE. GOVERNMENT INQUIRY AT CHESTER. Mr. E. Peers Burd and Colonel J. E. Marsh, R.E., opened an inquiry on behalf of the Local Government Board on Wednesday, in Chester Town Hall, into the application by the Chester Town Council for the extension of the muni- cipal boundary of the borough. The Council wish to incorporate the Hoole urban district, part of the parishes of Great Broughton and Newton-by-Chester, and part of the parishes of Saltney and Sealand, the two latter parishes being in the rural district of Hawarden. Mr. Balfour Browne, Q.C., and Mr. Eldon Bankes appeared for the corporation, and among those opposing the application were Mr. E. Honora- fcus Lloyd, on behalf of the Cheshire County Council, Mr. Collingwood Hope, on behalf of the Flintshire County Council and the London and North-western and GreatWestern Railway Companies, and Mr. Edmund Sutton, on behalf of the Hoole Urban District Council. In opening the case for the petitioners, Mr. Balfour Browne said the total area of Chester was 2,862 acres, and the area it was proposed to add was 1,082 acres. That was, therefore, the most moderate extension that had been submitted to the Local Government Board for tome time, so far as area was concerned. The population of Chester was 37,850, and the population of the five areas it was proposed to add was 7,355. Therefore the total population of Chester, after the addition, would be 45,205. The rateable value of Chester was £ 197,792, and the rateable value of the outside districts was £ 29,944. The sewerage arrangements of the outside districts were deficient, and he conten- ded that if they left those places outside they would become in time of epidemics a very serious menace to the city. The districts it waasought to incorporate had a community of interest with Chester, and it would be an advantage for them all to be governed by the same body. At the present time, the corpora- tion of Chester was not the owner either of the gasworks or of the waterworks, and, although he believed that many people in Chester were perfectly satisfied with the water supply, he believed tha*; in these days the people of Ches- ter would not altogether favour the taking of water for .drinking purposes from a r.rer liable to be impregnated with sewage. He said that not only because of the general trend of public opinion, but because he knew ot the efforts Chester had made already to put that source of supply above suspicion. Some day the water question in Chester would have to be dealt with on the lines abandoning the river, and going to some purer source of supply. If Chester were left as it was, it would have to fight the battle for the outside places. Why should not these districts come in and assist to tight the water question, and, he might alsa say, the gas ques- tion, and the tramway question, which was im- minent. Alderman H. T. Brown, chairman of the Cor- poration Extension Committee, gave evidence at length, stating that the particulars with re- gard to the districts it was proposed to add were as follows:—Great Boughton, area 57 acres, population 500, and ratable value 1,596 Hoole Urban District, area 331 acres, popula- tion 5,000, and ratable value 916,944; Newton by Chester, area 134, population 1,000, and ratable value £5,500; Saltney, area 185 acres, population 800, and ratable value £ 5,250; Sea- land, area 375 acres (which, excepting 70 acres, is the property of the corporation), population 55, and ratable value £ 650. The witness con- tended that the extension of the city boundary would facilitate development and the improve- would facilitate development and the improve- ment of bridges and roads, and also in sanitary matters. Cross-examined by Mr. Collingwood Hope The town council, in their memorial, stated that the outside districts depended upon Ches- ter for fire extinguishing appliances. He was not aware that there were fire engines at Sandy- croft Foundry and the Black Works, Queens- ferry, which were used for public fires. He knew there was Sunday closing in Flintshire, and that in the portion of Saltney and Sealand it was proposed to add to Chester there were nine public houses and beerhouses. He dared say that if the district were incorporated these public houses would be open on Sunday. The corporation suggested that the sewage of the Flintshire part of Saltney was turned crude into the tidal Dee. It was also a fact that the Saltney sewage within the city was turned crude into the Dee. The corporation thought they would be better able to deal with the sewage of Saltney if the whole district was amalgamated under one authority. Mr. E. Noel Humphreys, chartered accountant, a member of the Hoole Urban Council, gave evidence strongly in favour of the amalgama- tion of Hoole with Chester. The inquiry was resumed on Thursday. Evidence in support of the application was given by Mr. David Dickenson, an ex-member of the Hoole District Council; Mr. J. Culli- more, J.P., solicitor; Mr. George Avery, school attendance officer, Chester; and Mr. F. J. Beckett, city accountant. The latter stated that the total income of the city was 97,353, and after making deductions from that, the net balance was £ 3,907. This surplus would not pay the interest on the debt of the corporation, but speaking roughly and including the revenue from the electric light, it would pay about three-fourths of it. The total debt of the city was now over £ 200,000. Evidence was also given by Mr. W. Shone, assistant overseer, and Mr. I. Matthews Jones, city surveyor. Mr. Samuel Smith, town clerk of Chester, also gave evidence, and in cross-examination said he hoped there was no intention on the part oi the corporation to purchase the Chester waterworks. He thought the same might be said with regard to the gasworks. The tram- ways question would shortly exercise their serious consideration, as the first 25 years'lease of the tramways company expired Diiis year. With regard to "he water supply of the part of Sealand the corporation wished to annex, the greater portion of the district was agricultural land and except for the purposes of the infec- tious diseases hospital, in course of erection, a water supply had never been considered to be wanted there. A water supply had been taken to the hospital, and it was, of course, available if required. Mr. Collingwood Hope, barrister, represen- ting Flintshire, asked why Chester went into Wales at all. Mr. Smith replied that the reason was simply because they were obliged to buy a block of land. They bought it tor £63 an acre, and they considered it an advantageous purchase. There was nobody interested in that portion of Sealand., except Mr. VLtgars, the own-r of about 70 acres. I' he (the witness) was in Mr. Viggars' position he shouid feel h,s toes trod upon a bit. He had already intimated that he thought some c«>n-i i ration should be "hewn Mr. Viggars. H di 1 not think there was any occasion for the sau e considprtion tobe shown to the railway companies. o'onsileral)le rating difficulties existed at present on account of the ill-defined boundary between Cheshire and Flintshire. Mr. Hope: Have you hid any d ffioulf v with regard to Sunday closing? Well, I am not clerk of the magistrates, but I have heard of it. Do you think the difficulty wi I lie lessened if the nine public houses in this part of Flintshire are incorporated in England ? I think there will be considerably less difficulty. Less difficulty, and more drinking, is that it (laughter). I think rather the contrary. These nine public houses are shut at present on Sundays. If this place is brought int Che- shire they will be open, I presume, on Sundays! Yes, during proper hours. Mr. Hope: Very well; we will draw our own inference. Replying to a question concerning the purity of Chester water, Mr. Smith said he was per- fectly satisfied with Chester water as it was, after all the expert andengineeringevidencehe had had and he could not hein thinking that, pending the inquiry, at all events, whether Thamos water as to be allowed to continue, they might certainly leave the Chester water alone. This closed the case for thp corpoiation. Dr. Vacher, medical officer of health for Cheshire, gave it as his opinion that the affairs of Hoole were exceptionally well mnaged. Mr. S. M. Howard, from the rating depart- ment of the London and North-western Rail- way Company at Euston, said if the incorpora- tion were sanctioned it would increase the contributions of the Great Western Riilway and the London and North western Railway Company by jE350 a year. After other evidence, the inquiry was ad- journed.

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