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£1.261 AN ACRE!


£1.261 AN ACRE! Welshpool Land Cannot be Bought at that Price. An Object-Lesson for Voters. I How the Tradesman is Hit. Bread-Tax or Land-Tax ? What Will the Colonel Say To-night ? Colonel Pryce-Jones, the Tory candidate for the Montgomery Boroughs, is advertized to speak at a political meeting in the Town Hall, Welshpool, this (Monday) evening. He will then have a chance to prove (if he can) that a tax on bread is more just and will cause less Buffering than the Budget taxes on land. Can he ? Unluckily for the Colonel, the Welshpool people had a startling insight last week into the value of local land, which they themselves have made valuable. Adjoining Severn-street-that road which leads from the railway station into the centre of the town-ithere is a garden, which extends from the street to the Lledan brook, and is bounded on its other two sides by houses with gardens attached. This particular plot of land formed a kitchen-garden for the Mansion House, the other side of the road, which itself has in its rear prettily laid out grounds, together with another kitchen garden. RARE CHANCE FOR A LAND-LOCKED TOWN. Last Friday afternoon, at the Royal Oak Hotel, Mr E. H. Morris, of Messrs Morris, Marshall, and Poole, auctioneers, offered for sale the whole property on both sides of the street. It also included a house next door to the Mansion House, which forms the offices of Mr Martin Woosnam, solicitor, and now contains the Welshpool Liberal committee room of Mr Arthur Humphreys- Owen, who supports the Budget and its land clauses. It is very rarely that Welsh- pool people have an opportunity to buy any land in or near the town, and this sale aroused much interest, as may be gathered from the following attendance:— Messrs G. D. Harrison and Harry Har- rison, solicitors for the vendor Dr and Mrs Arthur Crump, Messrs T. J. Evans (mayor of Welshpool),, J. W. Davies (but- cher), William Baker, Edwin Stockton, Charles Shuker, John Pugh (Marcella), H. Harper, Gordon Reed (solicitor), Captain H. M. Westby (Elmhurst), Isaac Watkins, Roberts (the Mansion House gardener), C. T. Pugh, Bert Hughes (Mr Martin Woos- nam's clerk), J. Pryce Jones, J. E. Swan, William Riddell, J. W. Wilson, Captain A. Bluck, G. A. Hutchins (county surveyor), and Llewelyn Phillips, solicitor, Llanidloes. The last-named gentleman attended as clerk of the County Education Authority, who want to buy a bit of land in Welshpool to build a centre for teaching domestic subjects MONEY FOR OLD-AGE PENSIONS. Mr Harry Harrison read the special con- ditions of sale, which mentioned two agree- ments: one was in 1879 between the late and the much lamented Miss B. A. Mytton and Mr Charles Mytton the other in 1896 between Mr Edward Maurice Jones on the one part and Mr BKchard John Edmunds and the Rev John Burd on the other, at which time Mr Edward Maurice Jones was owner of one part of the property. The con- ditions also showed that the vendor would pay the increment value duty." It may be noted in passing that this in- crement value duty is a tax of El for every complete £5 of the increased value of a site accruing after April 30th, 1909. It is a tax on land, and not on the buildings thereon in other words, on the site. (For instance, supposing the vendor's representative had filled up one of those terrible papers, "Form IV. for the garden, and put the value of the site at £500. If the garden were sold for £800, the vendor wtfuld sub- scribe a lump sum of P.60 towards such good objects as maintaining the Army and Navy and paying old-age pensions.) Though the great majority of the people at the sale were Conservatives, and have in the past been supporters of Colonel Pryce-Jones, it soon became clear that this was not a meeting of Conservatives. Least of all was it a meeting to protest against the Budget and against Mr Lloyd George as a robber of poor landlords, whose property, under Radical Government, would be dear at a gift. It was a business meeting, and Mr E. H. Morris, himself a Conservative, made an efficient and business-like chair- man. He always does on such occasions. A VERY ATTRACTIVE MANSION. Lot 1 was described in the following language:— The very attractive and commodious residence known as The Mansion House; situate in a commanding position, and being No. 24, Severn-street, containing eight bedrooms, dressing room, bath room, and two w.c.'s, four reception rooms, with the usual domestic offices and excellent cellaring. The principal reception rooms overlook the prettily laid out grounds, com- prising a spacious and well-kept lawn with flower beds and borders, gravelled walks and shrubbery there are also a small greenhouse, cucumber frames, and potting shed, together with a most productive kitchen garden, well stocked with choice fruit trees, and a special feature is a very fine mulberry tree, which rarely fails to produce and ripen a large crop of fruit. The whole of the grounds are enclosed with a high and very substantially-built brick wall with sand coping. At a convenient distance from the resi- dence is a range of excellent stabling, har- ness room, loose boxes, and coach house, with corn, fodder, and fruit rooms over, the whole lately in the occupation of Miss Mytton, deceased. Also adjoining the above, the dwelling house, being No. 23. Severn-street, com- prising five rooms and a lavatory, now in the occupation of Mr Martin Woosnam, solicitor, as offices." "PEER RULE MEANS LANDLORD RULE." The auctioneer remarked that if Mr Woosnam's offices were not wanted, the purchaser would have no difficulty in sell- ing them off at a remunerative price. If they got one-half what the property had cost, they would be satisfied. The property cost the late Miss Mytton nearer E3,000 than £ 2,000. Then the auctioneer cracked a little joke. The outside of Mr Woosnam's office has been boarded up, and Liberal election plac- ards displayed thereon. H I see," he re- marked, that they are decorating one por- tion of it to-day. That will add very much to the appearance. I see the decorations going on at the present moment." The Conservatives laughed. One of the placards thus referred to gave the warning: Peer Rule means Landlord Rule." Bidding started at EI,500, and at £1,600 the lot was withdrawn. The auctioneer mentioned, however, that he had had pri- vate inquiries about the premises. GARDEN AND BUILDING SITE, TOO. The garden had been divided into two lots-a footpath through the centre divides it into two portions, one of which is a little larger than the other. This local example of undeveloped land" was described in the particulars as follows:— "Lot 2. A piece of land, now used as a garden, but eminently adapted for a building site, situate in Severn-street, opposite Lot 1, and comprising 1,074 square yards or there- abouts, with a frontage to the street of 44ft. 6in. "Lot 3. A similar piece adjoining, containing 1,130 square yards or thereabouts, with a frontage of 47 feet, 9 inches. Water can be obtained from the Lledan brook, which runs along the other side of the wall at the further end of the gardens. Access thereto being through a door in the wall." I mustn't pretend to tell you what to do or what they are suitable for," remarked the auctioneer. You know the require- ments of the place better than I do (smiles). But I can't help calling your at- tention to the magnificent position of the sites. There is nothing like them in the town of Welshpool that I know of. If you can point out some building place in the town where there are more eligible sites for building purposes, you will enlighten me very much." RAISING A SMILE. The auctioneer then waited for a bid. Mr James Davies, the butcher, whispered something to the Mayor of Welshpool. Did he really think, one wondered, that there was some truth in what the Tory papers have been saying about the Budget ruining landowners ? However, Mr Davies caused a smile or two by offering £150 for the two sites! Promptly Mr J. E. Swan—one of the shrewdest business men in the borough- capped it. £ 200! The auctioneer turned to Mr Davies, and asked whether he could not begin with Z300 straight away. Mr Davies again con- sulted the Mayor, but did not accept the invitation. At once the auctioneer-who has had over 40 years' experience of valuing land, and probably knows more about the worth of Powysland property than any other man—exclaimed, "Then I say £ 300 myself. I can do with that at this price." Mr C. T. Pugh went £50 better, and the bidding became brisk. £ 350! £400! £450! Mr Pugh now rose £25. The bidding went up to E475 and £500. And then it stopped. The auctioneer spoke: It isn't much per yard. The frontages are of good depth, and likely enough to fetch from 8s to 10s a square yard. What are you bidding me ? 4s or 4s 6d per square yard Well, gentle- men, I am sorry to inform you I am not in a position to accept this price. We must proceed to offer them separately." (Lots 2 and 3 contain a total of 2,204 square yards. There are 4,840 square yards to the acre, so that £ 500 offered for this garden represents yl,ogs per acre refused for this undeveloped land). IN A POWYSLAND MARKET TOWN. Lot 2. Who says £ 250 for a start ?" inquired the auctioneer. Somebody offered £ 200 it went up to £ 225, and then Mr Swan said £ 250. The auctioneer now offered to take 10's, so Mr Charles Pugh said £ 260. There followed another bid of £10. Then Mr Pugh said E280 And a pause resulted. Gentlemen," said the Auctioneer, I am waiting for you. There is plenty of room yet between this bid and the value of that unique spot. Well, gentlemen, I am not in a position to declare it an open sale at that price. But Mr Pugh has the preference by private treaty." (In the proportion of S:280 for 1,074 square yards the vendors thus refused an offer of £1;261 per acre for building land, not in the cities of London, Birmingham, Manchester, or Cardiff, but in a Powysland market-town with a population of about 4,000 men, women, and children). Lot 3. I will start it at £ 250," said the Auctioneer. It is a little larger than the other. Gentlemen I am doing this to save your time, because it is useless other- wise. If we won't take E280 for the other we won't take £ 280 for this. It is useless to put it up unlese it reaches £ 400." At these words the Clerk of the County Education Committee and the County Sur- veyor rose to leave the sale-room. And a few seconds afterwards the Auctioneer de- clared the lot withdrawn, but invited pri- vate treaty. A MORAL FOR THE VOTER. Thanks to the Parochial Assessments Act of 1836, any person assessed for a "poor- rate" is allowed to inspect and. take ex- tracts from the rate-book of his parish. An Express' man, who happens to be a rate- payer in the parish of Welshpool, availed himself of the legal right. Last May a rate of Is 6d in the £ was made for the relief of the poor, and for other purposes charge- able thereon, according to law," including the cost of lunacy and pauperism, elemen- tary and secondary education, police pro- tection, etc. The whole garden, for which the vendors refused £ 1,261 an acre, is de- scribed as possessing a rateable value of £ 2 15s, and on it was paid only 4s 1-id poor rate. On the other hand, the present system of rating and taxing hits the professional man and the tradesman, in fact all-whether Liberals or Conservatives-who work with hand and brain in producing or distributing things that benefit their fellow beings. Let each ratepayer in Welshpool compare his demand-note with the above extract. THE CASE OF A BROAD-STREET BOOT SHOP. A boot-shop in Broad-street, Welshpool, owned by Messrs Stead and Simpson, is rated at 1:68. The poor-rate made last May meant £ 5 2s from this shop, 25 times as much as the garden, for which £ 500 was refused. So that the boot-shop is rated pro- portionately as though the premises were worth at least 25 times £500, or Z12,500, or four times what the Mansion House was said to have cost. The Budget, which Mr Humphreys-Owen supports and which Colonel Pryce-Jones opposes, will tax the landlords, who reap where they have not sown, and will relieve the working man, the tradesman, and the professional man of much of the rates and taxes they now pay. Colonel Pryce-Jones' policy means a tax on bread. Mr Lloyd George's policy means that a tax of id in the £ shall be put on every 20s of the site value of undeveloped land which is being held up at the rate of £],2]6 per acre. That on a garden valued at C500 would represent at least ki Os lad towards old age pensions, etc., What will the Colonel say to-night ?



Llanidloes Rads. and the Colonel.