Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

6 articles on this Page

THE STATUTORY MEETING OF RATEPAxERS.

News
Cite
Share

THE STATUTORY MEETING OF RATEPAxERS. PANDEMONIUM IN A BRYNMENIN CHAPEL. t COUNCILLORS HOWLED DOWN. EXTRAORDINARY SCENES. VOTE DECLARED IN FAVOUR OF PROCEEDING. POLL TO BE DEMANDED. On Wednesday evening the statutory meet- ing of the ratepayers of the Ogmore and Garw district was held at Brynmenin to con- sider the question of the promotion of a Bill in the next Session of Parliament for (1) The construction of a bridge, road- way and other works in connection there- with, across the Valley at Gilfach Goch; (2) The acquisition, extension, and im- provement of the works of water supply in the Ogmore and Gilfach Valleys; (3) The acquisition, extension, and im- provement of the electric light undertak- ing in the Uermore Valley. The meeting was convened for 6.30 at the offices of the District Council in Brynmenin, but, inasmuch as feeling has been running high in the district recently in regard to the Bill, as evidenced by the noisy meeting at Pontycymmer on Monday night, it was an- ticipated that there would be a much larger attendance than could be accommodated at the offices, and consequently arrangements had been made for the use of the Congrega- tional Chapel near by. The anticipations in this respect were more than realised, and the down trains from the Ogmore, Gilfach and Garw Valleys were crowded, the great major- ity of the passengers being ratepayers bound for the statutory meeting. A formal ad- journment of the meeting was made from the Council Offices. to the Congregational Chapel, and the latter building was over- crowded in all parts, every available standing room being utilised—in the aisles, the set fawr," the pulpit steps, the stairs leading to the gallery, etc. The chair was occu- pied by Mr. Jacob Edwards, J.P. (chairman of the Council), and among those present were noticed:—Rev. W. A. Williams, Blaen- garw; Alderman W. Llewellyn, J.P., Tyne- wydd; Dr. E. J. Parry, J.P., Pontycymmer; Messrs. J. Canniff and T. M. Jones, Gilfach Goch; Evan David and W. J. Morgan, Blaengarw; Thomas Williams, A. J. Law- rence, and Llewellyn Jones, Pontycymmer; T. C. Jones, Pontyrhil; T. Lucas, T. W. Job, Ogmore Vale; Evan Griffiths and Jen- kin Phillips, Nantymoel (members of the Council); D. T. Williams (deputy clerk), and other officials. The opposition element had, evidently, mustered in force. In the set fawr" were Mr. David Llewellyn and Mr. Pil- grim Morris, solicitors, who are acting for a committee representative of opponents of the scheme, and there were also present several colliery owners and managers, includ- ing Messrs Samuel Llewellyn, Bridgend; W. Johnson, of the Ffaldau Co.; T. E. Lewis, Ocean, etc. The Chairman sat immediately beneath the rostrum, and there were 1 ;d cries of "Go in the pulpit," while a n. n at the back of the gallery said, "Let's h ve a look at you, Mr. Chairman,"—a remark which created much laughter. The Chairman ex- claimed, "I don't think this is fair," and did not comply with the requests that he should ascend the pulpit. After waiting patiently for some time for silence, the Chairman said he hoped those present would remember that they were in a place of worship. Before proceeding with the business he read a letter from the Rev H. Eynon Lewis (the pastor of the Congrega- tional Church) stating that the Church had resolved to grant the chapel to '• the Council for the purpose indicated, on the under- standing that the said meeting shall be con- ducted in an orderly manner—(hear, hear)- and that should there be any breach of this condition, your Council must be responsible for the consequences." He then called upon the Deputy Clerk of the Council to explain the procedure of the meeting. A Garw man shouted "I will object to that. The Clerk won't satisfy us. If you are not capable of explaining the matter, you are not worth anything at all." (Much laughter.) The Chairman I ask you to remember the conditions upon which the chapel has been lent. The Interrupter We are not breaking any furniture. The Chairman I appeal to you to be or- derly. The Interrupter Right; go on, then. Considerable commotion ensued, and when quiet had been partly restored, the Deputy Clerk rose to address the meeting. He in- timated that he was not going to say a single word in favour or against the Bill. (Hear, hear.) That wo Id be fair and absolutely impartial, and would free him from anything in the nature of partisanship. There was a lot of important business to be transacted, and he would therefore be as brief as pos- sible in outlining the objects of the Bill. After reading the notice convening the meeting published in the Glamorgan Gazette" on December 21st and December 28th, in which a comprehensive description was given of the objects for which the Bill is promoted, he stated that that meeting was held to take the views of the electors, whose consent the Council had to receive before proceeding with any Bill, in accordance with the conditions of the Borough Fund Act which governs applications to Parlia- ment. Three meetings had been held in the district-at Nantymoel, Gilfach Goch, and Pontycymmer respectively—at each of which an explanation had been given as to the pro- posals of the Council, and this was merely a formal meeting. Owing to the tremendous attendance at the meeting, which the Coun- cil had not anticipated, it would be a some- what difficult matter to count the votes, but the time at their disposal was very short, and if the decision of the electors was to be taken that night, it was very desirable that as little as possible in the way of speechifying should be indulged in. (Hear, hear.) The resolution was rather a lengthy one, and he believed there could be little doubt that this course would have to be adopted after that night's proceedings—he proposed that the matter should be put before the electors in one short sentence—" Are you in favour or are you against the Ogmore and Garw Urban District Council's proposal to promote a Bill in Parliament for the purposes Mr. Williams was unable to proceed owing to much interruption. One of the interrup- ters asked Who is to decide how the ques- tion shall be put to this meeting-whether it shall be put in one whole or in several so- lutions?" Mr. Williams replied, though only these near him could hear his remarks in the con- tinual uproar, that an omnibus resolution would be submitted on behalf of the Council. It was for the meeting to decide what course should be adopted, and it would be compe- tent, of course, for anyone to propose a reso- lution. A man who had taken a prominent part in creating a disturbance, caused much laugh- ter by proposing That we shall not interfere with the business." For several minutes the uproar continued, and several attempted simultaneously to ad- dress the meeting, while others shouted in chorus, Chair, chair." When the noise subsided somewhat, the Chairman requested a Garw tradesman to refrain from speaking, inasmuch as there was no motion before the meeting. The inter- rupter replied, 'As a ratepayer, I have a perfect right to address the meeting." Then another Garw ratepayer asked the Chairman to read Sections 36 and 37 of the Bill "for the benefit of those who don't know anything about it." an- The Chairman Order, please. There is no motion before the meeting. The Interrupter: But I want to have the sections read for the enlightenmcnt- (Cries of Order" and Chair.") The Deputy Clerk: It will be a great deal better if we speak one at a time. The Interrupter: Thank you. But I wanteo- f" Order.") The Deputy Clerk (proceeding): What will happen now is that a motion will be put be- fore you on behalf of the Council approving of the Bill as a whole. (Hear, hear.) If you disagree with that A Voice: Oh, you are canvassing now. (Laughter.} The Chairman; I must insist on c:\ler. (A voice: "Quite right, J.P.") .e don't want any repetition of Pontycyn .uer here to-night. Indescribable commotion follm, ed, the re- mark of the Chairman being resented by some of the Garw ratepayers. One man shouted, It was your own fault in Ponty- cymmer," and other remarks which could be heard above the din were Don't you bring Pontycymmer in; we can behave ourselves there as well as you can"; You leave the Garw alone," "Withdraw your offensive re- marks," etc. There were repeated cries of Withdraw," and eventually Mr. Jonathan Maddocks, a Pontycymmer builder (an ex- member of the Council) mounting a seat, protested against the insinuation of the Chairman, and requested him to withdraw the libel on the Garw." The Chairman: You sit down, Mr. Mad- docks. Mr. Maddocks: You have made an insinu- ation against Pontycymmer people which should be withdrawn. (" Quite right.") The Chairman If you will sit down- Mr. Maddocks: I will not sit down. (Some cheering.) In Pontycymmer we can act as men. (Cries of Sit down, Mad- docks," and Chair.") A Voice: Order him to sit down and be- have himself, Mr. Edwards. The Chairman: Will you sit down, Mr. Maddocks ? Mr. T. Lucas: Pontycymmer is obstruct- ing now. Mr. Maddocks: I ask that the insinuation should be withdrawn. Dr. Parry requested Mr. Maddocks to re- sume his seat. Mr. Maddocks declined to do so for some time, but continued to shout Garw people are not going to come here to be treated like this by a J.P. on the Bench," and other heated remarks. Several minutes elapsed afterwards while arguments appeared to be waging in differ- ent parts of the chapel, and questions were being hurled at the Chairman from all parts of the building. In a strong endeavour to make his voice heard, the Chairman said We want to finish the business in a short time if we can. You must remember that our train for the Og- more leaves at 10 past 8, and there is not much time to play with matters. (A voice: "It your own fault entirely.") Please al- low the questions to proceed without further interruptions. (Hear, hear.) A Voice: It would take you only a minute to withdraw your insinuation. (Shouts of "Withdraw. Mr. Chairman.") Mr. Maddocks was now again on his feet, declaring that he wished to put a question to the Chairman. (Cries of "Sit down, Maddocks," and Withdraw the insinuation, Mr. Chairman.") The question is this. exclaimed Mr. Maddocks at the top of his voice, amid almost deafening shouts of dis- sent: "Do vou think it is fair to ask us to come down here to discuss a Bill of this kind in an hour?" The Chairman (appealingly): Will you sit C °Mr. Maddocks: Ts an hour sufficient, sir? The Chairman We will do more if you talk less. Mr. Maddocks You want us to lie down, and vou do the lot. (" Order.") The Chairman I ask Mr. Job to move a motion on behalf of the Council. Mr. T. W. Job Cwho is the chairman of the Undertakings Committee of tin Council) had a mixed reception. He proposed the follow- ing resolution: — That this meeting of eie-dors approver and consents to the promotion in Parlia- ment of the Ogmore and Garw Urban Dis- trict Council's "BiU (1907) relatine to the purposes and objects in the placards and notices convening this meeting, advertised in the "Glamorgan Gazette" on the 21st and December. 1907." Proceeding. Mr. Job said he would not de- tain them with a speech at all, inasmuch as the Deputy Clerk had read the notice con- vening the meeting. A voice You have made a mistake about the date though." The views of most of us, the speaker continued, are known to you. I believe that as a result of this meeting a ballot will be taken, and in the interval a full state- ment of the views of the Councillors will be circulated in the district, and, at the same time, our opponents will have the oppor- tunity to place their case before you. Until then I ask you to suspend judgment. Until you read the full statement of the pro- moters- (A voice At whose expense is it to be published?") Let me speak now, please. You shall have your speech again. Don't be in too much of a hurry, because I am not going to take up your time at all. (Hear, hear, and laughter.) A circular has been circulated throughout the valley, and I wish to say that we have a complete answer to that. (Loud applause and booing.) What the opponents of the Bill say in that circular is far, very far, from being the correct state of things. (Applause, and a voice: "You have no right to discuss it.") Are you afraid of the answer? If you will wait, you will have the reply. Cheers and counter-cheers now became so vigorous that Mr. Job could not be heard by those sitting near him. As matters quieted down several voices could be heard shouting various epithets. Some urged Mr. Job to continue his speech, while other remarks were Speak to the resolution," Never mind the circular," That's got nothing to do with this meeting," and so forth. The commotion was now intense, and few re- mained seated, while a large number stood on the seats. The Chairman: You know the condition on which the chapel has been lent. A voice: You've said that before. Tell Mr. Job to sit down. Mr. Job Are you afraid to hear the an- swers. (" No.") Mr. Lucas They evidently are. (A voice We don't want to hear anything.") The Chairman Let Mr. Job proceed. The same interrupter We don't want to hear him discuss Mr. Job: Are you afraid? The interrupter: You are afraid to hear our side. Mr. Job again essayed to speak, but was shouted down. Mr. J. Canniff seconded the motion, and was permitted to speak for a short time. I would like to take the opportunity, which was not afforded me in Pontycymmer, of speaking to my Garw friends. As an old Ogmore boy, there are many who know me from childhood, and no one who knows me thoroughly would doubt for one moment that what I had to say at Pontycymmer would have been untrue. (Hear, hear. Mr. Mad- docks: "You're a gentleman, Canniff.") I appear here, sir, on behalf of a community of over 2,000 at Gilfach Goch, who, up to the present moment have been totally iso- lated from the outside world. (A voice "Whose fault is it?") I appeal to your sense of justice for these people. (A voice How is it both mover and seconder are from the Ogmore?") We have been part of the Ogmore and Garw Urban area for 11 years, and up to the present moment the Urban District Council has utterly failed to discharge its duties to this community at Gilfach Goch. (A voice: "That's a speech," and Order.") I don't for one moment say that the Council has not done everything it possibly could do in order to arrive at some happy conclusion, but, entirely by force of circumstances, they have been prevented hitherto. I am not going to make a lengthy speech. (A voice: Stop now, then.") Now representatives of the Garw—(Mr. Maddocks We belong to the whole district.) I am speaking to my co-electors of the Garw (A voice: Will they have a chance to reply?") I appeal to you-- (A voice: Stick to the Bill.") I am sticking to the Bill, which includes the provision of a bridge at Gilfach. For 19 years we have been pay- ing urban rates. ("How much?") I will tell you. £ 1,225 per annum. For the last nineteen years we have paid an average of over £ 900 per annum in general district rates alone, irrespective of poor rates and county rates. We have paid in all E17,000 to the Ogmore and Garw District Council, and a magnificent sum of C700 has been spent on us. I appeal on behalf of the working- men to you. I appear on behalf of no com- panies, no limited liability company, no col- liery companies, water companies, or com- panies of any other sort. (Applause and a voice: "Clap trap.") It may be clap-trap in your opinion. (Mr. Maddocks: Deal with the Bill.) I will not keep you much longer. (A voice: Time's up.") We are totally shut in. (A voice: "Shut up.") The area proposed to be served by the bridge is totally shut in from the outside world. We have no parish road ot any description into our little community; the parish road stops short 100 yards from the nearest house, and the people have to wade through brooks and rivers and cross ricketty wooden foot bridges in order to get to and from the places of worship. The only way of getting to the railway station is by means of a small foot bridge erected not by the Council but by a colliery proprietor. Every ounce of food brought in to serve the community has to be tn brought through the colliery area, where there a.re four or five piles of rails, a locomo- tive travelling all day long, and an endless wire rope at work. I ask you ion all justice —(voices: Discuss the Bill")—is such a ser- vice good enough for 2,000 people. (" Vote, vote.") One moment, please. The Council has decided by an absolute majority that it is not a proper state of things; it is for you to confirm their action to-night. (A voice: We'll show what we think in a minute.") Reference has been made to a circular. (A voice Don't pull that in.") I wish to say that each and every statement will be con- troverted by the Council to your absolute satisfaction. We only ask you until such time as you have an opportunity of exercis- ing your votes at the poll to suspend your judgment. You will have the Councillors' views. (A voice: What aoout the Garw members?") I appeal for fair play. It has been said that it is stiil possible for the Council to arrive at a happy conclusion to construct the bridge without going to Par- liament. (A voice: So it is.") I have been on the Council for two years. ( A voice: "What a long time," and laughter.) I have here the whole of the correspondence. (" Sit down," We don't wan't it.") I am not going to read it. (" You shan't if you wish to.") I want to tell you what the Coun- cil have been trying to do with the neigh- bouring Council for 13 years b An uproar ensued lasting several minutes. One section, in staccato tones, were shout- ing Votfc, vote," and others were urging Mr. Canniff to proceed. Mr. Maddocks could be heard shouting that others wanted to speak," and others exclaimed, "Don't waste time," "Time's up long ago." Mr. Canniff attempted to address the meeting after some time, but he suffered the same fate as the previous speaKer in the end, being howled down. ^7- Saunders asked the Chairman whether the Council intended to give the ratepayers the facts- and figures upon which the proposal was based. (Applause.) T h. Job: Certainly. (Voices: "Not you, Job," cheering and booing.) Rev. W. Saunders May I receive a reply i°m Chairman? (A voice: "He know," and much commotion.) The Chairman: I am sorrv that people are showing such a spirit in a place of wor- ship. Rev. W. Saunders: I join with you in that expression, because I say sincerely that, apart from the fact that we are in a place of worship, we should deal with questions of such importance in the coolest manner, and should not quibble. (Hear. hear.) We want to receive the facts, and I want to hear from you. not from any other member of the Council, whether you intend giving the facts. (Cries of Now, Mr. Chairman," "He don't know." and "Order.") I think it is a. fair question. (A voice: "Wake up, Chairman.") The Chairman consulted the Deputy Clerk, and Mr. Job rose presumablv to reply to the question, but he was howled down. The Chairman It is the intention of the Parliamentary Committee to give you su"h information as may be considered suffi- cient (" That's not good enough," "Let's have evidence." "Say you don't know, nnd u^ish.") The Chairman ws understood to say -"hat the Council would give the rate- payers .11 information which would not be prejudicial to their interests. A man decided that Mr. Job had made a -,take in saving +h::¡t the notices were pnb- lished in December. 1907. which Mr. Job franklv admitted, arn(1 much laughter; it should of course be 190fi. As Dr. Pavrv stopped forward to speak he was received with some chepri, and the Chairman remarked to him. "What do you think of thic; in n chapel?" Several shouted "It's not the doctor's fault," and when Dr. Parrv protested against the Chairman's muestion. arid described it as "a niece of im- r>ertinorir>e." the cheers and counter-cheers were deafening. Dr. Parry moved that the portion of the Bill dealing with Gilfach Bridge be alone ap- proved. He was not coing to traverse any of the arguments by the previous speakers. (" Go on then, doctor," and Give us some information.") He proposed his amendment because he had failed to get the informa- tion which the Rev. W. Saunders had asked for. Ne figures had been given him, or the ratepayers, to show that the ratepayers would not be immense losers by the purchase of the water and lighting undertakings in the Ogmore Valley. (Applause.) This was seconded by Mr. John Hudson. Mr. Meth Jones asked whether Dr. Parry could not have obtained the figures as a member of the Undertakings Committee if he had wanted them. Dr. Parry: I am not a member. Mr. Job As the chairman of the commit- tee, I say you are a member. Dr. Parry: Mr. Job has practically given me the lie. (" Shame.") My name is down on the printed list of members, I admit. I attended the first meeting of the commit- tee. but I have never since received notice of the meetings. (Great cheering.) The Deputy Clerk asked leave to say a word. He said that of course he must ac- cept what Dr. Parry said. but the notices of the meetings had, nevertheless, been posted to Dr. Parry. From now on the meeting was a complete pandemonium, and, generally, dozens of men were speaking or asking questions at the same time, and amidst the din the Rev. Eynon Lewis (pastor of the chapel) ascended the pulpit. When order was restored for a moment Mr. Lewis rebuked those present for their conduct. "I am amazed," he said, I am astonished that respectable people should so far forget themselves as to behave in this way. I am amazed at your conduct in the House of God.—This appeal had little effect on the meeting, the noise being as great as ever. Mi-. Maddocks asked why the Council wanted P,8,800 to build the bridge at Gilfach when they had a tender some time ago for £ 5,500.—The question seemed to lost in the confusion. The uproar continued until the Chairman declared, amid angry shouts of protest, that he was going to put the amendment to the meeting." The "Aye" and "No" style of voting was decided on by the Chairman. Both sides shouted their loudest and longest, and seemed pretty evenly matched. The Chair- man declared the amendment defeated, which led to loud pi-otests.-The uproar lasted for some minutes, and then the Chair- man asked for a vote on the resolution to approve of the Bill as a whole, in the same manner. The shouting of both sides eclipsed all the other performances of the evening, and was prolonged until the voters were breathless. It was some minutes be- fore the Chairman could obtain silence, and he then declared the resolution carried. The decision was received by the opposition with execrations, and a show of hands was demanded, but the Chairman declared the meeting closed. The meeting broke up in disorder, and chief among the shouts of the Garw opponents of the Bill was "Home Rule for the Garw." Some angrily suggested that the meeting should proceed under a new chairman, and the name of the Rev. Eynon Lewis was pro- posed. the proposer saying that Mr. Lewis "would be impartial at any rate." Knots of pe pic remained in the chapel for a considerable time debating the question of procedure, and it was not until the lirjhts were extinguished that the chapel was cleared. It is understood that the opponents of the Bill will demand a poll of the whole of the ratepayers.

MAESTEG.

[No title]

Advertising

THE PANORAMA. 4T -

BRIDGEND DETACHMENT, 2nd V.B.…