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I . _ - BETTWS. I







Ammanford Urban Council.I


Ammanford Urban Council. I A special meeting of the above Council was held at the Y.M.C.A. Institute on Tuesday, Mr. J. Evan Jones, J.P., in the chair. HOUSING SCHEME. The Chairman introduced Mr. Chappell, Local Government Board Inspector, who was present to explain the Housing Scheme. Mr. Chappell explained how there was a serious scarcity of houses in many parts of the country, and how the cost of materials had gone up. In some instances the population had increased, and there was a scarcity of houses. However, with regard to local needs, he was informed by a communication received from the Council that there was no urgent necessity for houses, and that private building had generally accommodated the needs of the place. The Local Government Board had arranged to assist Local Authorities to carry out their schemes. If there was no need at present, there might be in the future. The Lccal Government Board had organised that a visit should be made to all Local Authori- ties throughout the country. Building had practically been at a standstill owing to the war, and in all probability it would take sogie time to come back to a normal state. Prices of materials had also gone up; in some in- stances 100 per cent., and even 300 per cent. In addition, the rate of interest had increased from about per, cent. to 5A per cent. He personally did not think that prices would return to their old level. Assuming a Local Authority decided to erect a certain number of houses, the Local Government Board sug- gested that the Local Authority should obtain a loan locally, and the interest thereon would be about 5^ per cent. Under the scheme, the loan would be for 60 years for the erection of houses, and 80 years for the purchase of land. During the first seven years the Local Government Board would make an annual allowance of 75 per cent of the annual deficit to the Council, the remaining 25 per cent. to be found by the Council. The allowance would be made for seven years only, but if t'n t liability of the Council would -amount to more than a penny in the £ rate, the Local Government Board would contribute an addi- tional share of the deficit. However the Local Government Board were not prepared to reduce the deficit themselves to such an extent as to make it unnecessary for a penny rare to be made. The Local Authority would have to pay a certain sum per annum in reduction of the advance, and at the end of a certain number of years the amount would bf* repaid. For instance, in the case of a house being built for £400, after seven years a sum of ilO might be repaid, leaving £ 390 outstanding. The valuer would come along and fix the 'value at £330. The difference in the value would be £ 60. The Local Government Board would take responsibility ft), three-fourths of the difference, viz.. Y-45, and the Local Authority would have to Be responsible for £ 15, being the other one- fourth. The houses would have to be com- pleted within fourteen months from the date Df sanction, and the Local Authority would r\(, be able to dispose of them. If it could be proved that the Local Authority was not r.<> capable of meeting the liability, the Local Government Board would undertake in certain P-ses.to be liable for an additional share, but only to the extent as to leave a penny in the £ chargeable on the rates. The Local Govern- ment Board were desirour, of having better houses, which would be of a higher standard, with hot and cold water, &c. The houses would not be erected in greater numbers than twelve houses per acre. The Local Authori- ties would be given power to acquire land. and if it was proved that the price was reasonable, and the landlord refused to sell for any other reason except the unsuitability of the site, the Local Authority could submit an order embodying a clause of the Land Clauses Consolidation Act, and an advertise- ment would be inserted in the local Press and a notice to treat would be served upon the seller, and if he declined to treat, compulsory measures could be exercised, thereby com- pelling the seller to sell the land at a certain value. That procedure had only been exer- cised in three or four instances throughout the country. Mr. D. George said that in Ammanford, the present day, the number of houses needed was not under 50. The Clerk remarked that there was a diffi- culty in this area with regard to the return yielded in rentals. Persons would not be prepared to pay 5A per cent. interest when they would not receive even 4 £ per cent. in return. The conditions prevailing locally were pointed out to Mr. Chappell. Mr. Chappell said that the Local Authority would not be allowed to dispose of the houses. With regard to interest and re- payment, the Local Authority would have to pay 5}j per cent. as interest, and a sum of about 4s. 7d. on account of principal annually in reduction of the amount. If it could be proved to the Local Government Board that 7j per cent. of the loss was an inadequate pro- portion, the Board may assume responsibility for a greater proportion, but in no case would they reduce the charge on the rate of the Local Authority to less than I d. in the £ He (Mr. Chappell) could not guarantee that the Local Government Board would accept I responsibility for more than 75 per cent. of the loss. The Clerk said that the requirements of the Council were many. They had r. hand several matters, such as the joint. construction of Maerdy Bridge, and also a Joint Sewerage Scheme. The latter would cost about £ 40,000. All those things were necessary. Which was the most important for them to proceed with-a sewerage scheme, or to have more houses erected and go on with the housing scheme. Dr. Price expressed the opinion that the sewerage scheme appeared to be more neces- sary than for people to build more hou.^s. He also said that from 191 I to 1914 a total of 153 houses had been erected. Mr. Chappell said that under the Town Planning Act, Local Authorities were given powers to decide almost everything in connec- tion with the erection of houses. Tin Clerk r-Karked that the Small Dwell- ings Acquis:V:i Act was one of the best. It helped to 00 away with immorality, and bereRted the eountry in many ways. Several in that district were very anxious to adopt it. Mr. Chappell advised the Council to go into the mattei of housing carefully, and to report to the Local Government Board the result of their investigations.