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Discussion in 'Public Property' started by Halfhidden, Apr 5, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Apr 5, 2016 at 9:15 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    The Mayor (Coun. Howell Mabbott) presided at tile meeting of Penzance Town Council on Wednesday 8th February 1922.
    There were also present:
    Ald. J.H Tonking, J. H. Bennetts, Geo. Poole, W. J. Bazeley, B. C. Matthews, Coun’s C. E. Venning, F.D.Lugg, John Rowe, R.A.Courtney, W.P.Boaden, C. Stuchbery, E. Larkworthy, J. I. Roberts, J. Harding, S. Davies, A.J. Constable, R. Hall, W. H. Green, J. Richards, J. Pope with the Town. Clerk (Col. T. H. Cornish), assistant clerk (Mr. Battrick), deputy surveyor (Mr. E. H. Beckerleg), borough accountant (Mr. H. G. Whale), and sanitary inspector (Mr. J. Craven).

    The Mayor moved the adoption of the following report of the General Purposes Committee:

    "The Mayor reported that he had been approached by a firm of architects on behalf of a banking company, who desire to utilise the western end of the Market House for banking purposes. The committee, after discussing the question, recommend the Council to consider the matter."

    The Mayor remarked that the clause would require their very careful consideration. The matter had been before the General Purposes Committee, who, after serious consideration., made the above noncommittal recommendation. At the present juncture, it would inadvisable to mention the names of the parties concerned, and he had no official information, to give in that respect, except to say on behalf of the architects that application was on behalf of a corporation.

    Proceeding, the Mayor said: The plan is displayed in this room, and the proposal made to us is that we should dispose of the western part of the market house. It is proposed that 20 feet of the Market-house shall be taken down, and so widen the road to that extent, and 40ft of the remaining portion will then be transformed, rebuilt and adapted for some commercial purpose that will not in any way interfere with anybody in the town. It is not the suggestion of the new firm wishing to come to the town, but merely involves the removal of an existing firm from one set of premises to another. . All that the proposers ask is that, if you entertain the proposition, that the principle shall be approved. If the Council approve of the principle, then plans and specifications will be laid before the Council for their serious consideration. But the parties interested do not wish, under any circumstances, to have the matter discussed and then be turned down, they did not wish to be led into producing plans, and then have the proposition turned down without any valid reason. Some of those present at the meeting of the General Purposes Committee suggested that the time had come when the whole of the Market House buildings should be demolished. But I think if the town were asked for an expression of opinion on this question, that suggestion would not be considered for a moment. I do not want that argument to be used as a red herring to put us, off the track of what I consider a very fine possible advantage to the town.

    We have had such matters introduced before when the improvement of this part of the town was being considered: when the Public Benefit Boot Shop was rebuilt, and when the alterations to Timothy White's shop was before the Council, and when, by majority one decided against that. Here is opportunity which, I hope, will not cause history to repeat itself.

    "So far as I understand the proposal, it is one under 'which the parties are prepared to stand the whole of the expense of the alterations: make the dome absolutely secure, and put the end of the building in a perfectly stable condition. The Council will not be called upon to pay one single penny. They will be asked to grant the parties a long lease, or, may be, to sell the freehold. The carrying out of the scheme will relieve congestion of traffic at this spot and do a world of good in hundred different ways.

    "It commends itself to me, and, as far as I can see, It commends itself to the majority of the General Purposes Committee. I want the Council to prepared to say that they will give the matter their very serious consideration.

    Since the meeting of the General Purposes Committee, I have learned that there is the possibility of another site and a very eligible, site indeed being found, so that they will not be confined to this one, but I hope we shall not miss the opportunity”.

    Ald. Tonking seconded with very great pleasure, and had not the slightest hesitation saying was very favourably disposed towards the proposition. At the last meeting of the Markets Committee the question came up of repairing the roof and the dome of the Market House, and he thought it would be within the knowledge of the council that the estimated cost of that work would he between £1,000 and £1,500. The Mayor had touched on the question of removing the market house altogether. He did not think that would take place in the time any member of that Council. It had been discussed many times, but thought, the majority of the ratepayers would be against that. He thought the proposal before the Council should be favourably considered. If carried out it would mean the solution of a problem, they had found insoluble for a long time. By taking away 20 feet of market house, they would to a great extent get rid of the blind corner there and had an opportunity of carrying out one of the finest improvements that had ever been effected in the town, and without costing the ratepayers a penny and without losing a penny revenue, and if they lost that opportunity they would regret it as long as they lived. He hoped the Council would not play with the business, but consider it seriously.

    Coun. J. Rowe said the present generation might regret all their days if the Council did not accept the offer, but, the other hand, future generations might blame them for tying their hands in the matter.

    Coun, Hall asked if the company would repair the whole of the roof or only that portion of the building with which they were concerned?

    The Mayor: You cannot ask them to that.
    Coun. Hall; Then we shall not be free from all expense. We shall still have to repair the eastern portion of the roof.

    Coun J. Richards, referring to Coun. Rowe's remark, said the present generation of ratepayers in Penzance had reason to regret that the Councillors of a few years ago missed opportunities, regard the corners opposite the Market House. Now opportunity had arisen whereby they might remedy the errors of the past and it could be done at other people's expense. He could not see how the town could be detrimentally affected by that proposed scheme. He understood there would be considerable advantage to the town outside the renovating and rebuilding of the market house, and there would be considerable sums of money to come. They must not expect any company to come there and carry out improvements without some prospect of getting their money back. There had been too much made in that Council in the past of the suggestion that firms who offered something were not doing it for the sake of the Council but for their own. If they allowed that matter to pass without consideration, and they missed what he considered the finest opportunity they had ever had, future generations would have reason to point the finger at them in the same way they pointed the finger at those who neglected the opportunities in the past.

    Ald. Bennetts said perhaps some of the members might thinking of the narrow street at the other end of the Market House. But if they adopted the Town Improvements Act they might put back the line of shops from Symons' corner too Michell's, and so obviate the demolition of the market house, and at a cost less than the latter would involve. He considered they should adopt the principle involved.

    Coun. Venning said if the matter came to anything definite he would be prepared to give it favourable consideration. He was afraid the time was considerably distant when they would pull down the Market house. A lot of people regarded that building with great deal of affection, and although it was possible in, 20 years' time the traffic might have increased to such an extent that the public might say the time had come to remove the market house, he did not consider it at present practicable proposition. In days gone by they had Jet small opportunities go by; they had failed to acquire small bits of property because people had said it was no use taking little bit; they should wait till the whole thing came to be dealt with, and then, when the opportunity of dealing with the whole thing came, there had been a deadlock because it was urged that the master was too big for the Council undertake, and nothing had been done. He was personally inclined to view that in a favourable light, but at present the matter was very much in the air, and they did not yet even know whom the proposal had been made. All they could understand was that, from the views so far expressed, the matter seemed likely to very favourably discussed. The Council should not commit themselves to the scheme until they had further details, and knew with whom they were dealing. Surely, that was enough for anybody who made such a proposal. The Mayor reminded the Council that when architects prepared plans, they had to be paid for, and the company making that offer were not prepared to pay architects for preparing detailed plans unless there was some chance of their being accepted. The whole facts would be laid before the Council if the Council gave the scheme their favourable consideration

    Coun. Green said it was a valuable property they were dealing with, and hoped if offers came along from other firms they would have equal consideration.

    Coun. Lugg asked if it was a fact that on the Market House building there was a heavy debt, and whatever amount they received would not clear that off? Nothing, whatever could be done in the way of parting with the building till a public meeting had been held, when the facts would be made clear and the decision of the ratepayers given in the matter. It was therefore, futile to spend a long time at present discussing the matter. Again, was the property on the Council's own freehold. He was under the impression there was a ground rent payable to the Daniel Trust connection with it.

    The Town Clerk said the last point raised by Coun. Lugg was a very interesting one. Was that site part of the manor of Alverton for which they paid manorial rent? Nobody quite knew that. Probably they would be able to find out.

    Ald. Poole thought Coun. Venning had answered himself when he said there would be no call to pull down the Market House within the next 15 or 20 years. There was little or no demand for the removal the Market House 15 or 20 years ago in order to provide for the enormous increase of traffic in that district. The idea had been steadily growing among many people for some years, and it was now felt that the time had come very much nearer when the road there should be widened. That Council had even actually discussed the idea of making a road down the north side of the Market House because of the congestion on the other side. If they adopted the proposals submitted, they would commit themselves to the market house remaining in its present position for another 100 years. They all regretted that their forefathers had missed the opportunity in connection with Carter's corner. The Public Benefit shop was another instance, but he (Mr. Poole) did his level best some years ago to get Timothy White's corner removed, without effect. "Do not be led away by the fact that you are going to have the Market House repaired without any expense to the borough," urged Ald Poole. "If you allow this scheme to be carried out you are going to have this market house repaired by somebody else at tremendous cost to the borough later, and your children will curse you for stopping them from carrying out an improvement which they may greatly desire. No firm is going to lay out money without a long lease perhaps 100 years. A hundred years is a long time. I say we shall be doing serious damage to posterity if we grant a lease property in the centre of a street in the middle of the town for 100 years. I have looked at this thing for many years. I am prepared to make sentiment give way to utility. The Market House is a fine old building, but it is anachronism. The exigencies of traffic and the danger involved to lives around the Market House are more to be thought of than any sentiment for the building. The Market House has outlived its time, and it is now time it was taken away. The market in Princes Street could adapted to meet all our needs. If the Market House were taken down in my opinion, in ten years’ time the people will say “What a far-seeing corporation you are and what a benefit the town has resulted from the removal of that obstruction in the centre the main street.”
    Aid. Bazeley said they were not in the procession of the figures, and suggested they should go into committee and know the inner workings of the project, or else defer the matter until they had the scheme on paper. Personally he thought they had done a great deal for the provision better throughfares in the town. Why should they lay themselves out to a, great deal more in order that people might go through the town more rapidly? He wished they could adopt some method whereby certain vehicular traffic could be made to slow down. The scheme proposed, although it did not get over the difficulty of Symoms' corner, would be immense improvement. He did not think the Market House would be removed in his time or in the time of his children. "The Market House," he declared Mr. Bazeley warmly, "is a monument, an ornament to the town. The dome itself is an ornament, and gives a distinctive character, to the whole town. If that was gone, we should, be like any ordinary country town or village. I think we should consider this matter favourably and seriously.

    Ald. Tonking moved as an amendment that the word "favourably" be inserted in the motion, making it read "favourably" consider. This gave rise further discussion, some members declining to be bound in this fashion, and ultimately the clause was adopted in its original form.
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Discussion in 'Public Property' started by Halfhidden, Apr 5, 2016.

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