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The legal battle to purchase land for Gwavas Estate Jan 1936

Discussion in 'Building of Gwavas Estate 1936' started by Halfhidden, Feb 16, 2016.

By Halfhidden on Feb 16, 2016 at 8:00 PM
  1. Halfhidden

    Halfhidden Untouchable Staff Member Administrator

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    Ministry of Health enquiry was opened at the Guildhall, Penzance, on Tuesday morning, by Mr. R. W. Thorp, into the application by Penzance Town Council for confirmation a compulsory order for the purchase of land at Gwavas Lane, Newlyn, for the erection of workmen's dwellings. Messrs. Nalder and Son, Truro, represented the Amalgamated Roadstone Corporation; Messrs. Cornish and Birtill, represented Mr. C. H. LeGrice and Mr. and the Misses Kneebone; and Messrs. Borlase and Venning the Newlyn Harbour Commissioners and the trustees the late Mr. T. B. Bolitho. Mr. Austin, opening the case for the Town Council, said on 8th April, 1935, the Penzance Town Council made a compulsory purchase order for the acquisition of certain lands fronting Gwavas Lane and Paul Hill, Newlyn, for the purpose of Part 11. of the Housing Act, 1925.
    As result of a recent inspection of the Newlyn area, it was ascertained that immediate action under the Housing Act, 1930, was necessary in respect 303 houses. The demolition of those houses would involve the displacement of approximately 1,000 persons, and it was estimated that 300 houses would be required for that purpose alone, and even then no allowance was being made for the provision additional accommodation to meet the higher standard of modern-day living or to deal with cases of overcrowding outside the clearance areas. In view of these factors, the Penzance Council had caused an exhaustive inspection of the district to be made for the purpose acquiring a suitable site, and after careful consideration had come to the conclusion that the acquisition of the whole of the land comprised the compulsory purchase order was necessary for the solution of the housing problem in the Newlyn area.
    As the Minister was aware, the services in the added portions of the borough were far from adequate, and as a consequence the land which could be immediately developed for housing purposes way very restricted. It was no exaggeration to say that the land proposed to be acquired was the only land of any size in the whole of the neighbourhood which would enable the Council to provide rehousing accommodation without undue delay. Water was available for domestic supply to the site, and the drainage and laying out of the estate could be carried out comparatively easily. The total area was 19.178 acres, and a density of 12 houses per acre would enable about 230 houses to be erected. On 15th May, notices in accordance with the second schedule of the Housing Act. 1930, were served on every owner, of any land.
    In response to these notices, objections were received from Mr. Charles H. Le Grice; the Roads Construction (1930), Ltd., and the Amalgamated Roadstone Corporation, Ltd.; trustees of the estate of the late Mr. T. B. Bolitho; the Misses A. E. and M. B. Kneebone, and Mr. A. M. Kneebone; and the Newlyn Pier and Harbour Commissioners. Of these objectors only Mr. Le Grice was required to be served with notice. Mr. Le Grice was the owner of the land to which the Order related. His objections to the confirmation of the Order were that the land formed part of the settled estate of Trereife of which Mr. Le Grice was the tenant for life. The settled estate also comprised valuable rights arising from large quarry known Gwavas Quarry. The said rights had been leased to Bryant and Langford Quarries, Ltd., now being taken over by the Amalgamated Roadstone Corporation, Ltd. The distance between the nearest point of the quarry existing workings and the suggested building land was not more than 200 ft.
    The quarry had been worked continuously since 1879 and employed 300 or 400 men, and was one of the largest quarries in England and one of the most important industries in the district.
    Blasting operations would render the land unsuitable for the erection of houses thereon. The quarry produced between 200,000 and 300,000 tons of road stone per year.
    Objections were:
    (1) grave injustice to the objectors and his successors to title depriving them of income enjoyed continuously since 1879
    (2) the dismissal workmen employed by the Company, thereby increasing unemployment in the district
    (3) serious financial loss the company

    Mr. F. Latham, borough engineer, said he had had 35 years' experience at Penzance. He had laid out three housing schemes, designed and carried them out for the Penzance Corporation. He considered the land in question the best within the Newlyn area for a building site. It was comparatively level. The three lower fields were more economical than the other part of the site, because they were level. These were the nearest to quarry. Upon those three fields he could erect 66 houses, some of which might be double storeyed flats, which would double the number. Water supply was available within a few hundred feet of the site, just above the site at an elevation of about 20ft. All these houses could be watered gravitation. There was no land near the site for any number of houses that could be supplied with water from that source. The field above was level with the draw from the reservoir. Sewerage connection with the proposed site would be easy; they had two sewers, one the higher part of the estate and one in the lower, which could be used for that purpose. Therefore, the sewering would be economical, which was exceptional thing for Newlyn, which had not yet been sewered. Including roads which already existed, the area would be 20 acres. There would be 242 building plots, but they would undoubtedly erect number of two storeyed flats, of four tenants each, which had been very successful in that district. The nearest distance from the land to the quarry was 700 ft. It was inconceivable, in his opinion, that such an important thoroughfare as Gwavas lane could be diverted; it linked the populated district on the north with the main road to Trungle and Paul.

    W. E. P. Done, barrister (instructed by Messrs. Borlase and Venning on behalf of the Harbour Commissioners, and Messrs. Nalder and Sons, solicitors, Truro, on behalf of the Amalgamated Stone Co., the owners of Penlee Quarry), said the Penlee Quarry was one of the largest roadstone quarries in England. The stone which was found there was known as blue elvan, and it had wonderful powers of resisting crushing strain. The result was that it was in very great demand for road-making and road repairs all over the country.
    . The quarry employed over 200 men, whose wages amounted last year to about £28,238. It was the largest consumer of electricity in the district, and was a very large purchaser of stores and materials of various descriptions in the neighbourhood

    They wanted to preserve as far possible and for as long as possible that very valuable industry for the district, and not destroy immensely valuable deposit of stone underneath. It was suggested that the three fields in question should be omitted from the scheme and two other fields substituted. They could thus push back the housing estate some 500 feet further from the quarry, and they could then work the quarry that distance further in that direction without being held up by the housing estate, which meant another six acres of that valuable stone down to a depth of 250 feet. There must be a buffer between the land used for housing and the quarry, of at least 250 feet. The amount of good stone they could get out of an acre of land at depth of 250 feet was 816,750 tons. The selling value of that stone at the present price per acre was £285,000, and they were dealing with five six acres. He did not know whether the Corporation had considered how those figures would affect the compensation they might ultimately hare to pay in respect of that land.

    Mr. Maurice FitzGerald, barrister-atlaw (who appeared for Mr. Le Grice, Mr. and the Misses Kneebone, and the trustees of the late Mr. T. B. Bolitho) said he wanted to suggest that what the Corporation desired to secure, and what his clients wished to secure could very well be effected to the satisfaction of both parties. Instead of the Corporation acquiring the three fields Nos. 505, 774, and 775, they should give these up and accept fields Nos. 492 and 493. He was authorised to say on behalf of Mr. Le Grice that he was perfectly willing to sell those two fields to the Corporation for housing purposes if the three fields were given up. on terms, failing agreement, to be settled arbitration. Mr. Austin promised to consider the offer, and the inquiry closed after a sitting lasting over five hours.


Discussion in 'Building of Gwavas Estate 1936' started by Halfhidden, Feb 16, 2016.

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