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New Road Improvements October 1936

At Newport Petty Sessions on Monday 18th the appeal by 27 residents of New Road against the proposed improvements to a section of the road by Newport Corporation was heard.

The Town Clerk opened the proceeding by saying that the corporation had adopted the New Street Works Act in 1896 [enacted 1892] and produced a copy of the County Press containing the notice advising people of that fact.

Picture of New Road 1917
New Road 1917

He went on to say that a resolution had been passed by the Town Council as follows; “That the specification of the works designed and prepared by the borough surveyor for improvements in New Road, Wootton be done, this to include kerbing, channelling, ballasting, metalling roads, and gravelling footpaths and extending from the Newport-Ryde road for a distance of approximately 720 feet up to, but not including the garage of Mr A.V. Please.

Messrs. Buckell and Drew acting on behalf of the objectors said that 34 properties were affected by the proposals, of which 27 were objecting and he was representing 18. He went on to say that section 7 of the New Street Works Act provided that objection on six grounds may be made by owners affected by the proposed work. The objection he had been briefed to present were “that the alleged road was not a street within the meaning of the act; that the proposed works were unreasonable; that the estimated expenses were excessive, and other premises should be included in the apportionment. The objection that the alleged road was not a street within the act was based on the fact that the objectors had only been given right of way over the land and at no time had the land been classed as a highway. A few years ago there had been a gate at the southern end of the land, which prevented its use as a highway, and if an obstruction was placed on the land, permission had to be obtained from the Holford Estates; and the estate excised all rights in relation to the land.

The clerk replied by defining the meaning of the word “street” in the 1892 act, he stated that it meant a street as defined by the Public Health Act not being a highway repairable by inhabitants. The health act provided that “streets” included any road, lane or footway, whether a thoroughfare or not, furthermore the street need not be a highway for the act to apply. He then dealt with the other objections that had been raised, that the estimates for the proposed work was unreasonable and the objectors did not want the council to take over the road, and that other people using the road should bear some of the costs.

The costs, were estimates prepared by the borough surveyor and these were fair and reasonable, however if cheaper quotations was obtained these savings would be passed on; he also stated that the council was not taking over the road at this stage; the act also stated that any costs involved had to be apportioned to those properties fronting the proposed improvements and not to users.

The borough surveyor [Mr Gentry] then produced drawings and specifications, which he had prepared and had been approved by the town council. The part of New Road, which was the subject of this inquiry, was to make up 720 feet of highway, with a total frontage amounting to 1434ft. 5inches, the road varied in width from 35ft to 27ft 6inches. Currently there were no footpaths, nor drainage, the surface was gravel and the road was badly potholed, as a result of traffic and surface water the road was in a dangerous state. He also said that New Road carried a considerable amount of traffic in addition to trade vehicles and would increase with the developments that had taken place to the north of the proposed improvements. It was proposed to provide a carriageway 18 feet wide with channels to drain the surface water away and create two 5 feet wide footpaths with kerbs, the remaining width would be laid with turf, surface water would be remove with a pipe drain into a culvert at the north end. Mr. Gentry then outline the proposed specification against which the council wanted to carry out the work, the carriageway was to be scarified and levelled, new gravel would be laid and rolled, kerbing and drainage laid and the road surface tarred at the council’s expense. The surplus material arising from the scarifying of the road would be used to make up the pavements, which would then be surfaced with new gravel. He then said that the estimated cost for the work was 12 shillings per foot frontage, total cost for the scheme £860.00 pounds, the breakdown for this figure was;
Foundations and surfacing to the carriageway and footpaths 6shillings 5 pence per foot run.
Kerbs and channels 3 shillings and 4 pence per foot run.
Surface water drains 2 shillings and 3 pence per foot run.
The town council had obtained four tenders for the proposed improvement and these were: -

  • 1. £449.8s.0. which came out at 6 shillings 3 pence per foot.
  • 2. £540.5s.10d which came out at 7 shillings and 6 pence per foot.
  • 3. £635.19s.5d, which came out at 8 shillings and 10 pence per foot
  • 4. £681.3s.7d which came out at 9 shillings and 6 pence per foot.
Picture of New Road 1935
New Road 1935

The borough surveyor said to make the road up to the full national approved standard would cost in the region of 18 to 20 shillings per foot and his design was the minimum that could be accepted. He also told the inquiry the lowest tender the council had received could not be carried without the company making a loss.

The town clerk then stated that the evidence presented dealt with all the objections submitted and asked the magistrates to rule in favour of the corporation.

Responding Mr. Buckell said the householders did not object to the making up of the road, however they objected to having to pay for the improvements. He then questioned the borough surveyor on his estimate compared with the tenders receive, “do you still believe your estimate of £860.00 to be fair and reasonable”, to which the answer was given “yes. He also questioned the town clerk and asked if a lower estimated were accepted would the saving be passed on to the residents, to which the answer was again “yes”.

In closing Mr. Buckell said he had no case to prove as the onus was on the council to prove that the work was necessary and that the householders on the effect part of New Road should have to pay for the work.

The town clerk responded by saying this was not an acceptable objection, Mr Buckell made no comment.

Mr. W.C. Guy of Weigala, New Road, said he had known the road for 50 years and did not remember the road being closed; a few years ago it had been one of the best in the island. However since the land to the north had been developed it was getting worse, currently there was only one car owner in that part of the road, but in a two hour period he had counted 201 cars pass in the direction of Woodside. To this the town clerk responded by saying “does this not show the need for a new road”. Mr Guy replied by saying “yes, but others should help to pay for it”.

Mr W.H. Please, Hatswell, High Street, Wootton said that a large section of the land in New Road was garden land and he had known the area for 54 years, water from the National School playground and the High Street caused the flooding, again the town clerk responded by saying “does not the flooding show that something should be done.”

In summing up the presiding magistrate thanked those giving evidence for the clear way in which it had been presented and stated that the bench were of the opinion that the work should be carried out and decided no costs should be allowed.

Source: Isle of Wight County Press, 24th October 1936

This page was last edited on: 26th January, 2022 17:50:41

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