Public meeting about development, 1945

Within months of the end of the Second World War, a public meeting was held about the future of Winslow and plans for its development. The ideas put forward at the meeting eventually (in some cases 20 years later) led to the creation of the current Recreation Ground, the industrial units in Station Road, and the Lowndes Way estate.

Buckingham Advertiser, 3 Nov

Winslow Surveys Its Future
Accusation of Procrastination
Lively Meeting Plans A-Head
Industry But ‘No Smoking Chimneys’

With the Town Clerk of Buckingham in the Chair, Winslow people at a crowded meeting in their Public Hall on Friday evening, discussed the future development of Winslow for a period of two and a half hours and passed a number of resolutions…

… Mr. Wood [of Buckingham], on taking the chair, pointed out that the meeting was the result of a letter which Mr. Wigley had written to the Winslow Rural District Council and suggested that Mr. Wigley should first of all address the meeting to clarify their ideas as to the views which he was supporting…

Mr. Wigley’s Letter

[Mr. S. P. Wigley, in his opening remarks,  declared that the letter which he had written to the Winslow Rural District Council was of a private nature and strictly speaking should not have been published.   (It came before the open meeting of the Winslow R.D.C. – Editor.)  Had he realised that the letter would be published he would have omitted several observations and added a number of others.]

… Mr. Wigley first of all dealt with the sewerage questions, suggesting that the Council should carry this development over the railway bridge, laying a sewer along the Buckingham road and a certain portion of the Great Horwood road which might mean an automatic pumping station to save two sewerage outfall works.  This, he submitted, would not be a serious expense.  If they considered the majority of the streets of Winslow they found that difficulties arose and that opportunities of development were to some extent shut off;  but if the sewerage development were carried along the Buckingham Road, as he suggested, that would enable a considerable portion of the land on either side to be developed.

“Lack of Foresight”

There had been a lot of misunderstanding, he continued, with regard to his suggestions.  Industries he had somewhat unfortunately described as factories.   He had only been anxious to impress on their district and on the Council what he regarded as a very serious lack of foresight, amounting to nothing less than procrastination with regard to the development of their town… Housing was a very important question and he understood that the Winslow Rural District Council were proposing to erect the enormous number of 10 houses for Winslow in their post-war programme. (Laughter).

Wanted 50 Houses

In his village of Steeple Claydon to which, when he married, he went to live because there was no house for him in Winslow, they were getting on with the work for providing 50 cottages.  Where did they think Winslow proposed to build the ten houses?  On Verney Housing site which at the present moment was occupied by the W.A.E.C.  Was it likely that they were going to surrender this land at a moment’s notice when other sites were available.  He did not think, in view of the present housing enquiries, that Winslow wanted 10 houses.  50 houses would be nearer the mark.  (Applause).  He pointed that that even if a loss were to occur on the rents, benefits would accrue to the town.

It was rather depressing to see the way in which the trade of the town had gone down and he was sure that many people were feeling “a tremendous draught” as a result of the removal of the Air Force.  There was a distinction to be drawn between a factory and an industry.  “I personally,” said Mr. Wigley, “would hate to see Winslow with a lot of smoking chimneys all round.  We don’t want that type of thing; but there are certain industries very nearly associated with agriculture which might have been attracted to Winslow in the past.”  They might have had “the milk factory” which went to Buckingham if Winslow had had a water supply at the time.  He declared that at Winslow there had been a consistent policy that had driven people and industries from the town…

“Ruled by Buckingham”

…The meeting was then thrown open to discussion, first of all in relation to four points concerning development and finally to general matters.  On housing, Mr. E. French thought that they “ought to put in for about 150 houses” and that these should be conveniently arranged for the women and of a good type for their boys on service to return to.  Mr R. Langley thought that they should take into consideration the suggested development of Aylesbury and Bletchley and that people working in surrounding towns should be attracted to live in Winslow.  He thought that they should insist that they had 150 houses built within two years.  Mr. A. J. Illing produced a number of figures for housing in the Winslow Rural District to show that in comparison with the villages he mentioned Winslow was not fairly treated on a basis of the number of houses allotted per head of the population.  He made it clear that he did not grudge these villages their houses; but thought that Winslow should have a fair share…

Plane-Damaged Property

Mr. Langley questioned as to how the difference was to be explained between the situation at Steeple Claydon and that at Winslow and Mr. Garlike said that unless the houses lost through a plane crash were replaced it might be said that Winslow was only getting 6 additional houses.  Mr. Wigley: Another house has been lost through the same cause, so you are only getting 5.  (Laughter)…

… A resolution pressing for steps to secure 100 houses in Winslow was carried unanimously.

23 Public Houses

Industry was the next subject discussed and Mr. Garlike stressed that industries were wanted in Winslow to absorb the labour of surrounding villages as well as of Winslow itself and to give opportunities to the children of other employments besides those of farm work or domestic service.  They did not want to spoil the beauty of Winslow; but surely light industries could be attracted.  Mr. Hawley pointed out that industry would result in retaining the labour in their town instead of the younger population having to leave it.  Mr. Garlike observed that Winslow must formerly have been “a flourishing little market place” to have had 23 public houses in it.  (Laughter.)  Nothing had been done to revive it.  Mrs. McCorquodale thought that they could “do with a laundry in Winslow.”  Mr. Garlike pointed out that with more industries they would require more shopping facilities.  One speaker thought that it was better to “get dirty industries than none at all.”  (Laughter.)  Another pointed out that some places had to have the “dirty industries.”  The Chairman explained that Winslow was about to be town-planned and that the proposals would take their legal course.  Without dissentients a resolution was carried in favour of taking steps to obtain light industries for Winslow.

Committee Appointed

Mr. Wigley suggested a number of suitable light industries such as engineering, woodwork, dairying and food processes.  Colonel McCorquodale thought that the resolution was too vague and Mr. E. A. N. Jones [clerk of Winslow RDC] suggested the election of a small committee and that they approach the Council as to working with their Development Committee in an Advisory capacity with regard to this matter...

Encroachment of Buckingham

[There was discussion of parish and RDC boundaries] … A long discussion, with differing opinions, followed with regard to the sewerage question, with a resolution and an amendment and the Clerk of the Winslow Rural District Council explained the scheme which had been prepared by the Ministry, approved and submitted to the Ministry as one of urgency;  the Chairman suggesting that it was probably advisable to leave matters in the hands of the experts and this led to a discussion relating to Water Supply, several speakers complaining that there were working men and women in Winslow who would gladly pay 3d. or 6d. for the water to be laid on.  It was pointed out that still they could not get rid of the “unsightly pumps” and women of 70 were to be seen tramping for water.  Mr. Jones pointed out that the Council had given over their powers to the Bucks Water Board.  He thought that before long the public wells would be “scrapped.”  Another speaker observed that it was up to the people of Winslow at the next election to elect Councillors who would get things done.  Judging by reports in the Press they had only one Councillor who made any attempt to get things done at all.

The Sports Ground

A great variety of local topics then found lengthy and lively discussion.  Mr. Illing Snr. pointed out that the Sports Ground [in Park Road] which had cost something like £1,800 had gone derelict during the past few years.  Years ago between 40 and 80 people enjoyed recreation there and it seemed a great pity that it should be lost to the town.  A good cricket ground would make it more attractive to the young people returning.  He believed that three or four gentlemen would be found who would guarantee the £100 owing.  Mr. Langley supported this plea for recreational facilities for the young people returning, suggesting various developments with regard to a sports ground, including the provision of a cinema which Winslow greatly needed.  The recently acquired children’s recreation ground was also the subject of discussion and various suggestions relating to this subject were put forward.

“Their Own Fault”

Mr. Foster, as Chairman of the Parish Council, pointed out that much business had taken place before he was associated with Winslow or the Parish Council.  He was never officially elected on the Committee of the Sports Club.  He had heard that the trouble arose because when the players came back half of them wanted to have a drink and the other half did not.  (Laughter.)  He had been in Winslow for five years and he was Chairman of five organizations and Treasurer of five; and a great number of jobs no-one could carry out properly.   At the last meeting of the Parish Council one member of the general public attended and he had not lived in Winslow for eighteen months.  He was going to be outspoken and point out that Winslow was responsible for the situation which they had been discussing.  If they wanted things, they were worth fighting for and when they got them let them take hold of them and not let them go down as in the past.  He personally felt that what they had not got was entirely their own fault in the past.  No-one would be more pleased than he would be if they set to and got all the things they wanted and he would do all he could to help them.  (Applause.)  Following considerable further discussion it was agreed that the Parish Council be asked to press for a large recreation ground.

Winslow Market

The question of Winslow Market was also raised, Mr. Illing Senr. asking if the Dairy Show could be revived.  The Winslow Dairy Show had been the best in the county and farmers used to say ”if you want a good cow, you must go to Winslow.”  The question had also been asked him as to why Winslow Market could not be held on a Friday.  He maintained that the previous objections did not now apply.  Mr. A. J. Illing said that nobody wanted Mr. Wigley to lose money on the Market; but all the farmers did not want to go to the surrounding markets.  They had had no fat stock shows.  Mr. Wigley denied the suggestion that the Winslow Dairy Show was dead and said that it would be probably revived by at least next Autumn.  After the last war he had appointed a member of his staff to try and build up the Winslow Market;  but the could not expect him to spend money on a losing proposition, knowing, as he did, that sooner or later the Ministry were going to insist on the closing down of the smaller markets.  They could not expect him to run a market so that people could get their stock valued and take it out again to get it sold.  The Market was a very losing proposition under the control system.

Mr. Illing referred to the need for bus shelters and this led to a discussion on the proposed lavatory accommodation.  Mrs. McCorquodale said that plans had been designed by an architect for the use of Market House as a Market House with a public lavatory underneath.  She thought that a construction on the Market Square would spoil the amenities.  Another speaker observed that an underground lavatory on the Market Square would not prevent farmers from parking their cars there although they might run down the people on their way to the lavatories.  (Laughter.)  Mr. Illing thought that the proposed expenditure of £2 was preposterous and that they could save money by the facilities offered by Market House, with supporting pillars and some discussion arose as to the situation regarding this property…

[The meeting concluded with the Chairman thanking everyone for giving him "a very easy time".]

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Copyright 21 March, 2022