« EelmineJätka »
have the opinions of practical men. In the framing of the new Bill it would have been better if this had been so. Mr. Thorrold and myself have received printed copies of the Bill, but in view of this meeting we have taken no action. I trust it will be discussed at the next meeting at Oxford, for the Bill as it now reads gives facilities for the people to object to improvements suggested by Health Authorities. With regard to my paper, I have not altered my opinion. I still hold that it is just and right for each property owner to pay for private street improvements according to the frontage of his property. I shall be glad to answer any questions
paper. The PRESIDENT : Some of the questions referred to by Mr. Hall will be taken up at the Oxford meeting.
Mr. JAMES HALL: We have never had the difficulty of unequal streets.
Mr. HOWCROFT: Looked at in respect to a street of unequal width, it is questionable if the owners should not pay according to the superficial area. Such a case has come under my notice, and I thought the owner should pay in that way instead of according to frontage.
Mr. THOMSON, after quoting part of the 150th section, Public Health Act, said: The matter, according to my thinking, is clearly. defined thereby, as all the people in the street have a right of way over it, and consequently ought to pay according to their frontage; and the only difficulty is with regard to the piece at the junction of four streets. The contention is, whether it should be charged to the whole street, according to the frontage, or to the owner of the adjoining property.
Mr. JAMES Hall: The owner of the property at the corner should only pay for the street mentioned.
Mr. THOMSON: And where four streets end ?
Mr. HOWCROFT: I mean in cases where the streets are macadamised. In the event of a square, with a wall at one end, should all the owners pay according to frontage ? Mr. STAINTHORPE: Haye
had such a case ? Mr. HOWCROFT : Yes. Mr. STAINTHORPE : It is very unusual.
Mr. HowCROFT: I think they should so pay, though some owners think it hard, although having no right of access. They could break a door through the wall after dedication to public use.
Mr. PETREE: I divide all round to the total length, and make
Mr. HOWCROFT : That is what I do, but I wish to hear what others do.
Mr. STAINTHORPE: I have read Mr. Hall's paper, and I think his mode of apportionment is just.
Mr. JAMES HALL: We always charge all private street improvements according to the frontage.
Mr. STAINTHORPE : But you charge the sewers separate ?
Mr. JAMES HALL: Only the surface drainage is charged with the other improvements.
Mr. STAINTHORPE: I think the charge of 5 per cent. is not general.
Mr. JAMES HALL: It is general with us. We made a profit one year of 5001., but we had done some large works. It paid all the office expenses for one year.
Mr. THORROLD: I think Mr. Hall's plan is the best, if there had been no difficulty in the Act. It has, however, been clearly laid down that the improvements should be apportioned according to the width of the street. With regard to the cross streets, there were many opinions, some saying that the work should be charged to the rates, and others to the owners.
There was one very important point which had not been touched upon, and that was, Had the magistrates any power to inquire into the charges ? It has been held by the highest authority that they have not, and there is nothing in the Act to support such a claim. I am astonished at some magistrates wishing to make an authority prove a whole case. It is very difficult, if not impossible, to tell where every sixpence has been spent in making a number of streets.
Mr. JAMES HALL: By the proposed act the approximate estimate must be served on each owner; but if you post a notice at the end of each street, it will be considered sufficient; but there is an objection to that mode. There are other powers. In laying out an estate you may compel the owner to open out, flag, &c., the street before the houses are built, if once an estate plan is submitted and approved.
Mr. STAINTHORPE: In the event of property changing hands during the progress of the work, who is responsible for the payment ?
Mr. JAMES HALL: Whoever has the property when the apportionments are served.
Mr. M. Hall: The person who holds the property at the time the apportionments are served is responsible.
Mr. PETREE: The only thing that prevents the taking up of Mr. Howcroft's idea is that people have the choice of doing the work themselves. It is very unjust, and the best way is to apportion the rest among the whole of the owners.
Mr. M. HALL: We charge crossings and all works of general utility to the rates ; it is a good plan, and has worked well.
Mr. THOMSON : Mr. Thorrold has proved that that is wrong.
The PRESIDENT: I am very sorry that the Bill referred to by Mr. Hall has not been discussed before. It is very important, many of the clauses having an injurious tendency. I trust, however, it will have every attention. With regard to Mr. Hall's paper, I have read it and the discussion, and I think it has been well considered. It might do to charge the cost of making the crossings to the rates, but then, as had been said, some cantankerous ratepayer might object. There was also a difficulty in the way of making all pay according to their frontage, for there was no power to compel a man to pay for 30 feet of road when he had only 15 feet. The question of the interference of magistrates was an important one. They had no right to interfere, and it was not fair to compel a surveyor to go over all the accounts for the amusement of two or three counsel.
Mr. James Hall: I am well pleased with the result of the discussion. It has been fair and I trust interesting, and the very fact that we have differed shows that we are alive to the importance of the question discussed. With regard to an owner doing his own work, it is not imperative that the authority should take the street so done over, and can, if necessary, compel him to do the work over as often as required. There is another question that is worth full consideration at Oxford, and that is the question of footpaths abutting on highways. If I am correct, there is an old Act, not yet repealed, which provides for the making of such footpaths, one side by the authority and the other by the owner. That is a matter which should be ventilated as much as possible.
THE STATUS OF THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT
By T. W. STAINTHORPE, SURVEYOR TO THE URBAN SANITARY
In introducing this subject for consideration, the author is somewhat at a loss to clearly define the professional position or status of the Local Board Surveyor, or to show the estimation which the general public place upon the duties of his office.
To begin with, the Public Health Act 1875, by Sec. 189 enforces the employment of a Surveyor by every Urban Sanitary Authority or Local Government Board for their respective districts. It is fortunate that the above section is compulsory, for had it not been so the author is of opinion that many of the smaller Urban Authorities would not trouble themselves to employ such an official, but would rather prefer the duties to be discharged by perhaps the most learned of their highway or scavenging staff, provided that his services could be secured at an economical rate. This statement may appear rather sarcastic, but the author can vouch for its veracity so far as two Urban districts are concerned with which he is acquainted. It is satisfactory, however, to note that the majority of Local Boards of any importance do not carry out such a narrow-minded policy.
The author need not here dilate upon the absolute necessity or importance of Local Authorities employing men who are fully competent to act as Surveyors, for any man of experience must have seen the deplorable results of engaging men whose greatest recommendation has been their cheapness and a willingness to act as mere tools in the hands of their employers. The most important point the author wishes to draw attention to is the glaring fact that whereas every profession of importance has its examination and standard of fitness, there is at present no such examination required in order to certify that the candidate is duly qualified and competent to undertake the office of Surveyor and Engineer to any Urban Authority.
Looking at the responsible, onerous and important duties which a Surveyor-in the true sense of the term—has to perform, it does seem strange that some suitable test of his fitness for the duties devolving upon him should not be compulsory before he is allowed to undertake such duties.
The author cannot see why the Local Government Board in London do not apply a similar rule to the appointment of Surveyors as is applied to Medical Officers of Health, it being a sine quâ non that the latter officials must be duly qualified medical practitioners before their appointments can be confirmed.
Surely if it is necessary in the latter class of officers, it should be equally incumbent upon the former, to show some approved diploma of their ability
The author is aware that the Sanitary Institute of Great Britain professes to hold periodical examinations, and to grant certificates of competency to Surveyors and Sanitary Inspectors, but so far as he is able to judge, something more is required than the answering of such questions as are usually set forth upon their examination papers in order to become a Surveyor, duly qualified in reality as well as in name. En passant the author may state that the collective composition of the examining body of the above Institute is strongly objected to by many good Surveyors for reasons which he does not care in a paper of this description to enter into.
The author has no statistics of the number of candidates who have presented themselves to this Institute since its formation for examination, but does not think that any man who has been regularly trained to the profession will place any great value upon the certificate or ticket that the above Institute may bestow upon the successful applicants.
The result of the profession being without an examination of a suitable nature is constantly seen in the numerous applications which are sent in whenever there is a vacant surveyorship advertised, emanating from joiners, bricklayers, broken-down contractors, time-keepers, and others, who in their own estimation think themselves fit and proper candidates for such vacancy.
As a comparison to this wretched state of matters, what would the members of this Association think if the same individuals applied for the office of Town Clerk or Medical Officer of Health ? In many cases, no doubt, they would be as equally capable for the one office as the other.
What can be more annoying or disheartening to the properly