Sands Council Estate Rishton

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Sands 1940
A picture of the sands estate looking to Norden and Close Brow off Cliffe Street during the early 1940s. The little girl is William Leylands daughter, Billy owned the fruiterers on High Street for some years.

Sands Close was the only other barrage balloon site, at the end of Commercial Street, which I think was manned by both airmen and W. A. A. F. 's during the second World War.

This was named because the land here was very sandy and also used by the Dunkenhalgh brick company. The Sands were formally a brick making site which became a housing estate in 1948, but Stourton and Livesey Streets were never connected.

Right at the very end of Cliff street is the entrance to the Gooseybutts Allotments. These were moved to this location in 1947, when the Sands estate was built.

On the 2nd March 1939, A Mr. Bradley was granted permission to erect stalls on the Sands.

Seven tenders were received on the 15th February 1944, by the Council for the demolition of Air raid shelters, and opened by the Chairman and Officials. It was resolved that the tender of Messrs. Horrocks & Son for £944 10s. 0d. be accepted for submission to and approval by the Lancashire County Council. It was decided by the Council on the 15th April 1946, that the Wardens' Posts on the Sands Site and on the Esplanade were to be demolished by the Contractor.

10th August 1944, The Surveyor read a Report of Trial Holes taken on the Sands Site in 1941.

The Clerk reported an interview with Mr. G. C. Scurrah concerning terms for the acquisition of the Sands Site. Councillors Kenyon and Leeming with the Council Clerk, were to discuss this matter with Mr. Scurrah to seek more favourable terms.

On the 14th September 1944, Negotiations were entered into with the Dunkenhalgh Estate for the acquisition of the whole of the Sands Site, approximating six acres.

By the 12th October 1944, The council had excepted these terms as follows:- A Half-penny per square yard for a 999 years' lease plus the apportioned cost of the street works paid by the Estate when Cliff Street was made up, upon condition that the full ground rent on the whole site of approximately 6 acres shall not be due and payable until the whole site, is built up or until the 25th March 1949 whichever is the earlier and that before the 25th March 1949 the amount of ground rent shall be proportional to the extent that the land is built up.

On the 8th January 1945, Mr. Ridgeway, Town Planning Officer, outlined his scheme for the development of the Sands Site on two levels to avoid the cost of excavation. Plans were prepared by the Surveyor, in co-operation with Mr. Ridgeway, for the lay-out of the site on one level on the lines originally submitted by the Surveyor. Enquiries were made concerning the inclusion of the site in the Blackburn group scheme for the preparation of housing sites and that an estimate of the cost under this scheme be obtained. A cost was obtained for the levelling of the site from one of the firms now advertising this class of work.

The Council Clerk read a letter from the Ministry of Town & Country Planning on the 22nd January 1945, stating that there were no planning objections to the use of the "Sands Site," and giving other information regarding the site.

Five months later, on the 14th June 1945, A letter was submitted from the Regional Planning Officer of the Ministry of Town & Country Planning stating that as only 20 temporary houses have been allocated to this district, the length of sewer to serve the site would appear to be considerable and the Council were asked to re-consider the proposal and find an alternative site. The Council was to give consideration to the Sands Site for both permanent and temporary houses.

The following month, on the 12th July 1945, the land was rented for a  Circus. The Council Clerk made a charge of 30s. for the use of this site on the 27th June.

Meanwhile, by the 9th August 1945, A Letter had been submitted from Messrs. Ballasts, Ltd., re excavation of the site. It was decided to communicate with the firm when the lay-out plan had been prepared.

On the 11th October 1945, Consideration was given to a lay-out submitted by Messrs. Grenfell Baines for temporary houses on the Sands Site and the Council Surveyor submitted an alternative design in respect thereof. The Surveyor was instructed to proceed with the preparation of a lay-out for the whole site for permanent houses and that this be proceeded with as quickly as possible.

The Clerk was instructed to communicate with the Dunkenhalgh Estate regarding alternative plots for the allotment tenants at present on the Sands Site.

13th December 1945, The Surveyor referred to the visit of himself and the Clerk to the Regional Offices of the Ministry of Health on the 21st November, when the lay-out was discussed and a draft design for the houses. Since that date an estimate had been forwarded for the removal and excavation of the high land to a mean level. The Ministry subsequently approved the lay-out and the Surveyor submitted plans of house design. The plans submitted were approved for submission to the Ministry.

By the 14th February 1946, Formal approval had been received from the Ministry of Health for the Type A Working Kitchen House. After discussion it was resolved that 28 houses be proceeded with in the first contract and that gas and electricity be installed in each house. Levels were taken for the roads and sewers, and these and the necessary plans and sections were completed within a few days. The main roads were to be constructed of tarred macadam and the back streets and accommodation roads of concrete. Notices were served on the frontagers under Section 150 of the Public Health Act, 1875, calling upon them to carry out the necessary works to sewer, level, pave, metal, flag, channel and make good any streets or parts of streets, fronting, adjoining or abutting their premises where such work is necessary within a time to be specified in the notice served upon them and that upon failure of the frontagers to execute the works that this authority execute the work and recover the expenses incurred in so doing from the frontagers.

By the 14th March 1946, The Ministry of Health had given approval to the road and sewer details and also authorised tenders to be invited for the erection of 28 houses. Specifications and Bills of Quantities were being prepared and tenders were invited as soon as practicable.

On the 15th April 1946, Tenders were invited for road and sewer work and the closing date was 20th April 1946. Consideration of these tenders was to be given at the Council meeting on the 25th April 1946. Advertisements were be issued for tenders to be sent in for the erection of 28 houses. Air Raid Shelter Demolition. Resolved - That the Wardens' Posts on the Sands Site and on the Esplanade be demolished by the Contractor.

On the 25th April 1946, The Chairman opened seven tenders received for the Road and Sewer Construction on the Housing Site and after consideration, it was Resolved - That the tender of Messrs. Drake Bros. (Haslingden) Ltd., of Haslingden was accepted in the sum of £11,154 5s. 0d. subject to the approval of the Ministry of Health and to the completion of the necessary contract. It was further Resolved - That when future tenders are considered for work to be done on behalf of the Council, the names of firms tendering shall not be disclosed until after a tender has been accepted.

By the 13th June 1946, The Contractor had commenced on the work of site preparation, and Tenders were invited for the erection of 28 houses. The Clerk reported that the Ministry of Health had approved the acceptance of the tender of Messrs. Drake Bros. (Haslingden) Ltd., to the amended figure of £34,401 0s. 10d. for the 28 houses on the Sands Site. It was Resolved - That application was to be made to the Ministry of Health for consent to the borrowing of £46,870 made up as follows: -



Site 3,716
Roads 6,345
Sewers 515
Houses 34,576
Private Streets 1,566
Loan Costs 152

and that on receipt of such consent, arrangements were to be made for the borrowing of the requisite sum from the Public Works Loan Board for the period of sanction granted by the Minister.

The Council Clerk reported that notices had been served on the frontagers with respect to the making-up of private streets and passages abutting on the Sands Site and that he had received a communication from the Trustees of the Baptist Chapel asking the Council to bear the cost of making up that portion of Danvers Street which abuts on their property, on the 13th June 1946, as the building is used exclusively as a place of public worship. The charge of approximately £171 was borne by the Council.

By the 5th September 1946, A commencement had been made on the construction of three pairs of houses. Owing to difficulty in obtaining sand-faced rustic bricks, instructions have been given to the Contractors to build the exterior above ground floor level in common bricks, to be finished with a suitable cement rendered or rough cast finish.

On the 10th October 1946, Additional plant was brought on to the site, but progress was very slow owing to the nature of the ground. Three pairs of houses were in course of construction and had reached damp-course level. A month later, on the 7th November 1946, 6 houses had reached first floor level, 2 up to first floor window height, 2 up to damp course level and 4 had the foundations for footings partly completed. Good progress had been made with the erection of the standard lamps for street lighting, and all the equipment had been received for the complete scheme.

But unfortunately, by the 12th December 1946, things were to take a turn for the worse. this was the beginning of one of the worse winters on record for Rishton, and was going to last through to February the following year. Owing to this inclement weather progress had been retarded. They had managed 8 houses up to first floor level, 2 to sill level, and 4 houses' foundations completed. An order was placed for fireplaces and these were to be delivered in two consignments, the first on the 13th January and the second on the 3rd March.

The story was much the same by the 9th January 1947, The Advance Preparation had suffered yet again, Owing to the weather, progress had been retarded. 12 houses were up to first floor joist level, and 2 houses up to sill level.

On the 16th January 1947, The Clerk submitted the sanction from the Ministry of Health to the borrowing of £1,571 0s. 0d. in respect of the Private Street Works for a period of 10 years.

13th February 1947, Progress had been retarded during the past month due to the weather conditions. Attention was drawn to the condition of the ground which had been revealed on making test holes over the site and the Ministry of Health were consulted in connection therewith and recommended the engagement of an expert to give a report on the matter. It was Resolved - That the services of Mr. Greenwood, of Blackburn, was engaged at a fee of £7 7s. 0d. per day and that he be asked to submit his report at an early date and that a copy thereof be forwarded to the Ministry of Health for their observations. Councillor Stairs and the Clerk reported on their interview with the Superintendent Valuer regarding; the amount of compensation which had been made to one of the allotment tenants. It was stated that a communication was awaited from the Valuer. Correspondence was also submitted from the National Allotments Association regarding two other claims for compensation and the Clerk was instructed to communicate with the Association and with the claimants thereon.

13th March 1947, Owing to inclement weather no work was done on the site during the month.

The Council Clerk submitted a letter on the 17th April 1947, from the Ministry of Health regarding damage to the new property caused by recent frost. It was Resolvedâ€" That further consideration be given at the end of the Contract. It was reported that building work was now progressing satisfactory.

It was reported on the 8th May 1947, that during the past month progress was made in all directions. Quotations had been received from the Blackburn Corporation Electricity Department tor alternative types of lighting for this Estate. It was resolved that the estimate of £251 0s. 0d. be accepted for the erection of electric lamps utilising the standards removed from Blackburn Road and for fluorescent lamps to be installed.

Estimates of Foundations were submitted on the 15th May 1947. The Clerk submitted the Surveyor's estimate of the additional cost for providing brick pillars and concrete rafts for houses affected by the unsuitable sub-soil, and stated that the estimate was £350 0s. 0d. per pair of houses where the maximum foundation depth is required, less £78 0s. 0d. per pair provided in the specification for normal foundations, leaving a net amount of £272 0s. 0d. per pair. Resolvedâ€" That the approval of the Ministry be sought for this work to be carried out at the estimated cost.

Better progress was made by the 10th July, 1947,  but there still remained a certain amount of anxiety with regard to the supply of cement. The Council Surveyor reported on the insufficient supply of timber and stated that he had instructed the Contractor to lay solid floors for the remaining seven pairs of houses.

The Council Surveyor submitted four alternative house type plans for future houses on the Sands Site on the 10th July 1947. He also reported that a number of houses on the Sands Site were almost ready for decoration and was instructed in the use of light pastel shades with light woodwork to tone.

The Council Clerk was instructed to write to the Ministry of Health on the 9th October 1947, asking for permission to formulate a scheme for the erection of houses to accommodate miners and agricultural workers resident in the district as part of the Sands estate. A tender was also submitted from the Accrington District Gas and Water Board for the supply of Gas Cookers at £19 10s. 0d. each, and Boilers at £4 0s. 0d. each, and a further tender from the Blackburn Electricity Undertaking with comparable prices. It was Resolved by the Council that both tenders should be accepted. It was further Resolve that the tenants of the Sands Site should be allowed to choose between gas and electric cookers.

The Council considered the list of applications previously circulated, on the 16th October 1947, and it was Resolved That numbers 10, 35, 55, 58, 64, 73, 82, 88 90, 97, 107, 122, 125, 126, 139, 150, 151, 157, 163, 165, 167, 169, 178, 181, 187, 199 and 214 and the Surveyor be allotted the 28 houses on the Sands Site. It was further Resolved That the list of applications be closed pending the erection of further houses.

The newly-sown lawns were making satisfactory progress on the 12th July 1951, and the shrubberies had been turned over. It was Resolved that Council tenants who did not cultivate their rear gardens, be written to drawing their attention to the terms of the tenancy agreement. The Surveyor was authorised to erect such rear garden fences as will prevent footpaths being formed across the shrubberies.

The Council Officials reported on a visit of representatives of Messrs. Holland, Hannen & Cubitts, Ltd., on the 17th January 1952, regarding cases of dampness in Wates Houses. A letter was awaited from the Contractors.

Complaints were received from residents from the sands estate on the 14th August 1952, regarding weeds alleged to have been blown from the grounds of the Modern Secondary School. The attention of the local County Councillor and the Divisional Education Committee be drawn to the nuisance caused by the weeds. On the 18th September 1952, A letter was submitted from the Education Officer asking if the Council could arrange for the regular cutting of the weeds by members of the Highways staff. Due to labour difficulties, it was regrettable that no assistance could be given by the Council, but that it was hoped the Education Authorities would continue to keep the weeds to a minimum and, if possible, lay-out the land for its original intention, as a playing field.

The Council Clerk was requested to draw the attention of the police to damage which is being occasioned by children in this district, on the 19th March 1953, and that the Buildings and Highways Sub-Committee meet at an early date to consider work required in Sands Close.

The Clerk was instructed to send A letter to the tenants on the 11th June 1953, drawing attention to the disapproval of the Council to the playing of games on the quadrangles, particularly by adults.

The Sanitary Inspector submitted a letter from the North Western Electricity Board quoting a charge of 10/0d. per annum for complete maintenance of each cooker on the Sands Estate, on the 12th November 1953, including the replacement of parts required, and that the Board were prepared to send a representative to each tenant who has an electric cooker to instruct them on the use thereof.

Sands Estateâ€"Hedge Cutting: A test having been made on a hedge-cutting appliance loaned by the County Council, on the 12th November 1953, it was Resolvedâ€"That consideration be given to the purchase of a similar appliance when preparing the ensuing year's estimates.

It was also reported that there were over 30 cases of broken and cracked windows, it was Resolvedâ€"That the necessary repairs be carried out where considered necessary and that the cost be re-charged to the tenants. It was further Resolvedâ€"That the Clerk notify the tenants of all Council Houses that in future they will be required to meet the cost of the replacement of all broken and cracked windows.

18 June 1996

On the 18th June 1996, COUNCIL tenants in Rishton called for major improvements to run-down homes on what they claim was a "forgotten" estate.

Forty residents of Cliff Street, Bridge Street, Sands Close and Danvers Street signed a petition which was passed to Hyndburn MP Greg Pope.

Hyndburn Council arranged a public meeting for tenants at Norden High School, Rishton, to discuss their concerns.

Mrs Linda Lockhart, who organised the petition said: "The council were spending money on other estates in the borough and it's like they have just forgotten about us."

She said tenants' problems included rotting windows, dampness, ill-fitting doors. Some houses have no central heating.

Mrs Lockhart, of Cliff Street, added: "They just want to patch things up with a bit of putty and plaster here and there. The houses want proper work doing on them.

"This used to be a highly sought-after estate. Now people don't want to live here any more."

Mrs Catherine Gallagher, of Cliff Street, said she had to borrow money from her family to replace a 45-year-old bathroom suite and fit gas wall heaters in her children's bedrooms.

The three-bedroomed house was heated only by a gas fire in the sitting room and she was told there was no money for a central heating grant.

Council director of community services Edgar Bignell said: "It's true to say the estate does need an investment plan."

But the Sands was not a forgotten estate, he added.

Mr Bignell said: "We have managed to do a considerable amount of property improvement throughout the borough but we know a lot needs doing.

"We are seeking ways of trying to unlock money to improve council housing which we are not allowed to raise ourselves.

"We can't borrow money without Government permission and we can't raise it because we are capped."

Mr Pope said: "The estate does need re-vamping and council tenants deserve better than they are getting.

"The problem is that the council was cash-strapped and the Government had stopped the estate action programme by which councils could borrow money to do up run-down estates."

COUNCILLORS set the ball rolling on the possible sell-off of three rundown council house estates in Hyndburn in 1997. Consultation was to start immediately with around 300 tenants on The Sands estate, Rishton, Woodnook estate, Accrington, and Within Grove estate, Huncoat, about transferring the ownership of their homes to a new landlord.

Tenants had the final say on the transfer because the council was obliged to consult them in a secret ballot. The council would still have a role to play as it was saying that the new landlord should be a special company set up with the council having a one-third stake on the board.

Tenants' representatives also had the chance to make up a third of the board. Housing services committee chairman Councillor Clifford Westell said: "After long and hard consideration the council has decided that it has no other option but to recommend to these tenants that stock transfer is the only way they will get the improvements their estates need. My only priority is the quality of life of our tenants. If there was any other way the council could do the necessary improvements themselves, I'm sure we would not be making this recommendation."

Head of housing Gwyneth Sarkar said: "Those tenants affected by the decision can be confident from the start that the council cannot sell their homes without them all being given a chance to vote on the issue. The council expects the consultation to take six to nine months and every person affected will have a chance to properly understand the issues involved. Indeed tenants will be able to get involved in the sorts of improvements planned for their estate and to be represented on the board of the proposed new company."

The three estates were chosen because they were in urgent need of investment. The council was keeping its options open on whether the same stock transfer proposal would be in the best interests of all its other tenants


Lancashire Evening Telegraph, Monday 16th June 1997.