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A report by Alexander Jarvie

Damage has been caused on the south west flank of the Midmill Long Cairn. Some idiot, probably unwittingly, has run their quad bike up and down the slope repeatedly causing damage to plants and the cairn itself. Sadly this cairn has already been abused in the past and probably faces more upheaval thanks to the building of a rapidly encroaching industrial estate. It’s a shame because all it would need is a simple fence with a gate to allow interested parties to visit and appreciate the history for which this area is renowned. Ironically Tuach Hill,  home to the remains of a stone circle, sits less than a 1/4 mile away.

Addendum, by Heritage Action

Of course, there’s no such problem putting up a barrier where there’s private, or commercial, property at stake, as has recently been emphasised at this self-same site. According to the link below, part of the “rapidly encroaching industrial estate”, that Alexander refers to, was obliged, by the terms of its planning permission, to remain outside a 30 metre exclusion zone around the cairn. This was not adhered to. Retrospective planning permission had to be obtained for a two metre-high section of fence “of welded rectangular mesh panels and horizontal posts, coloured green” that was found to be erected inside this buffer zone. No drive-through there, then.

According to the discussion: “By positioning part of the fence as proposed, partially within the 30 metre exclusion zone, there is no doubt that the siting of the Cairn and the visual line between the Cairn and the stone circle on Tuach Hill has been compromised.”  (Not that “views” are recognised as of significance  or given a molecule of protection by the planning system, not even when they are an integral part of our ancient heritage as often happens at megalithic sites!)

Temporary planning permission, for eighteen months, has been granted for the intrusive structure. It will be interesting to see if it comes down after this time. The full report here:,%2520Kintore.pdf+%22Midmill+Long+Cairn%22+scheduled&hl=en&gl=uk&sig=AHIEtbSAGv3vKAJL7nRVe5PxrjTzq6guaw

Simon Jenkins, Chairman of the National Trust –

My hero is always John Betjemen who opened my eyes, at least, to what is beautiful about the building and the heritage and the city and will always be such.
My villain is whoever invented the Section 106 Agreement, which must have done more damage and is still doing more damage to cities than anything else ever produced by central government. The idea that you can build anything you like as long as you give the local authority a primary school somewhere else in the Borough is about as crass a way of polluting the planning system as you could possibly have invented.

The Rt Hon Margaret Hodge MBE MP – I think getting developers to put something back in to the community is a good idea as long as it doesn’t interfere with the judgements that have to be made.

(But of COURSE it affects the judgements that are made, why wouldn’t it? Permission given for five large new houses in the very heart of the Avebury World Heritage Site in exchange for building some starter homes elsewhere? Didn’t that involve someone’s judgement being influenced to the extreme disadvantage of Avebury,  Margaret?! – Ed)

Simon Jenkins:  It does. It wrecks the plan

Margaret Hodge:  I don’t agree. It doesn’t have to at all. That just depends on the quality of the planning decision.

(Darn right it does! – Ed)

A development that Margaret would say doesn't "wreck the plan" (In this case, The Avebury World Heritage Site Management Plan!)


January 2010

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