You are currently browsing the daily archive for 18/02/2011.

Crying over spilt milk is pointless but the final completion of the redevelopment of the Bonds Garage site despite objections from heritage bodies and conservationists shouldn’t go unremarked, for what we have lost has now become very clear.

Here is the Northern approach to the World Heritage Site, as we will now bequeath it to posterity:

 

…and here’s the clearer view  that there could have been for a long stretch of the approach, had things been different…

 

It’s all rather sad – and rather worse than was anticipated – the bad effect of having the houses so far further forward than the garage is now plain for all to see. In addition, some of the houses (some might think) aren’t exactly pretty or fitting…

 

Something has definitely been lost from the World Heritage Site, don’t you think? And let no-one say amateurs know nowt and that it was inevitable, given the planning laws. Things could have been done to make it less likely, and weren’t. So let’s all pause for a hollow laugh about this notice that was displayed all through the building works –

 

Of course, it’s possible we have robbed posterity of more than a clear view of one of the main approaches to the henge. We’ve maybe spurned an opportunity that won’t come again, the chance to add to the amenity and educational utility of the World Heritage Site and to commemorate an important moment in its history…

Bonds Garage itself was an interesting and significant Art Deco building, very much representative of its era, the 1930s and symbolic of the Keiller era and the reconstruction of the area. Keiller actually paid for its relocation away from the stone circle, showing an admiral respect for the henge that it seems we have failed to emulate. What a shame the National Trust didn’t seem to have a strategic or holistic plan in place a couple of years ago (or now). It is planning to set up another food outlet next to the Red Lion in Avebury for reasons even it would find hard to state, when it might have converted Bonds Garage and by now could perhaps be running “the Keiller Cafe” and Avebury Landscape Centre at a prime viewing spot with superb panoramas of the henge to the South, Windmill Hill to the West and the Ridgeway to the East, with oodles of parking and lots of Keiller memorabilia on display including his car.

The National Trust’s twin needs – to raise money and to fulfil a duty to treat with respect the World Heritage Site might have both been fulfilled, two things which many feel  their current proposals won’t achieve.

 

According to last week’s Evening Echo a file in connection with the destruction of two ring forts in Kilmurry, Co. Cork, is to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions. How effective will a prosecution be? This case’s background and the prevailing legal situation, have been summed up wonderfully for the Village Magazine and here;

http://www.friendsoftheirishenvironment.net/cmsfiles/files/library/village_oct_2010_ringforts.pdf

Note that these are ‘repeat offenders’. As you’re no doubt aware, punishment, in the heritage area, is mostly non-existent and rarely exceeds the benefits of the crime. Perhaps, in this case then, William O’Brien’s suggestion (as quoted below) might be given some serious consideration? Think of Dante’s Ruggieri and Ugolino;

“In the absence of any possibility of punitive recourse or forced reinstatement, O’Brien, who is also Chairman of the Royal Irish Academy’s Archaeological Committee, has suggested that “the State always has the option of placing preservation orders on levelled sites, bearing in mind these still contain buried archaeological remains”. These measures are within the Minister’s powers and would give the State control of these sites. At the least it would require the landowner to protect the site and prevent him from further benefiting from the destruction.”

Here’s hoping. Remove the benefit of the crime – it’s the only way to stop it happening again.

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