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We recently praised plans for a new Heritage Trail in Didcot. Well, its appears that we were too quick off the mark, and all is not quite what it seems when it comes to preserving Didcot’s heritage.

According to a report on the BBC web site,  planning permission has been granted for a new road which will cut through the site of a Bronze Age pond barrow – one of the features to be included in the planned trail. A spokeperson for the developers Taylor Wimpey said that “archaeology has already been cleared from the area”,  with no apparent understanding that the site itself may have significance whether the archaeology is removed or not – and how exactly do you ‘remove’ a pond barrow? Where has it been removed to? For ‘cleared’, should we read ‘destroyed’?

Local campaigner Karen Waggot pointed out the hypocrisy of the developers, stating “Just a few weeks after saying they support the history trail, developers are building over historic sites”. Campaigners and a local District Councillor are hoping that revised plans may be submitted by the developers, providing a green space to indicate the barrow’s l;ocation, but given that permission for the road has already been granted, it seems these hopes are somewhat slim.

Concerning the proposed Heritage Trail, Taylor Wimpey said “The artefacts and records from the site are now being analysed. When this process is completed a synopsis of the results will be displayed on an information board… which will form part of a history trail for the benefit of the whole community.”

Sadly, we doubt that a board which effectively says ‘look what we ripped up and took away!’ is going be of much benefit to future generations…

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