This government has a lot to answer for. Flying in the face of strong local feeling and the decision made last year by Swindon Borough Council to finally reject the development at the land surrounding Coate Water Country Park (with all its archaeological and historical associations).
I received this email last night from the Chair of Wiltshire Ramblers Association.
"I had a letter from this morning advising that the Secretary of State had granted planning permission for the development of the land at Commonhead! It says the decision is final unless it is successfully challenged in the High Court and what would that cost?!!!"
PS: Commonhead is the name the developers have given the site to disguise its associations.
Wiltshire Heritage Museum faces ruin!
WILTSHIRE Heritage Museum in Devizes could be"effectively bankrupt" in two to three years unless Wiltshire Council comes to its aid.
The museum, which houses the most significant Bronze Age collection outside London, has been running at a deficit ever since the then Wiltshire County Council cut its grant several years ago and last year the shortfall was £69,000, effectively the cost of running the museum.
It is owned and run by the Wiltshire Archaeological and Natural History Society, a registered charity.
See link for full story:
A361 into Glastonbury closed for 3 weeks
The A361 into Glastonbury (from the Pilton direction) is closed from 26th September 2011 for three weeks. The section of road affected is from Millfield School to the first roundabout after the Chalice Well Garden. Diversions are in place though the Tor can be accessed via the Wick road and a bridleway known as Gypsy Lane - very limited parking at the start of the bridleway.
New Visitor Centre planned for Barbury Castle
As reported in the local newspaper:
PLANS to help turn a historic monument into a tourist hub are now in motion.
The council aims to auction off the land surrounding the Iron Age fort of Barbury Castle, and use the cash from the sale to build a visitor centre.
The centre would cost around a £250,000 and would offer tourists a proper set of displays and information about the ancient monument ...
(click on link for full article)
Festival of British Archaeology 'Meet the Experts' - Avebury,17th July
As part of the Festival of British Archaeology (thanks to Blossom for flagging it on TMA forum).
Meet the Experts
Sun 17 July 13.00–14.30 & 15.00–16.30
Join Museum Curator Dr Ros Cleal for a tour of the henge and stone circles followed by handling real finds from the Museum collections. Free (donations welcome).
Location: Meet outside the Barn Gallery, Old Farmyard, High Street, Avebury SN8 1RF.
Org: National Trust
Tel: 01672 539250
Plans for homes at Coate rejected (again)
Also the Swindon Advertiser reports that last night the council threw out plans for the controversial Coate housing development - much to the surprise and jubilation of the 100 or so audience in the chamber at the Civic Offices. The fact that the site is an area of outstanding natural beauty and that it is a historic area were two of the five reasons cited for refusal.
The developers plan to appeal so there is always a danger that once again the majority wishes of the people from Swindon could be over-ridden. Meanwhile, here's to people power and especially Jean Saunders from the long and tiring 'Save Coate Campaign'. Three cheers for you, Jean and everyone else involved in the campaign.
Sunday bus service to Avebury cut
I've just been notified that the 49 bus has been included in funding cuts made by Swindon Borough Council to Sunday services.
It will no longer be possible for anyone to travel to Avebury WHS by public transport on Sundays as from June 5th 2011.
Statement made on service web-site:
"We regret that as a result of the total withdrawal of Swindon Borough Council funding for evening and Sunday bus services in Swindon that further changes will have to be introduced from Sunday 5 June 2011". (http://www.stagecoachbus.com/extuploads/leaflet_lowres.pdf)
Wiltshire Henge Hopper
David Dawson, the Director of the Wiltshire Heritage Museum has obtained funding to run a 'henge hopper' initally for a three month period this summer.
Today a trial run took place - the first part of the tour was to Stonehenge via Marden Henge, the River Avon, Durrington Walls/Woodhenge, Amesbury and Stonehenge. After a break break at Stonehenge the bus took off towards Avebury via the Alton Barnes White Horse, Adam's Grave, Knap Hill, the Lockeridge Sarsen Drift, Overton Round Barrows, the Sanctuary, WKLB, Silbury and of course finishing at Avebury. Then back to Devizes as the ticket cost includes admission to the Wiltshire Heritage Museum. The itinerary will allow for people to leave the bus at various points and be collected later - it is also hoped that two buses will run on the same day to facilitate flexibility.
All in all the tour takes approximately three and half hours not including travelling time to Devizes.
A great initiative for the Wiltshire Heritage Museum.
Talk by Jim Leary - Swindon Literature Festival
Another chance to hear Jim Leary talk about the Silbury book ...
JIM LEARY – on The Story of Silbury Hill
Central Library, Regent Circus, Swindon
Tel 01793 463238
7.30pm • 6 May • £5 (£4)
"What do you know about the tallest prehistoric human-made mound in Europe? What do you know about the construction of Neolithic monuments? What do you know about the significance of Silbury Hill to communities that have lived around it and others who come to visit?
Jim Leary, prehistory archaeologist with English Heritage and co-author with David Field of The Story of Silbury Hill, with an introduction by David Attenborough, answers these and many other questions, with some fascinating twenty-first century insights into the significance of this mysterious local mound."
Consultation re facilities at Barbury
Planning Solutions Consulting Ltd has been commissioned to carry out a feasibility study for the Barbury Castle Country Park project which includes a cafe and education facility. During the summer of 2010, Swindon Borough Council received planning approval for facilities that include:
* Indoor and outdoor cafe facilities
* A flexible meeting space that can be used both for educational purposes and also as somewhere for clubs and societies to meet
* Bike racks and bike wash facilities
* Horse tethering pens
* Improved toilet and shower facilities
* A viewing platform for all to enjoy the views across Swindon, the Marlborough downs and the wider North Wessex Downs AONB
Note: As an 'interested local' I have contacted the company undertaking the consultation to ask that information boards be included detailing the site's prehistoric status as an Iron Age hillfort; also, because it is now a designated nature reserve, wildlife (butterflies) and flora.
Nature; stone circles and all ancient sites that involve walking through unspoilt countryside/being near the sea; islands around the the British Isles, especially those with ancient monuments.