So, what (if any) are acceptable developments at Avebury? You could rephrase the question and ask, “So what are acceptable developments at the Avebury World Heritage Site?” (and you might come up with different answers). You could compound the issue further and ask does restoration (and not just of the stones) constitute development?
Some would argue that they’re against all development at Avebury by the National Trust, or anyone else, but that depends on how you define development. Most of us were against the development (five new houses) on the old Bonds Garage site but there are at least three ‘developments’ that would actually enhance Avebury as a World Heritage Site.
1) The Avebury & District Clubhouse which, in the club’s own words is, “Not a beautiful building” could certainly be improved either by replacing it with something more attractive or, alternatively, relocating or screening it (provided the screening didn’t interfere with views from or of the Henge).
2) The Lodge (next to the public loo) originally had an attractive brick façade but is now, “...white painted render or 'stucco' which in all probability was first added on the instruction of Lord Avebury to give the property a more 'Aristocratic' appearance.” The white ‘stucco’ is unatractive, could be removed, and the original façade restored.
3) The public loo itself (originally a stable block) is not an unattractive building but is hidden behind a high stone wall because its present function is a public loo – a loo right on Avebury’s high street! There is at least one other place where the loos could be more sensibly relocated and at the same time improved.
Along with a butcher’s, baker’s, blacksmith’s etc Avebury once had a hotel (the thatched building next to the antique shop). The antique shop itself was once a teashop (if you look carefully you can still see a teashop sign faintly painted on its west-facing wall). A new teashop (not a food outlet) would be restoring something the village once had and would surely add to the pleasure of visiting the place – place here defined as a World Heritage Site.
When one thinks of development at Avebury, who or what comes first, the WHS itself (i.e. principally the henge) or the people who actually live there? It is easy to forget that this is a living village and peoples day to day lives are affected by all the changes. Does anyone listen to them anymore when it comes to deciding what is built where and who will it benefit? Another tea-room is hardly going to do anything for them is it, so where does the priority lie? It is their village and their lives so I guess they should have first say on what they want to see and have to make life easier for themselves. We and the public are only visitors and whilst we expect someone to provide amenities for us, how far should we intrude into the lives of those who reside there by possibly taking away from them things that they need to instead give us things that we need?