I don’t know, I don’t know how many Art Deco buildings there are in Wiltshire; sadly, though, there is now one less. Further more, as Nigel so accurately says, “Art Deco represented a period, not a county and the garage represented a pivotal period in Avebury's history”.
But surely, the Art Deco building which was Bonds Garage, was of such uniqueness, and with such strong links to Keiller, iit should have been saved not bulldozed and replaced with five new houses so close to the World Heritage Site.
Sadly the developer didn't see it that way LS and I don't suppose anyone came forward to tempt him otherwise financially.
I sure that NT had the opportunity to purchase. They didn't have the resources at the time or maybe the inclination. but had they managed to get their hands on it and developed it. Wouldn't the argument be the same as the Toilet Cafe. They already have too much control of the ability to earn money from Avebury.
That isn't an unreasonable thought at all, and you are quite right the NT did have the opportunity to purchase, and more than once. That the NT were invited to step in and egged on confirms how desperate some locals and others were to do something about the building which was in a very poor state of repair in the end. Rather the NT than ruin and demolition, but with the NT not interested and the building not being listed there was nothing to prevent demolition and redevelopment.
Listed status wasn't investigated earlier as it was still hoped the NT would step in and it was thought listed status might put them off as the building wasn't that easy to convert (which is why the book shop gallery plan fell through and the studio hostel plan was a non starter). The cafe now suggested is a good idea and I think could have worked but again that probably couldn't have gone ahead had listed status been in place. When it became clear the NT really weren't going to do anything as the building was offered very cheaply and snubbed, there was an all too late to investigate listed status. There it is.
Incidentally, whilst the building certainly was unique, there is no proven connection with Keiller other than him having bought and swapped the plot for the land inside the henge on which Mr Rawlins had ran his previous garage. There is no mention of the building in Keiller's diaries and no other information about it in what is a pretty comprehensive archive. Family and others in the locale say the design was by John Rawlins, who undoubtedly had the ability, and that it was influenced by his colonial and military service abroad. Had there been a Keiller connection it wouldn't have served in any event, lest through it the NT would be encouraged to do something about buying it.
Having said the above I do wonder whether there might be some missing Keiller connection despite the apparent lack of evidence to support it. Not exactly a ringer but the single story museum building Keiller proposed to be built at Stonehenge Bottom is vaguely reminiscent of the Rawlins Road House.
Whatever, it was a huge loss, but that isn't the end of the story and it will eventually dawn that this was just one of four decisions by planners ignoring strong opposition by eminent conservation groups on behalf of Avebury in the last three years. The WHS is supposed to take priority and one wonders what on earth is going on?