“...the Big Society has something to be said for it (when it comes to communal caring for megalithic sites at least), the way in which it works has yet to be determined. We have already proposed that enthusiasts should take on responsibility for regular inspection of every site and we will be suggesting to NT, EH and others a possible way for them to make access to information extend far beyond what they offer on their information boards, by showing people how they could tap into online sources supplied by enthusiastic amateurs."
Very good article LS; no one who claims to care about Avebury could do anything but support what you say. The Bonds Garage development was unfortunate, it cannot be denied, but the general public were kept out of the picture until after planning permission had been granted - so information needs to be more widely available to everyone (not just the people who may benefit) before anything gets to the planning permission stage. Do you (Heritage Action) have a strategy to ensure this happens?
NB: This is a genuine question regarding something I consider to be real issue ie dissemination of information on a larger scale not just within archaeological circles ('scuse pun).
Do planning aplications differ from county to county because in Cornwall, applications for planning consent have to be posted up on the perimeter of the property for 28 days I think it is to give the public a chance to have their say? I know when we bought our barn we had to do this and the closest neighbours to either side were notified personally to see if they had any objections. Did this not happen at Avebury?
People like VBB would be able to answer this question better than me Roy; from what I can recall (and I'm happy to stand corrected) there was a residents meeting in Avebury where they agreed to support the development in the hope of generating new life into the village community. The first I knew was when I read about it on a forum, I can't remember who supplied the information but by that time it was a fait accompli and planning permission had been granted. So, yes, the villagers knew about it, as no doubt did EH and NT, but the wider public of which I include myself, didn't get to hear about it until it was too late to make any protestations.
Just to give you the full picture, a lot of heated discussion followed but it really was too late to do anything other than chain yourself to the diggers - which I don't think anyone did.