I am sorry to hear this but must say that I am not all that surprised.
*here is my big dark secret* I have been a private property developer
for about twenty years now (shhh, came into British archaeology only
8 years ago). I have developed both single family residences and
multi-family properties and have additionally worked as a broker for
very large complexes. All this has been either in:
1) New Mexico, along the Rio Grand Valley where we have some of the
oldest properties and certainly some of the most interesting
archaeology in the country. (Native ruins, etc)
2) St. Geniez, France (near Millau), Paris VII arr. (16th c
3) England (Folkestone, Shepperton, Middlesex, York, Exeter).
With all of the above noted, I must say that I have been shocked the
most in Britain with the seeminly state of confusion and lack of
consistent rulings on registered historic property par individual
councils. My favorite example of this blatant whackiness is very
similar to your situation.
Last year I tried to buy the most wonderful building, a grade II*
15th C. church rectory in Shepperton. This building has been sitting
empty in a teeeny Church Square for about 30 months--deteriorating.
Priced at £1 million. 8k sf. I put together an offer to the arch
diocese with my two business partners to purchase the property from
them at £877, with a separate fund of £300k for a sympathetic
historic rebuild into 3 townhouses and one flat. We had an architect
and a historic conservator who were both ready to go. The vicar was
happy with the plan. I visited local planning and they said they
liked our ideas because it meant less traffic in the area. I loved
the plan because it meant we'd involve the local public, church
goers, anyone with an interest in a two year project. All the local
schools, colleges, and one university wanted to join in. Truthfully,
*I* wanted to learn more about the whole process and wanted to share
this with the community. So, our biggest competitor is of course the
hotel next door who wants to turn the beautiful building into 24
rooms. No sympathetic refurbishing other than protecting the 15th
century ceiling in one room (forget the Georgian!...sigh). Their
offer was higher than ours and just wanted to let it sit at first---
even though I was willing my partners weren't able to increase their
offer. I asked the Archdiocese to at least allow the community plans
to continue and to sell the property requiring the buyers to include
the interested community in this, but they said the bottom line was
just the money. Nothing else. ...(!Yeah, what would Jesus do?!)
Sorry. Still bothered by the whole thing. I went in person to
Spelthorne planning once again and said, surely you aren't going to
let this hotel do this at a teeny little historic square, and they
said, 'madam it is strictly up to the new owner, we have no control'.
Meaning, piss off, shut up and let the money roll in.
Am I bitter? :-)
**PS: An on list friend has told me that I am well-intentioned enough
and thinking in the right direction, but am not informed enough on
ppg16 issues and all that heritage folks have been doing of late to
counter it. He says that I shouldn't accuse other like-minded
archaeologists of being complacent, but instead look into what has
been accomplished. He referred to: RESCUE, the Planning White Paper,
Power of Place and Force for our Future, and others. He is right. I
know about these, but not enough, so I'm going to stay offline for
awhile so I can research more (and finish my paper).
My sincere apologies to any archaeologist I have accused of being
complacent in finding ways to protect our heritage assets in the face
of ever increasing profit-led archaeological decimation (did I say,
'filthy?'). I will learn more about the efforts that have been made
and should not have presumed that the Heritage industry's present
failure in this is for lack of trying. ---Helene
On Sep 3, 2007, at 5:32 AM, Tim P wrote:
> Maybe off topic, but related, I guess.
> In July we had news that the Victorian Electricity Works opposite
> us were being developed into two 5 storey blocks for 145 apartments.
> This morning, we find out another 13 apartments are proposed for
> another derelict business opposite.
> We alreadly struggle to park outside our house with folk using the
> road as a free car park to get to the town centre, 2 minutes away.
> With 145 apartments (what's that, 300 people maybe, with a vehicle
> each), and then this, the parking and the road will be awful. It's
> a busy through route, and on weekday mornings can be congested.
> How does one object to a planning application (not having had this
> sort of thing happen before).
> Replies greatly received,