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BRITARCH  September 2007

BRITARCH September 2007

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Subject:

Re: Objecting to Planning Applications

From:

Helene McNeill <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

British archaeology discussion list <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Mon, 3 Sep 2007 10:10:52 -0600

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (104 lines)

Dear Tim,

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  
apartment refurb)
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? :-)

Helene McNeill

**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,
>
> thanks
>
> Tim.
>

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