In answer to a question on these lists about Military Sites and their
Ownership in the UK, I have attached a response from John Schofield of
I hope this clarifies things a little more.
Mike Anderton AIFA
Project Officer (military)
From: J Schofield [mailto:[log in to unmask]]
Sent: 17 November 1999 16:07
To: [log in to unmask]
Cc: [log in to unmask]
Subject: FW: Military Archaeology in the UK -Reply
There are a number of issues here, some of which are related. I trust you
can forward this response to the relevant person.
On ownership, most surviving WWII remains are now in private ownership, with
MoD being involved only where structures lie on military training areas,
military airfields etc. There will be legal documents regarding the handing
back of structures after the War (I'd need to check details), but in
practice I think it was the physical act of abandonment - from 1943-5 for
most sites - that defined when ownership transferred to the landowner. A
survey of archive sources regarding WWII remains (undertaken by Colin
Dobinson and the subject of a publication series with Methuen to start late
2000) covers issues of maintenance, abandonment and clearance of military
remains during and after the War. This covers such things as compensation,
and policy matters concerning removal.
As for the lists - yes, there are detailed lists of structures as built. The
Defence of Britain Database and Archive has information on anti-invasion
defences for some areas of the UK, and we have selective material on such
things as the Taunton Stop-Line from Dobinson's work. But for all other
major classes, the Dobinson work has generated pretty well comprehensive
lists, by monument class, of what was built. Mike Anderton of EH has
followed this up, using modern APs to determine what survives, and how well.
Some of these surviving sites will be scheduled in due course. This doesn't
mean the sites can never be used or adapted; rather it allows a system of
consent procedures to operate, thus ensuring that unnecessary or
inappropriate damage or alteration is avoided. The business about not
allowing anyone to breathe on scheduled sites is very wrong; one of the
reasons we're scheduling is to ensure they survive as a cultural amenity
from which future generations can benefit.
Hope this helps.
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