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Subject: Urgent action called over Thornborough henges
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 2008 17:59:17 -0000

Urgent action called over Thornborough

Heritage campaign group TimeWatch have called for urgent action over Thornborough Henges.

Following the recent news that planning permission to quarry Ladybridge Farm has been overturned following a legal challenge by campaign group Friends of Thornborough.

TimeWatch believe that recent archaeological discoveries within the application area mean it would be impossible for the council to grant the planning application when it is reviewed at a council meeting in Masham on April 22nd, so long as significant numbers of the public show they value the archaeology and wish to see it protected.

"The original application was thrown out because it threatened nationally important archaeology. The second application was only granted because the planning committee believed the revised site plan avoided any of the archaeology" Said TimeWatch Chairman George Chaplin. "But since the application was granted, Tarmac have found Neolithic archaeology within the site, meaning that the original ruling must stand, but only if the public show they value their heritage".

"A great many of us were shocked that the second application was passed, the lack of significant objections was one factor, we need to make sure that everyone who objected to the first application knows they can object on exactly the same grounds again".

TimeWatch are advising all concerned to write to NYCC planning department to express their concern before the end of March, quoting Quoting Application number C2/29/500/53 Ladybridge Farm -

The Planning officer, Ladybridge Application, Environmental Services,
Planning & Countryside Unit, County Hall,Quoting Application number C2/29/500/53 Ladybridge Farm.



Tel - 07711684029


Thornborough Henges is the location of some of Britain's largest prehistoric structures, the site, which is comparable to the Stonehenge complex contains numerous henges, ritual causeways, burial and settlement sites from the far reaches of history. The site has been called the most important between Stonehenge and The Orkney's by English Heritage.

The complex covers several square miles and was Yorkshires largest ritual location in the Neolithic period. Unfortunately for a number of years the gravel bed that Thornborough sits upon has been subject to quarrying and significant quarrying within the monument complex continues to this day; although the major monuments are scheduled, the landscape archaeology surrounding them are not.

In 2002 Tarmac, the quarry company in question announced plans to quarry Ladybridge Farm and Thornborough Moor, both locations are known to contain nationally important archaeology from the Neolithic period.

Following that announcement, several archaeological organisations voiced concerns and ultimately a number of campaign groups became involved in the cause of saving as much of the Thornborough Henges monument complex as possible. These campaign groups include Friends of Thornborough, TimeWatch and Heritage Action. In addition, many notable archaeologists, including Richard Bradley, Richard Prior and Mark Horton have spoken out against the new proposals.

In the run up to the planning application being determined, a petition numbering some 10,000 signatures, and 1,500 letters of objection were received by North Yorkshire County Council.

As a result of the significant lobbying and support, that initial planning application to quarry Ladybridge Farm was refused due to the potential damage to nationally important archaeology located within the application site.

The issue hit national headlines and most pundits agreed that the correct decision had been arrived at. After all a very significant ancient site of national importance would have been seriously damaged by the quarry diggers; recording of archaeology prior to destruction is a poor alternative to complete preservation and not normally an option for such important remains.

But this good news was short, a modified application was quickly seen by the council before many campaigners knew it had been presented. The seeming lack of public outcry to the revised application making it easy for the council planners to believe that the cause for objection no longer existed.

The primary reason the new application was granted, was because Tarmac claimed that it avoided any areas that contained nationally important archaeology. A claim vehemently denied my heritage campaigners, but seemingly accepted by English Heritage and Council Archaeologists.

However, Tarmac's road to quarrying Ladybridge still has along way to run. Behind the scenes, lobby group Friends of Thornborough put together a legal challenge to the application that has caused the council to revoke the planning permission previously granted in order to avoid a judicial review of the judgement.

North Yorkshire County Council have decided to re-judge the planning application on April 22nd at a special public meeting at Masham Town Hall.

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