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Protecting, Preserving and Enhancing Our Cultural Landscape


For immediate release, 18/9/05

Reactions to NYCCís Deferment Decision on Tarmacís Ladybridge Farm Application

While pleased that the officersí report recommended refusal of this application, the Friends were disappointed that, in doing so, all the social and environmental objections had been completely discounted. The recommendation was based purely on the fact that the application is contrary to several council policies.

The concept of protecting the prehistoric ritual landscape surrounding the henges, as required by Planning Policy Guideline 16, was not raised ~ despite the fact that all parties involved, including Tarmac itself, agree on its importance to the nationís heritage. This fact alone should ensure its preservation for future generations. As a result, it is difficult not to surmise from the grudging comments expressed in Section 6.19 by the councilís own archaeologist that, had English Heritage not intervened, then Tarmac would have been given free rein ~ as indeed it was on the adjacent land in 1995.

The Friends are, therefore, appalled that, at the eleventh hour, the council has jettisoned its reasons for refusal in favour of giving Tarmac yet another chance to make its case. Instead of adhering to its own policies, NYCC has instead engineered a deferment to enable the company to dig up yet more of the site in an attempt disprove the claim by English Heritage that it has national significance.

In effect, the county council has reduced the debate on this important issue to a simple argument between Tarmac and English Heritage over the value of the buried archaeology on this one site. Nothing else seems to matter ~ not the councilís existing policies, not the setting of the ancient monuments, not the cumulative social and environmental impacts, and certainly not the views of nearly 10,000 petitioners!

The one potential benefit of the deferral it that it allows more time for the evolving Conservation Plan for the Thornborough Plain to be taken into account. Unless, of course, that initiative is also subject to similar delay!


Note for Editors:

The Friends of Thornborough Henges is a voluntary group dedicated to saving for the nation the surviving setting of the Thornborough Henges Complex near Ripon in Yorkshire. People can join our campaign by contacting

For further information on this press release,
contact our Publicity Officer, Mike Sanders on

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