Venue: Mezzanine Room 3, County Hall, Aylesbury. View directions
Apologies for Absence / Changes in Membership
Apologies for absence were received from Gary Marshall, Martin Andrew, Brett Thorn, Eliza Alqassar and Nick Crank.
Declarations of Interest
To disclose any Personal or Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
The following members declared an interest;
Mr Chapple as Trustee of the Aylesbury Museum
Mr Whyte, Mr Cashman and Mr Pushman as they are members of the Archaeology Society
Mr Cashman as his partner has an interest in Quarrendon Leys
of the meeting held on 18 March 2014 to be confirmed
The minutes of the meeting held on 18 March 2014 were agreed subject to the following amendment;
Page 7 - Item 12
Brudenell Rail Building to be amended to Brunel Rail Building.
Matters Arising from the Minutes
Oxford Diocese Representative
The Oxford Diocese has advised that the post is vacant. The Diocese will be contacted to clarify who is in post.
Action: Julia Wise
Conservation Officer reports
Reports are not being received from certain District Councils. A reminder is to be sent asking for a written report to be submitted if the Conservation Officer is unable to attend the meeting.
Development Land Transfer at Quarrendon Leys
Richard Pushman advised that discussions are taking place with Aylesbury Vale regarding the ownership of the hedge on the north side and Highways want assurance on maintenance. The issue is in the hands of solicitors and the legal team. The documents should be signed by the end of October.
Members reviewed and discussed the Constitution.
The following comments were made.
· In terms of meeting attendance, Conservation Officers from some of the District Councils have not attended a meeting of the Forum for a while. There is nothing in the Constitution to advise where the business of the Forum goes to i.e. are the minutes fed back into the County Council. There is the worry that the Forum alone cannot achieve very much. Should the minutes of the Forum be reported back to relevant Cabinet Members?
· Input from non-voting members is very important. At the moment this is an area which is lacking. Conservation Officers have their own Forums for feedback.
· The Forum has a lot of good knowledge and information which used to go via District Officers.
· Wycombe District Council is losing their Conservation Officer. There is concern about continuity and a loss of existing knowledge.
· Buckinghamshire Historic Environment is a useful Forum. It cannot make decisions but there is the danger of losing the interchange of information and ideas as attendance reduces.
· How can the Forum be made more attractive bearing in mind Local
· The concern is how attractive can the Forum be if there is no longer input from District Council Officers?
· There was a debate about three years ago about having one big meeting rather than two smaller ones which would make it important to attend.
· The Forum meeting coincides with the Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire & Berkshire (BOB) Conservation Group meeting in Oxford which Conservation Officers attend. It has been agreed that the 2015 meetings dates for the Forum will be sent to English Heritage who organise the BOB meetings.
Action: Julia Wise
· In terms of reporting back to the County Council and Cabinet Members, the understanding was the expectation that Members of the Forum would report back to their own organisations. Wider distribution of the minutes needs to be ensured.
· The minutes of the Forum are distributed informally. There is no reporting structure.
· One benefit of the Forum is the mixture of Members and Officers. The needs to be some element of cascading information to Members which they wouldn’t otherwise receive.
It was proposed that the minutes of the Forum are sent to the Heads of Planning Departments in Local Authorities.
The elected representatives from Planning and Transportation and Community Services are to meet with the relevant Cabinet Members on a three monthly basis to provide a report on the Forum.
Action: Warren Whyte/Bill Chapple
In terms of additional members missing from the Forum, an invitation will be extended to the Conservation Officer, The Royal Institution of British Architects for Buckinghamshire to attend the Forum as a non-voting Member. It would also be appropriate to invite the Officer from Buckinghamshire Conservation Trust to attend Forum meetings as the Trust receives land for Quarrendon.
Members of the Forum agreed the following amendments to the Constitution.
Part 7 – Quorum and Procedure
Add - Attendees of the Forum meetings are to be ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
· Report of the Senior Archaeological Planning Officer
· Report of the Historic Environment Record Officer
Phillip Markham, Senior Archaeological Planning Officer, gave the following update
Richard Pushman, Eliza Alqassar, Archaeological Planning Officer and I recently attended English Heritage workshops and provided advice on the National Heritage Protection Plan.
Significant archaeological investigations include;
Aston Clinton Stablebridge Road Site
A reserved matters application for 48 houses was granted consent for the erection of 48 houses earlier this year which included an archaeological recording condition recommended by Eliza Alqassar. The outline application was allowed on appeal.
Previous evaluation works for the outline application included a geophysical survey and trial trenching. This recorded an important trackway or road which crosses the site to join up with Akeman Street. In addition, at least one Iron Age roundhouse was uncovered along with the remains of rectangular buildings, enclosures and pits, all suggestive of a roadside settlement dating from the Iron Age to Roman periods.
This year a conditional written scheme of investigation was agreed and the site has been stripped by University of Leicester Archaeological Services and has been monitored by Eliza. This has uncovered further areas of the Iron Age/Romano-British settlement, inhumations and has revealed a large section of major routeway likely to be Lower Icknield Way. This work is ongoing.
A public open day was arranged and over 200 school children were shown around the site together with local residents. This was a great success and was reported in a number of papers, on local radio and TV.
The following questions were asked;
Bill Chapple said that as the Local Member, he received an invitation to attend the open day. The visit to the site was fascinating. It shows how Lower Icknield Way has changed over the years. There is clear definition of a roundhouse and a Roman House. It was pleasing to see youngsters taking such a keen interest.
Who picks up the cost of the digging i.e. the developer? There is a lot of land around Aylesbury which means that there is the need to invest in a similar site over the next 10 years. The officer confirmed that the developer pays for excavations. Archaeological Officers are part of the planning process i.e. the pre-planning application stage to provide advice and recommendations on what would like to be seen. There is the possibility that an application could be deferred to allow geophysics and trenches to be carried out.
There are some protected buildings in the Broughton area that must be steeped in history. It will be expensive to dig in this area. The history needs to be catalogued. It needs to be ensured that funding is available to do this. The Officer explained that Conservation Officers provide advice on developments and support master planning. Trial trenches, field walking and geophysics can be carried out to get an idea of the archaeological significance. If there is a significant find, we need to make sure that this can be incorporated as early as possible and that a full excavation is carried out if the master-plan can’t ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
During discussion of the report from the Senior Archaeological Officer, Milton Keynes Council, the following question was asked.
Point F2 of the report advises that the Conservation and Archaeology team are currently in discussions with AVDC with regard to delivering further Conservation Area Reviews. A brief progress report on the matters being discussed would be useful and informative.
Action: Clerk/Conservation Officer Milton Keynes
Emergency Recording Fund Report- verbal update
Phillip Markham, Senior Archaeological Planning Officer reported the following;
· The current balance of the Bucks Historic Emergency Recording Fund is £7617.
· £7267 was carried over from the financial year 2013/14
· £350 has been paid in (£150 from Milton Keynes and £100 from Wycombe DC is still awaited)
Action: Eliza Alqassar
· There has been no expenditure to the end of August.
Milton Keynes and Wycombe need to be reminded to send purchase orders so they can be invoiced.
Reports of the Keeper of Archaeology and Finds Liaison Officer
Mr Chapple gave the following update;
Buckinghamshire County Museum Trust has had one meeting since its formation. The documents enclosed with the agenda pack are to be agreed by Trustees. The members of the Trust have a vast amount of experience which includes representation from Wycombe Museum. There are some good ideas coming forward to make opening to members of the public easier i.e. Halton has a vast number of pieces that are not financed by the county. Discussions are taking place to try to look at ways to raise funds to buy artefacts.
During the update, the following questions were asked and comments made;
Has the Trust been in contact with Buckingham Museum? They have previously advised that is has been very difficult to get an exhibition at the county museum. Mike Farley explained that the Archaeological Society owns 70% of the collection at the County Museum. There are also some legal issues about the lease of the building. Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society and Buckinghamshire County Council need to agree a formal document for the under lease between the County Council and the Trust. The state of the building is another issue. Details of the programme of works have been requested. The county is the leaseholder and is responsible for the condition of the buildings.
National Trust Report - verbal update
Report of the Regional Archaeologist
The Regional Archaeologist was unable to attend the meeting. A report will be requested.
Report of the Diocesan Archaeological Adviser
The post of Diocesan Archaeology Advisor is currently vacant. An email is to be sent to the Diocese requesting an update.
Action: Julia Wise
Conservation Officers' reports
· Aylesbury Vale
· Milton Keynes
· South Bucks
No reports had been received from Aylesbury Vale District Council Chiltern District Council and South Bucks District Council.
Members of the Forum are to speak to relevant portfolio holders to express the importance of Conservation officer’s attendance of Forum meetings.
Action: Forum Members
Hugh McCarthy (Wycombe District Council) reported the following;
Brunel Railway Building
Discussions about the Brunel Railway Building are continuing. There has been some interest but nothing substantive at the moment.
This building has been empty since the eviction action taken by British Flora last summer. Concern has been expressed about the length of time the building has been unoccupied and unsupervised. Options for use are being discussed including the possibility of a scheme for business use. Unfortunately a purchaser has not been attracted as there is a business on the adjacent land.
HS2 Update - standing item
This item was requested as a standing item at the previous meeting
Phillip Markham, Senior Archaeological Planning Officer, gave the following update.
Following the formal petitioning stage, the County Archaeological Service has provided more detail on individual petitioning issues and how we would like these to be resolved by HS2 Ltd. The biggest issue is the lack of sufficient archaeological information on which to base mitigation proposals. The petitioning Select Committee for Buckinghamshire is unlikely to be held before Christmas.
Julia, Eliza and I had a meeting with the HS2 assistant archaeologist and the archaeologists from Mott MacDonald. We provided detailed comments on a draft WS1 for geophysical and field walking surveys.
Ten survey areas have been proposed following a risk based approach to characterise the areas and to target potential high risk sites where little is known or to better assess known sites.
Further stages of evaluation are anticipated following the results of this stage.
No field work has started, but the results of this work are expected to be available in some form by the 1st quarter of 2015.
We will not be formally monitoring any of the works but may be invited for site visits where we will be able to raise any concerns. How this is to be achieved has not yet been arranged.
Currently the proposed commercial archaeological contractors are GSB/Stratscan for geophysics and Cotswold Archaeology or Museum of London Archaeology, Northampton.
The proposed sites are at; Hyde End, Jenkins Wood/Bury Farm Area, Grim’s Ditch, Stoke Mandeville DMV, Putlowes Farm, the Roman small town at Fleet Marston, Doddeshall Estate, the proposed maintenance depot near Steeple Claydon and Turweston.
There is an HS2 Heritage Sub Committee meeting in Birmingham at the end of September during which the monitoring issue will be raised.
Resourcing issues for HER data entry were raised. We were asked to raise this through the Planning Forum. This issue has been noted by out HS2 Planners and will be raised at the Forum.
Overall it looks like we will have little real input, but we are doing what we can where we are able and at least HS2 are actually talking to use. Currently Northamptonshire and Warwickshire are finding the same.
During discussions, the following questions were asked;
Is anything known about the proposed excavations at St Mary’s? The officer explained that the County Archaeological Service is part of the Heritage Sub Committee but unfortunately the outcomes are not being made available at present. Lots of work has previously taken place along parts of the route from Stoke Mandeville to Twyford and attention has been drawn to other potential finds. St Mary’s Church, Stoke Mandeville has a very big public face. The Buckinghamshire Archaeological Society is anxious about the cost limits. The profile needs to be maintained to ensure that an archaeological mitigation strategy is put in place. There is an open day at the Church on the 19 October to raise awareness of the site.
The Communications Team, BCC will be contacted about the possibility of issuing a press release for ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Any other business
Aylesbury Vale District Council are undertaking a de-cluttering programme in town centres. An update can be given at the March meeting.
Date, Venue and Time of Next Meeting
Provisional dates, for agreement:
Monday 2nd March 2015, 2:30pm
Monday 21st September 2015, 2:30pm
Monday 2nd March 2015, 2.30pm, venue to be confirmed
Future meeting dates
Monday 21st September 2015, 2.30pm, venue to be confirmed.
The issue of alternate meetings being site based has previously been discussed. A letter is to be sent to Conservation Officers asking for suggestions of meeting venues if areas of interest are raised.