Meeting documents

  • Meeting of Buckinghamshire Historic Environment Forum, Wednesday 10th March 2010 2.30 pm (Item 8.)

Report of the County Archaeologist


Sandy Kidd, County Archaeologist, gave the following report:


Use of the Historic Environment Record (HER) by direct enquiries remains at a modest level. Volunteers are continuing to make inroads into the remaining collections backlog.


A grant has been obtained from English Heritage to make Historic Environment Record (HER) information available across the national Heritage Gateway portal whilst at the same time the UBP website will be migrated to the new software compatible with that system. 


English Heritage in partnership with the Institute of Historic Buildings Conservation and the Association of Local Government Archaeological Officers id developing a strategy for HPR compliant HERs. It is envisaged that implementation of this strategy will take place between 2010 and 2015, subject to funding. In 2010/11 English Heritage are intending to invest a sum of £400k in assist HERs move towards full HPR compliance in England. The scheme opened for project proposals on the 15th February with a deadline of the 15th April 2010.


Members were advised that guidance has been issued and he talked Members through an extract of the guidance.


The Officer said that there are a number of possible projects and said that he would produce a report by February 2011 but that the focus would be on improving people’s understanding and that it would be a desk based exercise.

The Officer said he would be approaching the Chiltern AONB for support for the proposal.


The Officer invited comments on the proposal and Members made the following points:


A Member suggested that the Farmers Union should be approached for support in advance.


A Member then asked if the Forum needs to see any published outcome and the Officer said that there needs to be consideration about what can be achieved.  There would have to be a report and a summary would also be desirable as the project must enhance the HER.


The Officer was asked if Milton Keynes could feed in to the evidence base barn and he responded that it might be possible to include Milton Keynes in this or to look at the possibility of a joint bid. The Officer said he would discuss with the Milton Keynes Archaeology Officer.


Action: Nick Crank to confirm with Sandy Kidd


The Officer advised the Forum that the scheme is sufficiently interesting to be of appeal to English Heritage as it is using established methodology. A Member asked if it would be better to target the project more and the Officer advised that this had been considered but that it was felt better not to keep it wider. 


A Member asked if it would be more appealing to reach some agreement with Milton Keynes and in response the Officer advised that Milton Keynes have been unable to reach an agreement as present. The Officer said he would need to speak to English Heritage to see if they have been penalised or not regarding whether a different HER is required or if it is acceptable to be different authorities.


The Officer then went on to provide the Forum with an update of projects with a strategic, conservation and/or interpretation nature. This included the following:


Buckinghamshire Historic Towns Project

Chiltern Historic Landscape Characterisation Project

Solent-Thames Research Frameworks Project

Quarrendon Leas

Langley Park Restoration Project

Aylesbury Vale LDF Core Strategy


Funding has been secured from English Heritage for a popular publication and training day to promote the Chiltern Historic Landscape Characterisation Project.  The publication is to be available for the training day on Friday 30th April.


The Forum was advised that the Buckinghamshire Historic Towns Project has not gone out to consultation as yet but that this would be happening shortly.


In was commented that two speculative plans had been received for the Aylesbury Vale LDF Core Strategy in Fleet Marston and the Quarrendon fields. The Forum was advised that Buckinghamshire County Council and English Heritage had recommended the Quarrendon application be refused. It was highlighted that the Fleet Marston application had been withdrawn but that the Quarrendon application had not yet been determined.


Draft proposals have been received by English Heritage for listing Cold War rocket research structures at the former Westcott Royal Ordnance Factory.


The Taplow Court excavation has been published by Oxford Archaeology, funded by English Heritage detailing the Bronze Age and Anglo Saxon settlement monument.


A Member commented that they would be interested in Windmill and asked if any information was available. In response the Officer advised she had seen only one proposal for Bucks and said that the physical impact is modest but the visual impact is huge. Members were advised that English Heritage has guidance on wind farms.


Two new planning policies are out for consultation.  They are not on Historic Environment but we need to ensure that Historic Environment is recognised in both of those and that we are consistent with what the Policy Practice statement says on these matters. 


A Member asked if Officers are aware of the proposed link from London to Birmingham and highlighted the implication for the historic landscape.

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