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HITCHAM & TAPLOW
NEWS LETTER NO. 2
The Rt. Hon. The Viscount Astor
Mr. Victor Williams, J.P., C.C.
Mr. E. F. J. Perkins
Mr. J. Martineau
Mr. A. J. Page, M.P.
Lt. Col. B. Morton, O.B.E., J.P.
Chairman: Dr. M. A. T. Rogers, Ph.D.
Hon. Secretary: Mr. J. M. Taylor
Hon. Treasurer: Mr. R. C. F. Besch
Mr. J. Morrison
Mr. W. J. Garrard
Mr. A. Wallis
Mrs. L. Miall
Miss E. V. Matthews
Dr. H. Jaques
Mr. A. J. C. Paines
All communications should be addressed to —
The Hon. Secretary: Mr. J. M. Taylor, Mullion Cottage, Hitcham Road, Burnham, Bucks.
NEWS LETTER N0. 2
At the time of issuing this news letter the membership of the Society numbers 102. In accordance with previous practice an application for membership is enclosed, in the hope that new recruits can be found.
Gravel Pits at Poplar Farm
We hope that we are nearing the last chapter of the story of the Poplar Farm gravel pits. During early July we had news that the contractors were claiming that the work would be finished by the end of the month. Later, and more official, news gave the end of August as a likely date for completion of the work, and now we learn that some time in September is a more likely dateo We don’t really expect to see the last of the machinery until well into the autumn, but carting of hoggin to the new road may cease earlier; the work of restoration already appears to be the main activity.
Our Society was represented at a site meeting called by the Chairman of the County Council Planning Committee on July 14th. Also present were representatives of the Parish Council, Eton RoDuC., the contractors and Bucks County Council Planning Committee. At the meeting the contractors admitted that they had not observed several of the Conditions — and laid the blame on the weather, and the impracticability of some of them. Strong representation was made that this was not good enough, and that the County Council was at fault in allowing the Canditions to be treated with contempt in this way. The matter is to be put before the County Council Planning Committee who meet in August, but all we can hope for is that our stand may lead them to keep a closer watch on future Workings. But there is still one matter of the greatest importance in which the County Council can take action, namely the depth of topsoil to be replaced on the Site. We claimed (with ample evidence) that a lot of topsoil had been lost by the contractors in the early days of the working by vehicles being allowed to drive all over the site; we also claim that the County Council had a moral obligation to insist on there being an adequate thickness of topsoil on the restored land, although there is no Condition specifically defining the depth of the topsoil. We hope that the County Council will not be satisfied with less than an absolute minimum of six inches, preferably one foot, of topsoil even if it necessitates the contractors importing some by lorry. The County Council has agreed to discuss the matter with the Ministry of Agriculture. We have urged that the ground be treated with an appropriate fertiliser and re—sown this autumn.
At the time of writing the contractors are engaged in moving material from the north end of the site to the south end in order to level off the whole area.
So far as we can find out we beheve that the County Council is not looking for more gravel in Taplow for the Slough western extension of the by-pass, and we hope to be spared further desecration. We have been assured by the Chairman of the County Council Planning Committee that any further requirements for gravel will be the subject of public enquiry.
Council Houses in Taplow Village
The Committee is satisfied that the claims of the Eton R.D.C. that 38 houses are required to re-house people living in condemned property are exaggerated. This point of view, with supporting evidence, has been put to the Ministry of Housing by our member, Mr. Bell, supported by Mr. Page, the member for Harrow West (one of our Vice—Presidents). We must await the outcome.
Access to Planning Applications
Early knowledge of application for planning permission is essential if we are to be effective.
We asked the Eton Planning Office if they would notify us of Planning Applications affecting Hitcham and Taplow. They refused to do thiso One of our Committee members will therefore go fairly fre— quently to inspect the list of district applicationsa
In addition, the Parish Council, which does receive the required information from Eton R.D.C. has agreed to let us see it.
The Tithe Barn Hitcham
This fine 17th century barn is in danger of being destroyed, and your Committee has been very active in trying to save it. It is one of our very few fine old buildings, and we are most anxious to preserve it for some worthy use.
It is the property of the Hanbury family, and is protected by being listed as a building of architectural interest. But the roof has begun to Collapse, and Cola Hanbury has asked for a grant for its maintenance, or for permission to pull it down. The Eton R.D.C. Planning Committee was indifferent, but the County Council has refused permission, but has also refused to make money available from the rates.
Col. Hanbury therefore appealed to the Ministry of Housing, and a Local Enquiry was held on August 10th and results of which we are awaiting. Your Committee was partly or wholly instrumental in getting a number of Societies (C.P.R.E., Society for Protection of Ancient Buildings, Council for British Archaeology, Slough and District Archaeology Society) to protest at the wanton destruction of such a very fine barn. Even more to the point, your Committee has been able to get evidence of a great variety of possible uses; the Scouts are interested, and the District Commissioner attended the enquiry; two proposals for its use as a museum were made by local architects; and an interest in its conversion to dwelling houses was expressed, This last suggestion was also made by the County Council, and we have the pleasant, and so far unique, experience of finding ourselves in substantial agreement with the Local Authority.
We hope for a reprieve of six months at least, and we believe that, given time, a sensible solution can be found for its preservation. Have members any suggestions to make?
Annual General Meeting
As notified in News Letter No. 1 it is proposed to hold the First Annual General Meeting some time in late October or in November when progress on the foregoing and other matters will be reported.