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Normanton Barrows

Volume 527: debated on Tuesday 4 May 1954

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asked the Minister of Works why he has allowed the Normanton group of barrows, near Stonehenge, to be ploughed up; and what steps he is taking to prevent this and other destruction of ancient monuments.

The Normanton Barrows are listed under the Ancient Monuments Acts. The owner should, therefore, have given my Department notice of his intention to carry out work affecting the Barrows. No such notice was received.

I had already taken the following steps to try to prevent such damage. I arranged with my right hon. Friend the Minister of Agriculture to include in a leaflet issued to farmers a warning about ancient monuments and, in particular, barrows, on their land. When a monument is listed under the Ancient Monuments Acts the owner or occupier is asked to inform any future owner or occupier of the existence of the monument. In addition to my travelling inspectorate, about 40 voluntary correspondents help us by passing on any information affecting their areas. The local archaeological societies also assist.

Clearly, further steps will have to be taken, and I am asking the Ancient Monuments Board, which I have recently reconstituted, to go into the whole problem and advise me what more I can do.

While appreciating the reply, will the Minister bear in mind that there is a considerable amount of resentment at the continued vandalism which involves the destruction of so many historic monuments, and will he take every possible initiative in conjunction with the voluntary bodies in regard to the further steps which are obviously called for.

I did rise to a point of order, Mr. Speaker. This is a matter of public interest. It is not customary to allow a supplementary from this side of the House?

The House must trust me to use my discretion as to how many supplementary questions should be allowed on any one Question. It is possible to discuss any Question for a long time.