Council Won’t Be Prosecuted For Criminal Damage To Monument

salakee down monumentA Scheduled Monument dating from the Bronze Age has been damaged during the recent building work at the airport.

But the body responsible for protecting these sites says they won’t pursue a criminal prosecution against the Council because it’s not in the public interest.

Nick Russell, the officer investigating for English Heritage, says instead they’ll ask the Authority to come up with a plan to mitigate the effects on the platform cairn, which lies at the end of the main runway at Salakee Down

Nick says they would normally send out an archaeologist to write a report but the cost in this case was too high. Instead, they’ve relied on drawings and photos.

He says he’s “fairly certain” there’s been damage because the cairn is a surface feature and a trench has been placed around the edge of the runway.

“That will have gone down into the archaeology,” he says.

The Council has confirmed that they didn’t report the damage to English Heritage.

Sites such as these are protected under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, which states that unauthorised work or damage is a criminal act.

The Council says they didn’t undertake an archaeological survey before the work started because they didn’t go through the usual planning process for the airport, using ‘Permitted Development Rights’ instead.

Nick says English Heritage’s advice provided in the pre-application process two years ago also appears to have been “missed.”

But while the damage is “frustrating,” he says it’s quite clearly a mistake and not intentional.

In this case, there’s no option to restore the site, because the works have been carried out for a reason and can’t easily be reversed.

Pursuing a case against the Council would be costly and time consuming and there wouldn’t really be anything to gain, says Nick, adding that it wouldn’t be good for a Local Authority to be prosecuted for not doing their job properly.

Instead, he wants the Council to record the damage and come up with a plan to mitigate what’s already been done.

The Council says they will follow any recommendations made by English Heritage.



11 Responses to Council Won’t Be Prosecuted For Criminal Damage To Monument

  1. Allan hicks May 1, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    Is this the same trench that was dug for runway edge lights, when the runway extension was built originally ?

  2. thepagan April 30, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Just sums up the ‘untouchable ‘ attitude there is running through the whole establishment!

  3. meme April 30, 2015 at 8:47 am

    I do believe it would have been a different reaction if Gill Arbary (English Heritage) was still working at the Council, if fact I do believe it would not have happened, she would have kept a very close eye on the planners – construction etc – just can’t get the staff these days!!!!!

  4. The Patrician April 29, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    That’s the IOS council for you! Careless, useless, negligent, thoughtless, spiritless – that about sums it up for me.

    • Nobby Nobbs May 1, 2015 at 3:18 pm

      You could precursor that statement with, Failing, uninterested, careless, kaput, insolent nefarious, goons

  5. Jann April 29, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    This damage is what can be seen, what unseen damage was done while Lagan “workers” played ten pin bowling with rocks and a excavator?? This what happens when you write your own rules on planning. Come on Monperdokie stand up and except responsibly to a totally shoddily job.
    Nick pursuing the issue should stop it happening again, that’s the point of it !!!

  6. Adam Morton, St.Martins April 29, 2015 at 5:35 pm

    Whilst I don’t approve of the terminal part of the project ,the result of doing it by the book would be the same as the quay which is set to cost at least another two million when frankly no one would be any the wiser if they just got on with it! It doesn’t say there was damage just that a trench might have gone through an area that may have archeology in it which whilst historically interesting doesn’t help the population of today! I wonder how much is under the airport already?

  7. Cornwall72 April 29, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    I can’t believe the council are being allowed to get away with this. On top of the long list of problems and defects in the airport building, someone at the council needs to take responsibility and resign. Every time I’m at the airport I notice another piece of shoddy workmanship – be it the poor finish of walls, door locks and hinges, non-functioning taps or loos, filthy glazing covered in the handprints and muck of the contractors, I can’t believe that someone in the council will have signed this work off as acceptable and let the contractor leave site. Who was managing this project from the council and where is their statement of apology???

  8. One rule for them April 29, 2015 at 2:18 pm

    Excellent. I’m sure the council will show similar leniency the next time someone smashes through an ancient monument having bypassed the planning rules…

    • Ewart Less April 29, 2015 at 11:21 pm

      I am highly skeptical about the Council having permitted development rights, if those rights truly exist in law I suspect they are vested in the owners of the airport and not the lease holders, the Council only has a lease. An awful lot of poor and questionable planning around these days, seemingly no hand on the tiller.

      • Yetanoth April 30, 2015 at 10:48 pm

        The islands’ Council has failed in an attempt to stop so called ‘permitted development’ rights being applied to Scilly.

        The government has extended the scheme to allow owners of office space to use it as residential accommodation without requesting permission. They believe this will boost the economy by encouraging building work.

        The Council put forward their case for an exemption, claiming that the loss of commercial space could adversely affect our local economy.

        The government assessed the objection and felt the islands case wasn’t strong enough.

        Any major changes to the physical structure would still need consent.

        I’ve copied the above from a story in ScillyToday back in June 2013; it would seem that the Council tried to stop ‘permitted development ‘ rights coming to Scilly when it suited them to do so, having failed in that attempt they carried on with the Airport ignoring the stipulation that ‘ Any major changes to the physical structure would still need consent’.
        It’s academic as the Airport is there but it would be good if those that are elected by us for us abided by their own rules.