Kent Archaeological Review extract

Damage to Scheduled Ancient Monuments.
by Alan Scott.

Many people, including some archaeologists, imagine that Scheduled Ancient Monuments are less susceptible to damage than unscheduled sites. Regretably this is not so as in a period of two months this summer two scheduled sites in Hastings were damaged. One of the sites was, perhaps unwittingly, damaged by an enthusiastic but un-informed excavator who carried out his investigations outside the walls of the monument but still within the scheduled area and on land belonging to the Local Authority who, I understand, did not give him permission for his work. The damage to the other monument, an Iron Age earthwork mentioned in The Victoria County History of Sussex, was in my opinion far more serious as the Local Authority gave permission for access to a cafe without imposing any conditions, in the planning approval granted, to safeguard the scheduled earthwork. When the new access was inspected by the writer, it was found that the top of the earthwork had been removed to a depth of about a metre for a distance of several metres. When a member of the Planning Department's staff was asked if conditions were imposed in the Planning Approval to ensure that the Scheduled Ancient Monument was not harmed, he stated that he was not aware that it existed! When questioned further he stated that no lists of the scheduled sites were available in the Planning Office. This statement was not the case according to the chief planning officer when he phoned the writer in reply to a letter sent pointing out the Local Authorities responsibility in connection with scheduled sites and planning approvals that permitted damage to the monuments. The Planning Officer stated that he would like to have drawings showing the position and extent of all monuments in his area. These have, I understand, been provided by the same authority's museum. I notified the DOE. Ancient Monuments Department the day that I had seen the damage and I trust that they have by now dealt with this matter. In fairness to the chief planning officer concerned, I must state that he has requested as much information about archaeological sites in the area as can be given by the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group. It is regretted that a county archaeological officer has not yet been appointed for East Sussex although one has been appointed for West Sussex and is doing good work. I hope that all Local Authorities will make lists and plans of all scheduled sites in their areas readily available to the general public and that the public and archaeologists will at all times keep a close watch on scheduled as well as unscheduled sites in their area.
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