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29 September 2007
Rotherwas Ribbon campaigners question Council decision

Campaigners fighting to preserve the Rotherwas Ribbon (England) say they will be taking the 'issue further' after they claimed a council scrutiny committee decision to endorse a plan to build a road over the Bronze Age find was invalid.
     The 4,000-year-old pathway of stones was discovered during work to build a relief road to an industrial estate near Hereford. Herefordshire Council's environment scrutiny committee called in a cabinet decision to build the relief road over the archaeological find – also known as the Dinedor Serpent – and endorsed the council's decision. Now campaigners and councillors - who oppose the decision to preserve the ribbon for future generations under a protective layer and build the road over it – are questioning the validity of the scrutiny committee process for a number of reasons, including a failure to discuss certain evidence pertaining to the importance of the find, and a lack of key witnesses.
     Campaign Co-ordinator Bob Clay said: "It seems that the Council successfully staged a "cover-up" of this huge discovery for two months, hoping to get the road continued before adequate consideration of alternatives could take place. English Heritage have said that they cannot make a decision on scheduling until the full extent of the Ribbon is ascertained. The Council implied this would take 6 months and decided it was 'too expensive' to delay the road."
     However, Councillor Bob Matthews, chair of the environment scrutiny committee, explained the committee had sought to 'achieve a balance' in accommodating many strongly held views. The Committee also dismissed accusations that the council had kept the find secret from the public but it did note that information flow within the council had 'fell short of that normally expected'. It recommended work should be set in place to address for the future the problems presented by this period when cabinet and councillor roles were in a state of flux. The recommendations of the committee will now go back to the council’s cabinet for further consideration. More information on the Ribbon can be found on the Herefordshire Archaeology website. See the campaigners' website at www.rotherwasribbon.com.

Sources: Save the Dinedor Serpent (24 September 2007), 24 Hour Museum (27 September 2007)

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