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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Glory Hole to Disappear?


Paul Reed
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Giles

Daves still posting almost everyday - Just happens he's well disguised B)

Glyn

It looks that way...

...things aren't always as simple as they appear though...

;)

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What is the state of play at the moment? What is the prognosis? There was a suggestion that a fund might be raised, did that actually happen?

As someone who also felt he may have invertently (in post# 30) offended Paul- I did PM him immediately to apologise and explain that I was trying to take the point of Devil's Advocate in my post, and not in any way trying to impugn him or his sincerity. I did wonder for a time, like Tom, what the actual insult was, because I couldn't see it.

If it was deleted, then this is a time when deleting totally; has been counter productive. I didn't want to post on this thread for a while, as I felt there was a bit of bandwagon jumping going on, terms such as disgrace etc.being used. Obviously if there has been a post removed, then I was getting a bit worked up over nothing (as I never seen the alleged removed item).

It would be good to know the latest from the Gloryhole site, to get back to the topic.

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For those of you asking what is happening, I understand that the All Party Parliamentary Group has had the matter of the Glory Hole in hand for some time but can't give any more news than that.

Regards

Simon

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I took some pics of the site when I was in the area last week.

sommetripfeb91120060211nr.jpg

The boundary has now been fenced, and the building footprint pegged out.

The main "Glory Hole" craters are to the right, outside of the site boundary.

There is another site earmarked for development a few yards further along the road, I reckon that another 3 or 4 houses could also be accommodated on the available road frontage, so if anybody wants to buy the site to protect the craters, the value of the site is likely to be 4 or 5 times the cost of the first plot up for sale.

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The site notice board further down the road.

sommetripfeb91120060255no.jpg

There's quite a bit of housebuilding going on in the area - property prices must be on the up to make "difficult" site such as these viable for development.

Farmland appears also to be at a premium, you only have to compare aerial photo's of the Lochnager crater taken in the 60's and 70's with the current overhead shots to see how close the ploughed fields have now "crept" towards the crater walls.

Rob.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Bonjour,

Je suis une habitante de la région, et je connais cet endroit. Plusieurs points :

- la maison est construite sur la gauche de la pancarte, et pas à droite (ce qui change beaucoup de choses)

- ce terrain appartient déjà certainement à quelqu'un, puisqu'un cheval y demeure...

- Il faut bien que les français puissent se loger, non?

- si vous tenez à préserver ce site et que personne ne fasse quoi que ce soit dessus, achetez-le!

- pourquoi tous les détracteurs du projet ne sont-ils pas allés voir en mairie pour donner leur avis négatif et expliquer la raison de leur réclamation!!!

Je pense qu'on ne peut pas préserver tous les lieux où il y a eu une bataille. Sinon, la Somme deviendrait une région fantôme.

Quand à la préservation des sites, je pense qu'il y a aussi des visiteurs de ces mêmes sites qui "violent" les terres, en cherchant des artéfacts, en creusant, en utilisant des détecteurs de métaux pour en trouver, ou pour trouver des plaques d'identifications et qui se vendent, nous le savons tous, à prix d'or sur le marché noir...Pour préserver un site, il faut l'acheter...alors les enchères sont ouvertes! recensez tous les sites en voie de disparition et faites des offres d'achat aux propriétaires qui, cela dit en passant, ne peuvent rien tirer de terrains qui ont été complètement minés...

I'm living on the Somme since 8 years, and I'm french. I know this Glory Hole site. Some points :

- This famous house is built on the left of the sign, and not on the right, which is mightly different...

- Where french people will leave if every part of the land available on the Somme has to be protected...?

- If you want to protect this part of land, buy it!!!!!

- Why nobody has gone to the Mairie during the 2 months of delay to stop the construction and to explain the reasons of your unhappiness, using maps or plans or archives to prouve that there are bodies buried on this land....??????

I think that preserving the site is the "work" of everyone who live on the Somme and who visiting the Somme. I often see in the fields some people searching some artefacts, using metal detectors to find them or digging the ground, which is absolutely profanating....

If you want to protect all sites, recense them, buy them and these sites will be protected...That's the way used by every country implicated in the Great War...However, what do you want of a french owner of such a land completely mined to do...

I'm waiting for your responses and reactions...!

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Guest Simon Bull

I don't think that those of us who want to preserve this site are saying that every little bit of the Somme battlefield needs to be preserved, just that important bits of it should be preserved and that this is an important piece of land in historical terms because it still shows the scars of war, unlike most of the rest of the Somme, and because it was a site on which there was particularly heavy fighting and many lives were lost.

As to buying it, I would love to but I don't have the money, and that is not a realistic answer to the general problem of what should be preserved - that needs to be a matter for government policy.

Speaking for myself I very clearly understand that there has to be some development on the Somme. However, I am concerned at the lack of any apparent coherent government policy to identify what is to be preserved, form a consensus about the basis upon which it is to be conserved and then act to conserve it.

I am concerned that development of this piece of land can be contemplated and I was even more concerned by the recent demolition of the Red Château in Villers Bretonneux. I am also concerned, for example, that Lochanagar Crater was only preserved by private efforts and that there was no local government policy to protect it as an important historic site.

I have no argument with some development, I just wish that thought would be put into what is not to be developed.

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- pourquoi tous les détracteurs du projet ne sont-ils pas allés voir en mairie pour donner leur avis négatif et expliquer la raison de leur réclamation!!!

The reason for this is that probably few English visitors bother to read the notice board in every mairie on the Somme (or indeed elsewhere in France) when they are over there?! Why should they?! From what I see above not even a for sale sign went up on the land prior to the land being given building permission; how would anyone outside of the village committee know?. English people will not recognise this as being as 'transparent' as things are in the UK perhaps?

This is something for regional government to deal with in France; declare areas that cannot be built on due to significant historical interest/importance. They have done it before on the Somme (Gibraltar, Soyecourt); it is now time to do it with this site, and indeed many others. That still leaves millions of hectares for poilue and the rest of France to build on, n'est pas chef?

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I think it's easy to create a forum to figt against french people and french policies. I think the best way to preserve lands which have a significant historic importance is to deal with french politics. I'm sure that no one, french or british, have done anything to preserve this site. Does anyone on the Conseil Général or Conseil régional know the historic importance of that part of land? Maybe the best way to do that is working during 4 or 5 years on identification of sites which can have an historic importance. After this, submit this list to the french authorities...? When the wolf is in the sheepfold, it's too late to take the gun....

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Calmez vous madame Poilue. Le but de ce forum n'est pas d'attaquer les français, surtout les habitants de la Somme. Le problème concernant ce site est d'abord celui son histoire. Nous savons tous que La Somme a connue l'une des plus grandes batailles de la Grande Guerre, il ne s'agit pas de tout préserver mais ce site était longtemps l'endroit le plus 'actif' du front de La Somme et nous pensons qu'il est important de sauver ce petit morceau de terrain. En plus le site n'est pas, à mon avis, propice à la construction. Le terrain est truffé de galeries de mines et il y a un vrai danger d'éffondrement. Nous ne pouvons pas dire à coup sur qu'il y a encore des corps mais il est presque certain que oui.

Evitez s'il vous plait de nous associer avec ces gens sans scrupules qui 'creusent' ces sites pur trouver quelques objets à vendre. La plupart des gens sur ce forum trouvent ces pratiques complètement abject.

j'éspère que ces lignes vous aideront à mieux comprendre notre attachement à ce bout de terre Picarde.

PS; des gens ont déjà contacté le Conseil Général.

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Je ne m'énerve pas du tout, mais il est plus difficile pour moi de m'exprimer en anglais plutôt qu'en français. Ce qui me semble le plus étrange dans cette histoire, c'est que ce bout de terrain, hormis sa valeur historique, est complètement impropre à la construction, nous sommes d'accord là-dessus. Dans cette optique, je ne comprends pas comment le conseil municipal a pu inscire ce bout de terrain comme zone constructible sur le POS ou PLU. Cela me semble fort impropable, et certaines personnes de ce forum ne se seraient-elles pas "emballées" un peu vite? des constructions vont-elles réellement être faites sur ce terrain? ou simplement comme moi je l'ai vu, juste à côté?

d'autre part, si la construction se fait et que des corps sont découverts, la construction sera arrêtée momentanément, voir définitivement. Je sais que le conseil général a été prévenu, mais je crois que cela s'est fait après la pose de la pancarte, donc après la vente.

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je ne sais pas si les maisons vont etre construites là ou pas, selon la première pancarte oui, on verra comme on dit. Il me semble qu'après la permission de construire on dispose d'une periode de trois mois pour d'éventuels ' bloquer ' le terrain mais je ne suis pas certain. Enfin ne pensez pas que nous voulons empecher les gens de chez vous à mener vos propres affaires. C'est juste que ce petit bout de terre picarde nous est cher. Habitez vous à Ovillers ?

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Could we please confine ourselves to English, so everyone on the Forum can follow the conversation.

You can always converse in other languages via PM, but on open Forum, English is the lingua franca (so to speak!).

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point taken but Poilue was getting the wrong end of the stick.

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Well I gave her the best end I had.

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No, I 'm not leaving in Ovillers, but in Longueval, and I'm implicated in several memorials in the area. I understand your point of vue...But I'm convinced that if you want to do something about this land particularly and others of the area, you've had to meet the good people in the good places. I know that Paul Reed, one of the members of this forum live in the area, as he mentioned. I think he's speaking french and he just have to meet the "maire".

For my part, I know that the Conseil General should give some news soon I think.

I have a question : a man try to sell a house in Miraumont, and he asked me if I know some internet sites where british people can check french houses sales. If some people are insterested in, there is an 'annonce' in an agency in Albert!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Following a meeting between Sir Frank Sanderson and representatives of the Conseil Général de la Somme, I understand that the Préfet has issued a prohibition notice (procès contradictoire) to halt building on the Glory Hole. This was issued in view of the danger of subsidence owing to the large number of tunnels beneath the craterfield. It has been stated that the Ovillers Mairie included a disclaimer against liability for subsidence when issuing planning permission and that this was actually illegal. I gather that it may take several years for the landowner to appeal against this.

I am hoping for a report tomorrow on the state of building work but it would be useful if anyone in the area could post up to date photographs.

My own hope is that the surviving part of the Glory Hole will be purchased by the Conseil Général.

I will inform the forum if I hear of further developments.

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Great news

thanks for letting us know

All the best

Chris

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This is, at least a reprieve for the Glory Hole site, I too hope the Conseil Général buy the site, for safety's sake (if nothing else.) and for history's sake

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Great news - let's hope it's made a bit more accessible to visitors than it currently is.

Rob.

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