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Today's News (Tomorrow's History)
This information is provided by the Barwick in Elmet Historical Society.
The month has been characterised by the weather (largely overcast, cold and damp) which sets the mood for everything. Nothing deeply affecting the history of the community has happened. Even the current problems and events are old ones which return from time to time. Currently there is dissatisfaction with the bus services to the two villages (particularly Scholes) and there has been a spate of thefts where houses have been entered in the mid-to-late afternoon and saleable items taken. In another case the thief (thieves?) entered an occupied house, took the car keys from the hall and departed with the family car.
November has seen the implementation of two badly needed improvements to the maintenance of the ancient monuments of Hall Tower Field and Wendel Hill. On 7th November, a flock of 29 sheep was put to graze in Hall Tower Field. There is neither the money nor an efficient way of coping with the plant life of the field with its steep banks and ditches. It is hoped that by grazing, the wild flowers of the field - which has never been ploughed in modern times - will flourish.
The flock are a mix of Suffolks (the ones with the black faces) and Texels. It is expected that the sheep will graze there throughout the year and will be removed for a few weeks when the field is being used for village events. The village is fortunate to have this feature which means that there is a tongue of agricultural land stretching to within 100 yards of the centre of the village.
In the same week that the sheep were introduced, work started on the construction of a safety fence at the side of the footpath which runs from the rear of the Black Swan passing the ditch at Wendel Hill. The work was funded by Leeds City and includes the resurfacing of the path, where it was crumbling into the earthworks.
The texels getting down to cutting back the long grass.
The new fence under construction at Wendel Hill. Nov 2007
The subject of traffic has featured in the locality this month. Over the last few months there have been road works at the Colton end of Bullerthorpe Lane which have affected both Barwick and Scholes. The delays created by the road works have been so bad at rush hour that people from Garforth have decided that the journey to the centre of Leeds or to North Leeds is quicker via Barwick and Scholes. This has created a marked increase in traffic through the two villages as the road works have dragged on. There are now great concerns about road safety. The worry is that, once the road works have finished, traffic will continue to use the route through the villages instead of reverting to the old route. In Scholes there have been speed checks using a mobile radar device which has shown that speeding is a problem. To counter this worrying development, there is to be a cycle shop in Barwick. The shop will be in the Boyle in what used to be Haigh's butcher's shop. For more details see their web site. A sign in the window in the, as yet, unopened shop promises to supply bikes by Christmas. Let us hope that, by the time the bikes are in use, the roads will become safer.
The new season has started for the historical society and we are getting well over fifty members attending our meetings so far. The society is getting down to producing a second part to its first publication Bygone Barwick which was published over 20 years ago and was quickly sold out. In the intervening years the society had acquired many more photographs and greater knowledge of the subject matter of their content.
For those who have not visited Scholes for six months or more, there have been changes in that time. As part of a P.F.I. funded scheme, Leeds have been upgrading the street lighting to more modern standards and Scholes has been upgraded. The result is that after dusk Scholes has efficient but soft non-intrusive lighting and the night sky is not invaded by the orange glow of the previous lighting scheme. Eventually when all orange lights are eliminated from Leeds, it will be possible to see the stars again. As with all things however there is one disadvantage with the new system. The lamp posts are 10 metres high and in the daytime are a visual intrusion on the landscape, particularly intrusive in the small strip of countryside between Taylor Lane and the Coronation Tree.
Both villages are presently the target of developers who want to fill up large gardens with new dense housing schemes. Those who oppose the proposals have found that independent inquiries held to consider the proposals and the objections are insufficient to stop the developers. After a planning rejection, the developers submit a revised scheme which they consider answers the criticisms of the previous proposals and so the process continues..... A scheme at Scholes has just been re-submitted with amendments.
The new information board on Hall Tower's motte.
After 4 years of design, fund raising and much paper work, our information boards have been installed at three places in the earthworks in Barwick.
Autumn really has arrived when the Barwick Feast starts. This year the fairground rides and amusements arrived on Monday 15th October and left on Tuesday 23rd. The children of the village did not start the half term holiday until Friday 19th.
In the Spring and Summer 2007 Yorkshire in Bloom competition, both Barwick and Scholes competed in the large village category. Barwick were joint winners with a gold award and Scholes were awarded silver gilt. Both villages are now attractively presented following the hard work of volunteers over the year. Scholes had the misfortune to have the hanging baskets removed from their street lights.
The Historical Society participated in the national Heritage Open Days scheme by arranging guided tours of the Iron Age and Norman earthworks in Barwick from 6th-9th September. In spite of the failure of the local "free" newspaper to give any publicity to the event, we had 162 visitors - mostly on the Sunday. From the responses of the visitors, we would judge the venture as a success. The society organised a similar event last year and had nearly 400 visitors when we did all our own publicity.
A BBC film crew has visited the village to record for a planned broadcast on the Politics Programme about the earthworks and the limitations to the support from English Heritage and local authorities. It is expected to be broadcast in early October.
It happens once a year. A bus to Scarbrough in Main St. Barwick-in-Elmet
It is time for the Music Festival in Bramham Park again. Because of the needs to keep traffic flowing, the Coastliner buses are diverted off the A64 through Scholes, Barwick and Aberford. The month has been largely wet or overcast but the week leading up to the Bank Holiday has been sunny and increasingly warmer.
The last week in August, a group of walkers from the parish, including the Rector, is walking from coast to coast (Lancaster to Stoope Brow beach near Ravenscar). The aim of the 7 day 137 mile walk is to raise funds for the churches' refurbishment. The distances
vary from 11.5 to 31.5 miles per day and involve crossing the Pennines at 2350 ft above sea level.
|For the rain it raineth every day.
This quote has never been more appropriate. Going into July, the weather became stuck in a pattern of heavy showers and not very sunny intervals. There was not been a day in the month until 24th July when it hasn't rained at some part of the day.
After nearly 38 years, the Tillotsons are closing their shop and retiring. In the time that the television shop has been in Main Street Barwick, Geof has nursed many locals through the conversion to three chanel colour television up to multi-channel digital set top boxes. He must know more about the roofs of the district than anyone else while erecting aerials.
The weekend of the 7th and 8th July was a busy time in Barwick. There were celebrations to mark the 800th year of the granting of the Leeds Charter. Hall Tower was the focal point for numerous activities such as archery provided by the Towton Battlefield Society, suitably bedecked in mediaeval costume, dancing (Scottish, Maypole and Morris), falconry and fancy dress. There were also a large number of stalls on the field providing information, products and snacks. Two concerts were held one by an ancient music group and a keyboard recital covering music from Richard Couer de Lion to Howells. The Art Club held an exhibition in the Miners' Institute and in the church there was a Flower Festival. On the whole, after the initial morning showers, the weather was kind to the celebration.
Scholes held its bienniel Open Gardens on 22nd July and the weather was not kind to it. It rained heavily off and on. Just before the event, there has been a major refurbishment of the Coronation Tree island; it is looking good.
The damage done to the earthworks by a fallen tree
On 10th July, the adjournment debate in the House of Commons was on the subject of the Iron Age hillfort in Barwick-in-Elmet. The debate was called by the local M.P., Colin Burgon following dissatisfaction expressed by the Historical Society at English Heritage's unwillingness to use its enforcement powers and the need for more support over the tree problem on Wendel Hill. Since the ditch was cleared during the winter, two trees have been blown down and, in doing so, have severely damaged the earth bank in two areas. The result of the debate is awaited with great interest. The debate has widened the knowledge of our earthworks well beyond the parish boundaries. Hopefully, the Minister (the Rt. Hon. Margaret Hodge) will take up Colin Burgon's invitation to visit the earthworks.
We are experiencing a very wet month. The rain fell heavily and continuously for three days from 13th to 15th this month. It has been followed by another heavy downpour on 25th, which in many parts of Yorkshire was one month's rainfall received in one day. On both occasions, for instance, Long Lane Beck spilled out over onto the fields. This has only happened three times in the last 43 years. During the three day downpour, the parish lost electricity due apparently to a stolen van crashing at Scholes into a timber post carrying the main overhead electric cables for the area. On the afternoon of the 25th, a stretch of Leeds Road, Scholes was flooded for the first time and home bound traffic tailed back to the turn-off to John Smeaton School.
On Sunday 24th June, Barwick had its Open Gardens which had its share of heavy showers but these did not deter a good number of visitors. The gardens were weed free as usual - a sign of the intensive work put in by all the garden owners; at least they had not had to spend time watering their gardens.
This month has seen the new editor of The Barwicker, Pauline Robson, take over her responsibilities. Pauline lives in a neighbouring parish but has many of her ancestors who were residents of various parts of the parish for over a hundred years. Her mother was the Maypole Queen.
April's missing showers have arrived in May. Everything is growing rapidly now that the ground is moist again. This year there seem to be more hares in the fields in the parish than has been the case for decades. Yesterday (Saturday 19th) there were four in a field on the edge of Barwick. A few weeks ago there was one in a field very near the road opposite Taylor Lane.
April has passed with very few showers. At the beginning of the month, the water table was so high that a spring started causing a stream to form half way up the slope in Long Lane as you enter Barwick from Garforth. By the end of the month, the spring had disappeared and the footpaths across the fields were cracked and hard. The blossom in the month was of one the finest for many years as there had been no frost to destroy it. There is a profusion of bluebells in the woods and hedge bottoms well in excess of previous years. The swallows arrived about the 20th of the month, some three weeks earlier than used to be the case. It seems that global warming is a reality rather than a conjecture.
Hall Tower Field is now fenced and has a kissing gate at the top of the drive so that, once the brambles have been sprayed, sheep will graze the field. The recent cut-back of the vegetation has stimulated the growth of daffodils, bluebells and cowslips. We look for ward to the field becoming better stocked with wild flowers.
March started with the call of the curlew being heard again in the fields immediately to the south of Barwick-in-Elmet. Spring is in the air.
(6th March) The improvements in Hall Tower Field are well ahead with the fencing almost complete.
Plans are coming together for a number of celebrations in Barwick-in-Elmet on 7th and 6th of July to mark the 700th year since the granting of a charter to Leeds. The events will include a concert of early music on authentic instruments, a flower festival and a mediaeval afternoon on Hall Tower Field at which the Towton Battlefield Society will provide a display with children from both Barwick and Scholes Primary Schools.
This month has seen the publication of the last edition of "The Barwicker" under the editorship of Arthur Bantoft. Arthur edited the first edition of "The Barwicker" over 21 years ago. He has produced four editions a year until edition number 85. The society has expressed its thanks to Arthur for the mammoth task which he has undertaken over the last two decades. Fortunately there is one person who has agreed to take over the task and therefore the successor will be announced following the society's Annual General Meeting in April. There is a backlog of material to be published so the publication will plough on towards the 100 mark. One thing has not changed about the Barwicker in all that time - it is still only 50p a copy.
The society held an open meeting at the church for a talk by John Buglass, the archaeologist who led the society's summer dig. He talked on the finds made at the dig on The Boyle and artefacts found were on display. The meeting was very well attended with over 100 present.
The work on Hall Tower is practically finished. We await the installation of a gate which will allow sheep to be kept in the field to keep the grass trim. Information boards about the earthworks have been designed and we await approval from the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport to have them erected..
Apart from a small fall of snow lasting less than a day, February has been mild. Daffodils have started to appear from the middle of the month.
A meeting has been held in Barwick village hall on 19th February to discuss the possibility of getting nature trails established in the parish. The meeting was addressed by a staff member of the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Stephen Meays, who is the Wildlife Wealth Project Officer. The Wldlife Wealth Project is funded by the Local Heritage Initiative and aims to promote local involvement and interest in wildlife projects. It is planned to hold a series of wildlife walks in the parish over the coming year. The meeting also discussed concerns about the state of some of the fields in the parish.
The month has seen the start of the improvements being made to Hall Tower Field with funding from English Heritage. The undergrowth has been cut back apart from some patches which have been deliberately left for wildlife habitat and the fencing of the field is under way. The project is due to finish in March with the rebuilding of the steps on the motte. When this is completed, sheep will graze the field and it is hoped that this will enable wild flowers to flourish once more in the field. An application has been submitted to the Dept. of Culture, Media and Sport for permission to erect interpretation boards at Hall Tower and at Wendel Hill. Funding has been provided for this project by the Local Heritage Initiative and also with a grant from Barwick-in-Bloom. It is hoped that this will be accomplished before the summer.
January has been a quiet month to date (25th). Until 22nd, the weather has been unseasonally mild. Fifty years ago in Geography there was a definition of the Mediteranean climate "Warm, wet, windy winters with westerly winds". This summed up the first 22 days od January. Since then the weather has been colder and there was even a flurry of snow on the evening of the 23rd. No sooner had the Wendel Hill ditch been cleared of garden rubbish and other debris than a strong wind blew down a large tree from the bank on the west side and blocked the ditch; in doing so the roots have torn out a large part of the bank. We have been unable to get a tree warden fully trained in time to warn us of such problems.
This month has marked the opening of a large new extension of the primary school in Scholes. Gone is the metal building on the side closest to the road which has served the village for nearly a century.
December has begun with the warm weather continuing. On 2nd December 'yours truly' saw a butterfly on the garden flowers beside the house at Temple Newsam.
At long last, the funding from English Heritage for the earthworks At Wendel Hill and hall Tower has been approved and contactors are about to start, initially at Wendel Hill. It is likely that Hall Tower will be fenced and the steps repaired in January. The ditch was cleared before the end of December and wooden steps erected at both ends of the plot to enable access for maintenance. Locked gates at the head of the steps keep the ditch safe from intrusion and deter the dumping of waste material.
In the lead up to Christmas the weather turned colder and misty.
A very late autumn in Long Lane Barwick-in-Elmet
17th November 2006
The seasons are running late this year as the photograph above bears testimony. The autumn colours have been beautiful as the photograph shows. So far (17th) it has been mild and not too wet nor too windy, leaving leaves on the trees much later than normal. (Written to soon - in less than a week, high winds and frost brought winter here and stripped the trees bare.)The dark nights have arrived and there are lights showing in the first houses to be occupied on Leeds Road in the new development which on which building started in the summer. There is confusion about what the development is to be called; some say it is "The Beeches", others "The Sycamores". It will be clear in time.
It has been a quiet month with far warmer than usual weather which has postponed the onset of autumn. The lawn mowers are still regularly needed and not many leaves have fallen yet. The Barwick Feast has been and gone and fireworks are on sale again. The new housing development, Crosland Farm, at Scholes is now taking shape and will soon be occupied. The scheme on Leeds Road, Barwick is in a similar state. The proposed demolition and rebuild scheme in Elmwood Lane has been amended yet once more and has caused another round of letters of objection to be written again.
We are awaiting funding from English Heritage to make Hall Tower more presentable and safer for visitors and to clear the decades of dumped garden waste from the iron age ditch at Wendel Hill. It is planned that, when a fence has been built around Hall Tower and the present brushwood cleared, is will be grazed by sheep. A grant has been given by the Local Heritage Initiative fund to produce illustrations showing representations of the earthworks in Iron Age and Norman times and to finance explanatory notice boards to make the earthworks more meaningful.
The society participated for the first time in the Heritage Open days scheme organised nationally by English Heritage. Hourly tours were arranged to show the iron age and norman earthworks in the village. In previous years only the parish church in Barwick had been open under this scheme. It took about an hour to give a full tour involving climbing the motte, examining the earth banks to the east and north of the iron age fort and also going into the iron age ditch on the south side of the fort. The latter is normally closed to the public and was open thanks to the Shinn family.
Over 370 people visited the fort over the four days when it was open. Many took advantage of acquiring many of the society's publications while they were visiting. It was particularly pleasing to see that a large proportion of the visitors were locals, many of whom expressed amazement at what they saw, some of them for the first time. The society had nine trained guides to lead parties and to explain the history behind what could be seen. One fortunate group had a co-incidental fly-past by the Red Arrows (on their way back from an air display at Leuchars to Scampton) while they were on top of the motte.
The Rector has written to every household in Barwick-in-Elmet saying that due to the "strength of feeling" against the proposal to place phone antennae and a base station in the Church Tower, the project will not go ahead. An income of about £10,000 a year has therefore been forfeited. Consideration is being given to a "Friends of All Saints Church" which will provide funds for the church.
The holiday atmosphere has been upset this month by the need to hold two public meetings in Barwick. On 10th August a meeting was held in the Methodist chapel to discuss the proposal to install a mobile phone mast in the All Saints parish church's tower. The chapel was packed with anxious villagers. While the proposed mast would be invisible, there was great fear expressed about the potential for radiation from the installation. We await the outcome of the meeting. There has been a resubmission of the plan (amended) to build housing on Elmwood Lane, which has already been the subject of a public inquiry and was rejected by the inspector.
The society has carried out an archaeological investigation on a piece of land in the Boyle on which there has been no building for at least 150 years. While it is too early to be definite on the result, it may well be that somewhere very near the investigation site, there had been a pottery kiln of regional significance in the mid-17th century . The dig was financed by a grant of nearly £25,000 from the Local Heritage Initiative. The grant also provided funding to create illustrated information boards on the earthworks. The society has commissioned five illustrations to be made which will show what the earthworks may have looked like in the iron age and when the motte and bailey were in active use.
Barwick and Scholes have now a bus service to the east coast via Malton on three days a year. This is over the August Bank Holiday weekend during the Leeds Festival at Bramham Park. Because of the congestion caused by the festival traffic on the A64 (Leeds to York) road the Coastliner buses from Leeds to the east coast are diverted through Scholes (Coronation Tree), Barwick and Aberford before re-joining the A64. The festival could be heard quite clearly at times from the motte in Hall Tower Field on Saturday 26th August due to winds blowing from the north-west.
In the middle of August, the Dogs Trust
opened its Leeds premises at Woodlands Farm on the A64 near Potterton.
In spite of a firm rejection by a planning inspector following a public inquiry, the developer promoting the development in Elmwood Lane, Barwick, has submitted an amended proposal for the same site. More than 100 villagers attended a meeting in the village called by the parish council to voice their objections.
A garden of rest has been constructed by volunteers in the churchyard in Barwick for the interment of cremated remains of parishioners. A Book of Remembrance, held in the church, will record the names of the deceased whose remains have been deposited in the garden.
Barwick and Scholes await the "Yorkshire in Bloom" judges in July
A novel feature of Barwick-in-Bloom's work this year is the creation of a patch of wheat with poppies and cornflowers alongside the plough on the ground next to the Old Rectory, opposite the Post Office.
It is now three months since Peter Weatherill retired from the New Inn. The inn is now the domain of Gary and Annette Shepherd who have now settled into their new surroundings. One new feature of life at the New Inn is the introduction of live music on Sunday nights - usually a single instrument and singer. On the last Sunday in the month there is "Open Mike" which enables anyone who wishes to sing can take the microphone for ten minutes or so. Another change to the inn is the return of open fireplaces to provide a real fire in the winter.
The main arrival of the house martins was on 8/9th of this month some four weeks late.
On 25th June there will be an Open Gardens event in Barwick. This year there will be two gardens open in Potterton. A minibus will be available to ferry visitors between the centre of the village and Potterton. In addition three of the gardens to be open will have special themes - "work-in-progress", wildlife and the "art of bonsai".
In the five years since its re-introduction to the parish,the Red Kite has become an increasingly common sight. Nevertheless it was a surprise to see one circling over the northern end of Main Street, Garforth on 21st June.
World Cup fever has reached Barwick and Scholes with some houses being festooned with the St. George's flag in a way not seen in past World Cups. In some ways it is reminiscent of the flag flying which was common in the early sixties on maypole Day.
May has arrived with rain and low temperatures. It has been a poor spring and plants are late in developing. At least the magnolias, being late in blossoming, have avoided the frost damage which they always seem to sustain.
One feature of the parish which has disappeared in the last year is dairy farming. With the dispersal of the dairy herd at Brickpond Farm at Potterton, the parish has no milking cows. This must be the first time the parish has been without locally produced cow's milk since before recorded history. It is impossible to even guess when the first inhabitants in the parish acquired a domesticated cow capable of providing milk.
The society has now received the report on the non-invasive archaeological survey of Hall Tower Field which was carried out at the end of January 2006. It tells us that there is nothing great importance which the techniques used can reveal. There are several small features which would require conventional digging to reveal more, but generally there has been too much recent activity to show any signs of Norman or earlier activity. The survey was not capable of examining the motte (mound) or most of the ditch in the field.
The late arrival of the seasons this spring/summer can be measured by the cuckoo which could be heard for the first time in Aberford Road, Barwick today (14th May). Another indication of the lateness of summer is that today, 23rd May, there is still no sign of house martins arriving. Today(26th), the first house martins have arrived but not in the normal numbers.
A planning inspector has now reported on his inquiry into the appeal of Cooper Lawrence Homes against the failure of Leeds City to give a decision concerning their proposed development of housing in Elmwood Lane. The inspector has decided the appeal should be dismissed on the grounds that "the detrimental impact on the character and appearance of the area, the inadequate on-site parking provision and the harmful effect on living conditions of occupiers of Elmroyd to be sufficient to be the determining factors in this appeal." It is being regarded that the decision will stop further proposals on similar lines in Barwick. Scholes has been facing similar proposed developments.
There are two high density housing schemes well under way in Barwick this month, one on the north side of Leeds Road and the other on the east site of Elmwood Lane. Both are on sites where bungalows have been demolished to enable denser housing schemes to be built.
The first swallow was seen on Easter Sunday (16th) just to the north of the Garforth Golf Course.
March opened with dry, sunny but cold weather. The middle of the month has been wet and cold with snow flurries and the occasional snow shower. In spite of this the curlew has been around since about the 10th of the month. We are fortunate to have curlew, skylarks and other uncommon birds such as the red kite in the fields surrounding Barwick and Scholes, in spite the developments of Leeds creeping up to the horizon. The Thorpe Park estate consisting of business blocks and hotels is growing at a rapid rate at Colton and can be seen from high ground to the south-east of both villages.
Barwick residents have had a leaflet recently produced by the Village Hall Committee. The hall opened in September 1972. The leaflet contains a list of the permanent bookings of the hall. It shows a wide range of social activity. The bookings are as follows:
|10 am -1 pm (Oct. - March)
|7 pm - 10 pm (1st week of each month)
|Wine & Beer Guild
|7 pm - 10 pm (3rd week of each month)
|9.15 am - 11.15 am & 1.15 pm - 3.15 pm
|7.30 pm - 10.00 pm
|1 pm - 4 pm (Oct. - March)
|4.30 pm - 6.30 pm
|7 pm - 10 pm
|Parents and Toddlers
|1.30 pm - 3 pm
|Spirit of Harmony
Barber's Shop Choir
| 7 pm - 9 pm
|6.30 pm - 8.30 pm (alternate Fridays)
Spring at last? Over the weekend, 18th/19th March, the first daffodils opened on Long Lane. Better late than never, the display may just be under way during the Springtime judging for Yorkshire in Bloom.
The unusual feature of this month has been that there have been two archaeological excavations running concurrently in the parish. There has been a geophysical survey of Hall Tower Field, Barwick, which lasted for three days. In Scholes there has been a dig carried out in the garden of Scholes Lodge (see the photograph in January's news and the link from there to the pictures of the Lodge). and in the yards of the Lodge's farm. We await the analysis and reports from the two digs with interest. The Hall Tower survey was non-invasive as the field is part of the ancient monument.
In Scholes it was a different matter as the site is to be developed and the excavation, which was financed by the developers, was carried out before the evidence was destroyed by the development. While it is too early to give any detail of the dig, we know that it has revealed evidence of Roman period occupation, early medieval farming and the ground floor of a dwelling which pre-dates the Lodge. There are signs that the activity uncovered in the garden extends across into the field to the south of the garden towards the moat which lies to the southeast of the Lodge.
The weather of the last part of January and a the first part of February has been mostly mild and relatively dry. However there have been long periods when we have not seen the sun. In the last two days (17th and 18th) the sun has shone brightly and the heads of the daffodils, the rhubarb and other spring plants have started to show promise of spring.
On the 13th to the 16th of the month there has been a planning inquiry into the proposal to demolish two adjacent houses in Elmwood Lane, Barwick, and to build flats and houses on the land. It is widely believed that the outcome of the inquiry will influence the future of a number of similar development proposals in both Barwick and Scholes. This is one more report which the community awaits.
The Lodge and its associated farm buildings are in the process of being converted into a housing scheme. Like Barwick, Scholes is a target for developers. The threat of a new road being built between the village and Stanks has once again arisen. The built up city is growing even closer.
Following last month's item regarding developments in Barwick, it has been announced that a 2 day Public Inquiry is to be held on 14th February into the appeal by Cooper Lawrence (Homes) Ltd. following the City Council's rejection of their scheme for 6 dwelling houses and 14 flats in 2 three storey blocks in Elmwood Lane which would be achieved by the demolition of two properties.
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