CPRE Wiltshire regrets to announce the death of George McDonic MBE, BL, DIPLTP, FRTPI, DPA, FFB 1927- 2021. George was Chairman of CPRE Wiltshire from 1994 to 2015 and was then our Vice-President until his death on 15th February 2021.
As a young planning officer in Yorkshire, always an avid read of newspapers, George read letters to The Times written by CPRE’s Founding Fathers in the years after the First World War, notably by Sir Patrick Abercrombie, and had sympathy their aims to stop ribbon development, create green belts and national parks and plan garden cities.
When he came to Wiltshire, the first job that landed on his table was helping with CPRE’s Best Kept Village Competition. This together with his planning work helped him to acquire an in-depth knowledge of the County.
His studies resulted him in becoming a Chartered Town Planner and a Planning Barrister. He joined the Royal Town Planning Institute in 1945, eventually becoming a Fellow and was elected President in 1968/7.
Meanwhile in Wiltshire, he rose to become County Planning Officer and Director of Environmental Services, a post which he held from 1967-87. During that time he was responsible for the creation of over 100 County Conservation Areas, was a member of the working party for Stonehenge at the Department of Environment in the 1970s and a Member of the English Heritage Working Group on Stonehenge which reported in 1985. He [maintained an interest in the preservation of Historic Buildings and] was Chairman of the Historic Buildings Trust for 29 years, continuing into retirement.
In 1987, George was able to join CPRE and was warmly welcomed. He joined the Branch Executive Committee and in 1994 became our Chairman until 2015. He also chaired the Stonehenge Alliance from 2006-21.
Always on time, capable of doing incredible journeys to keep appointments, interested in the who as well as the what, adamant about the need to visit a site before commenting on a planning application, George was capable of a mountain of work and was able to draw on a vast store of knowledge in a most unassuming way. He so well deserved his MBE and all the other accolades. We hold a very dear and grateful memory of him.