Thursday, 2 June 2011

Save Roman Southwell - Hundreds sign up to save remains

More than 1,500 people have signed a petition calling for Roman remains to be protected.

The petition has been organised by the Save Roman Southwell group who are campaigning to stop development of the former Church Street site of the Minster School.

Buried under the site are the remains of what is believed to be one of the largest Roman villas in the East Midlands.

They fear the remains could be lost forever if permission is granted by Newark and Sherwood District Council to build 29 homes on the site.

Campaigners have been collecting signatures in Southwell on Saturday mornings and are also encouraging residents to write letters of opposition to the council.

The campaign has the backing of the town’s MP, Mr Patrick Mercer, and Southwell’s county, district and town councillors.

A campaign spokesman said: “We have been greatly encouraged by the level of interest and enthusiasm people have shown for the idea of preserving Southwell’s nationally important heritage.

“The emergence of an Anglo-Saxon church and the later Norman minster from a high status Roman villa complex presents a unique tourism, heritage and educational opportunity that must not be lost.

“We shall be continuing our efforts to get more people, both in the town and from elsewhere, to support us.

“This is not just about Southwell, it is about an important and unique part of Nottinghamshire’s heritage.”

The campaign group is trying to convince the district council and its advisers at English Heritage and Nottinghamshire County Council that the whole site is of national significance in the context of the villa and minster, and for the application to be rejected.

It hopes the site could eventually be brought under public ownership and a Roman Heritage Park created.

The campaign was set up by Southwell Heritage Trust, Southwell Archaeology Group, Southwell Civic Society and Southwell Local History Society.

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