Thursday, 6 October 2011

Save Roman Southwell - Opposition to homes remains (Southwell)

A heritage group has reiterated its opposition to plans to build homes on a site that contains Roman remains.

Southwell Heritage Trust has written to Newark and Sherwood District Council to oppose the latest amended application to build 29 homes on the former Church Street site of the Minster School.

It claims the site is of archaeological significance and has tourism potential.

It contains Roman and Saxon remains, which experts believe could be of national importance.

The development has yet to be discussed by the district council but has been discussed by Southwell Town Council’s planning committee several times. The amendments were due to be discussed by its planning committee last night.

The town council is asked to give comments on the application each time it is amended before it goes to the district council.

In a letter to the district council, the heritage trust’s chairman, Mr Roger Dobson, said the group continued to have strong objections to the plans despite the latest amendment, which outlines a mitigation strategy to protect the archaeological remains.

He said: “We continue to maintain that this very important heritage site is totally unsuitable for housing development and therefore no acceptable archaeological mitigation strategy is possible in the circumstances.”

Mr Dobson said the group believed English Heritage and Nottinghamshire County Council played down the tourism and economic regeneration benefits for the district if the site was made into a heritage park.

He said: “Most experts agree that the site is situated in an area of outstanding national heritage and that vital links between Southwell Minster and the Roman villa would be lost if housing development was to take place.

“In recent years a unique Roman wall has been discovered and significant Anglo Saxon burials.

“As less than 10% of the site has been investigated it is reasonable to assume that more important discoveries could be made.”

The heritage group wants to see the site incorporated into an outstanding heritage area including nearby Southwell Minster, the archbishop’s palace and prebendal houses on Church Street.

They would like the site landscaped with interpretation boards explaining the location of the remains and their significance and possibly the creation of a visitor centre.

The group believes the site could become a tourist attraction.

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