Friday, 4 November 2011

Save Roman Southwell - Heritage park plan proposed

A rival planning application has been submitted for a site in Southwell that contains Roman remains believed to be of national importance.

Mr Trevor Wight, of Southwell Heritage Trust (centre) and Mr John Lock, of Southwell Community Archaeology Group (right) presents the petition to district councillor, Mr Peter Harris. (011111JT1-10)

Southwell Heritage Trust has submitted an application to create a heritage park on the former Church Street site of the Minster School to Newark and Sherwood District Council.

The district council’s planning committee is due to discuss an application for 29 homes on the site, submitted by the landowner Caunton Properties Limited, on Tuesday. It is recommended for approval.

Mr Roger Dobson, chairman of Southwell Town Council and a member of the heritage trust, said the group strongly felt that the heritage park plans were the best way forward for the site.

The plans would see the area left as an open space with interpretation boards giving the history of the site and what it would have looked like.

Mr Dobson said: “It would mean that the site would be open with no housing on it, so there would be an opportunity in the future for further investigation and further excavation.

“Through successive excavations, the story of the origins of Southwell has slowly come to be revealed.

“With only about 10% of the site having being excavated it is reasonable to believe that further excavations could be expected to fill in some of the gaps in Southwell’s early history.

“Clearly there would also be some tourism potential because the site would be open for people to visit and it could also be used as an educational resource.

“We want to show that it is a nationally important site.”

Although the heritage trust does not own the Church Street site, they are legally able to submit a planning application for the land.

The trust has been actively opposing the application for homes.

On Tuesday a petition against the housing development, containing 3,000 signatures, was presented to the district council.

Mr Dobson said: “We feel very strongly that there is no need for housing on that site because we have got sites in the town that could be developed so there is absolutely no need for houses there.

“Also, there should not be any housing at all in that location because it is an outstanding area of heritage.

“It should be retained as a heritage park for the best interests of the town.”

An exhibition featuring the history and some of the archaeological finds unearthed on Church Street began in Southwell Minster yesterday.

The exhibition will include Roman plaster recently rediscovered in the minster.


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