'Housing development would destroy Roman Maryport - claim
Last updated at 20:17, Thursday, 15 September 2011
The head of a group that runs Maryport’s Roman Museum this week came out strongly against either a road or a housing estate being built on Deer Farm at Netherhall.
Peter Greggains, chairman of the Senhouse Roman Museum Trust, told Maryport Town Council on Monday that any development of land at the bottom of Camp Farm would destroy valuable archaeology.
The trust’s stance is in direct opposition to Hadrian’s Wall Heritage Ltd, the Camp Farm land owner and developer of the Roman Maryport heritage centre scheme which is proposed nearby.
HWHL’s project director supported Story Construction at a town council meeting last year when company boss Fred Story, who is proposing a housing estate, offered to build a road from Roman Maryport to the A596 to encourage more people into the town.
But Mr Greggains said: “The field contains numerous traces of occupation in prehistoric and Roman times, including a Roman cemetery and native village.”
He said the proposed housing development would destroy an “integral part” of Roman Maryport.
It would damage the visual appeal of the approach to Maryport and threaten the safety of schoolchildren, he added.
He argued that this summer’s Senhouse Trust-commissioned excavations at Camp Farm were rewriting the history books.
Mr Greggains added: “We do not know what is going to be found in the ongoing excavations for which we are paying.
“But if we suddenly find the Roman story spreads further than we thought we are not going to be able to dig under a house.
“I am disappointed at HWHL. Any group with heritage in its name should be fighting tooth and nail to protect land with this archaeological potential.”
A spokeswoman confirmed this week that the heritage company had not objected to the housing development.
She said an archaeological survey had not revealed any major reason for not building there.
First published at 19:25, Thursday, 15 September 2011
Published by http://www.timesandstar.co.uk