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Homes Refused on Prehistoric Site

The site of archaeological remains which are thought to date back thousands of years has been saved from development. An area occupied by a Scheduled Ancient Monument was at risk of being turned into a small housing estate on the edge of Highbridge and West Huntspill in Somerset.

Land owners Alexander Holderness and Joan Dowling applied to Sedgemoor District Council for planning permission to build about 30 homes on land between Alstone Road and Alstone Lane. But members of the authority's development control committee decided to preserve the site.

About 80 residents wrote to the authority saying they were against the proposal.

West Huntspill Parish Council also registered an objection as did Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society.

Among the objectors was Alistair Murray. He said: "I live on the boundary of the site and have been doing archaeological digs in my back garden for years.

"The area has been found to have been in occupation from the late Neolithic, through the bronze and iron ages, medieval times up to the present day. It's an important site, there's no doubt about it.

"There are other problems, like difficulties with the road access and the land is prone to flooding."

But Mr Holderness told the Mercury: "We plan to appeal against the decision. We have been working with English Heritage and the Environment Agency and paid for a geophysical survey.

"We have also had specifications drawn up for archaeological digs which we would have paid for had we been given outline planning permission. It would have cost us up to £20,000.

"We have touched nothing so far and done everything by the book. But people in the village are jumping to conclusions and formed an action committee.

"Eventually we will get permission to build houses on at least part of the land."

Source: > Weston & Somerset Mercury 15/12/2003
Kozmik_Ken Posted by Kozmik_Ken
17th December 2003ce
Edited 17th December 2003ce

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