Iron Age site is of ‘significance’

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A site where villagers are objecting to 74 homes being built has been declared a heritage asset of regional significance.

Proposals are in place to build 74 homes on land by Fenny Lane, Stoke Hammond, but Bucks County Council has now stated granting planning would be “likely to materially damage a heritage asset’s significance”.

County council archaeological officer, Eliza Alqassar, has told Aylesbury Vale District Council: “We appear to have a Roman-British ladder settlement almost identical to one discovered at Berryfields in Aylesbury.

“When considered in relation to the Roman road network in Buckinghamshire this site may well represent a route way linking Magiovinium (the Roman town at Milton Keynes) with the small Roman town at Fleet Marston to the south west.

“Buried archaeological remains on the site are extensive and consist mainly of ditches laid out in a ladder arrangement on a north-east – south-west alignment. Pottery recovered from the ditch fills was almost entirely late Iron Age and Roman (235 sherds) and suggest there was settlement activity on this site from the 1st-4th centuries AD.”

The officer has now recommended that the south-eastern area of the site is preserved in situ and that no development should take place until the applicant has agreed a scheme of archaeological investigation with the district council.

She added: “The archaeological investigation would take the form of full excavation and should be undertaken by a professionally qualified archaeologist.”

The LBO’s Stoke Hammond correspondent Hazel Turner said: “This is different news to what was expected by villagers on a site that has already had a check for anthrax in the soil following an outbreak among a dairy herd in the late 1960s.”

> Nigel Freeth has applied for outline planning permission for the site.