Tuesday, January 24, 2012

House-building threat to historic site

Proposals to build 800 houses on greenbelt between Whickham, Dunston and Lobley Hill in Gateshead could destroy important historic sites as well as the countryside, claims a local historian.

Dr Jonathan Wallace, who is also a Liberal Democrat Councillor in Gateshead, said the site being considered for the new housing is next to the Washingwell Roman fort which was discovered in 1970.

The only evidence for the existence of the fort so far discovered is crop marks and one small piece of pottery.

“Although the site of the Roman fort is not included in the area proposed for house-building, it is very close to it,” said Dr Wallace. “Most Roman forts attracted civilian settlements and as yet, no contemporary village has been found.

“There is a strong possibility that a Roman settlement and the road connecting the fort to others along the former Roman frontier are on the site proposed for house-building. These would all be lost if the site proposed for housing is given the go-ahead.

“At a time when we should be developing our cultural and historical sites as locations to draw in visitors, and therefore boost our tourist economy, building at this location will send us in the opposite direction.”

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