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17 December 2003
Prehistoric site saved from development

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 (England).
     Land owners applied to Sedgemoor District Council for planning permission to build about 30 homes. 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: "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."
     But land owner Alexander Holderness replied: "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 touched nothing so far and done everything by the book. But people in the village are jumping to conclusions and formed an action committee."

Source: Weston & Somerset Mercury (15 December 2003)

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