Evening Echo
February 6, 2004

Time Team to visit - Fight begins over site's future

Will tomb make way for road?


DEVELOPERS and archaeologists could go head to head over a proposed excavation of lands around Priory Crescent.

A geophysical survey has already revealed an entire Anglo Saxon village beneath Priory Park, in Soutehnd, and experts believe it could yield further treasures.

Ian Blair, the Museum of London's senior archaeologist, said: "We know from radar evaluation that we are dealing with a site that was occupied from the prehistoric times onwards. There are iron age enclosures and evidence of other settlements to the west of the excavation site."

Archaeologists will be making recommendations for developer Atkins to include details of the finds in reports submitted to a planning inspector - who will have the final word on the proposed road expansion.

Mr Blair added: "Our recommendation could include an excavation of the whole site, or they could suggest the entire site remains in situ.

"A decision on the matter has yet to be made."

Andrea Bradley, senior heritage consultant for Atkins, said engineers may be able to form a compromise between the desires of developers and historians.

She said: "If the road goes ahead you can either mitigate the impact by doing some clever engineering or you can excavate the site fully and then proceed with the work.

"A decision on what we plan to do is being decided by our experts at the moment, so it is a case of watch this space for the time being."

Town clerk George Krawiec expected the discovery of the king's tomb to have little impact on the outcome of the planning enquiry, scheduled for early March.

He said: "We don't think it will change anything at all. The benefit is that the land they took from the road proposals is very small.

"What this has done is rekindled interest in the archaeological expansion in the whole of the Priory Park area."

Back to News Page
Back to Home Page