Dig fails to unearth signs of Roman road

An archaeological dig on the site of a controversial housing development has failed to find any evidence of a Roman road.

An archaeological dig has been taking place at Mary Webb Road, off Pulley Lane, Bayston Hill
An archaeological dig has been taking place at Mary Webb Road, off Pulley Lane, Bayston Hill

Bosses at Shropshire Homes, the developers behind the affordable housing scheme in Shrewsbury, called in an independent archaeologist to investigate the three-acre field near to Pulley Lane, Meole Brace.

Experts spent more than five weeks digging a number of test trenches in the field but, apart from finding a few shards of Roman pottery, they did not find any evidence of a road.

Opponents of the proposed development of 34 social houses in the field had hoped the dig would halt the development.

In a report to Shropshire Council, the archaeologist reported that, although the site is registered on the county's Historic Environment Record as a site of potential interest, "the Roman road has not been found".

The report said: "A trench dug in the extreme south west corner of the site found a hard surface with Roman pottery. It is the only location in the entire field to have yielded any significant features or type of artefacts.

"All the other trenches indicated prolonged and intensive ridge and furrow cultivation.

"Meole Brace was a medieval village with church and castle. It is likely that the study area was simply part of the village's south field."

More than 200 people signed a petition against plans for the housing development, over 70 objections have been made on the official online planning application and dozens of letters of concern have been received at Shropshire Council.

Shrewsbury Town Council officials have also registered objections, saying they have "grave concerns" about the safety of residents leaving the development site.

One resident, who did not want to be named, said: "This needs further investigation. This all seems amateurish. If items were found, it needs to be looked in to further." No-one was available from Shropshire Homes for comment.

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