Monument status plea in move to protect Throckmorton - The Evesham Observer

Monument status plea in move to protect Throckmorton

Rob George 24th Mar, 2023   0

HEARTFELT pleas to formally request Throckmorton’s historic airfield be scheduled as a monument have been made after campaigners claimed repeated calls to exclude it from a planning blueprint were ‘ignored’.

The site near Pershore once again features in the revised South Worcestershire Development Plan (SWDP) with 2,000 homes planned in the next 20 years and a further 3,000 possible after 2041.

Parish councils around the airfield have formally requested monument status which would grant permanent protection and ensure it is preserved for research and for future generations.

Multiple excavations of the site have confirmed its historic importance, even being featured on the Channel 4 show ‘Time Team’ some 20 years ago.

In 2003, former county councillor Liz Tucker and former MP Sir Peter Luff called for the site to be protected and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport categorised the Iron Age and Roman archaeology as of national importance, with the airfield itself being considered of regional importance.

Both calls were met with an acknowledgement the site would be ‘high priority’ for protection should it be threatened by development.

Chair of Bishampton and Throckmorton parish council Graham Boocock said: “We have engaged with the SWDP process over the past four years and the importance of the archaeology on the site has repeatedly been disregarded.

“Current use of the site for storage and light industry does not harm the archaeology, but major development would destroy a nationally important site.”

County councillor and trained archaeologist Dan Boatright, said: “I completely understand why planners have prioritised brown field sites for development, but the current use of Throckmorton preserves thousands of years of history.

“One of the officers at Wychavon recently called the site ‘The most archaeologically sensitive area within this part of the county’ and I wholly agree with him.

In response, Vic Allison, chief executive of Wychavon District Council, said: “The SWDP already acknowledges the important archaeological richness of Throckmorton Airfield and the protection afforded to heritage assets.

“Wychavon’s archaeologist has worked with planning policy officers to further our understanding of the archaeology within the site and should the land be confirmed as suitable for development, archaeological evaluation and mitigation measures will be needed before development starts.

“This will either involve preserving anything of archaeological importance in-situ or preserving by record for future reference. It is a matter for Historic England whether the site is scheduled.

“The SWDP will go for independent examination later this year and it will be for a Planning Inspector to decide if the proposed allocations in the plan are suitable.

“I urge people to engage with that process.”

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