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Controversial affordable homes site found to have 'high archeological potential'

PUBLISHED: 14:59 28 April 2019 | UPDATED: 14:59 28 April 2019

Villagers in Knapton have been campaigning against the 14 affordable homes. Picture: Knapton Parish Council

Villagers in Knapton have been campaigning against the 14 affordable homes. Picture: Knapton Parish Council

Archant

A study of land controversially earmarked for a new housing development in north Norfolk has found it lies in an area of "archeological and historical interest".

An overhead plan of the proposed development in Knapton. Image: Design and Access Statement by Richard Pike AssociatesAn overhead plan of the proposed development in Knapton. Image: Design and Access Statement by Richard Pike Associates

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) approved a plot of land off School Close, in Knapton, for 14 affordable homes last year.

But the site has been the subject of protests from villagers, who are angry about the build's location and the number of properties in the scheme.

And now a report has uncovered archeological features on site thought to be potentially significant, including “late Saxon to high medieval settlement”.

The report was produced by contractor Suffolk Archeology for developer Victory Housing Trust, and covered an initial dig of seven trenches in May and June 2018.

Villagers in Knapton have been campaigning against the 14 affordable homes. Picture: Peter KayeVillagers in Knapton have been campaigning against the 14 affordable homes. Picture: Peter Kaye

READ MORE: 'Thumbs down' from village residents to plans for 14 new homes

The report was produced by contractor Suffolk Archeology for developer Victory Housing Trust, and covered an initial dig of seven trenches in May and June 2018.

Millennium Field in Knapton. The field has been earmarked for 14 new homes. Picture: Stuart AndersonMillennium Field in Knapton. The field has been earmarked for 14 new homes. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The report, published on the NNDC planning portal earlier this month, said: “The site lies within an area of archeological and historical interest and has the potential to reveal evidence of a range of periods.

“Prehistoric activity includes flint scatters recovered during metal detectorist surveys and cropmarks identified from aerial photography.”

And the report's conclusion stated: “Archaeological remains across the eastern half of the site, within the area of trenches two to six define a truncated late Saxon and early medieval settlement phase with evidence of pits, postholes and ditches.”

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Peter Kaye, vice-chairman of Knapton parish council, and the village's planning liaison officer, said: “We definitely feel that we've been forced into this by the council and Victory Housing.

“We've always said we're willing to accept affordable housing but it's the escalation that went with it that we're not happy about.

“The village was prepared to accept eight houses but 14 we feel is too many.”

Mr Kaye added: “Half of Knapton is in an area of natural beauty and this site is 30m to 40m away on its eastern border.”

READ MORE: Norfolk council's site visit hijacked by protesters against affordable homes

A spokeswoman from Flagship Group, which owns Victory Housing, said: “The first dig informed the scoping report by Suffolk Archaeology, which was approved by Norfolk County Council and highlighted the areas of interest for the full, second dig.

“These works were undertaken by Archaeological Solutions, and were completed in mid-March.”

She added the full report of the second dig is being written up and will be published “in due course”.

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