Worry flat block build threatens Roman burial mounds

One of the Six Hills Roman burial mounds on Six Hills Way in Stevenage

One of the Six Hills Roman burial mounds, which have Scheduled Monument status - Credit: Archant

Rare Roman burial mounds of national importance could be under threat if access plans to a construction site where 64 apartments will be built get the green light, say objectors.

The developer already has planning permission for an eight-storey building of 64 apartments on the car park next to Six Hills House on the corner of Six Hills Way and London Road in Stevenage.

For site access, approval is now being sought to divert the existing cycle path and create a turning circle at the front.

The close proximity of the Six Hills Roman barrows - six burial mounds first listed as a Scheduled Monument in 1923 - has led to objections.

Roman barrows are rare nationally, with less than 150 recorded examples, and Six Hills forms the largest surviving group of Roman burial mounds in England.

Scheduled Monument protection, which extends to surrounding soil, means any works which could damage, alter or destroy a Scheduled Monument must be given prior written consent by the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Map of Six Hills construction site access proposal

The plan is to divert the cycle route, which runs alongside the Six Hills Roman burial mounds, and create a turning circle for construction vehicles - Credit: Vascroft

Stevenage Borough Council, the planning authority, has received objections from people worried about heritage threat, pedestrian access safety, and that construction - six days a week for 75 weeks - could impact negatively on neighbours' lives.

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One objector said: "I strongly feel we need to protect the history of the town. This plan is far too close to the monument and I fear damage would be caused to this historic site."

Another said: "There will not be any safe access for pedestrians to get to Six Hills House, as it's going to be only vehicle access through entry barrier."

A Six Hills House resident said: "I have concerns about how the noise, heavy machinery and restricted access will impact the community."

Attempts were made to contact the developer's agent and contractor. The Construction Management Plan, which does not mention the burial mounds, says: "An archaeological investigation was carried out and the recommendation was the development is unlikely to impact upon archaeological deposits."

Addressing concerns on social media, John Gardner, the council's executive member for environment, said: "The historical importance of the Six Hills site is fully understood and supported by SBC."

Click here to comment on the application by June 2.