Campaigner finds further ‘evidence’ of Roman road

Local activist Stephen Jones (second from left) with residents protesting against plans for 465 houses, a supermarket and industrial units at Landgate
Local activist Stephen Jones (second from left) with residents protesting against plans for 465 houses, a supermarket and industrial units at Landgate

A CAMPAIGNER battling against a huge Wigan development says he has unearthed new evidence of the site’s Roman past.

Activist Stephen Jones is among the residents fighting to prevent 465 homes, a supermarket and industrial units on open land off Wigan Road in Bryn.

He says he has discovered maps and an old parish archive article which both clearly show there was a Roman road running straight through the site and provide more details about the major thoroughfare built around 2000 years ago.

Although the Landgate development, which has been proposed by Greenbank Partnerships, has been given outline planning approval by Wigan Council, Mr Jones says the latest evidence of the area’s rich history should prompt a re-think.

He said: “There’s a map from 1936 showing the Roman road going directly through the middle of the development. It’s named the Roman road on the map too.

“I’ve also found an old write-up in the Wigan Parish Archive which shows exactly where it goes. There’s quite a lot of information about the road on the internet as well.

“I think if this road is proved to exist the developers will have to go back to the drawing board and think it all through again.”

The campaign against the development is being led by residents’ group Bryn Against Development (Bad), whose supporters include Wigan Council opposition leader Coun Gary Wilkes.

Greenbank Partnerships specialises in restoring and redeveloping former mining sites across the borough, and the plans at Landgate call for hundreds of new homes as well as a supermarket big enough to need 450 car parking spaces.

Excavation work in the 1990s led to reports by the Greater Manchester Archaeological Service which found evidence of the Roman road, but Wigan Council previously said this was not detailed enough to be considered significant analysis.

However, the authority did say if the development got further approval more detailed work on the archaeology of the site would have to be carried out.

Mr Jones says the proposed construction work is causing a great deal of concern in Bryn.

He said: “Wigan Road has high pollution levels now without the further development, and obviously there’s the wildlife which will be destroyed. It’s one of our last green spaces in Bryn.”

Wigan Council declined to comment.