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Archaeologists warn excavations needed in a field earmarked for 100 homes in Cross Road, Deal

Archaeologists are warning that an area earmarked for 100 new homes needs to be checked for artefacts before building begins.

The site at Cross Road, Deal, is near to a historic goldmine, owing to the discovery of an Iron Age warrior during excavations in the eighties.

Cross Road, Deal, and the skull of the Mill Hill Warrior
Cross Road, Deal, and the skull of the Mill Hill Warrior

Dover District Council's planning committee will discuss the application at its next meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

A submission by Kent County Council's archaeological department said: "The proposed development has the potential to affect presently unknown archaeological remains from a range of periods.

"It is therefore recommended that a condition is included in any forthcoming planning consent to secure the investigation and recording of the archaeology to be affected by the development."

The experts' consultation response to DDC explains that the Mill Hill Warrior was found buried with his sword, shield and crown during a pre-housebuilding dig close at what is now Walmer Way, sandwiched in between St Richard's Road and the mining homes at Lydia Road.

The Warrior was found in 1988 by Dover Archaeological Group (DAG) and his remains are now displayed at the British Museum.

The Warrior's head dress and skull after conservation. Picture copyright: Colin Varrall
The Warrior's head dress and skull after conservation. Picture copyright: Colin Varrall

The buried man, also known as the Deal Warrior, was thought to have been in his 30s and lived in the period 200 to 150 BC.

DAG carried out excavations in advance of the Walmer Way development, between 1984 and 1989.

It found that more than 500 individual archaeological features were identified including the warrior.

These dated from the Neolithic age, around 3000 BC to the post-Roman period of around 1400 AD.

The KCC Archaeology report said: "Discoveries at the Walmer Way site included a sixth century Anglo Saxon cemetery, an Iron Age cemetery, a Bronze Age ring ditch, Neolithic pits and a Romano-British field system."

The proposed housing site in relation to Walmer Way
The proposed housing site in relation to Walmer Way

The experts want the council to follow the guidance from an archaeological appraisal submitted with the planning application.

It asks for pre-building investigations including trial trenching.

The KCC team says: "The appraisal identifies that the proposed development site lies within a rich and dense archaeological landscape.

"It suggests that overall the site should be considered to have a moderate potential for previously unrecorded remains to be present."

The outline planning application is to build on a 27.4 hectares (6.8 acres) of farmland.

Display cabinet at the British Museum showing items of the warrior. Picture copyright: Colin Varrall
Display cabinet at the British Museum showing items of the warrior. Picture copyright: Colin Varrall

There would be 36 dwellings per hectare and 30% affordable housing is proposed.

But 100 objections have been submitted to the council by local people.

One said that Brexit may increase the need to grow more food domestically and so farmland should not be lost.

Others say the homes would be outside the present urban area.

Others complained about the effects from extra traffic, including more air pollution and more pressure to already congested junctions.

It borders Station Road, Walmer, where 223 new homes are under construction by Miller Homes.

The site earmarked for 100 new homes at Cross Road with Lydia Road in the background
The site earmarked for 100 new homes at Cross Road with Lydia Road in the background

They add that the area does not have enough parking and dustcarts and emergency vehicles already struggle to get through.

Concerns were also raised that there were already not enough school places.

DDC officers are recommending planning permission be granted, with archaeological works being one condition.

They said there would be a great benefit from the extra homes in the district, including the affordable ones.

They added that developer contribution costs in areas such as education and healthcare have largely been agreed in principle.

KCC's highways department also felt the scheme was acceptable and that the highway impact is not considered severe.

The land is owned by Richard Mackney Fuller of Church Hill, Sutton and the application has been put forward by planning agent Gladman. It was not earmarked for development in the Land Allocations Documrnt which informed Dover District Council's Local Plan for future housing in the next 30 years.

The planning committee meeting is on Thursday from 6pm at the DDC headquarters at the White Cliffs Business Park, Whitfield.

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