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Saxon finds delay housing plan

PUBLISHED: 15:00 01 November 2010

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A DISPUTED plan to convert a village rectory and build two new homes in Hutton could be put on hold because of the possibility of an archaeological find.

Experts say a small Saxon farming estate existing in the village and any development at the Church Lane site could disturb locally-important historical evidence.

The report by field archaeologists recommends trial trenching should be done to unveil the extent of remains.

The verdict is set to mark a delay to unpopular plans to build on the site, approved by planners last month pending the archaeological report.

Dozens of objections came in from the village against the planning application, many over drainage and impact on traffic.

The report said: “There is documentary evidence that Hutton comprised a small late Saxon agricultural estate with a population of up to 70 people.

“Although settlement of that period is known to have been more loosely agglomerated than that of today, on the basis of the location of the site adjacent to the church and within close proximity of a later medieval manor, the potential for the survival of archaeological features of the medieval period is considered high.”

The Bath and Wells Diocese, which withdrew an earlier application for three new homes, says the church facility is no longer used and would be sold.

It states the rectory would be converted and two new homes be built, although a car park with six spaces would be created for church visitors.

The archaeological report, which used data from maps and existing archaeological research, said the village was likely to have been ruled from Worlebury Hillfort and used for salt production and animal grazing.

Following Roman invasion, a villa was built nearby in Locking and several farms producing pottery were run in Hutton.

In Saxon times, an agricultural estate was operated with about 60 people living within the village boundary.

North Somerset Council’s south area committee is set to make a decision following the report later this month.

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