Time for Action!

The following is an appeal from Collingham and District Local History Society [CDLHS] in support of the preservation of the Roman villa site and remains which lie just across the A46, opposite the Station/Potter Hill Road junction at Villa Farm, Folly Lane, Norton Disney. Lincoln Proteins has resubmitted an application to build a large industrial-scale animal waste by-products facility in the midst of this historical environment. We ask you to submit an objection to the resubmission to Lincolnshire County Council by 23rd April 2021.

What are we talking about?

You may already know something of the Roman villa site on Folly Lane and the recent discoveries which reveal that this was an active industrial area in the Iron Age. Along with the Norton Disney History and Archaeology Group [NDHAG] and their lead Richard Parker (who has done most of the work on this) CDLHS will be objecting to the loss of the unique heritage aspects of this site and we encourage you to do the sam

The more objections received the greater the likelihood of stopping this unfortunate development.

For more information on the application go to http://lincolnshire.planning-register.co.uk/
and enter PL/0012/21 in the ‘Application Number’ box. On the page that opens click on the blue PL/0012/21 which will open the page from which you can view the current
documents. If you go through the same process but enter PL/0036/18 you will see the previous application and objections. However, Lincoln Proteins would not have re-applied with so few changes unless they were confident of success. So, your pen and your words matter!

The villa site and its surrounds.

The villa site was discovered and excavated in the 1930s, the cost of which was borne largely by local subscription and support from Nottinghamshire’s Thoroton Society, The Duke of Portland and Newark Corporation. A number of the finds are in the care of the National Civil War Centre and the Newark Museum.

The villa stood in a prominent position above the Fosse Way looking towards the Roman towns of Brough and Newark with views across the Trent and Witham valleys. This prominent positioning is viewed as a sign of status. It is thought that the villa was the centre of an agricultural estate. The name Potter Hill comes from the large amount of pottery waste found thereabouts. This is probably the result of local production of low-grade pottery that was used for storage and to carry manure to be spread on the land. Placing a ruler on a map along North Scaffold Lane shows an almost perfect alignment between the villa, the lane, and the river crossing at Cromwell Lock. Therefore, the villa was placed in a dominant position in relation to this crossing point as well as the Fosse, both of which probably had pre-Roman origins.

Iron Age finds and the orientation of the villa led to suggestions that it belonged to a Romanised Celtic Briton and was built on an established site. Recent work by Richard Parker and NDHAG has revealed that a large area around this site was used for pre-Roman iron smelting which supports this theory. Furthermore, despite limited access, surveys suggest that there are further remains to be found in the area.

One result of Richard Parker’s work has been that designation by Historic England has been extended from just the excavated area to the whole of the field in which the villa was found. However, a comprehensive survey of the wider landscape has not yet been possible. The villa is situated between Hill Holt Wood and the proposed industrial site.

The Proposal

The proposal involves building on some 11.4 hectares (28 acres) for this industrial site, which will operate on a 24 hour basis and include a 10m x 30 m x 10m high building with chimney, two boiler houses, two 20m x 15m filtration beds each with an 8m high domed roof. There will also be a water treatment plant, two employee welfare buildings, stores and administration buildings, plus two large water lagoons with controlled discharge into local water courses and a clean water lagoon. There will also be temporary parking and a petrol station for 40 lorries to facilitate continuous 24-hour operation. At least 75 lorry arrivals and 75 departures per day were envisaged in the 2020 application. The plant will be floodlit

Some of the grounds for objection

You may wish to object as a group, such as a household, but individual applications carry more weight. Do not just copy the objections of others word for word but write your objections in your own words and present them in your own way. You may object on grounds of odour, traffic flows, visual amenity etc, but these objections will carry little weight as they will apply wherever the plant is built. We need to object on grounds which highlight that this location is unique.

Historical and archaeological context is important and should be emphasised in your objection. The proposed development will significantly destroy the context of the villa, for example, its position over the route to Lincoln from Newark and the Trent, and also its dominance over the Iron Age tribal and Roman villa lands.

The villa is an integral part of an Iron Age and a subsequent Roman landscape that we are only just beginning to discover and unravel. This includes Iron Age finds within the proposed site and in the area immediately surrounding the villa site, also the Iron Age Hill Fort at Brills Farm, examples of which are rare in Lincolnshire. The proposed development will also stand between the villa and Brough (Crococalana) which exhibits significant and continuous Iron Age, Roman, and Saxon occupation and activity.

The presence of Iron Age remains such as at Gallows Nook Common and Brills Farm were well known. It is believed that the villa site dates back to The Iron Age, but recent work has shown that there is much more to be seen and to be found here. Consequently English Heritage has extended its designation of the area to include the whole of the field surrounding the villa. Also, a possible Iron Age settlement has been found that would be destroyed should the application be approved. Who knows what more would be destroyed by this development, which is only 10 metres away from the designated Scheduled Monument. The development lies in a direct line between the villa and the Roman road of North Scaffold Lane and the Cromwell crossing on the Trent.

This greenfield site is unique in the region, whereas local brownfield sites that could potentially accommodate this facility exist that were not listed in the 2020 application as having been considered.

The proposed development would significantly undermine and detract from the iconic, Bomber Gateway Sculpture which has attracted interest and financial support locally and regionally. When completed this sculpture will be larger than the The Angel of the North and in the present landscape will prove to be (or not if this development goes ahead) a significant tourist and image asset to the City and County of Lincolnshire. The floodlit proposed development will significantly detract from this and will prevent any potential development of this landscape as a heritage and tourist asset spanning the Iron Age to the Second World War.

Objections are also being submitted on nature conservation grounds.

How to object

Write to or email Marc Willis. Planning Services. Lincolnshire County Council. Lancaster House. 36 Orchard Street. Lincoln. LN1 1XX.
Email marc.willis@lincolnshire.gov.uk
Website http://lincolnshire.planning-register.co.uk/

Quote reference PL/0012/21 & Villa Farm, Folly Lane. Norton Disney.

Do not forget to include your name and address on all objections.

The more individual objections based on the unique character of this locality the better. The deadline is 23rd April 2021.

Tell the County Council what you think!

For Further Information
CDLHS Facebook Channel https://www.facebook.com/CottinghamLocalHistorySociety

There are two articles on the Villa in Irregular 5 (November 2020). The Irregular is the journal of CDLHS and is on sale at Society events and at Gascoignes (the Post Office) in Collingham or from the Society for £5

Visit the following web pages
www. historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1005018

www. eleanorscottarchaeology.com/els-archaeologyblog/2018/1/20/the-intriguing-roman-villa-at-norton-disney-aconundrum-under-a-threat

Contact CDLHS or Richard Parker of NDHAG through the contact page on our website.

Write to CDLHS at Collingham Archives. 11, Swinderby Road. Collingham. Newark. NG23 7PH

2 thoughts on “Time for Action!

  1. Robert Smith

    I assume this comment will be received by Collingham and District Local History Society. I’ve just heard of this proposed development through the NLHA facebook page. As a committee member of the Southwell Local History Society, a trustee of the Southwell Heritage Trust, and a member of the Southwell Community Archeology Group (SCAG), I am asking these local bodies for their views as to whether we should offer some form of group support for the objections to the Lincoln Proteins plan. We have a villa in Southwell and, personally, I consider that findings at Collingham may well have a bearing on the history of our villa. For instance, I have been considering the theory that ours, like yours, may have been occupied by a Romanised Celtic Coritani (aka Corieltauvi) ruler. We also have a nearby vexillation fortress at Osmanthorpe and iron works that may well form part of a common scenario.

    1. John Parker Post author

      Hello Robert, I’ve passed your message on to Jeremy Lodge at Collingham, I’m sure that he will reply directly to you in due course.

      Thank you for your support


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