Digging for victory

PUBLISHED: 11:45 12 May 2006 | UPDATED: 21:52 28 May 2010

MARCH businessman Peter Skoulding was celebrating this week after being told archaeologists have been stopped from digging up the site of a block of fire-ravaged shops. It means the contract to build four flats and three new shops in the High Street, incl

MARCH businessman Peter Skoulding was celebrating this week after being told archaeologists have been stopped from digging up the site of a block of fire-ravaged shops.

It means the contract to build four flats and three new shops in the High Street, including Stott's fish and chip shop, could be awarded in a matter of weeks.

"We are really pleased to see a conclusion of this wretched business over archaeological interest," said Mr Skoulding.

"And it will be particularly pleasing for Mr Stott and his many loyal customers who can't wait for their shop to re-open."

His company, Snowmountain Investments, has fought to get archaeological research removed after pointing out many new buildings have been allowed nearby with this condition.

Geoff Taylor, a consultant to Snowmountain, told Nigel Brown, Fenland District Council's development manager, that "if there is an archaeological interest it is well below our proposed site area floor".

He said: "We also note that no archaeology was required in the adjacent work 40 metres to the east of the site, Jehovah's Witnesses, or 170 metres to the south, 75 flats for Abbeygate homes on a former mill site."

Not only that, said Mr Taylor, there were no archaeology conditions 350 metres to the west of the site, housing on the former Billet steam and windmill site.

"We suggest that this is indicative of a low incidence area and justifies our request for no further action in connection with this condition."

On Monday, Mr Skoulding got the news he was waiting for, that Kasia Gdaniec, of the county archaeological department, is now "happy to overturn our request for site archaeological works in this particular instance".

She said that she had checked their database and confirmed the area "lies in a quieter area of the known archaeological information".

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