Planners apologise after skeleton dug up on Bridgwater building site
Top planners have apologised for failing to ensure archaeological work was carried out on a building site where human skeletons were later found.
History student Hannah West made an official complaint about the way a planning inspector had dealt with an appeal by a building firm, which wanted to build homes on the site of Bridgwater’s medieval friary.
Sedgemoor District Council had approved 11 homes and ordered that archaeological work must also take place. The developer wanted to build a total of 12 homes and appealed to the Planning Inspectorate. When a inspector approved 12 homes he made no mention of archaeological work so the original order was void.
Miss West, who believes the failure to protect the land may have been an oversight, complained to the Inspectorate and kept a close eye on the site. She was shocked to find a skeleton being unearthed by building workers as she walked past by chance one day. The building firm involved did its best to keep the county archaeologist informed, but Miss West fears the failure to ensure that an archaeologist was on site meant that archaeological evidence was lost.
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Now Laura Shand, of the Planning Inspectorate’s quality assurance unit, has written to say Miss West’s complaint is justified.
Bridgwater and District Civic Society of which she is a member said it is: “extremely concerned to find local heritage has been put at risk. An apology from the Planning Inspectorate does not undo the damage this oversight has caused.”