Ancient Roman road could be dug up to make way for warehouses in Preston

Remains of a 2,000-year-old Roman road could be sliced apart by a £65m Preston industrial estate if plans are approved.

By Brian Ellis
Tuesday, 19th July 2022, 4:55 am

The ancient highway, thought to link military settlements in Ribchester and Kirkham, runs across the 62-acre site between Ribbleton and Grimsargh where developers want to build 12 warehouses attracting up to 1,500 new jobs to the area.

An outline application for the scheme has now gone in to the city council. If approved it would see the expanding Roman Way estate creep to within 400 yards of houses in Grimsargh.

But the plans would almost certainly disrupt a section of the Roman road which lies beneath land at the northern end of the site.

How the site could look (Image: Fletcher Rae Architects)

And archaeologists from Lancashire County Council may be asked to oversee any work which is carried out to ensure any finds are fully investigated and treated with care.

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A report to the council's planning department says: "There is high potential for archaeological remains of Roman date to survive.

"This is based on the depiction of the line of a Roman road running through the site in an east-west direction and archaeological interventions undertaken within the immediate vicinity of the site which found the Roman road.

The land which hides a section of the Roman road.

"In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, the potential for Roman activity is deemed to be high on the site, and given the dearth of post-medieval occupation here, should earlier features or deposits survive, they may be well-preserved."

A heritage assessment of the land to the north of the existing Roman Way industrial estate says the site contains two possible features associated with a Roman road visible as a depression and a rectangular area indicating a possible platform of a building.

"All three heritage assets have the potential to be impacted by the proposed development," adds the report.

"Any future outline consent granted (by the council) is likely to include a condition requiring either a written scheme of investigation and/or a watching brief to be maintained on site."

A map of the Roman Way Industrial Estate showing the proposed extension in red.

Previous excavations near the development site have found remains of the road which were "well preserved."

Henry Boot Developments and the Barnfield Group say the proposed development would deliver around 800,000 sq ft of industrial and warehousing space.

The companies say the plans will "help to ease the significant shortage of suitable buildings within the region."