CONCERNS have been expressed that if plans to build 600 homes at a site in Droitwich go ahead, a priceless piece of history could be lost forever.

Land to the north and south of Union Lane, including the former Baxenden Chemicals site, have been earmarked in the South Worcestershire Development Plan Review for 600 homes.

However, there is a story known locally of a Roman mosaic floor supposedly under the floor of the old factory, which closed its doors in 2013.

According to the story, workmen discovered the mosaic while carrying out work to install new machinery at the facility, though it was covered up, supposedly because reporting the discovery would mean having to stop the work and take a hit to production.

Droitwich resident Dave Davidson said there was historical significance to the site and it should be protected.

He said: “I’d heard rumours about this before but thought I would find out as much as possible now that development is going to happen. My granny, Lilian Machin was involved in charity work and her diaries record that she used to visit at least one poor old lady who was living at “the Union”.

“That was the Union Workhouse formerly at this site in Union Lane. So, apart from the importance of protecting this important piece of local history, I have a personal interest in it.

“Is it a Victorian workhouse floor that my grandmother may have walked on, or from a medieval priory building, or part of an ancient Roman villa?”

Fred Davies, policy manager for Wychavon District Council, said they are aware of the claim, and that a detailed survey of the site would be undertaken. He said:

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“All sites received to the plan preparation stage, and then subsequently included in the 2019 South Worcestershire Development Plan Review Preferred Options, have been assessed by planning officers and specialists e.g. archaeologists, landscape officers and highway officers. Should any significant finds be discovered, consideration will be given to safeguarding them in situ.

“The presence of any archaeological remains would not normally prevent the site being redeveloped in terms of national planning policy.

“Furthermore the inclusion of this mixed-use allocation in the SWDPR will be considered by an independent inspector at a public examination in 2021. This will follow the final round of consultation on the draft SWDPR in the autumn of 2020.”