Evidence of Roman villa unearthed in north Norfolk during preparations to build a major offshore wind farm
18:47 24 April 2014
Evidence of a Roman villa has been unearthed at farmland near Fakenham and Wells, potentially shedding new light on our understanding of the period.
It is hoped the discovery, just outside Field Dalling, could increase knowledge of the development of the area.
The find was made during archeological surveys carried out as part of preparations to dig a trench, 29 miles long and 40m wide, to enable cables to be installed from Weybourne to a sub-station in Necton, near Swaffham, to serve the £1.5bn Dudgeon Offshore Wind Farm.
A spokesman for Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd said: “The initial archaeological surveys have shown up a ‘villa-like anomaly’ on land along the consented onshore cable route close to Field Dalling.
“Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd believes it is important to carry out further investigations surrounding this anomaly, the results of which will hopefully contribute to the cultural heritage and understanding of the area.
“The Dudgeon team is working closely with the county archaeologist and these investigations, and those that will be undertaken along the rest of the cable corridor, should be completed in the summer of 2014.
“Localised mitigation measures relating to the construction of the onshore cable can then be further considered.”
The discovery has prompted Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd to apply to North Norfolk District Council for planning permission to slightly alter its cable route, from the southern to the northern side of a hedgerow.
The company, which is owned by the two Norwegian energy firms Statoil and Statkraft, has also applied to make a series of other amendments to its plans, following environmental surveys and discussion with landowners.
These include the relocation of a construction compound, approximately half a mile southwards to land to the east of Great Ryburgh; to move the landfall transition pit at Weybourne, where cables are brought ashore and link to the land, 250 metres to the east and a minor amendment to the cable corridor alignment between Croxton and Fulmodeston to avoid the removal of hedgerow.
Meanwhile, The Times reported last October how Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd had made a request to the government for special powers to allow it to dig up private land, near Fakenham, and install cables - against three landowners’ wishes.
The company said at the time it had come to agreement with the majority of the 44 landowners on the cable route and the move for a Compulsory Purchase Order was being made as a last resort after a year of negotiations.
It claimed the public benefits that would arise from its work would outweigh the landowners’ private loss, but one of the landowners hit back saying there would be no justice in allowing a multi-billion pound company to override his right to privacy.
Dudgeon Offshore Wind Ltd now say agreement has been reached with all but one landowner and it is pursuing a Compulsory Purchase Order against that person.
The wind farm, which could have up to 168 turbines, is to be built off the north Norfolk coast and has been granted planning permission.
There are plans to generate first power to the National Grid in 2017.