A Keynsham councillor has urged the powers that be to try and find a way of funding a proper archaeological dig on the old Somerdale factory site. It’s where Bristol developers Taylor Wimpey want to build 700 new homes – along with a school, care home, new Fry’s Club and formal and informal recreational facilities.
The new owners of the old Fry’s/Cadbury factory will be formally applying for planning permission from B&NES next month.
They sponsored an archaeological assessment of the site which has revealed strong evidence for the Hams being the location for the Roman town of Trajectus – a fording place of the River Avon and a bridgehead to the larger settlement around the Roman Baths at Aquae Sulis – modern Bath.
Taylor Wimpey says the area of the remains will be protected under planned playing fields but Councillor Alan Hale – Conservative member for Keynsham South – says the site is too important to be left hidden.
‘Clearly exposing and protecting the “village” would be a massive cost but presumably my predecessors on the then Bath City Council – when faced with their find – decided that “The Baths” needed to be saved and displayed’, he said.
‘Potentially Keynsham could be almost as famous as Bath – if the find is in fact so vitally important. How its future might be funded is another matter. However there must be funding somewhere for such projects and whatever the cost it would be a significant investment in the future of the town.’
Cllr Hale said it was his view that – if at all possible – and with the support of the right people, nationally and internationally if possible – Trajectus should be given life again. The site might well have ‘ international heritage’ and could be ‘opened up for the benefit of the world and more locally for the benefit both culturally and fiscally of the town of Keynsham.’
‘Our town nameplate,’ he said, ‘boasts of being an historical market town. Well we have lost our market and the town itself was plundered in the 60’s by the plague of flat-glass frontage but here now we have the opportunity of bringing our past to life.’
Cllr Hale also though the idea of ‘a museum for the town would also be a wonderful idea. It could be part of the visitor’s centre for Trajectus.”