'Pompeii of the North' in County Durham put up for sale by church

Binchester Roman Town, at Bishop Auckland Binchester is "one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in Britain"

Related Stories

A Roman dig site in County Durham dubbed "the Pompeii of the North" has been put up for sale.

Binchester Roman Town, at Bishop Auckland, has been put on the market by the group managing the Church of England's property portfolio.

Auckland Castle Trust has submitted a £2m offer in a bid to prevent it "falling into the hands of developers".

A number of discoveries have been made at the site, including a bath house and an altar dedicated to a Roman goddess.

'Deep understanding'

One of 10 plots of land put up for sale by the Church Commissioners around Bishop Auckland, it has been separated into two lots.

The trust is bidding to buy both and said its offer is "being considered".

It is currently leased to Durham County Council and the trust fears developers could restrict public access to the site or limit archaeological digs.

Chairman Jonathan Ruffer said: "Binchester must be secured by someone who has a heart for Bishop Auckland and a deep understanding of the site's importance in a national and international context."

Trust chief executive David Ronn warned "the opportunity to bring the whole under one responsible owner and occupier and provide improved access and understanding of the site would be lost" if the sites are sold to different developers.

Dr David Petts, lecturer in archaeology at Durham University, has called Binchester "one of the best preserved Roman archaeological sites in Britain".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

BBC Tees

Weather

Middlesbrough

14 °C 5 °C

BBC Local Live

  1.  
    08:32: Councils facing more cuts Fergus Hewison BBC Newcastle political reporter

    Councils in the region are set to lose hundreds of millions of pounds from their budgets - as they continue to try and balance their books.

    Durham and Northumberland - and the five councils across Tyne and Wear - will collectively reduce spending by more than £400m by 2018. Jobs will be lost and many services will be hit.

    The news comes ahead of the annual Local Government Settlement - due later today - which details how much cash councils will get to spend from Westminster.

    Labour politicians say councils in the more deprived parts of the North East are being hit particularly hard.

     
  2.  
    08:17: Cloudy and mild Kay Crewdson Weather Presenter, BBC Look North

    Cloudy and mild, with outbreaks of rain throughout the day, locally persistent over the North Pennines. More sheltered eastern areas staying mainly dry throughout, with some brightness at times. Windy with gales in places, although winds easing after dark.

    Weather forecast

    Maximum temperature: 12C (54F). Check the local forecast near you.

     
  3.  
    08:07: Some delays on roads

    There's very slow traffic on the A1 southbound in Denton Burn, Newcastle, after the Hexham turn off because of an accident involving three vehicles earlier on. Congestion is back to Kenton Bar roundabout. There's queuing traffic on the A690 Neville's Cross Bank in Neville's Cross, Durham, near the Lowe's Barn Bank junction in the roadworks area.

    And on the A19 there is an accident involving three vehicles southbound at the A182 Hall Walks junction in Easington and one lane is closed

    More on BBC Travel News for Teesside and Tyne and Wear.

     
  4.  
    08:00: Good morning Lloyd Watson BBC News

    Welcome to BBC Local Live. I'll be bringing you news, sport, weather and travel updates from across the North East.

    If you'd like us to feature your comments or pictures, send them to us by email, tweet us @BBCNewsNE or join our Facebook page.

     

Features

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.