Newport History Society’s response to the RPS Heritage Assessment

This is Newport History Society’s response to the RPS covering letter of 20th January and the ‘Heritage Assessment’ for which the Save Newport Campaign is very grateful. Another example of what a community can do when it pulls together!

Planning Application: TWC/2011/9016

Newport History society’s response to the letter of  20th January 2012

and the RPS “Heritage Report” from RPS



Firstly, we wish to confirm the History Society’s credentials in this matter: in respect of the town’s ‘heritage assets’, we are  the  only history resource of the  town and we are the principle contributors to the town’s new Heritage Centre of Newport –  opening Easter 2012.


We have valid questions and comments in respect of the letter of 20th January and the Heritage Assessment which we belatedly found on the eplanning site. Unfortunately, we had not discovered this when we wrote our original response. Hidden with all the neighbour comments. We hadn’t expected it to be hHad the History Society been involved in the consultation by Telford & Wrekin, we should have engaged with the debate at an earlier time and responded to the RPS Heritage Assessment earlier.


We do not know if there has been any sort of report from Shropshire County Council in respect of the archaeology of the area and would be grateful if you could find out for us, as we have been unable to discover anything on the

e-planning site?


We will refute some of the statements in the letter and the heritage report and will ask what we consider to be valid questions of Telford & Wrekin  planning department, because we feel that  the somewhat derogatory statements threatens the already fragile ‘heritage assets’ of Newport.


Our stance is that an archaeological watching brief is going to be a last resort, and that we wish to see the Black Butts field and its ridge and furrow remain for Newport people and tourists to view with its pond and footpath..



The heritage assessment and the letter response has been written by a staff member of RPS – the people planning the supermarket. We feel that this may be a biased report.  In addition, the assessment has been ‘signed off’  by P Hardwick –  a hydrologist. Is he able to judge the veracity of the report? We are aware that Mr Slatcher is an archaeologist though.



The Heritage Assessment claims it to be a “desk based” report. However, later in the report the author claims to have done a study of the site. Which is correct?   Was a proper study of the fields done? As you will see in our report , it seems that, if Mr Slatcher did visit, but it looks as though it was a cursory one.




The ‘visit’ report says:

The field bounded to its east by station road and to the north by the line of the former railway was under short grass and was being used for grazing horses. A pond in this field is first shown on the OS edition of 1881. A series of low earthworks represent track ways to and from the pond and can be seen on Google Earth No coherent earthworks representing archaeology were observed in this field.


However, the evidence is on the ground. See image below:




This is not ‘trackways’, it is ridge and furrow.


Here is the Google Earth Picture, showing the same.