An appeal has been launched after a bid to prevent homes being built on a Romano-British settlement site in the North East proved unsuccessful.

Earlier this year, a local archaeologist applied to Historic England (HE) to make an order protecting the site, south of Marske, near Redcar.

Thousands of people signed a petition for the site to be scheduled, which could prevent developers Taylor Wimpey and Miller Homes building around 800 homes on the Long Flat site.

HE was asked to add the land to a list of nationally important archaeological sites which would mean consent would be required from the Secretary of State for any work carried out.(Image: LDR)

However the public body said the site “does not reach the high bar of national importance” and this was subsequently accepted by Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Lucy Frazer.

The development for 812 homes first received outline planning permission in 2017 after an appeal. So-called reserved matters were approved by the council last year.

Dr Kendra Quinn, a Redcar-based specialist in Roman archaeology, previously said the site was too valuable to be built on and could provide clues about life in Marske going back thousands of years. Along with St Germain’s ward councillor Tristan Learoyd, Dr Quinn is now seeking a review of the decision, which will be assessed by the Government department.

They claim there were errors in the report by Historic England and have appealed on the grounds of “bias, factual error and failure to judge appropriately against the criteria set in statute.”

Dr Quinn said: “It was disappointing to receive the Historic England reports and see so many discrepancies.

“An appeal can be made if significant errors are found in the reports and that’s exactly what I have done. The people of Marske deserve better than that.”

Cllr Learoyd also accused both Historic England and Redcar and Cleveland Council of a “dereliction of duty” in the planning process. In response to the comments, Historic England sent the Local Democracy Reporting Service a copy of its decision which said: “Scheduling is the protection of nationally important archaeological sites.

"It is applied only to sites of national importance and, even then, only if it is the best means of protection. After carefully assessing the Long Flat site, we advised that whilst we recognised that the settlement was of local and regional interest, it did not meet the high bar of national importance.(Image: LDR)

“The Secretary of State agreed with our advice.” The public body said the site “has the potential to inform about such sites regionally, but given its level of survival and single-period nature, its importance does not reach the high bar of national importance.”

A spokeswoman for Redcar and Cleveland Council said: “The Council appreciates the current position with regard to the application and the position of Historic England on the archaeology issue. The Council will consider matters and will respond accordingly depending upon the outcome of any appeal in the future.”