A PREVIOUSLY undiscovered Roman camp has been identified on a site subject to a planning application to build 500 new homes and a new school.

Investigations carried out by the applicant CEG have established the Burley-in-Wharfedale green belt site was previously home to a Roman temporary camp. The camp is 4km to the east of the Roman fort at Ilkley and it could be associated with the early campaign of Cerealis against the Brigantes tribe during the first century AD. Such camps are considered to be nationally important heritage assets.

A document prepared as part of the planning application says: "This is an important and exciting discovery, particularly at a regional and local level. Its location within the hinterland of the Roman fort at Ilkley and its possible relationship to the fort, increases it significance and interest."

The find has led CEG to adapt its plans to find a way to incorporate the Roman camp as a central feature of its development and celebrate its existence. It has prepared a Heritage Design Brief document to set out how the camp can be preserved during construction, as well as enable public access and provide an education resource available to both the local community and the school.

Steve McBurney, head of planning at CEG, said: "Our extensive survey work identified remains of a temporary Roman camp on site and through our liaison with Historic England it is considered that the perimeter of the camp is of greatest interest and provides a fantastic opportunity to reveal this as an accessible feature, contributing to the placemaking of the development and acting as an education and historic feature within the proposal, providing considerable public benefit. The planning application is supported by a detailed framework, prepared in consultation with Historic England, setting out the detailed parameters for the design and management of this part of the site."

A Bradford Council spokesperson said: “We have been made aware that Roman remains have been found on the planning application site for 500 houses and a school at Burley. The applicants have submitted a document detailing their findings as part of their application submission. We have consulted with Historic England for their specialist comments on the application details.”

Chairman of Burley Parish Council, Councillor John Grimshaw said: "Burley Parish are very pleased to have our 2000 year old community enhanced by the confirmation of a Roman Camp in the village.

"When considering the planning application the Parish Council have requested that the camp is maintained and promoted as part of any development that may take place on the site.

"The protection of the camp is of great importance to Burley."

Ward councillor Jackie Whiteley (Con, Wharfedale) said: "I hope that a proper investigation will be conducted to ascertain the extent of the settlement and that the appropriate authority investigates its significance before any planning permission is granted."