CONCERNS arose when retrospective permission was sought for an outbuilding close to the remains of Cheshire’s only known Roman villa.

The application arose at Eaton Cottage, Sapling Lane, Rushton, where Mrs R Smith requested approval for facilities to allow documents to be studied with protection from inclement weather.

Her application included what was described as a safer access for the public to view the villa, dating back to 220AD, and 2m high solid wooden gates.

The ‘significant’ remains are exposed, according to an architect’s report, and there are visits to view by arrangement by archeologists, students, schoolchildren and tourists.

The Cheshire brick and Welsh blue slate outbuilding and terrace would also create space and protection to allow discussions by school parties.

Parish councillors objected to the ‘inappropriate’ gates at the listed cottage.

They felt there should be a formal agreement to open the site to the public if the outbuilding was intended for visitors to the villa.

Archaeological specialists pointed out it was ‘impossible to know if any damaging excavation works have taken place’.

Five nearby occupiers supported the plans and one referred to the gates and the process for dealing with retrospective applications.

The monument is not protected and planners commented: “The situation highlights how vulnerable the site is.”

They accepted the outbuilding and gates did not affect the village conservation area.

The application was approved subject to safeguarding the archaeology of the site.