ARCHAEOLOGY experts fear hundreds of historic relics in Wirral are being lost under new development.

They say not enough is being done to check for relics and unless more funding can be found, important heritage sites will be destroyed.

Landscape archaeologist Jenny Whalley, who chaired Merseyside's Archeological field group for more than 20 years, claims more needs to be done to save Wirral's heritage.

She said: "A string of new developments is going up yet no-one is properly taking account of the history that is being destroyed.

"There is some help from Liverpool Museum but nothing Wirral specific and I think we need that.

"Planners do not seem to know what we have got here in terms of heritage and there is no co-ordinated effort to save it.

"We need to have a site and monument record for Wirral at the very least.

" Last month I was involved in an emergency excavation in Irby village before a new housing unit was put up on a site with an 18th century barn. We only had half a day and discovered ruins of a much earlier building. These are important sites and they are not being preserved.

"Very often you have concerned residents contacting volunteer archaeology groups, who are being run off their feet trying to check things out."

Ms Whalley says valuable archaeology had been overlooked in schemes such as the Saughall Massie by-pass and the proposed roundabout at Thurstaston.

She said: "The heritage is being forgotten as ancient roads and stone are built over or destroyed.

"We have also found ancient carvings at Bidston that are being rubbed away, and we can't get these protected."

Historian Dorothy O'Hanlon, who now teaches young archaeologists, said there was no doubt the council should be monitoring sites of historical importance.

She said: "There are a number of important areas which need to be looked at and I don't think it is happening enough."

A spokesperson for Wirral Council said: "We fully recognise

the importance of Wirral's heritage and this is reflected in both the council's cultural strategy, and its new tourism strategy.

"The council has recently led the formation of a new advisory group, the Friends of Wirral History and Heritage, with representatives of most historical societies and trusts in the borough.

"By working together, we hope to develop improvements to the way we preserve and interpret our heritage for local people, our

visitors and our schools. We are also aware of the importance of our hidden history. We have kept local archaeology groups informed about Saughall Massie road improvement scheme among others, and have given them the opportunity to follow our work through on site inspections.

"The Merseyside sites and monuments record officer has been kept informed. We will be happy to work with archaeologists on the proposed scheme for Thurstaston crossroads."