CAMPAIGNERS have expressed concerns that a significant historical site could become a beer garden.

Pub chain Marston's have applied for planning permission to build a two storey public house and accommodation on the site of the former Lookers garage, in Priory crescent.

The planning application details a path from the pub to the burial mound where Saxon King Saebert's remains were found in 2005.

Campaigners Mark Sharp, Patsy Link and Sheena Walker, from campaign group SKIPP, have written to the council. They said: "We would like assurance that the area will not become an extension to the public house’s beer garden, and the area will remain open to the general public.

"We do not in principle object to the concept of a public house on the proposed site."

The site at 160 Priory Crescent is located in an area which has already yielded significant archaeology, including human burials, dating from extended periods of history ranging from the Roman and Anglo-Saxon periods to the medieval period.

The group believes that there is a high potential for further significant archaeology finds on the site of the proposed development.

The SKIPP committee added: "We expect that as a condition of any planning permission granted, a comprehensive archaeological survey would be required coupled with a requirement to protect and or safely lift any archaeology discovered on the site."

The site was formerly the home of Camp Bling, where protestors set up home for four years in response to a road-widening scheme by council leader Roger Weaver in 2005.

The scheme, initially estimated to cost around £3m, was scrapped after costs soared to more than £27m. The head of planning at the time, Conservative councillor Anna Waite, called for a simple, modest burial site to be maintained in its place.

The planning application will be decided by the development control committee before the end of June.