Shropshire Council granted planning permission in April 2010 to build an authentic Roman villa urbana – a high status Roman town house, following an application from TV production company, Darlow Smithson Productions.
A statement on the Darlow Smithson Productions website says, “The design for ‘Villa Urbana’ was inspired by an actual building excavated at this important Roman site and was created by Professor Dai Morgan Evans, visiting professor in archaeology at the University of Chester. Detailed design work was carried out by renowned classical architects, Robert Adam Ltd. Only tools and building methods available to the Romans will be used during construction and it will shed new light on how these incredible feats of ancient engineering were achieved. The villa will be built using local materials and suppliers and the intention is to involve the local community and schools during the building process.
Once complete, ‘Villa Urbana’ will mark the 1600th anniversary of the Romans leaving Britain in 410AD and it will greatly enhance the tourist experience at the English Heritage site of Wroxeter. In particular, it will help bring history alive for the many school parties that visit the site each year.
To ensure that the underlying archaeology of the area is not disturbed, the villa will be built on top of a protective raft above the ground.
Tim Reeve, Director of Properties, English Heritage, says: “Wroxeter has a rich Roman history and English Heritage welcomes innovative approaches to bringing our cultural heritage and historic environment alive for as broad an audience as possible. Should the project be approved, the resulting villa will provide a creative educational resource allowing visiting school children and the wider community an opportunity to get up close and personal with how the Romans worked and lived.”
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