The government body is set to protect the Roman Circus located in Colchester, Essex. However, the old monument shares a site with the Royal Artillery Barracks, and a planning application has been submitted for a monument and two plaques.
The monument and plaques would recognize the barracks – later renamed “Le Cateau Barracks” – as one of the first in Colchester Garrison.
Historic England opposed the request, saying it would harm the ancient monument.
In his objection, he said: “In our view, the proposed erection of a memorial would adversely impact the setting of the intended monument and cause less than substantial harm to the significance of the monument.”
A later section said, “We are not convinced that the proposed development would provide sufficient public benefit to outweigh the harm we have identified to the planned monument, and we therefore oppose this planning application.”
The claimant, Sergeants Mess Ltd, replied that they were “surprised” by Historic England’s objection, saying they had provided no evidence or justification.
Additionally, they said the commemoration of the historic Royal Artillery Barracks would celebrate “a very important part of Colchester’s military history”.
Sergeants Mess said: “It is with some surprise that Historic England has submitted an objection to the location of the new memorial at Sergeants Mess and we will seek to address that objection in this short briefing note.”
The applicant added: ‘We submit that there is no demonstrable harm caused by these proposals to the significance of the ancient monument of the Roman Circus and ask the planning authority to approve both the construction of the monument the Le Cateau artillery barracks and the two commemorative blue plaques. .”
The Roman circus on the site is characterized as a “unique” archaeological monument in Britain, as it is the only place in the country where excavated and convincing evidence of a circus can be found.
According to Historic England, it is one of only six places in the northwestern provinces of the Roman Empire where circuses have been safely identified.
Colchester Circus is oriented east to west and is 448.2 meters long and between 71.1 and 74.2 meters wide, and it had a capacity of around 8,000 to 15,000.
The scale of the building was so grand that it is believed the emperor had to pay for its construction, according to Historic England.