Trust bids to buy Roman fort from the Church

A Roman dig considered "the Pompeii of the North" is being sold in order to keep the site out of the hands of developers. Binchester Roman Town, in Bishop Auckland, England, owned by the Church of England, has drawn a UK£2m bid from the Auckland Castle Trust.

Trust chief executive David Ronn warned "the opportunity to bring the whole under one responsible owner and occupier and provide improved access and understanding of the site would be lost" if the sites are sold to different developers."

The bid was later turned down by Church officials who called the Trust's fear of development a "scare story," and say that the site will remain open to archaeologists and visitors. A spokesman for the Church said, "We are disappointed that such an excellent body as the Auckland Castle Trust do not recognise the statutory protections in operation for Binchester Roman Fort."