Fears historic cave could be 'lost for ever'

PUBLISHED: 14:09 08 October 2008 | UPDATED: 15:53 11 May 2010

HISTORY LESSON: Youngsters are shown round Royston Cave, which councillors fear is in danger from heavy traffic.

HISTORY LESSON: Youngsters are shown round Royston Cave, which councillors fear is in danger from heavy traffic.

A HIGHWAYS authority has been branded as showing an appalling attitude towards protecting the unique Royston cave. Cllr Peter Burt said he was perturbed over the response from Herts Highways about damage being caused to the cave. Speaking at North Her

A HIGHWAYS authority has been branded as showing an "appalling attitude" towards protecting the unique Royston cave.

Cllr Peter Burt said he was "perturbed" over the response from Herts Highways about damage being caused to the cave.

Speaking at North Herts District Council's Royston area committee, Cllr Burt said it should be up to Herts Highways to show justification for not looking at the situation.

"When the highways authority says it needs justification to do any work to protect the cave, then it must be joking. It's an appalling attitude," said Cllr Burt.

Members were discussing measures to protect the cave in Melbourn Street which is said to be suffering damage from heavy traffic using the road.

It has been suggested that Melbourn Street could become one-way, or that pinch-points are introduced in the vicinity of the cave to protect the listed ancient monument.

"If we allowed the cave to become damaged, then it will be lost for ever," said Cllr Burt.

Councillors decided to have an on-site meeting and to examine the current condition of the cave in the hope of persuading Herts Highways to take action.

There will be a move, too, to involve English Heritage, which has a key interest in the protection of the cave.

Cllr F John Smith, the leader of the district council, said: "The cave is certainly not in the same condition as it was 50 years ago."

And committee chairman Cllr Fiona Hill added that the attitude from Herts Highways was "not acceptable".

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