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Last Updated: Saturday, 19 June, 2004, 15:15 GMT 16:15 UK
Historic chalk mine dig to begin
Excavation
Archaeologists are due to begin a search for historic chalk mines
Residents of almost 300 homes are being asked to give the go-ahead to a major archaeological dig for old chalk mines.

Reading Borough Council has sent letters to 285 households in Field Road, Coley Park and Deepdene Close about future examinations of the area.

The move comes after a study, conducted following a major ground collapse in Field Road in January 2000, identified potential mining activity in the area.

The mines could date as far back as the 1800s, said a council spokesman.

Historic brickwork

The nine-month investigation process costing 2.56m is being funded by the national regeneration agency, English Partnerships.

Contractors will need permission to enter gardens to carry out excavation work, which will involve drilling holes in the ground, "probing and geo-physical surveying".

"There will also be some disruption to car parking and traffic movements while tests are carried out on the highway," a council spokesman added.

"Regular updates will be given to residents and the findings of the project will be made available to all householders."

Historical Ordnance Survey and Tithe maps dating back to 1802 showed there were a number of historic brick, tile and pottery works in Field Road and adjacent streets.

John Howarth, lead councillor for strategic planning and transport, said: "The aim of the meeting is to provide people in the investigation area with information on the works and how they will be carried out.

"The information will enable people to give, or to gain from their landlord, the consent necessary for the engineers to carry out works on their property."

A public meeting about the programme, expected to begin in September, will be held at Reading Town Hall's concert hall on 29 June at 1900 BST.




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