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Last Updated: Wednesday, 10 December, 2003, 19:07 GMT
Roman site fear stalls centre
Roman soldiers
It is believed the site may be near Roman remains

Plans for an international sheepdog centre in Gwynedd have been put on hold after archaeologists realised there may be a prehistoric and Roman site close by.

The proposed sheepdog and rural life centre on the outskirts of Bala will now have to await the outcome of an archaeological survey.

The delay for the centre, believed to cost several hundreds of thousands of pounds, came after the Gwynedd Archaeological Planning Service stepped in.

Archaeologist Emily La Trobe-Bateman said: "Our concern is that there might be similar remains at this site at Ysgubor Isaf.

"There is a very important prehistoric and Roman site in a nearby field, as well as similar sites further away, which did come to light when the National Eisteddfod was held in Bala in 1997.

"We are not objecting to the Ysgubor Isaf site as such, but we need to protect it if there are prehistoric and Roman remains there.

"There may be nothing there, but bearing in mind the closeness to a known prehistoric site then we feel that a survey is necessary.

"We are in effect playing safe and the development will depend on what is found below ground.

Members of Gwynedd Council's Meirionnydd Area Committee have deferred their decision until the result of a survey which will have to be undertaken.

A sheepdog
Bala hosted the prestigious World Sheepdog Trials last year

Plans for the centre include an exhibition ring and buildings, a shop, cafe, kitchen, offices and learning rooms.

Part of the site is in a dell and it is proposed to use this as an open air amphitheatre.

Bala is proud of its sheepdog tradition.

A plaque commemorates the world's first recorded sheepdog trials held there in 1873 and a number of dogs from the area have been exported to the Pyrenees over the years.

Last year the World Sheepdog Trials were held there and were disrupted when a Royal Air Force Tornado flew over the event.

The Ministry of Defence apologised for the incident and said plans were being made to change the height at which aircraft could fly when these events were taking place.

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