ARCHEOLOGICAL survey work has started on land at Chesterton earmarked for a controversial 2,500 home development.

The land behind Somerford Road in Cirencester has become a hive of activity as workers begin digging trenches for an investigation, prompting one worried resident to contact the Standard, voicing concerns about nearby badger sets.

But a spokesman from the Bathurst Development Ltd explained: “Archaeological trial trenching work is currently being carried out on land to the west of Cirencester owned by the Bathurst Estate.”

He also confirmed that workers became aware of some sort of animal habitat while digging the trenches on the site and stopped all work immediately.

An investigation was launched and it was revealed that a fox hole was nearby. But it was not an issue as workers were stationed more than 30 metres away.

“The purpose of the work is to provide a thorough understanding of any archaeology that may be present on the site and to help inform the layout and master planning of the site,” he added.

Resident agent at the Bathurst Estate, Edward Allsop, also reassured residents that the diggers were not on the land to dig up badger sets.

The archaeological work will be carried out during the day from Monday to Friday and is expected to take up to six weeks. The trenches will be filled in once the survey is complete.

The new development, which could see 2,500 homes built in the Chesterton Farm area by 2034, has been met with strong opposition from those living in the town.

A petition was launched just last week to Save our Cirencester’ and stop the development from going ahead.