CAMPAIGNERS are hoping to preserve a Roman villa bath house, which has been unearthed in Cam.

The villa was found by archaeologists working at Bovis Homes’ 137-home development site on Box Road.

Drone footage by Tom Arnold of Global TV UK shows the remains of the villa:

A petition, calling for the preservation of the site, was launched at midday today and within three hours it had been signed by 350 people.

Christie Mclean, who created the petition, said residents would like Bovis to modify its plans to allow the villa to be preserved.

She said: "So many people care about this and having a hub where we can collect signatures and keep track of how many people this matters to is really important."

To sign the petition visit:

TV archaeologist, Professor Mark Horton, who lives in Wotton under Edge, is also trying to rally public support to protect the land.

He said: “Bovis must be persuaded to redesign the development to avoid the villa bathhouse.

"This is actually a very important discovery. It's a major find, not just for Cam and Dursley, but for Gloucestershire too.

"While villas are quite common in these parts, the preservation is exceptional.

"There's a fabulously preserved hypocaust system and there's lots of interesting rooms, not yet fully excavated.

"The walls are a foot high and they may go down a lot deeper too.

"It's absolutely clear to me that this should be preserved and Bovis has to show some social responsibility.

"Local community interest and action is critical if this site is going to be saved.

"There is absolutely no reason why it can't be, with a little sensible redesign."

Thames Valley Archaeological Services Ltd are currently working at the site.

The firm posted on its website: "During recent excavations at Cam a high status Roman villa was uncovered.

"The villa has the remains of a hypocaust system and wall plaster from a bathhouse."

However, Bovis Homes said in a statement that archaeologists who examined the villa have told them it "does not qualify for preservation".

A spokesman for Bovis Homes said: "Archaeological investigations are a key part of new-build developments and we are proud to fund this work to find out more about Cam’s history as we build for the future.  

"The archaeologists carrying out this work report back to the county council and regularly update us and Stroud District Council on progress, recording and removing artefacts, and detailing the finds they make.

"It is not unusual to uncover foundations or remnants of buildings during this work and they have confirmed that this structure does not qualify for preservation, but we will encourage them to share their findings with the local community once the work is complete."

A spokeswoman for Stroud District Council, which granted the original planning application, has said members of the council plan to meet with Bovis to "discuss if the development can be amended".

She said: “We have re-engaged with the developer and plan to meet them and other interested parties to see what has been found, and discuss if the development can be amended.

"During the planning process expert advice was sought from Gloucestershire County Council on archaeology, and we are talking to them, the developer and councillors as a result of the finds made on site.”