Having been doing quite a lot of research around Manchester's Roman past,I was quite disappointed to read this yesterday concerning the closure of the City's Archaeological Unit.
The unit has done some great work in the past 20-30 years in uncovering Manchester's Roman past but it seems that like many institutions it is facing the harsh economic realities of money. Here is the piece from the council for British Archeology
The Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU) announced yesterday (6 February 2012) that Manchester University has decided to close the Unit as it no longer fits with the University’s research and teaching priorities. The announcement continues:
The GMAU has provided a high quality archaeological service to the 10 Greater Manchester Planning Authorities for over 30 years. The local planning authorities are looking to secure provision of a planning archaeological service from an alternative provider as a long term solution. Clearly any provision will have to be value for money, ensuring that the Council’s receive the statutory advice which they need in determining planning applications. GMAU will finish providing archaeological advice for all but urgent planning matters from the 16th March so that it has time to wind up its affairs.
Many CBA members have been in contact about the announcement and the CBA’s Director, Dr Mike Heyworth, has written immediately to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities to express the serious concerns that the archaeological community has about the future for archaeological services in Greater Manchester. In his letter he has asked for an explanation of the arrangements being put in place to avoid a gap in the provision of archaeological advisory services to planning authorities in Greater Manchester and to support services for the Greater Manchester Historic Environment Record.