Firm is lead consultant and architect on the £10.7m Roman Maryport Development

Capita Symonds is the lead consultant and architect for a Roman visitor attraction centre in Cumbria. The £10.7m Roman Maryport development is at Camp Farm, a Victorian model farm that includes a Roman fort and civilian settlement in the Solway Coast Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The site is owned by Hadrian’s Wall Heritage and plans have been submitted to Allerdale Borough Council.

Michael Baker, director of sustainable development for Hadrian’s Wall Heritage, said: “This key heritage development involves the restoration and conversion of the historic farm buildings into galleries and visitor facilities, and will significantly raise the profile of the west coast of Cumbria as a destination worthy of visiting to a large audience for whom the area is as yet unknown.

“There will be rich, varied and complementary interpretation emphasising the relevance of the story of Roman Maryport to us today - for example what is it like to live on a frontier, to be an occupying soldier, to live in an occupied country, the meeting of different cultures. We are hopeful that Roman Maryport can be open for the start of the main tourist season at Easter 2014.”

The Netherhall Collection - currently in the Senhouse Roman Museum - will be showcased in the new museum. This is the finest collection of official Roman Army religious dedications anywhere, and from which knowledge of Roman Army postings has informed the understanding of Roman historians worldwide.  Most of the collection came from the fort and civilian settlement at Maryport.

The existing museum in the battery building will be refurbished internally to provide research facilities for the archaeologists. The reconstruction of the Roman watch tower will remain.

There will be a continuous programme of live archaeological excavation, creating learning opportunities for local volunteers and students and bringing together the collection and site so that they can be managed and safeguarded together.

“Part of the proposal for Roman Maryport is a new access road which joins the A596 about four hundred metres from the traffic lights by St Mary’s Church,” said Mr Baker. “This will ensure that the new development is very much a part of the town and that many of the new visitors that are expected are encouraged into the town as part of their visit. A much safer crossing of the main road, which will benefit pupils of Netherhall School, will also be created.”

As part of the development of the whole of Hadrian’s Wall Country, designed to draw more visitors to the north of England, Roman Maryport is expected to attract 55,000 visitors a year, spending £3-4m and creating 78 jobs in the area.