600 solar panels on registered battlefield of Winceby

30 June 2014

East Lindsey District Council has agreed a planning application to install around 600 solar panels of the English Heritage registered Civil War battlefield at Winceby.  This followed a metal detecting survey commissioned by the landowner which failed to find any battle related artefacts.

The Trust strongly opposed the development along with local residents, but unfortunately English Heritage did not, suggesting, in its view, that the impact on the battlefield would not be substantial. 

The Trust is concerned though that this may set an unhelpful precedent whereby incremental development is permitted and eventually destroys the integrity of this battlefield or is seen as a green light for such schemes on battlefields elsewhere.  This is a real threat as pressure to install renewable solar array energy sources of the kind at Winceby appear to be growing and the low archaeological impact and perception that they will be impermanent seem to incline planning authorities to agree their installation.

The solar panels at Winceby will be sited on the probable deployment area of the parliamentarian right wing, which was commanded by Sir Thomas Fairfax in the battle and from where he launched the attack that defeated the royalist forces facing him.  Fought in October 1643, the battle halted the earl of Newcastle's advance against parliament's Eastern Association forces and saw the beginning of the rise to prominence of a parliamentarian cavalry colonel called Oliver Cromwell.

As part of the planning permission the local council has required that a scheme of archaeological works be conducted over the development area and the Trust will raise this with council officers in an attempt to ensure that any work done is to the highest battlefield archaeology standards.  The Trust has also raised English Heritage's failure to object to the development directly with English Heritage and also its Battlefield Panel.

The Battlefields Resource Centre