Council decision threatens Northampton battlefield
16 July 2012
The Battlefields Trust believes that Northampton Borough Council's decision to approve the principle of allowing sports pitches on land at Eagle Drive Delapre without a full archaeological survey may destroy important national heritage.
Battlefields Trust chairman Frank Baldwin said:
'English Heritage has registered the Wars of the Roses battlefield at Northampton because of its significance both politically and militarily. But now Northampton Borough Council wants to turn part of the battlefield into sports fields. This will be more than painting a few white lines on the grass and will involve levelling and grading, stripping turf, constructing changing facilities and, no doubt, a carpark'
Northampton is one of 43 battlefields in England that are deemed by English Hereitage to be of national importance and the Battlefields Trust is concerned that the Council appears not to understand the value of the battlefield as a heritage asset.
Frank Baldwin added:
'The Council's decision last week did not take account of the fact that fragile archaeology may exist at the site which could tell us precisely how and where the battle was fought. Northampton battlefield has the potential to tell us as much about medieval warfare as recent archaeological work at Bosworth where a full HLF-funded survey found the battlefield there. Northampton has plenty of locations where sports fields could be built and wrecking local heritage at Eagle Drive is too high a price to pay. The Battlefields Trust will seek English Heritage support in opposing any planning permission that does not take account of the archaeology or the impact of development on the setting of the battlefield.'
The Council has recently won £250,000 of Heritage lottery funding to develop a larger bid for the renovation of Delapre Abbey and surrounding area. This work will need to tell the story of the battle of Northampton, though the Council's plans for Eagle Drive appear to put the ability to do that at risk. Nevertheless the Battlefields Trust remains committed to working with the Council to raise the profile of the battlefield.
Local Battlefields Trust representative Mike Ingram added
'The project at Delapre has the potential to realise the great tourist and education asset that the battlefield provides for Northampton and we are keen to work with the Council and other stakeholders to that end.'
For the Battlefields Trust Press release about Northampton please click here
For more information about the Battle of Northampton please click here
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