Well, we need your help again. Since then one of the local land users (a golf club) has tried to do some unauthorised development by digging up the land to put down a car park.They got caught and were made to pay for some proper archaeology to be done first. That having been completed they have now submitted a planning application for said car park.
We are now in the public consultation period and we need to mobilise again people who care about their heritage. The Battle of Northampton is important in British history. I explained a little bit why here and those reasons are not going away. We need you to go on to the Northampton Borough Council website and object to the application.
At the time of writing there were more than 60 objections posted on the planning page, but more will help. Quantity as well as quality of objections is important.
NB: YOU MUST OBJECT BEFORE THE 28TH AUGUST 2015
This is quite straightforward. Go to the planning website and search using reference N/2015/0785.
This is the same place you can view the planning application. Click on the Comment button and fill out the form. It is really that easy, so don’t put it off.
Every objection is valuable and will count in favour of protecting the site.
So far in addition to members of the public objections have been made by the Richard III Society and The Tudor Society.
What are the grounds for objection?
If you’re a bit unsure precisely what you want to say, here are our top 7 list of points to make:
- This is a registered battlefield protected by the National Planning Framework which says that any development on the site should be wholly exceptional. The application does not say how this car park is exceptional. The application does not explain why additional parking spaces are required. We believe it is not for the benefit of the golfers themselves but a separate commercial enterprise to ‘sell’ parking spaces to workers on Brackmills Industrial Estate. A comparison undertaken that compared the number of cars and number of golfers clearly demonstrates this.
- The council’s own Conservation Management Plan (“CMP”) for the battlefield was adopted as part of its planning decision framework. The CMP says the council should resist further development within the Registered Battlefield. The application fails to address how it complies with this section of the CMP. The CMP effectively acts as a local designation of the heritage asset and implies that substantial impact on the battlefield occurs with any further development on the registered battlefield. The Council needs to take this into consideration when reaching its decision.
- The application claims that there are no finds of archaeological importance, and this has been reported in the local press. This is contrary to the archaeological report*. A well preserved French medieval brooch has been found and lead shot which if dated back to the battle will alter what we know about the early use of small calibre hand guns.
- The ball pit and trench is an addition to the application for the car parking spaces and should be applied for separately. Crucially it falls outside the area which was surveyed by the archaeologists investigating the proposed car park area. There is no evidence to suggest that the site of the trench is made up ground and given the significance and sensitivity of site, it needs a full archaeological survey before any planning permission can be considered.
- The area concerned is green space and parkland, there for enjoyment and use of the community. This development would considerably erode that sense of open space, which once gone, will never return. Whilst the application makes provision for the protection of any further archaeology below ground, it does not consider the environment that will be destroyed in its creation.
- None of the local stakeholders such as the Delapré Park Management Committee, Friends Of Delapre Abbey, the Stables or local community groups have been consulted on what is essentially a major change to the parkland.
- By allowing this application it will be condoning the Golf Clubs’ earlier action of illegally carrying out the work without prior planning permission, and against the CMP. The Golf Club attempted to present the Council with a fait accompli when they knowingly started to dig up the site following a previously failed planning application and it would seem to be an offence to any form of legal process that they should be able to reap the rewards of this action.
- Don’t feel constrained to these points. If something else makes you feel we should object, include that as well. We have to show the Council we care.
Thanks for taking the time to do this. It means a lot to those of us fighting to preserve the site locally that people from all over the country care about our heritage. It'd be really cool if someone living in one of our colonial namesakes in Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, North Carolina or any other state I've overlooked helped out as well. Or Western Australia. Or New Brunswick.
*The archaeological report is attached to the planning application, confusingly in two parts. Part one is under “Archaeology Report” and part two under “Photographs”. Once you have found the application as above, click on "Documents" then navigate back to the oldest page.