One Final Charge – Please Sign the Petition

What if you could save a 534-year-old piece of history? Well, you can.

Sign the Petition

Imagine there was a delicate, fragile, but beautifully preserved medieval jewel. It’s yours to enjoy whenever you want and to pass on to your children. Now suppose someone comes along and says they want a piece. They’ll snap it off the side and give the rest back, then you can go on looking at it, but it will always have a piece missing; a jagged edge and a noticeable chunk gone forever. And you’ve got to explain the damage to your children when you pass it on.

That is precisely what is happening at the site of the 1485 Battle of Bosworth, an event that altered the course of English and British history. The autumn of 2018 was a rollercoaster shock to the system. Within days of the Battle of Bosworth Festival Weekend, the news broke that Japanese technology firm Horiba MIRA had submitted a planning application to build a driverless car test track that would encroach onto the registered battlefield site. It seemed impossible that it would be approved, but we watched on, campaigned and screamed in vain as it slid through Hinckley and Bosworth’s planning committee with only a minimal bump; the opposition of a few councillors who were quickly removed from the committee. You can read a bit more about the meeting and the controversy here and here.

Anyway, despite the opposition of the Battlefields Trust, the Richard III Society and a petition that gathered over 15,000 supporters, it was given the go ahead. The formal, written permission was issued on the night of the meeting, which not only prevented an appeal but demonstrated that the decision had been made before the committee even sat down. Presented with a frustratingly smug fait accompli, concerned parties and individuals were left horrified at the impending destruction of the battlefield and the frightening precedent such a move sets for other heritage sites across the country.

Much was made of the minimal area to be affected, but it is the spot on the battlefield that current interpretations give as the approach route and muster point for Henry Tudor’s army. It is in the area where the largest cluster of medieval cannon balls ever found was discovered, and will be built over at least one of the find spots. So, although in percentage terms it represents a small amount of the registered battlefield, it is in the very place at which current thinking places most of the fighting. It might be small, but it is critical.

 

RegisteredBosworthBattlefieldSite_Overlay_WithGroundshot.jpg
The outline of the proposed development can be seen in red on the western side of the registered battlefield. The red line and arrow shows the route it is believed Henry Tudor took to the battlefield and the area where his army was arrayed for battle. The red circles mark cannon ball finds and the area where much of the fighting is now believed to have taken place.

 

At the recent local elections, control of Hinckley and Bosworth Council changed to the Liberal Democrats, and it was their councillors who had opposed the approval of the plans. This offers a glimmer of hope for a more sympathetic ear, but it still seemed like a done deal that could not be unravelled.

But it isn’t.

The Town and Country Planning Act 1990 permits the revocation of planning permission after it has been granted and up until such time as the development is entirely completed. Section 97(1) states that ‘If it appears to the local planning authority that it is expedient to revoke or modify any permission to develop land granted on an application made under this Part, the authority may by order revoke or modify the permission to such extent as they consider expedient.’ Section 97(3a) explains that the power may be exercised ‘where the permission relates to the carrying out of building or other operations, at any time before those operations have been completed’. You can read the Act here and a parliamentary briefing on the revocation of planning permission here.

Bosworth Battlefield can still be saved, for this generation and all those that follow. There is a petition on the government’s website asking that this statutory power be used to revoke the planning permission granted at Bosworth. Unfortunately, it can only be signed by UK residents, because this is a matter of international importance that has caused outrage around the globe. If you are eligible, I ask you to sign the petition and help try to preserve this precious medieval jewel. Ask your friends and family to add their weight to the request. At 10,000 signatures, the government is required to respond. At the very least, they will then have to explain why they will not save this precious landscape. At 100,000 signatures, the petition will be eligible for debate in the House of Commons. This might represent our last chance to make it clear to the government and local planning committees everywhere that the destruction of our heritage is too high a price to pay.

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/261339

Bosworth Petition Poster 190617

11 thoughts on “One Final Charge – Please Sign the Petition

  1. Hello Matt,

    I voted yesterday. I then later read some comments on your twitter page claiming that you must reside in the UK to be eligible to vote. I read the website again this morning and it states 0nly British citizens or UK residents are eligible to sign. I’m a British citizen residing in the USA ( green card), am I eligible to vote?

    If I am then clarification may result in more votes in support of this petition.

    Regards,

    Roger Mascall

    1. YES, you can sign if you are a British Citizen residing abroad. It asks at the top if you are a British Citizen OR UK resident.
      Saying that, this is the history of anyone whose ancestors lived in England in the 15th century. I wish that their voices also counted on this one. 😦

  2. I am in the Tewkesbury constituency, and part of that battlefield is in danger too – right next to Gupshill Manor. It seems that our past is ceasing to matter at all to some people. All out great battlefields should be protected, but Bosworth perhaps most of all.

  3. I signed the petition and sent the first one to Leicester and I am Canadian. I was happy to do that. I cannot sign this latest as I am not British Citizen or UK Resident. Wish I could sign. All the best and I will keep an eye if any changes to the Bosworth field issue.

  4. After the last time, I thought this was all over, so thanks for organising this Matthew, and giving us all a final chance to save Bosworth. I signed it immediately I saw it, and shared via fb and email. Hopefully the emails I sent will help, as anyone who knows me, knows how strongly I feel about this. We can only encourage everyone to sign, and then keep our fingers crossed. Thanks again, Glenis Brindley

  5. Thank you so much Matthew for not giving up!!! Yes, the desecration will only eat up a small amount of the battlefield (at the moment – who knows what might be yet to come?) but where those little red dots are indicating the cannon balls is not too far from where King Richard fell. I have stood on that line of little red dots and looked across to the line of trees only a couple of hundred yards away, where the silver boar badge was found by the marsh, indicating that this might be where King Richard fell. Mike Ingram took us on a guided tour about 3 – 4 years ago and to think that this poignant spot where our history was changed and the best King we never had was so brutally killed, is tragic, unbelievable. Listening to Mike’s account of the battle was very emotional and to think that future tours will be interspersed with the sound of driverless cars zooming round it unimaginable.
    King Richard’s motto was ‘Loyalty Binds Me’ – something that Leicester needs to remember, after all it is the battlefield most visitors from all over the world, go to Leicester to see.

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