Councillors in Torridge, Devon will vote on plans for a holiday complex on the historic battlefield billed as the “sequel” to the Battle of Hastings. The vote is due on February 1, 2018, at Bideford Town Hall.
The Battlefields Trust and historian Dan Snow
When the battlefield was identified in Northam, Devon in 2015 the discovery gained worldwide publicity. The Battlefields Trust have backed the site as have ten top historians of the Norman Conquest and TV presenter Dan Snow who said: “Once you lose a battlefield you can never bring it back. It is sad to think of this development going ahead without the remarkable heritage of the landscape being considered.”
Unusually for such an important site, no attempt has been made to assess the effect on the historic site and Historic England has not been consulted about the plans.
Destruction of a historic site and loss of tourist interest
The proposal for an estate of 58 holiday homes and offices in open countryside between Northam and Appledore has sparked outrage from locals concerned at the destruction of a historic site and the loss of potential tourism in a tourist-based economy.
The site is one of only two Norman battlefields identified in the UK – the other is the Battle of Hastings, which draws over 100,000 paying visitors per year. Last year local people staged walks, exhibitions, art works and other events. These events were set to grow leading up to a 950th anniversary commemoration in June 2019.
One of only two Norman battlefields
Best-selling author Nick Arnold who did the original research said: “I am appalled by these plans. If they are approved we’ll be destroying the UK’s second Norman battlefield when the Bayeux Tapestry arrives. Protecting the battlefield boosts local business and safeguards beautiful countryside for future generations. It’s win-win for everyone.”
Florence Jenkins, a local campaigner, said, “ I was born in Appledore 58 years ago. The area between Appledore and Northam does not need any more development. It will be destroying the very environment that attracts people to visiting this area.”
Surveyers were at work last week in the two fields next to Bloody Corner, land owned by the Withycome Family Trust, who brought us the failed Wooda housing application, whose latest brainwave is to cover that area with more modern suburban style houses. A man named Paul Clarke of Cotswalds Archaeology has been hired to do a desk-based assessment of the Battlefield presumably to persuade planners it’s OK to build on it.
(from a press release)