Future of Tewkesbury Battlefield
The Gaston field, last remaining area of the battle of Tewkesbury, was put up for sale by the Trustees of Tewkesbury school. The Tewkesbury Battlefield Society has always been extremely concerned that this historic site would be bought as potential building land. Even after winning a public enquiry, getting it onto the English Heritage Battlefields Register, and getting the area included in the town’s conservation area there was still a danger this could happen. There was also such strong support from local residents, they had the area designated a Local Green Space in 2011.
Sadly after two years of negotiations, with many ups and downs, the school trustees finally decided not to sell us the land.
Petition of support
At the 2016 Medieval Festival we launched a petition in support of our campaign to acquire the battlefield. Your support in this has been a great indicator of the wide spread desire to see this historic site put to an more educational use, rather than its current deplorable state.
In fact two petitions were raised on this subject and in total received over 3000 signatures. These were submitted to Tewkesbury council for their consideration and were discussed in the council chamber on 24th January 2017. The out come was a follows;
At a very positive Borough Council meeting the petition raised by local residents in support of our Gastons campaign was discussed. The debate reflected both the desire to protect the site of the Battlefield against development, and the intent to do so through constructive engagement with all the parties concerned. Councilors not only accepted the Council’s recommendations but also strengthened them.
The formal notification of the Council’s decision is:
That the Council is committed to the principle of developing the whole of Tewkesbury Battlefield as a heritage, cultural and economic asset for the Borough and requests Officers to consider the issues raised in the petition through:
- The Borough Plan and other planning processes, including supplementary guidance and enforcement,
- Exploring with the Tewkesbury Battlefield Society, the Tewkesbury School Trust and landowners the potential for improving the Battlefield as a cultural and heritage asset.
Also that an update be presented to the Council within three months on the progress made.
Thanks again to all who supported the petition. It helped demonstrate conclusively that this is an issue that those within the Town and wider care deeply about. We’re already engaged with the School Trustees and hope to build a positive and lasting relationship to the good of the Gastons.
We are still hopeful that we can come to some agreement with the trustees about future improvements to the site and it is still the Battlefield Society’s prime objective to see that this land is preserved as part of our heritage.
What about the donations given?
As our current attempt at purchase has been rejected all Just Giving donations and cheques marked Gastons Fund will be returned. Cash donations of less than £20 and monies raised through fund-raising events can not be and will be combined with monies donated to the Fighting Fund.
As soon as we are sure we have paid all of the costs of the campaign, we will follow through on our original promise to split any money left in that fund to;
· The Battlefields Trust (who campaign to save battlefields from development) and
· The Tewkesbury Nature Reserve (who are working to protect the local ecology)
We will then post final figures, when that has been done.