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Thursday, March 11, 1999 Published at 13:50 GMT


Battlefield saved from building

The site of the historic Battle of Tewkesbury has been saved from housing development.

Environment Secretary John Prescott ruled that plans for more than 50 homes would have "irreversibly damaging impact" on the Gloucestershire site.

Bryant Homes Mercia Limited wanted to build the houses on the Gastons - where in 1471 Yorkist King Edward IV's forces beat Lancastrian resurgents under exiled Queen Margaret.

Public outcry

The dispute began in May 1997 when Tewkesbury Borough councillors supported the plan despite opposition from the heritage lobby and town councillors.

Borough planners accepted claims that there was insufficient proof it was the real site - even though it was included in English Heritage's "definitive" list of principal battlefields.

Tewkesbury Battlefield Society raised a petition opposing the scheme with 442 signatures, and many people wrote letters of objection.

Opponents of the housing scheme had included eminent actor Robert Hardy and English Heritage chairman Sir Jocelyn Stevens.

The outcry led to a public inquiry, which was heard in March 1998.

Historians argued at the inquiry that the Battle of Tewkesbury was a turning point in English history, leading to fundamental changes in monarchy and government.

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