A series of aerial pictures show there is “no justification” for a Northampton golf club to expand its car park on suspected battlefield land, a councillor for the area says.
More than 100 letters of objection have been received over plans by Delapre Golf Centre to extend its car park by 32 spaces, after it emerged the land it wants to build on would have likely played host to the Battle of Northampton, 1460.
The club came under fire for starting to remove a layer of top soil for the car park in January, despite not yet having planning permission to do so.
Delapre Golf Centre says the extra car parking spaces is needed to provide “extra capacity to staff and visitors to the golf course at peak times”.
But photographs taken via a camera-mounted drone on Monday, August 17, show the car park of Delapre Golf Club two thirds full at 9am - though the photos show there are no golfers on course at that time.
Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre and Rushmere) says the pictures show a large number of people using the car park on Eagle Drive are from surrounding businesses, which he adds, cannot support the golf club’s claim the expansion is needed for guests and staff only.
Those people parking there all day are not all playing golf, surely?Councillor Brendan Glynane
He said: “They say at peak times it is full, but it is quite clearly not true.
“Those people parking there all day are not all playing golf surely.
“The car park was designed to cope with the capacity of the golf course.
“As far as I’m concerned there is no justification for the extension to its car park whatsoever.”
A number of businesses in the surrounding area pay a fee to use the Delapre Golf Centre car park, including staff at nearby Ricoh Limited.
Managers of the golf facility have been contacted for comment, but so far no response has been received.
A statement supporting the car park extension, submitted as part of the planning application, states: “The location of the proposed car park on a registered battlefield has been considered and it has been concluded there is no reason why planning permission cannot be granted for the development.
“In conclusion it is considered that the positive attributes associated with this proposed development clearly outweigh any potential negative impacts.”
Last week the golf club came under fire for stating in the planning document that “no significant archaeological finds” had been made on the proposed development land, though a medieval brooch and lead shot were discovered there using a metal detector during a survey carried out after the car park had been dug out.
Mike Ingram, chairman of the Northampton Battlefield Society, said the finds could well be significant.
He said: “We have lead shot in the middle of a battlefield site. It’s more than likely that it came form the Battle of Northampton.
“Added to that is the fact the brooch could well have been dropped during the battle as well.
“The whole battlefield at Delapre could be full of this shot.
“The land needs to be protected.”