Worries over historic monument as Preston business park gets go-ahead

A new employment park has been given the go-ahead in Preston despite concerns it is within three metres of a schedule ancient monument.

By Brian Ellis
Wednesday, 12th May 2021, 3:45 pm
Cromwell's Mound off Eastway in Fulwood.
Cromwell's Mound off Eastway in Fulwood.

Cromwell's Mound, where soldiers took cover during the Battle of Preston in 1648, will be within touching distance of the proposed development after it was approved by planning officers.

The Civil War gun emplacement, off Eastway at Fulwood, is classed as a site of historic interest and was the place where the Roundheads of Parliament's New Model Army, under the command of Oliver Cromwell sheltered during an attack on Royalist forces at nearby Broughton Tower.

The Battle of Preston was the final battle of the Second Civil War which saw the Royalists defeated and led to the execution of King Charles I.

The new development will be just three metres from the historic monument.

Broughton Parish Council has officially objected to the business park development because of its possible impact on the historic site and also its effect on cyclists and pedestrians using the Guild Wheel.

But the city council's planning department has rejected the concerns and also those of 37 locals who wrote letters of objection.

The scheme will mean 10 industrial units in three blocks will be built on the site adjacent to the Fulwood Central shopping park which opened in 2019 and is currently the subject of a second planning application which could more than double it in size.

Historic England were consulted about the proximity of the new site to Cromwell's Mound, but decided against a formal objection to the plans due to the developments that have already been allowed to take place close to it.

Oliver Cromwell led the Parliamentary forces in the Battle of Preston.

Like the parish council they recommended that the County Archaeology department should be asked if there was a need for any fieldwork to be carried out on the site before it was developed.

But the response was that an extensive metal detector survey had been conducted in 2017 and that was deemed to be sufficient.

Historic England says: "The earthworks' significance in demonstrating contemporary military practice and as a well preserved feature associated with a major historical event is recognised by its scheduling as an ancient monument."

"There have been frequent finds of lead musket balls and sling shot in the fields between the mound and Broughton Tower.

"It has also been suggested that the mound, which lay to the right of the main flank of Parliamentarian forces, may have provided Cromwell with his first vantage point from which to view the battlefield and judge the disposition of royalist and Scottish troops during the initial stages of the battle."

The concerns about the Guild Wheel involved its route across the planned site which would mean walkers and cyclists having to cross the entrance and also its internal road.

The developers originally applied for 12 commercial units in four buildings but, after consultation, reduced the scheme to 10 units in three blocks.