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Concerns raised over plans to build test track at Battle of Bosworth Field site

The planning application is due to be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday.

Enthusiasts re enact battle of Bosworth during the Bosworth Anniversary Event at Bosworth Heritage Centre, Market Bosworth.
Enthusiasts re enact battle of Bosworth during the Bosworth Anniversary Event at Bosworth Heritage Centre, Market Bosworth.

Historians have raised concerns about proposed plans to build a driverless car testing facility over the site of the Battle of Bosworth Field.

Japanese-owned automotive specialists Horiba Mira has launched an application to build the £26 million 1.2 million square foot test-track, which is set to be discussed on Tuesday.

The company wants to test cars at speeds reaching 155mph on the site where Richard III was defeated by Henry Tudor in 1485.

Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council has been advised to approve the application at the meeting.

Historians have said the plans would have a “direct physical impact”, and would alter the “rural character of part of the battlefield”.

More than 4,000 people have signed an online petition to try and prevent the council from approving the plans.

Although it has made no formal objections to the proposals, Historic England wrote a letter to the council, which said: “The Battle of Bosworth was one of the most pivotal battles in English history and continues to receive considerable public interest.

“The development proposal is a substantial structure, and would have a direct physical impact and an indirect impact through altering the rural character of part of the battlefield.

“The construction of a CAV testing track, control tower, storage building, ground works, landscaping and associated infrastructure would impact both the topographic integrity and archaeological potential of the battlefield.”

A spokesman for the Battlefield Trust said: “The Trust recognises the constraints imposed by current national planning guidance for heritage assessments, but would argue that battlefields represent a special case which has not been fully considered by this guidance; the whole battlefield constitutes a single heritage asset and should be treated as such.

“The negative impact of the development on battlefield tourism does not seem to have been fully factored into the public benefit assessment and the Trust urges that this should be undertaken in advance of any decision being made.

“The Trust therefore objects strongly to this application and has asked the Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council Planning Committee to reject it.”

Horiba Mira declined to comment on the application until the conclusion of the planning meeting.

Press Association

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