Developer apologises after historic wall associated with English Civil War destroyed

A developer has apologised after an angry council leader complained that part of a historic Ashfield wall embedded with Civil War cannonballs has been destroyed.

By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Wednesday, 1st September 2021, 8:00 pm

The Stoneyford Road wall, in Sutton, was in place for more than 370 years and was used by Scots fighting for King Charles II in the second English Civil War.

Local history archives state the fighters managed to escape an initial ambush, fleeing to Stoneyford Road before being chased, caught and executed on-site – which took place in 1648 between Royalist loyals and Oliver Cromwell’s New Model Army.

The wall showed remnants of embedded cannonballs used during a small battle, believed to have taken place in 1651.

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Ashfield District Council Leader Jason Zadrozny at the site of the collapsed wall

However, Ashfield District Council’s leader has expressed his anger after part of it collapsed following work by developers.

It comes as the nearby quarry site, behind where the wall stood, is earmarked for a 47-home development.

The land was given outline approval in 2019, with a planning condition requesting details of the wall’s “retention and protection”.

But the demolition of an on-site building led to part of the historic wall collapsing, with inspections by council leader Jason Zadrozny suggesting the cannonballs have been lost.

A section of the wall that is still standing

Developer Plaform Housing has apologised for part of the wall being lost, promising a rebuilding programme if planning permission is granted and stressing it was not done deliberately.

However, Councillor Zadrozny (Ash Ind) says there is “almost no point” in rebuilding it, believing it has lost its “historic significance”.

He said: “I’m really angry, protecting the wall wasn’t much to ask for.

“When you’re granted permission for nearly 50 houses and you’re asked to protect the wall because of its historical importance, then do that.

“It’s sacrilegious, almost, when you’ve got something that old, with that much history, and you let it go.

“It’s almost like a wanton act of vandalism, we specifically said this wall is of historical importance and conditioned them in planning to protect it.

“Planning law is the same as any other law, and now a significant chunk of this wall has gone. There’s almost no point in rebuilding it.”

Concern about the wall came when the development was put before planners on Wednesday (August 25), with the reserved matters application deferred over separate issues with privacy.

Cllr Zadrozny says the deferral allows councillors to “give the developer a roasting”, adding he hopes to install a plaque on the remainder of the wall to mark its “historical significance”.

But Neil Adie, development director at Platform Housing Group, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Much of the main boundary wall appears to remain intact, but a section has collapsed or been removed when adjoining redundant buildings were demolished due to health and safety reasons.

“This was certainly not done deliberately but we apologise that it occurred.

“These buildings will be replaced if the development proposals are approved by the planning committee.

“The intention is to reinstate the collapsed section, where necessary, between the new buildings and the wall that remains. We expect there will be a planning condition that will enforce that.”

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