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Michael Courcier & Partner

May 2003

Dear Mr Courcier

Re Germany Beck development

I recently inspected the planning application submitted on behalf of Persimmon Homes and Hogg Builders for 700 dwellings in the area known as Germany Beck.  As I plan to raise a detailed objection to the plan I wanted to make you aware in the hope that a timely compromise would satisfy us both.

My concern is the preservation of the battle site and context of the Battle of Fulford.  Although no mention of the battle is made in Ch14 on Cultural & Archaeological of your Environmental Statement, in two supporting documents you do say that 'the location of the Battle of Fulford…appears to be outside the development area'. I am not sure on what evidence this statement is made. My understanding is that the site of the battle is reckoned to cover the access road and Area B on your plan. The plaque erected by the Parish Council would be feet away from the access road. I therefore doubt that your assertion is correct.

I am in contact with English Heritage who have set some stringent evidential requirements in order to gain a listing, with the consequent protection from development. Without some investigation this will be hard to provide. However, I hope that York City Council can be persuaded to prevent any development until the necessary investigations have been carried out. I am told that ancient battlefields do not make good sites for archaeological investigation but a geophysical scan and licensed metal detecting survey might give some pointers. In the absence of evidence I will encourage the Council not to permit construction on the traditional site of the Battle.

Within your documentation, the archaeology of the access road is not as well covered. This contrasts with the comprehensive investigations within the area of the dwellings. I am sorry, for example, that the limited data on the trenches Nos 20-29 was excluded from the detailed statement. These are in the area of what I conjecture to be the final phase of the battle (although I understand that the trenches did not go to a sufficient depth for my purposes). Could I also suggest that the battle should be listed in Figure 15 to Appendix 14.1.

I invite you to have a look at a web site I have prepared where I have set out a possible narrative for the battle and have appealed for evidence. I recently took a historian who reported regularly to the outgoing Minister of Culture so I am optimistic that I can raise the awareness of this issue. I now plan to provide a narrative for visitors on the site. If you do not want me to include any information from your replies on the site could you please make it clear.

I am attempting to make you aware of the problem at the earliest possible moment. I have already tried to contact Persimmon and their Archaeological Consultants but have been disappointed at their failure to reply. Please would you encourage the contractors to give this matter their urgent attention. I am not attempting to prevent the development but I am aware that if my objection to the access route is sustained it will strangle the project. My interest is to identify and conserve the battlesite. I believe that it is also in the interests of your clients.

Yours sincerely

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The author of the content is Charles Jones - fulfordthing@gmail.com   Last updated April 2015

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