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Dr Simon Thurley

Chief Executive, English Heritage

16 October 2014 (by email)


Dear Dr Thurley


Battle of Fulford

With preliminary building work underway that could lead to the destruction of the site and landscape of the Fulford battlefield, unless it can be stopped, I cannot wait for the legal processes to be complete before writing. Furthermore, the matters I address here are at the heart of English Heritage’s credibility in the matters being tested in court. I also repeat my request for the disclosure of certain information, which I detail below.

I have four questions.

Question One

Will you submit to the court a corrected version of Dr Nick Bridgland’s witness statement? I attach a paper that shows how every criticism of fact or methodology he cites can be refuted with reference to the report that I published in 2010. I also identify the source of most of the misinformation upon which Dr Bridgland relies who are the parties interested in the building project. The fact that he has relied on their misinformed opinions does not suggest that his view was impartial.

Question Two(a repeat of an FOI request)

Will you please supply what is referred to as ‘evidence’ in the minutes of the Designation Review Committee on 2 May 2013? “The Chair asked members to relate their opinions, having read the evidence presented to them by EH staff..” If the review body had to rely on misinformation such as Dr Brigland, who was one of the officers present at the DRC, sets out in his witness statement to the court, the validity of the DRC conclusion must be questioned.

Question Three

My letter to you, following the refusal to designated the site of Fulford,supplied details of the meetings that led English Heritage to reverse their opposition to the development along Germany Beck because they believed it to be the site of the battle of Fulford in 2003. An updated version of the earlier document is attached.Please will you supply an explanation for the planning advice subsequently provided by English Heritage that was known to be inconsistent with the evidence available?

Recently the York City planners finally told John Oxley, their archaeology officer, to explain the agreed ‘story’ that led EH to change their mind. He portrayed it as the quite normal to create a narrative. But this explanation does not stand up to scrutiny since  the key element of the ‘story’ was known to be wrong and even Mr Oxley recognises in the notes of the meeting that it was not ‘fireproof’. And in the next line of the meeting notes your officer requests that the developer’s document ‘Needs to state – didn’t take place here,..’ presumably because they wanted to cover themselves. It does not suggest any of the public archaeologists accepted the agreed story.

Will you now please investigate and tell me why EH reversed their opposition to the development and cited what they knew to be the wrong information from the developer in their letter of April 2005?

 Question Four

What is the Designation Strategy Group? I have requested details and minutes of this body that is referred to in other documents. I need these documents as they might help to explain the guiding force that has distorted EH’s performance when dealing with Germany Beck.

 We have the right to rely on the accurate and impartial assessment of evidence from public bodies when reaching any conclusion. I have presented English Heritage with many examples where their reports are wrong, inaccurate or incomplete.  I am asking you to investigate and explain these failures and to urgently begin to correct them.

I am writing similar letters to the Persimmon board and management, and the City Council executive and elected members listing the wrong and misleading information for which they have been responsible. Before the end of the year I intend to print a selection of documents, including this letter, and provide it to the media as a matter of public record. The site of the battle will soon be firmly dated and located and I do not want you, or any of the other people complicit in the site’s destruction, to be able to claim that you were unaware of the errors made.




Chas Jones

 I am currently appealing against their failure to provide information that I know exists.

This is where EH decide they will wait for the site to be destroyed before recognising it.

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

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