Fulford Battlefield Research Website


Freedom of Information
 Recording the events of September 1066
tanged arrow from Fulford
yorks releif map

The Fulford Tapestry Website

Prime Minister
Cabinet Secretary
Warning Councillors
Warning new cllrs
Responding to Persimmon
Persimmon 2014
Sustaining 'the story'
Democratic legitimacy
Eric Pickles MP
Minister of Transport
Developer letters 1
First objections
Old people's home
Planning cmte
Planning appln
Parliamentary Question
English Heritage
Behaviour complaint
Legal issues
Road plan
Planning objections
Cooperation rq
Peer review
Revised  study
York Chief exec
Permission 1
Permission 2
Appeal statement
Secretary of State
Minister's Call-in letter
Archeologist 5 2012
Objections 2012
CYC Chief Exec
CYC Chief exec
Freedom of Information
Baroness Andrews
The experts say

York City Planning documents online


YouTube videos


The Final Report

Finding Fulford cover

Kindle edition of Finding Fulford is now available

The Fulford Tapestry


Visiting Fulford

Map York


Freedom of Information & Environmental Information Requests sent to EH by CJ

This is a summary, with the text of the requests added at the end. The Court had made it clear that they did not support 'fishing trips' so I set out in detail my reasons for each request.

My requests always set out the background, dates, context and the reasons I require the information in the hope that it will produce a full response. 

EH have been open and efficient until my recent requests: This is my request 4 below asking: This vital information is still awaited.

·         what the Designation Review Panel were briefed and

·         who, how, when and why the two decisions were made not to designate were made.


The first was sent on 2 January 2012, following an email from EH on 22 December 2011 explaining that an appeal process had been put in place.

EH responded, on 13 February 2012 sending me the documents on a USB stick. These documents  allowed me to:

1.       Identify the grounds given for changing their minds and agreeing to the Germany Beck development citing the false story promoted by the developers that Germany Beck might have been a man-made feature post-dating the battle. (April 2004)

2.       See the emails from senior EH officers who had attended my talk at the Royal Armouries suggesting I should apply for designation of the site. (May 2011)

3.       Read that the Battlefields Panel had recommended designation in spite of advice from EH that they were not planning to add Fulford to the Register. (Feb 2012)

4.       It revealed the meetings and submissions from CYC and the developers opposing the development.


Following the issue of the review decision in late July 2013, I submitted a second request, by email, on 27 August to which EH responded (their ref: FOI 13/1289) on 24 September 2013

EH replied with a ‘wiring diagram’ for the chain of command, the papers for the DRC and referred me to their archives in Swindon for answers to questions 4 and 5.

The agendas allowed me to prepare my critique of the DRC decision a copy of which I was able to send to Prof xxx xxxx, via the good offices of Chief executive of York Archaeological Trust,  where x  is a trustee (He is also a former Commissioner of EH). In the spirit of academia I challenged a number of his statements and assumptions contained in the review decision. This in turn led to his visit to the site to talk to me on 26 October 2013.

I attribute his subsequent support and his intervention over the WSI in December 2013 to his having seen the evidence. His parting words when we had completed the visit were ‘Don’t judge me too harshly until you have seen what we were told’. From this I gathered that there were other brieifings and it is these that I have been trying, unsuccessfully, to obtain.


On 17 Sept 2012, I wrote to Christopher Brookes “Could you accept this as an FOI/EIR for all agendas, minutes and constitution for The Designation Strategy Group as I am still trying to identify how, why, by whom and when the internal decision was made not to designate the battlesite. It would help if I could identify some rational argument and basis for the decision. (I cannot find mention of this group on the web).”

EH responded the following day Their ref: FOI 13/1306

Thank you for your below email which Chris Brookes has passed to me for reply.  Having considered your request under the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 I can confirm that English Heritage does not have any record of a group called the Designation Strategy Group, or any similar name, meeting in November 2012.



On 9 April 2014 I submitted, via my solicitor, the following FOI which notes that I have been pursuing the information for some time. The information I have been seeking which was re-sent to EH on 27 March 2014. This request has been updated to reflect the information provided by EH during the hearing on Monday.

·         I had first requested the information  in October 2013 following Prof xxx visit to the battlefield.

·         The same information was also requested when I wrote to Dr Thurley on the 20 Sept 2013 where I expressed my frustration: “Please ensure that there is full disclosure as this unfortunate process is being protracted because I am having to identify and chase down the omissions in the information supplied.”


It might be of interest that I wrote to Dr Thurley, EH Chief Exec, on 7 Feb 2013

“During a meeting with your Designation Officer (North) I explained that I am working through the internal EH documents recently supplied and noted how disappointed I was to discover the ignorance of the facts about the Fulford case.  As a result I can now read how generalities, that do not address the Fulford evidence, have advised the designation process. There really must be a better process of internal debate and criticism if you choose to conduct these ‘debates’ internally. I have notified your designation officer that I have identified substantial new grounds for challenging the designation decision. I feel I have provided more than enough grounds to overturn the decision by asking that the available evidence is addressed. But if you need more then you will have to find a process to give me the time I need to go through all of the papers, and probably provide me with more information, as none of my team can find identify grounds to overturn the panel’s June view.”

I had already notified EH of the need to discover how and why they reached their decisions as it is not set out in any of the papers I have sent. See also letter on page 8 to Dr Thurley sent 20 Sept 2013.

First FOI to English Heritage

24th Dec 2012

Dear Sirs,

Freedom of Information request relating to EH’s Battle of Fulford designation decision (Nov 23rd 2012) and the Germany Beck planning application (Ref: 01/01315/OUT).

The two areas of interest intersect and must be dealt with together since the designation relied on information from the planning process that was known to be defective or incorrect.

Please provide the following information:

Matters relating to the designation process for the site of the battle of Fulford

1.       All agendas, minutes and notes relating to meetings of the designation board, designation committee or any other body that dealt with policy or details pertaining to the designation of battlefields  or the battlefield register since 2005 (The information about the battlefield panel has all been sourced online so is not needed).

2.       Notes of all meetings, tel calls or conversations related to the proposed designation of the battlesite at Fulford between EH and any other person or organisation during 2011 and 2012.

3.       Notes of all correspondence (letters and emails) related to the proposed designation of the battlesite at Fulford between EH and any other person or organisation during 2011 and 2012.

4.       All third party submissions received by EH related to EH’s Consultation Report on the Fulford battlesite (I obviously have a copy of my own response to the consultation but need to see the other documents).

5.       Copies of the rules governing the role of the designation officers and its advisory panels. I am especially keen to see if they are given any guidance about considering issues beyond the heritage itself.

6.       List of all bodies and individuals who were consulted about the proposed designation and the rules governing those who must be informed. (Is the process open to everybody to comment?)

Items relating to the role of English Heritage as a statutory consultee for the Germany Beck planning Application

1.       Correspondence (letters and emails) between English Heritage and  City of York Council (or York City Council) from 1996 and Selby District Council (prior to 1996).

2.       Notes and minutes of meetings between any EH officer and City of York Council and/or those acting on behalf of Persimmon Homes since 2001. 

3.       Any direction or mentions from English Heritage Commission about the battle of Fulford or battlefield designation decisions.

4.       Any direction or mentions from English Heritage Executive Board about the battle of Fulford or battlefield designation decisions.


I am unclear about whether I am able to publish the content of your letters. I am seeking to make all possible information available to facilitate the work of those who want to investigate the planning, and now the designation, process related to the battle of Fulford. This can be inspected at savefulford.org (and previously a part of the battleoffulford.org.uk site). Could you clarify the position or give me permission to publish your letters (but not those from 3rd parties). You will note that I redact contact information leaving only the content.

The battlesite has its own website fulfordbattle.com 

 I look forward to your full response within the timescale allowed by the regulations.


2 This was second FOI sent on 27 August, post review:

1. A response to previous requests for information under paragraphs 89-91 of the PAP namely:

a) Notes of all meetings between English Heritage officers and the Council (this is our second request).

b) Details of the meeting between Nick Bridgland and Paula Ware on 11 October 2011;

c) Details of whether any site visit took place between any member of the Designation Team and agents for the developers between the submission of the application to register on [DATE] and the decision being made.

2. Identification of Individuals

a) A diagram to help me understand the structure that has engaged the different people or departments (specifically Roger Bowdler, Emily Gee Nick Bridgland and Joe Flatman) and their roles within English Heritage as it relates to this decision.

b) Copies of any documents telling them to undertake the task in respect of the Fulford designation.

3. The Review Panel: Information and questions relating to the creation of the new review panel that decided not to review the Fulford designation decision.

a) Has this body ever met before?

b) Could I see documents relating to its role, organisation and constitution.

c) I also need to see the dates, agenda and minutes of any meetings held by the designation review committee.

4. Information about other designations

a) The papers relating to the designation of the battles of

I. Hastings,

II. Stamford Bridge and

III. Maldon.

b) I also need to see any files for battles before the start of the 12th century where it was decided that designation was investigated but rejected. This information is required so that I can understand in what way the information provided for the designation of Fulford allegedly fell short.

5. Mitigation conditions

a) I need copies of any recent correspondence between EH and the Local Planning Authority or the Developers

b) I need to see the detailed mitigation conditions on which English Heritage should be a statutory consultee



FOI request 4

First, I am still unable to identify who, when and especially why EH originally determined, some time very early in 2012 (late Jan or early Feb?), not to designate the battlesite of Fulford.  This led EH to advise the Battlefields Panel that they were not going to designate because of the planning situation; advice which their Panel ignored. The latter's meetings have been well documented, but there is no trace of a paper trail to identify how the initial advice not to designate was reached, and in the subsequent consultation in July 2012, the unpublished decision by EH not to designate is not reflected from the Advice Report produced by EH.

There must have been a meeting or process to produce a report that was consistent with the Panel’s view that the battlefield should be designated. (Details of meetings and contact with the other interested parties in my case, who were opposing designation, have been disclosed). Please supply details of the internal processes that led to the February advice to the Panel being reversed.

As well as pre-empting the decision of the Battlefields Panel in early 2012, sometime in Oct 2012 the decision was made to ignore their Panel, and not to designate the site. I have deduce the date from the fact that EH was telling the local planners that they believed the site might already have been added to the designation list about this time. This and other information point to a decisive meeting where it was decided not to designate. There is a trail of emails that you have sent me to show how the advice report is subsequently edited to try and justify the decision shortly before it was published but nowhere is a decision minuted or have any papers been seen to identify where this change of mind took place.
There are references in various EH internal emails to a DSG and a USG as the decisive body, but neither of these bodies have been identified by EH nor have any notes or minutes been provided which give any indication of the basis for the final decision not to designate. The advice report relies solely on opinions from those opposing the designation while ignoring much of the evidence for the site and the analysis presented by me that would contradict the opinions that are quoted. I need to see the paperwork for this debate.
Please provide me with the information so that I can identify those responsible and examine the rationale for their decision and if they were provided with a relevant and unbiased briefing.
If the decisions were made by an informal group who did not keep written records, then I need to know the names and the times of their meetings or conversations. Important decisions were made and there must be a record of these. It is possible that they were not a part of the formal destination structure within EH. During the hearing in Court on 7 April 2014, under examination by the Judge it was suggested that the Commission of EH actually made the decision – While this is unlikely the relevant briefing and minutes are required. (I note that the minutes are already published but much is redacted).

The second area where I need enlightenment relates to the Designation Review Group meeting in May 2013. The minutes refer to 'the evidence presented to them by EH staff' and I would like to see this advice.  This might have been in the form of a briefing or indeed a formal presentation by the EH officers present. The minutes are clear that had advice and I would like to read what they were told.

I note that the minutes of the May meeting of the DRC record many senior officers, including their legal advisor, were present at the meeting but the minutes do not record any contributions from them. To make the minutes credible I need to be reassured that these officers were passive observers and did not contribute during the two hour debate about Fulford that is minuted. If a sound recording was made of this meeting, I would like a copy.



20 Sept 2013

Dear Dr Thurley

I have received many documents which show your officers seeking to justify the opposition to designation of the Fulford battlesite within English Heritage but there is no indication of who made the decision, when it was made or why the decision was made. The documents only reveal how officers attempted to justify the decision. 

I have failed to identify any coherent decision process  among the many documents supplied by English Heritage apart from those from your Battlefields Panel, which recommended designating the Fulford battlesite.

But there are references to a Designation Strategy Group among the papers. My FOI request for information says your staff have failed to identify this group. Please can you tell me who they are and provide some details of their role. They are referenced in EH correspondence at critical time in the process. I also await my outstanding  FOI request to explain the meetings with, and the letters sent, to those who were opposing designation during the designation process. Please ensure that there is full disclosure as this unfortunate process is being protracted because I am having to identify and chase down the omissions in the information supplied. 

But, I repeat, I cannot identify the decision point or what the decision makers considered when reaching their decision. Who decided to tell the battlefields panel before the consultation process began that they considered Fulford that EH was not planning to designate the battlesite? And who decided to overturn the battlefield panels advice. Is it the Designation Strategy Group as your internal documents suggest?  Please can you investigate and provide me with some answers.



Related sites Facebook  Twitter (@ helpsavefulford)        Visiting Fulford        Map York

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

This site does not use any cookies - so nothing is knowingly installed on your computer when browsing