Recent correspondence with Persimmon directors (board and operational levels) - After they were not acknowledged I sent them recorded delivery.
I also sent them the copy of a letter from 2003 where I note that they never reply to my letters.
The arrogance displayed by Persimmon is disgraceful - I am asking them to explain why they have provided, and persisted in presenting, false information to the planning system, but they are confident that they are untouchable.
7 October 2014
Dear Ms Sears
On 22nd July I replied to a letter from a Persimmon employee, Robin McGinn, and asked him to draw the substance of my response to your attention, and asked himto confirm that he had done so. I have heard nothing so I am sending you a copy of that emailbecause it relates to Persimmon’s social responsibility which I suspect is part of your remit as Chair of the Corporate Responsibility Committee.
I have also contacted York City Council about the comments made in some unreferenced minutes that theypublished.I attach a copy of myrebuttal of the misleading information that Mr McGinn(referred to as Robin in the attached minutes) was providing to members of the Highway Authority and others. I have asked that those attending the meetings are also sent copies of my rebuttal but the City Planners responded by removing the minutes from their website. Please tell Mr McGinn to provide the Highway Authority and others at the meeting with balanced and accurate information.
As the director with responsibility for Persimmon’s community relations would you please investigate the motive for such misleading information and ensure that it is replaced with an accurate record. Public officials cannot make sound decisions if they are based on false and misleading information, and under our planning system, Persimmon is the source of the information upon which public officials rely.
The comments by Mr McGinnare only the latest example of misinformation about the archaeology, which is my special area of interest. The submissions I have made to the Council in response to the Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI), produced on behalf of Persimmon,provides many examples of what I am saying.I will attach a copy of my consultation response.
What I am reporting to you are matters of testable fact and I am shocked that your company should promote misinformation. I do not there want to be any chance that Persimmon can claim that they were not aware of what has been said on their behalf when the truth of this matter is finally exposed.
My fear is that repeating the false stories such as‘there is no evidence for the battle at Germany Beck’or claiming that there are other uninvestigatedlocations for the battle, you are trying to convince yourselves such falsehoods are true. In documents I had obtained from English Heritage they seem to be preparing to shed crocodile tears and recognise the site after it has been ‘denatured’ when the site is confirmed by the evidence.I will not allow English Heritage, Persimmon or York City pretend that they did not know they were destroying some important and irreplaceable heritage.
So I repeat my message. There was enough evidence of post-battle recycling to persuade the Royal Armouries to publish it, for the British Museum to ask me to present it, and an expert panel of English Heritage to recommend the site’s designation in February 2012.Papers on the battlefield finds have been presented at many international gatherings of archaeologists. It is simply wrong to claim, as Persimmon persists in doing, that there is no evidence. In a few days I will be revealing yet more physical evidence. The location of the battle site is beyond any reasonable doubt.
You will note within another document that I attach, English Heritage were only persuaded to withdraw their objection to the planned road in April 2005 when they were told by Persimmon that Germany Beck was probably a man-made ditch, created after the time of the battle, and therefore could not be the location of the battle. This was known to be nonsense at the time yet this misinformation persists in the WSI even though Persimmon have been asked to remove it by CYC. Because this false claim underpins the grant of the planning application, I can see why Persimmon are reluctant to remove it.
If the planning decisions had been based on the truth, I could have no objections. It is the misinformation and the refusal to undertake, or allow me to undertake, proper investigations that provokes me to mount such a strong challenge. I have redoubled my legal efforts to pursue those who are supposed to monitor your work to discover why they approved plans that they were knew was testable and wrong. While the High Court noted that English Heritage currently enjoy an absolute privilege in their judgements, nobody in the Court could have failed to note the scornful way they their arguments were received by the judge. I hope that I can persuade a higher court to force English Heritage to bring their arguments into line with the evidence.
I would like to invite you and your fellow directors to come and visit the site, inspect the impressive physical evidence,and see what your company is proposing to destroy.
1. Email to R McGinn July 2014
2. Emailed comments to CYC rebutting misinformation supplied by Persimmon’s officers
3. Paper with extracts of documents leading to the creation of a false story about the origin of Germany Beck
4. WSI consultation response listing many of the false claims and omissions in the archaeology as related to the identification of the battle of Fulford
By email 22 July 2014
Dear Mr McGinn
Had you been in Court you would have heard the Judge ask English Heritage if they would like to 'comment' on the way that had 'ignored, misrepresented and criticised the scholarship of Mr Jones'. The source of the false information presented by English Heritage to the Court was your archaeologist, Paula Ware, and John Oxley. Sadly, as the judgement notes, the case was not about evidence but the Judge was aware just how much misrepresentation has gone on.
I am appealing the judgement since it
confers on statutory bodies such as English Heritage the legal right to ignore
evidence and claim, as they did in Court, that they had no idea where the battle
was fought, even though the Judge pointed out that they have since 2003 made
numerous statements that they believe Germany Beck to be the site of the battle
of Fulford. It is wrong that statutory bodies should be legally entitled to
ignore that facts and I will challenge this all the way.
I do not contest the right of the
democratic authorities to decide to destroy a piece of our heritage - I do
contest their right to make such a decisions on the basis of the incorrect,
misleading and incomplete information that your firm has provided. I will
continue to challenge these many failures so that the decision can be made on
the basis of the facts.
We have uncovered more good evidence for
the battle during the on-going digs. I am preparing to challenge the shocking
cover-up of the evidence that the archaeological WSI represents by all the means
at my disposal. In case you have not seen my comments, I attach a copy and will
soon be sending a revised edition to cover version H of your WSI very soon. I
would especially refer you to 'project 1' as I will be extending what I say in
the light of the new material we have been recovering.
Sent by email 13 August 2014 and copied to Robin McGinn
All parties in this planning matters have accepted that Germany Beck is the most
likely location for this battle - This has been conveniently forgotten in the
decade since the planning application was submitted. It is worrying that a
new-comer to the planning process such as Robin McGinn should now be ignoring
what all parties used to accept as true, namely that Germany Beck was the likely
location of the battle of Fulford. (I will soon submit a 2006 letter from the
former head of Planning at CYC confirming this was the consensus shortly)
I also note in the opening remarks to the same published notes to which I refer
above that the plans being used are the ones submitted in 2004. If these are the
ones that are still current then the statements made by John Oxley that there is
no need for archaeology along the proposed road route is definitely wrong. I
have asked on a number of occasions for this matter to be clarified and repeat
my request here. I would also note with regards to these 2004 drawing that the
engineer who examined them on my behalf noted that they lacked key datums which
made it impossible to assess them.
Please will you clarify the matter of the route of the road as a matter of
urgency since it appears to contradict the claim that no archaeology is required
and does not include the works which I see has been specified in the pinch-point
I am still waiting to have my recent FOI acknowledged which should cover details of the access road and perhaps other such meeting which are being misinformed.
From Chas Jones
15 Oct. 14
Subject Failure to acknowledge document that have been sent
To whom it may concern
I originally submitted the attached letter to Persimmon by email along with a number of attachments. I asked for their receipt to be acknowledged.
I have heard nothing, which is ironic as my letter deals with the failure of Persimmon to answer questions.
I am sending this copy of the covering letter as a recorded delivery to ensure that you have received a copy. I would be happy to provide the attachments to which the letter makes reference if you provide me with an email address.
Please be aware that I am writing similar letters to English Heritage Commissioners and management, plus the City Council executive and elected members which list the wrong and misleading information that their organisation has provided to enable the potential destruction of a piece of irreplaceable heritage that is of the highest importance. Before the end of the year I intend to print a selection of documents, including this letter, and provide a dossier to the media as a matter of public record. I do not want you to be able to claim that you were unaware of the misinformation your firm has provided in order to achieve their purpose.
17 November 2014
Dear Ms Sears
I am disappointed to have heard nothing in response to the several matters I have raised with your firm in the last 6 weeks. However, events move on and I need to write again to raise fresh issues with Persimmon.
I have made a second, formal complaint reporting failures by Persimmon’s agents to comply with the conditions set out in the WSI for condition 12 of the Germany Beck application. The WSI represents a legal undertaking to do certain work in a way that has been agreed. Notwithstanding my well documented objections to the WSI itself,please will you ensure that your contractors at least fulfil the minimal work-schema that have been agreed while we await the court’s hearing.
I will provide statistics to York planners to indicate the rate of finds they should expect since this will provide a way to quality control the work you are undertaking and check that their methods are up to standard. In the small blocks we investigated, a significant number of metal-working tools and part-made weapons were found when we scanned the surface a decade ago.Rather than waiting for the investigation of my complaints, please instruct the contractor to prepare a remedial plan to redo the work if they know it to be defective.
I have also submitted a claim for the disclosure of the original archaeological information from Persimmon that I have noted in various submissions was inconsistent with my own findings. I attach a copy of my request and would ask you to expedite the provision of this information. Since you are relying on the openness of your records to defend your position in my legal case about the WSI, the prompt supply of this information will be a test of the defence you have provided.
In contrast with the secretive way that Persimmon are undertaking the work at Germany Beck, on Saturday I was able to visit another Fulford site being excavated by archaeologists who made it clear that, within the limits of safety, they would be happy to have visitors at any time. All the finds were available for inspection. Will Persimmon review the restrictions that they have placed on my access to the site?
I attach three documents. The first is a response I sent to address the misleading comments made by Mr Simon Usher to the local Press: I hope he has received the documents I sent to allow him to update himself including the Royal Armouries article. The second is a historic document which voices my complaints against Persimmon which have not changed in the last decade: Namely, your promulgation of false information, your failure to cooperate and the arrogant way that Persimmon feels no need to reply to criticisms. Finally, there is a copy of my disclosure claim.
Just as in 2003, I am now going to put our correspondence into the public domain. It is just not acceptable that you feel able to ignore the rules and not to be held to account.
Request for archaeological information under IFA rules sent by email
Sent 11 November 2014
To whom it may concern at MAP and
I also hope to discover what became of
the assemblage of iron that was collected by YMDC and given to MAP after I had
assessed it since it contained at least one hearth bottom. I would hope to
discover if further metal detecting was done so that I can assess the adequacy
of any further WSI in this area as no information on metal finds has been
published among the planning papers while I have published detail of the
extensive and important finds from this area.
Text of letter sent to ‘the Press’ and copied to Simon Usher with references
10 November 2014
I am more than happy to answer Simon Usher’s question about the importance of the latest evidence for the battle of Fulford. (‘Fresh bid to safe Fulford battlesite’ 6 November 2014) I told a packed meeting at the Guildhall a few weeks ago that three separate archaeological techniques gave dates for the latest iron finds that spanned 1066.
What was even more exciting is that these new finds can be linked to the post-battle metal recycling that we announced ten years ago. Sadly Persimmon blocked further work on these unique sites. We can now be certain that the many hearths located along Germany Beck also come from the time of the battle.
But Persimmon should have read about the way metal was recycled after the battle of Fulford in a number of publications or in documents I have submitted to the planners. The recycling we have found at Fulford might explain why Hastings and Stamford Bridge have not produced any weapon finds – the winners appear to have done a very thorough job of clearing up. Iron was a valuable commodity.
I have a few questions of my own for Persimmon. For example, why have they continued to tell the planners that there is no evidence for the battle when so much has been found and published, for example, by the Royal Armouries?The latest finds are discussed in this month’s Battlefields Trust magazine.
So I will send Persimmon a copy of the recent illustrated talk to ensure they have a copy. I hope they will acknowledge receipt as they have failed to answer any of the correspondence I have sent in the last year.
It is shocking that we are planning to cover-up a decade of failures and destroy this exceptional piece of our heritage that is on public land for all to enjoy. It is because the planners and Persimmon are ignoring the evidence I have been forced to take my case to court to save this irreplaceable asset.
PS The headline for the article is wrong – My fight is to save the heritage and not to block the housing – I used to work for Shelter and have regularly volunteered with Crisis at Christmas.
Your ref MRC/ce/2449
30 October 2003
Further to my letter of 6 October, I really would appreciate a reply. Yesterday I attended a meeting one of City of York Council’s Scrutiny Boards. One of those reporting to the meeting encouraged people investigating the historic environment to talk to developers who, it was said, should normally be willing to co-operate.
As you are aware, I have been attempting to do this for several years but continue to be frustrated by your failure to answer correspondence or enter a debate.
You may not be aware of certain recent developments:
· When we discovered that more investigatory work was being undertaken we approached your archaeologists and have co-operated with them. Why did you not inform us before as we can offer you expertise and resources?
· I challenged your archaeologist, in front of witnesses, to withdraw the claim in your recent planning application that casts doubt on the existence of a battlefield at Fulford. I was pleased and relieved that she did not associate herself with this ridiculous claim. As your application makes a false statement I ask you, again, to withdraw it until this mistake it is corrected.
· The investigation of the battlefield now enjoys the support of all the relevant authorities. There is a real risk that this will be resolved as a national rather than a local issue. I was able to introduce Dr Paul Stamper of English Heritage to one of your field investigators last Friday when he visited the site.
I concluded my last letter with the statement that the community needs both housing and heritage. I would be sad if we are forced by your intransigence to choose either one or the other. Working together we could investigate and develop this historic site in a way that does it justice.
I feel the time has come to publish this one-sided correspondence. If you have not entered into meaningful discussion by the end of November, I will contact the media and also attempt to test the legality of several aspects of your actions and applications.
CC email Cllr C M Hogg, CoYC, Scrutiny Board
Clr K Aspden, CoYC:
Clr S Kenwright FPC
Hannah Jones, Development Control Officer
This is a copy of an internal English Heritage document- What it says is shocking.
English Heritage Doc Ref BP2012/3/E dated 2 Feb 2012
5.1 On the grounds of probability Germany Beck appears to be the most likelylocation for the battle. Jones' interpretation of the course of the battle is plausibleand is the best fit for the surviving evidence.
5.2 In relation to the forthcoming Selection Guide, it is clear that the Battle of Fulford is ofsufficient historical importance for inclusion in the Register. On the basis of probability,Germany Beck can be identified as the location of the Battle of Fulford and on the basis of Jones' interpretation, a reasonable boundary could be identified focusing on the line of the Germany Beck. It is worth noting that the combination of evidence and reasoning here differs little from that used to determine the location of the registered Battle of Maldon.
5.3 Inclusion in the Register is not obligatory. To include Fulford in the Register at this stage would raise the temperature of discussions regarding the detailed planning application. Following forthcoming development of the site, the site would be very unlikely to merit inclusion in the Register.
5.4 Given the planning history of this site, EH is currently considering responding to the request to Register with advice which recognises that Germany Beck is likely to be the location of the Battle, but that, given the planning situation, refrains from adding the site to the Register.
This is a slide from a presentation I gave in York Guildhall on 8 October 2014.
Related sites Facebook Twitter (@ helpsavefulford) Visiting Fulford Map York
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