A19 in Flood
Questions for CYC
Finding Fulford report
Maps of battle of Fulford 1066
York City Planning documents online
The Final Report
Kindle edition of Finding Fulford is now available
The Fulford Tapestry
My side of correspondence is published here to provided a public record.
I think they illustrate the distain and disrespect that is shown to those who raise
Eventually, and after warning the developers, I published this summary
which was submitted to the planning authorities. I asked them
to help to arbitrate with the developers or to force them to enter into
discussions as the planning rules obligate them to do. Unfortunately I did not get any response from
the City planners or elected officials to whom I turned. The failure of the
developers and the city planners to do their jobs in respect of the
archaeology is reprehensible. But both parties have been allowed to get
away with it.
- First letter drawing the
planners attention to the battle December 2000
- The planning papers were deposited by the developers on 13th December
giving the customary 14 days for objections to be lodged. So it was a
- Letter to local councillor January 01
- Reporting difficulties in getting information from developers and city
council and asking for their help to correct mistakes.
- Questioning the accuracy of the claims made about impact
of roads Jan 02
- The document was withdrawn and replaced with a bland and vague
document. Alarmingly, by avoiding the awkward details, the revised plan
- However, the relevant officer explained when this came for
consideration that the road was already working at over 100% capacity
and the planning rules say that adding vehicles to a road that is full
has no impact. He also pointed out that the Highway Authority who are
responsible for the nearby ring road would demand that the city improve
the A19 when traffic backed up to the exit ramp. Sadly his wise warning
and comments of this experienced officer on the eccentricity of the
planning rules were ignored.
- Letter of June 01 to planning officers
- I list the defects in the traffic report that tries to justify the acceptability
of the access road.
- Head of planning committee July 01
- The committee required the developers to work with me and do some relevant
- We made a plan, which they ignored and 'did the work' while I was
- Letters to chief executive about access to
data and planning gain January 02
- I have not yet seen the ‘planning gains’ nor did I get access to the
documents until I involved the local Ombudsman. Happily, the advent the
impending Freedom of Information Act improved the situation and it was
subsequently not quite so hard to obtain information.
- Once limited access was eventually
gained to one report I noted it did not support the claims made. The traffic
study was withdrawn and replaced with the current, vague statement. This was
the basis for the eventual approval of the road.
- Letter of August 02 to planning officers
- Already raising the accuracy of information contained in the planning
application. Ironically, during the process two documents were withdrawn and replaced with ones that
many respects worse in the questionable way they interpreted the data. It also
asks for access to the source data - finally at the Public Inquiry the
inspector was told that the model is commercially confidential and too
complex. So we can't know the basis on which decisions are made.
- I wrote to say the Old Peoples' Home
was metres away from the planned access road.
- The letter was ignored but a decade later the home was abandoned. My
letter of 2002 suggested that the developers should pay for this.
- Letter to developers when planning
application is submitted May 03
- List of questions for legal advisors
(pro bono) July 03
- The COYC solicitor was approached and was of the opinion that there were
few constraints on developers to be accurate in their interpretation or
presentation of the data although they declined to give anything in writing
and only replied when pursued on the phone. This has been confirmed by other legal opinions.
The view was that we had an expectation but there was no legal
sanction if the planning officers failed to do their job.
- Parliamentary Question 17 Sept
- Letter to planners details
objections to new submission October 03
- Raises the extraordinary claims about the battle contained in the
re-submitted application and lists the previous statements that contradict
the claim now made in the application. The developers had evidently
recognised that complete denial about the battle was the only way and
the planning system, from the officers to the Secretary of State have connived
- Peer review of some reports February 04
- The expert opinion of Glenn Foard, who remains one of the preeminent
experts on battlefield archaeology in the world, is very critical of the methods and interpretation set
out by the developers. His words are measured but in fact the work provided
by the developers fell well short of what should have been acceptable to
- But here we encounter one big problem with the planning system - It
is only the developers papers that get read by those making the
decisions. Why are the objections filtered through officials?
- Letter to land agents in Feb 04 when permission
is withdrawn to metal detect
- I suspect at this stage the real threat to the planning application
was appreciated by the location of the battle since we had recently disclosed
- Following the disclosure, not only was permission withdrawn but the
area of the largest metal-working site was brought into the 'red line'
or the planning application area and designated a community wood: So not
only was the area now 'off limits' to our work but it would not have to
be surveyed archeologically since woods are not built on. What a
clever ploy to frustrate the battlefield research.
- Letter of 10 March 04 to Planning Officer
- This letter raises serious objections to the behaviour of the developers
- For legal reasons this has been redacted. Developers play rough and
plan to win, so be warned.
- The planners ignored my letter.
- Report April 04 by city archaeologist
- Reviews the evidence and proposes further research before full permission
is granted. However, it does approve granting of outline permission.
- Comments by English Heritage May 04
- '...your authority may still be minded to conclude that on the balance of
probability it has a significance as the most likely site of this
- This letter was pivotal in the Public Inquiry where the preceding
phrase was often quoted out of context. This is what the letter
- "..while the available evidence is insufficient to allow the inclusion of the
site on the Register of Battlefields, your authority may still be minded to
conclude that on the balance of probability it has a significance as the most
likely site of this important event."
- Is this sloppy thinking or dishonest manipulation?
- At the time of writing (April 2012) English Heritage are assessing
Fulford for inclusion in the Register of Battlefields.
- Letter of July 04 to head of Planning
- I ask for help to break the deadlock as the developers were not
communicating and, through the landowners, now denying us access to the land for
- We had made the developers aware of the promising information that was
emerging - and this led immediately to the land-owners withdrawing their
- The complete failure, yet again, of either the officers or the elected
officials to take any action to force a proper investigation shames them
- What harm could come from require the developers to cooperate in
allowing access to the land so that the investigation could
- It didn't help that a senior official of COYC confided about this time
that they admired the way I persisted in spite of the fact that they
ignored everything I requested.
- Another request in November 04 for permission
to work on the land and previous letters are attached
request were made for
also tell them that I observed people 'lamping' on the site. This is a
technique of hunting at night. Around this time the hares (including one
spectacular black hare), vanished. I also had reports at this time of
people working the beck with ferrets and, sure enough, I did not see
much evidence for water voles until 2009.
- Letter of 2 February 05 to COYC
- Asking if there is a conciliation process and documenting the instances
where the developers and their agents do not seem to have acted in a way
conducive to discovering the truth about the location of the battle.
- None of the issues raised made it into the briefing given to the
planners as I discovered when the papers were made available prior to
the public inquiry.
- In fact my review of all of the letters of objection and the response
of the planning officials indicates a contempt for our contribution to
the planning process.
- Response from Battlefield Trust to revised
landscape report April 05
- Identifies the continuing failure to undertake the necessary,
relevant work on the site.
- This is another damming criticism by experts in the field on the
quality of the work being undertaken.
- It should not be acceptable in a city that prides itself on its
archaeological inheritance and a city that has full-time advice available
to it that such sloppy work should be allowed to form the basis of any
decision without being set alongside this cogent criticism.
- Response from Battlefield Society to revised
landscape report April 05
- Highlights many errors of fact and interpretation in the developers
- Again, I have to question how it can be acceptable for false
information to be allowed to go forward for consideration.
- Statement of case January 2006
- This lists the bullet points of challenge to be raised at the public
- Secretary of state correspondence
- I wrote immediately after the inquiry ended to point out how unfair
the system is.
- After writing to the Cabinet Secretary complaining that my letters had
gone unanswered i receive a reply.
- The letter was bland reassurance that they system is well structured
to ensure everybody gets fairly treated to which i respond '....what I have been saying is that they do not
stand up to the reality test. '
- The public planning inquiry system utterly fails any sensible test of
just and fair treatment. One witness even collapsed and died after
completing their evidence - it was made extremely stressful and the
treatment I received was humiliating. The inspector did nothing to help
in spite of many requests
- March 2013 "So you cannot claim that you are an
independent and unbiased administrator of the planning process. So my
challenge about the democratic legitimacy of
the process you are conducting remains."
If you want to understand a bit about the insane rules under which
planning operates then read my letter
published in the local press. It describes two incidents when the inspector
ignored reality because it was contrary to the official view.
The Minister has determined that the battlefield will provide the access road
to this housing development. There is a news
release. Efforts must now be devoted to ensuring that the rest of the
site as well as the exciting finds we have made are properly investigated before
the site is destroyed.