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What use politicians
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Distributed when the May 2015 election was announced

What’s the point of politicians?


They can’t even enforce the law and save a proven battlesite of 1066.

By the time a new government takes office, it is probable that officers and officials will have removed the final obstacles to the destruction of the one battlesite of 1066 whose location has been proven by archaeology. This timing will suit all of the main political parties who have shamefully ignored the facts. Instead, they have accepted a muddle of opinion backed by false or misleading data in order to avoid the need for a debate.

The destruction should be a fait accompli by the time the national and local politicians reassemble so that they can move onto their blame-game.It is the privilege and responsibility we give our politicians to make difficult decisions where, for example, heritage and housing conflict. But at Fulford they have chosen to ignore the evidence in order to pretend that there is such a conflict.

The battle of Fulford was the first of the three battles in the autumn of 1066. Fulford is not as well-known as Stamford Bridge or Hastings but it was the Viking invasion and victory at Fulford that drew King Harold north. Tidal flooding quickly buried and preserved the battle evidence at Fulford. The access road will bury the 300 metre ditch where the battle was fought and where so much evidence from the time of the battle has been found.They are still struggling, in spite of a £1.9million grant from the DfT, to prevent this road being cut off by the regular flood where 600 houses are now planned, ignoring the warning of King Cnut about the power of water.

The election provides an opportunity to scrutinise the performance of our politicians who have stubbornly avoided addressing the evidence. Our national and local politicians have avoided any debate by choosing to believe a ‘story’ that the glacial ditch across which the battle was foughtwas in fact a man-made construction from the 13th century.We now have an opportunity to ask them what use are they if they evade debate and do not oblige experts and officials to obey the rules.

Chas Jones, who has led the various investigations, has a few questions for our politicians:“Do they not believe they should obey the rules that they have created? Are our politiciansimpotent or powerless when confronted by well-funded lobbies? Are they simply careless about our heritage and the economic benefit heritage brings to cities such as York? Are they incompetent and unable to deal with technical issues? What is the point of politicians if they just avoid difficult debates?”

Our national and local politicians cannot claim to be ignorant that the site of the battle is known. I wrote to all the party leaders 18 months ago. For several years the key government departments have failed to answer my questions or provide requested information. I have posteda copy of a letter sent to the Cabinet Secretary asking him to encourage the SoS for Communities, the Minister of Transport and the Minster responsible for our heritage to answer the question they had evaded. I also wrote to every outgoing York city councillor to ensure that they were aware of the evidence which contradicted what they had been told.

Sadly, the Courts have recently stated that while I might be right, our politicians and bodies such as English Heritage, have an incontestable right to decide such matters. This right is not constrained by evidence or the regulations that are designed to protect our heritage.

“It seems that local and national government have not learned the lessons from recent public inquiries since they are pressing on with a plan where there is clear evidence of serious mistakes. This example of wilful blindness displayed by politicians, who concentrate on the process  while ignoring the evidence, calls into question the relevance of politicians,” concluded Chas Jones who has led the 15 year project to discover the forgotten battle of 1066.


The documents referenced are all published on savefulford.org.

All the main parties are implicated:

·         It was a LibDem council who first approved the plan

·         It was a Labour minister who granted planning permission in 2007.

·         The Coalition ministers have provided funds to rescue a bad plan.

I note that on 16 April 2015 Persimmon were briefing the media again about the way planners were slowing down house building (as reported on the Radio4 Today programme.) Delays are entirely a matter for the developer, Persimmon, who failed to bring forward the so-called ‘reserved matters’ until last year, when the permission was time expired.

Ironically, Persimmon PLC have their national headquarters in Fulford and I would be happy to supply the letters I have sent to their directors asking them to look at the facts and the way they had supplied opinions that were contradicted by scientific archaeology.

The Coalition recently granted £1.9 million to unblock the application which had the access junction at a place where it regularly floods under their ‘pinch-point’ fund .

The evidence for the battle can be inspected on the fulfordbattle.com website. This evidence has been presented at many international conferences, including the British Museum, presented and published at the Royal Armouries. The archaeological work was funded by a maximum grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund which was completed and announced before any planning application was submitted in 2004.

English Heritage invited me to apply to have the site designated but then briefed their panel of experts that they were not going to designate because of the planning situation and because they did not want to ‘raise the temperature’ of the planning debate. Happily, the independent experts ignored them and EH were forced to go through the process before deciding that once the site had been destroyed they would recognise, but not designate the site. The High Court, with some evident regret, agreed that EH were allowed to interpret their rules however they wanted.

Full information of letters sent and FOI documents discovered can be found on the savefulford.org website.

 April 2015

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

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