City of York Council

2 February 2005

Germany Beck Proposal

Thank you for the advance notice of the provisional date for this application. This is much appreciated and I confirm that I would be grateful for a chance to put the case to conserve the battlefield at the meeting on Monday 7 March.

I have two questions:

1 I understand from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister that councils have been encouraged to introduce a conciliation procedure. Does such as scheme exist in York? I would welcome the chance to discuss the reasons why the would-be developers deny us access to the site for our research. I have submitted copies of the various letters that I have written to Persimmon over the years asking that we discuss access to investigate the land. I believe there could be a fruitful discussion if a suitable mediation scheme existed even at this late stage.

2 The same source (ODPM) informs me that grants and rewards are paid to planning authorities that work within certain planning guidelines. Could you tell me if COYC is expecting to receive any monies in this distribution and what impact, if any, further delay at Germany Beck will have on the Council’s performance figures?

If I am permitted to address the Planning meeting, I intend to question whether it is reasonable to expect the developers to keep their word and stick to agreements or obligations placed on them. I wanted to give advance notice of this serious charge to give a chance to confirm the facts for the elected officers.

Based on the previous behaviour by the developers and their agents, I question if it is advisable to rely on the proposed, archaeological mitigation strategy which will require the developer to do the necessary investigative work before commencing any building work. I would argue that the necessary investigative work must be carried out before any sort of planning permission is granted.

Because the battle site lies on the access road proposed, the archaeological investigation is fundamental to the design of the site. The former must be completed before any permission is granted. I note from the Land Registry that the land on the original access route adjacent to the golf course is still held by a property company.

When dealing with the unknown, such as the archaeology of 100 years ago, it is important that those undertaking any investigative work are committed to discovery. On the advice of legal council and the Planning Aid organisation, I seriously question if this situation could apply once the developer holds any sort of planning consent. I therefore challenge whether the developer can be relied to carry out the spirit of the instructions issued by the City of York Council based on their past performance which I detail below.

I raise these questions in the light of my bad experiences with the developers and their agents throughout the planning process.

It is sad that the developers have not been willing to cooperate. I believe it calls into question their suitability to be responsible for the conduct of any further research work related to the battle site investigation. With their cooperation, the work could have already been completed by the Lottery-funded team. I question their motives for refusing us access and have serious doubts about their suitability to undertake the specialist mitigation work proposed by the City Archaeologist.

I would be very grateful if you would make the members of the Committee aware of my misgivings as I will not have time to detail them on 7 March.

Yours sincerely