6 January 2006
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING ACT 1990 - SECTION 77
TOWN AND COUNTRY PLANNING (INQUIRIES PROCEDURE) RULES 2000
APPLICATIONS BY PERSIMMON HOMES AND HOGG THE BUILDERS FOR THE SITE AT GERMANY BACK, FULFORD, YORK
COYC PLANNING APPLICATION 04/1700/OUT
PLANNING INSPECTORATE REFS APP/C2741/V/05/1189879 & 1189885
STATEMENT OF CASE UNDER RULE 6
BY FULFORD BATTLEFIELD SOCIETY
This lists the issues the Fulford Battlefield Society plans to raise at the public enquiry. This statement outlines the argument that will be pursued. The details will be set out in the evidence-statement according to the enquiry timetable.
All information will be published on the society website as it is prepared. Much is already there. With archaeological work on some areas of the site is continuing so some information might emerge nearer the enquiry date and we reserve the right to introduce relevant discoveries at any stage. (www.battleoffulford.org.uk)
This statement has been coordinated with The Battlefield Trust, Fulford Parish Council and several individuals to ensure all areas are covered without too much overlap. The Battlefield Trust will set out national perspective of the battle at Fulford. The parish council are leading on the issues of traffic, flooding, environmental and community issues. These are all strongly supported by FBS as they are at the core of arguments relating to the suitability, advisability and relevance of the development proposed. We therefore reserve our right to contribute to these critical issues.
A strong objection is once again made:
To the inclusion of the Germany Beck enquiry alongside the Osbaldwick development where there is limited overlap of the key issues.
That this enquiry should be conducted before the necessary archaeological work and assessment has been undertaken.
Fulford Battlefield Society
The Society was formalised at the end of 2002 by a number of people who had been independently investigating the site for several years. During 2003 it was successful in its application for a Lottery Grant from the Local Heritage Initiative fund. This money has been used to expand the project and employ the necessary experts. Five years of work has yielded a substantial amount of data related to the battle although most of the site has yet to be studied because access has been denied on behalf of the developers.
Statement of case
a. A report of the work the community group has undertaken is due to be published in late April 06 which will make a strong, evidential case that Germany Beck is the core of the battlefield of 1066. However some analysis of the evidence will not be available for at least another year.
b. The nature of archaeological investigation on battlefields is new and the approach adopted at Fulford is pioneering. The type and relevance of the investigative approach required on battle sites will be explained with particular reference to the current review of battlefield archaeology by English Heritage.
c. The impact that the denial of access and refusal to allow the group to survey the core of the battlesite will be explained.
d. Details of the investigation that is still required on the site will be explained with reference to the work so far undertaken by the developers.
e. It will be argued that if this is suspected to be the site of the 1066 battle, any decision to disturb the area must observe the precautionary principle. The stronger the case, the greater the level of caution that must be exercised.
f. Burden of ‘proof’ is being placed on those opposing change. It will be argued that those proposing change should be obliged to undertake an exhaustive programme of scientific archaeology before any decision is made to disturb the site.
g. It will be demonstrated that there is extensive precedent where those who propose to disturb the status quo must shoulder the burden of investigation and demonstrate that their proposal will not do harm.
h. So long as reasonable suspicion is established, any proposal must mitigate against disrupting this important environment.
Nature of proof
i. The need, and methods, to establish the level of proof will be explored.
j. Scientific proof requires some absolute, testable and reproducible evidence.
k. The ‘criminal’ model of proof requires that a case is established beyond reasonable doubt.
l. The rule for civil cases rests on the balance of probability.
m. An appropriate forum to ‘try’ the evidence of the battlefield will be suggested and contrasted with the normal approach of ‘peer review’. This will be compared with the ‘evaluation’ that has been adopted by the developers and planning authorities.
n. The site sits between the Ings, most of which is designated as an SSSI, and an extensive green area including Heslington Common and Walmgate Stray. The fragility of this historic landscape will be explained with special reference to the ancient hedges.
o. The reasons will be set out to explain why the needs of conservation of the historic site and this vital ecological corridor are coincident.
p. The loss of ‘green belt’ land that is proposed is small, it should be considered highly significant until its potential importance has been fully investigated.
q. The archaeological evidence of ‘land height growth’ and its impact on future flooding will be explained.
Supervision and quality of work
r. There will be a detailed criticism of the documentation submitted by the developers. Omissions as well as errors will be highlighted.
s. The tautologous arguments employed to justify the destruction of the ‘green belt’ land will be discussed.
t. The impact on the supervision by different local authorities concerned will be explored.
u. Questions will be raised about the lack of any effective visual impact assessment with neither static nor dynamic imagery being provided. The loss of visual amenity cannot therefore be assessed by those who are likely to be affected.
v. There is no professional body to impose standards and discipline archaeological contractors. Need for quality control, supported by the field archaeologist’s professional body, will be explored.
w. The consequences of a reactive rather than an active role of investigation by the regulatory authorities will be explained and the limitation that this has upon the process of discovery.
x. The more general issues of legal accountability for the consequences of claims made in planning applications will be explored. Attempts will be made to establish who is going to shoulder responsibility for the duty of care owed to the public for any inaccurate, misleading or inadequate statements.
y. To enquire why nobody engaged as advisors or engaged in the decision making process availed themselves of any of the invitations to inspect or discuss the work in progress.
Potential of the site
z. This site has not been investigated by the developers or planning authorities to assess the economic, environmental or social potential of the site.
aa. Other battle sites attract substantial visitor numbers and Fulford is already served with car parking, public transport link and substantial public access.
bb. The value of the site as developed by a single large house builder has been assessed without any alternative development models being investigated. Alternative development models will be set out.
The impact of the proposed development on the Battlefield
cc. It will be demonstrated that the proposed access road to the development will permanently destroy the visual integrity of the battlefield.
dd. The development proposed would destroy future archaeological potential. We shall demonstrate that the application will cause serious and permanent damage.
ee. The importance of preserving this battlefield to create an educational and heritage resource of European significance will be argued with reference to similar sites.
ff. Contrast will be drawn between the approach taken along Germany Beck with the community approach adopted when investigating the archaeology on the Osbaldwick site.
gg. Examine the details of the community consultation conducted by the developers related to Germany Beck.
hh. Other large development sites around York will be used as a model to test the impact on the proposed junction and assess the longer term impact on the site.
The process of investigation and assessing the archaeology is defective in theory and practice. The aim of the society’s case is to question all aspects of the developer’s environmental case and its supervision.
Many of the documents supporting this case have already been submitted to COYC and are published on the website www.battleoffulford.org.uk.