Judicial review over ‘battlefield’ site thrown out

Historian Chas Jones walking along  the 'shield wall'  on the  battlefield of the Battle of Fulford
Historian Chas Jones walking along the 'shield wall' on the battlefield of the Battle of Fulford
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a PARISH council’s request for a judicial review over plans to build hundreds of homes on land thought to be the site of a key battlefield in English history has been thrown out.

A protracted debate spanning more than three decades has centred on land earmarked for a 657-home development on the edge of York, which opponents maintain is the site of the Battle of Fulford in 1066.

The conflict in North Yorkshire is seen as a key episode by historians as it had a huge impact on the Battle of Hastings and William the Conqueror ultimately being crowned King of England.

If the land had been added to the official Register of Historic Battlefields, planning permission for the Germany Beck housing development, which was approved by the Government in 2007 following a public inquiry, would have had to have been reviewed.

But a request by Fulford Parish Council for a judicial review over the scheme to build hundreds of new homes has been rejected by the High Court in Leeds.

The Yorkshire Post has reported how members of the Fulford Battlefield Society, who are staunchly opposed to the housing scheme, have claimed the planning fight has been mired in misleading information presented by one of the UK’s biggest developers, York-based Persimmon Homes.

Historian Chas Jones, who formed the society, launched legal proceedings against English Heritage for a judicial review to be held in London’s High Court and says a hearing could be held soon.

He has vowed to continue fighting the proposals and told the Yorkshire Post: “My understanding is that this could go forward to appeal.

“It would completely and totally destroy the site if these homes are built.

“I have taken thousands of people around the site and said you are standing on the place where your ancestors stood in 1066. And it is almost unaltered because it is a flood area.

“I’m a Yorkshireman and I will fight on. I will keep on fighting.”

Mike Slater, assistant director 
of city and environmental services at York Council, confirmed the parish council’s request for a 
judicial review of the Germany Beck application had been rejected.

He said the judge sitting at the High Court in Leeds held there were “insufficient grounds” for a full investigation at a judicial review hearing.

The decision supported the council’s planning process, in 
relation to the decision made 
by its planning committee to 
approve the detailed scheme 
for residential development in April.

“This also further supports that all views and issues raised by the local community were taken into consideration at this time,” he said.

“The council’s decision-making process regarding the reserved matters application at Germany Beck has been closely scrutinised by the High Court and we are pleased with the outcome.

“We will now have to wait to see if Fulford Parish Council decide to pursue the matter to the Court of Appeal.”

The national register already lists 43 battlefields including Stamford Bridge and Towton in North Yorkshire, as well as Hastings in East Sussex and Bosworth Field in Leicestershire.