Judge rejects villagers’ appeal over battleground housing plan

CAMPAIGNERS have been urged to drop their long-running fight to prevent the building of homes on a suspected 11th century battle site in Yorkshire after a judge threw out their legal challenge.

A High Court judge has rejected Fulford Parish Council’s request for a judicial review of the decision to grant planning permission for more than 650 houses on the land known as Germany Beck on the edge of York.

The legal setback comes in the wake of the refusal by English Heritage to officially recognise the land as the site of the Battle of Fulford and has prompted calls for opponents of the housing development to end their campaign.

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But at a meeting Fulford Parish Council last night decided to ask the High Court for an oral hearing to make its case for a judicial review.

York Council leader James Alexander said: “A planning application for much needed new homes on Germany Beck was submitted as far back as 2001, permission was granted in 2005 and a public enquiry took place in 2007.

“Although there will be some who will always believe this development should not go ahead it makes sense for the community to work with developers in partnership to mitigate concerns they have rather than outright oppose new homes.”

English Heritage has said the area is the “most likely candidate” as the site for the Battle of Fulford in 1066 but has stopped short of adding it to the official Register of Historic Battlefields, which would have forced York Council to review the planning permission.

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In its application for a judicial review, Fulford Parish Council had argued the council should not have approved planning permission until English Heritage had reviewed its decision. It also complained that York Council had not properly assessed the flooding risk on the land among six grounds it said gave the parish council the right to a judicial review.

However, the judge said English Heritage had reviewed its decision, which it had left unchanged, and the parish council had not offered any legal grounds for a review.

Fulford councillor Keith Aspden said: “Residents in Fulford have ongoing concerns about the Germany Beck plans which have never been properly addressed by the developers or by City of York Council. The parish council’s actions were therefore supported by a large number of local people.”