Part C Undue process
1. The failure to follow the process set out in the Designation Selection Guide for battlefields.
The designation decision correctly lists the two principle and six other designation considerations. However, it subsequently introduces and comments on matters that are not listed as relevant. So I dispute the validity of the conclusion since the author has introduced irrelevant considerations. The proscribed process has not been followed.
a. I am recorded as the only consultee who responded appropriately to the consultation process. The designation report and its annex failed to note the corrections I made and ignored the new information or clarifications I supplied which was based on recent work. Indeed it made marginal changes to the annex for which I can read no justification. The changes, however, have the effect of countering the information that I supplied.
Given that none of the other consultees engaged with the process and commented on the evidence assessed in the consultation report, it is not possible to understand these changes or the omissions unless the changes had been made to fit the conclusion. This is not [how] the process of [consultation] is supposed to work.
b. Furthermore, the author of the Advice report follows completely new lines of supposed ‘evidence’ rather than dealing with the issues raised in their expert report. This is yet another example of the failure to deal with all the evidence presented.
The proper process must deal with the evidence that is presented. In the case assessed here, out-of-date and discredited information is relied on. The report’s author should have focused on what is known now and the information being presented now rather than relying on information collected 15 years ago and for the specific purpose of gaining planning permission that English Heritage and others have note was not suted to locate battlefields. The author should at least have attempted to test the old and the new information which their report fails to do but instead accepts one version and ignores the other.
c. There is no legitimate place in the designation process for consideration of the planning impact of any decision. The designation of the battlesite and placing Fulford on the Register of Battlefields is a process that is designed to be quite separate from the planning process. The former has its set of rules and the latter has another set of procedures.
The designation report might legitimately have noted that there was a planning application but should have noted that the applicants were applying for an extension because their permission was time-expired. A balanced approach should have expanded the discussion to note that such a significant heritage asset as a battlesite from 1066 must become a material consideration for any future planning decision.
Even the inspector whose report informed the planning decision, stated at the public inquiry that he would need to re-convene the inquiry should the site be designated before his report was published.
The role of English Heritage in this case was to assess the evidence and this they have failed to do. (See annex A) By introducing extraneous factors and misleading information, neither of which they have then carefully examined, the conclusion of their report cannot stand.
2. The decision takes into account significant irrelevant new considerations without any further consultation and lacks transparency with regard to representations made by all parties. No opportunity was given to view representations by other parties or to respond to those representations.
3. Fulford Parish Council owns significant portions of the land proposed for registration. They were not invited to respond to the consultation process and EH did not inform them about the designation process. As a landowner they have an interest and it is a significant flaw in the democratic process that they have not been asked to comment. The Parish Council has a keen interest in heritage and would have wished to respond.
4. I object to the lack of a proper appeal process. What is being offered here appears rather ad-hoc with a preliminary review procedure. Unless this is an open process with independent assessors there is every chance that the erroneous decision will stand – The history of the last decade has given too many examples when a closed ‘due process’ has been followed to prevent a proper review taking place. This does not appear to be a proper procedure to hold the designation officer at English Heritage to account. You should interpret my request to review your decision as a formal challenge to the decision taken.
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The author of the content is Charles Jones - firstname.lastname@example.org Last updated April 2015
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