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Planning Court opens for business on Monday 7th April


The new Planning Court opened its doors yesterday to hear a renewed application for permission to apply for judicial review.

Ironically, the first case appeared not to fall into any of the specified categories of Planning Court claims. It was a renewed application for permission to judicially review English Heritage's decision not to add land to its Register of Historic Battlefields as the site of the Battle of Fulford, 1066. The Register is non-statutory, but registration has planning policy implications.
The Battle of Fulford was the first in a series of three Battles in 1066. The victory of the Norse army at Fulford led King Harold to march north to Stamford Bridge. Although King Harold was successful in defeating the Norse invasion, it is thought that this chain of events left the English army underprepared for the Norman invasion at Hastings just three weeks later. The sites of the Stamford Bridge and Hastings battles are already on the Register of Historic Battlefields, but the location of the Battle of Fulford has been the subject of much debate.

The current claim was brought by Mr Jones, an archaeologist who has been researching the Germany beck site for many years. His application to have the site added to the Register was turned down by English Heritage after a consultation process, because English Heritage did not consider the evidence to be sufficient to enable the site to be securely identified. The challenge rests primarily on the interpretation and application of English Heritage's guidance for battlefield registration.

Mr Justice Lindblom granted permission after a 2.5 hour hearing, finding it arguable that English Heritage had not correctly interpreted its own guidance as to the level of certainty/probability required in order to add a site to the Register. The substantive claim is due to be heard on 22nd May 2014.

Emma Dring represented English Heritage.