Specialists in Archaeology and the Historic Environment since 1992

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Frequently Asked Questions

The historic environment, including archaeology, historic buildings and historic landscapes, forms a material consideration in the planning process for all forms of development in Britain.

Our frequently asked questions will help you to understand the planning authority's requirements, and what the Heritage Network can do to satisfy them.

Question: How do I find out if archaeology will be an issue for my development?

A JCB excavator digging an archaeological trench

Answer: Areas of archaeological significance are defined in the Local Development Framework (LDF). Historic buildings, archaeological sites and find spots are recorded on the local Historic Environment Record (HER). Planners may take an interest in any development which could disturb or destroy "Heritage Assets", so early consultation with the LPA's archaeological adviser is always a good idea.

The Heritage Network can make these initial contacts for you, and advise you on the best course of action to meet your particular development needs.

Question: The planning authority has asked for more information about the impact of my development on local "Heritage Assets", before they will register my application. What information do they need?

Two archaeologists excavating a gravesite

Answer: The information must include an overview of the known and potential 'Heritage Assets' on and near to the site, and an assessment of the impact of the development on their survival and setting. This will involve desk-based research, and may also involve field investigation.

The Heritage Network can produce a report that will meet the planners' requirements, and will support an Environmental Impact Assessment, where required.

Question: My planning consent has been granted but it includes conditions which ask for archaeological investigation or historic building recording. What do I need to do to discharge these conditions?

The front entrance of an historic listed building

Answer: The conditions will have been attached on the advice of the planning authority Archaeologist or Conservation Officer, who will specify the work that is required to meet them.

The least disruptive form of investigation is a Watching Brief, involving the monitoring of groundworks or the opening up of building interiors. This approach is often used where the risk that the building works will have an impact on significant "Heritage Assets" is moderate. On higher impact developments, a staged investigation may be necessary, the results of each stage guiding the extent of any further work. On historic buildings, an analytical building record may be required; where extensive groundworks are involved, the stages could include trial trenching, and open-area excavation of the development footprint.

A successful project relies on excellent planning and communication. The Heritage Network can ensure that the archaeological requirements of the planning authority are fully integrated into your programme and can minimise any disruption that is caused.

If you have further questions or want to discuss any aspect of the services we provide, please don't hesitate to contact us.