Planning & Development
In 2012, the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was introduced. This planning guidance set out the policies and principles for the conservation of the Historic Environment during planning and development.
Due to this, many planning applications now have archaeological conditions that need to be addressed for the application to be accepted.
Chris Butler Archaeological Services Limited offer a full range of services in connection with the archaeological requirements of planning and development. For more details on what your application may entail, please continue to the below services.
If you require further information on this process in general or would you like to request a quote, please do not hesitate to contact us.
If you require a quote, please include as much detail as possible into your enquiry.
Planning applications now require a Heritage Statement. This document is used to understand the potential impact of the proposed works on any heritage assets that could be affected and must be prepared by someone with the appropriate expertise and knowledge. These requirements are outlined in planning guidance PPS5.
For more information, please click here.
At CBAS, we can produce a Heritage Statement, at the appropriate level, to accompany your planning application.
Our specialists have the necessary expertise, and access to a full range of resources, to assess the impact of the proposed development on any heritage assets that might be affected.
Desk Based Assessment
A full desk based assessment (DBA) may be required where it is judged that there is potential for the presence of heritage assets of archaeological interest. A DBA can be the first stage of the archaeological process and is often required at the start of a planning application.
A desk based assessment shows research and analysis of the known and potential archaeology of a site and its immediate surroundings. It will include a critical look at any past impacts on the site , such as earlier development, to establish whether the proposed development is likely to damage or destroy any archaeology.
A DBA will require an inspection of the Historic Environment Records for the site and its immediate surroundings. Published archaeological reports and historical records will also be consulted, whilst any estate maps, tithe maps and Ordnance Survey maps will be inspected. If aerial photographs are available, these will also be consulted as they may often reveal buried features.
Lastly, a DBA will include a site visit. This is to establish whether there are any visible remains and to see the site in its landscape setting, aiding in any items that may be missed in the above searches.
At CBAS, we have access to all the records required to undertake this research, either within our own library of national, regional and local sources, or through the County Records Offices and Libraries that we work with. Our specialists can produce high quality and thorough DBAs to meet the requirements of the planning authorities.
Often the most effective way of establishing whether there is archaeology present on a development site is to excavate some evaluation trenches, sometimes in association with other exploratory techniques such as geophysics and fieldwalking.
The timescale of an evaluation goes as follows. First, a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) is required by the County Archaeologist as a brief for the work that will be done of site by our archaeologists. Once this is approved, the fieldwork can commence. Any artefacts recovered will then need to be processed and assessed, and finally a report will be written on the results which will then be sent to the planning authority.
Evaluation trenches are normally excavated using a mechanical excavator with a flat-bladed bucket under archaeological supervision, which carefully removes spits of soil until archaeological remains or the natural geology is reached. Any archaeological remains uncovered are sampled and recorded so that their character, dating and function can be determined. This will allow the County Archaeologist, advising the planners, to determine what further mitigation work, if any, will be required prior to development commencing.
If further works are required then the importance of the remains found on site will decide how the planning will proceed from that point on. If the finds are of high importance, a full excavation may be required, or a redesign of the development may be necessary so that the application is not refused. If the remains are of low importance, a watching brief may instead be required during the development and it can continue as planned (see below for details on both of these options).
Whether large or small scale, CBAS can undertake evaluation excavations efficiently and economically, providing quick results and advice on how to mitigate any archaeological remains discovered. (Note: if archaeological remains are discovered there will often need to be further excavation work required prior to any development taking place).
A watching brief is used to monitor development work whilst it is already underway.
A qualified archaeologist needs to be present on site during the groundworks, and will monitor the excavations to ensure that any archaeological remains and artefacts are recorded. Due to the methodology employed, this may cause some minor delays to the excavation, but we will work with the groundworkers to ensure that any delay is kept to a minimum.
The timescale of a watching brief goes as follows. First, a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) is required by the County Archaeologist as a brief for the work that will be done of site by our archaeologists. Once this is approved, the fieldwork can commence. Any artefacts recovered will then need to be processed and assessed, and finally a report will be written on the results which will then be sent to the planning authority.
CBAS has many years experience in providing watching briefs during development. We can provide an experienced and qualified archaeologist on site during the watching brief, with appropriate back up resources in the event of archaeological remains being discovered. We pride ourselves in working with on-site contractors to minimise delays and keep development moving as planned wherever possible.
Occasionally important archaeological remains may be revealed by preliminary work, and although this may not stop your development, the remains may need to be fully excavated and recorded before the development can commence.
The full scale of the excavation and what is required will need to be done on a site by site basis and discussed with the County Archaeologist.
CBAS has many years of experience in developing and agreeing appropriate plans for excavations with the County Archaeologist. We pride ourselves in undertaking excavations that are cost-effective for our clients and time efficient so that their developments can continue as planned.