Archaeological planning conditions explained

The Savills Blog

Archaeological planning conditions explained

This is the third in a short series of blogs explaining the role of archaeology in the planning process.

Consultants in Savills Heritage and Townscape team help clients navigate the various archaeological requirements involved during the course of a development and here we set out what can usually be expected when a planning application is approved subject to archaeological planning conditions.

But before that, here’s a reminder of the predetermination process covered in our earlier blog. In brief, all planning applications undergo a series of checks, including for the potential for archaeological remains to be present, in order to understand the risk that development might pose to those remains. This allows developers to plan ahead for the investigations that may be required as a result of any subsequent archaeological planning conditions.

Archaeological planning conditions

If, based on the evidence supplied as well as their own research, the county archaeologist determines that further archaeological investigations are needed on review of the planning application then they will provide the wording for an appropriate planning condition. Such conditions are usually along the same format and come in three parts, for example:

Condition 5:

(A) No demolition or development shall take place until an archaeological written scheme of investigation (WSI) has been submitted to and approved by the local planning authority in writing.

(B) No development shall take place other than in accordance with the written scheme of investigation approved under Condition 5(A) and any addenda to that WSI covering subsequent phases of mitigation.

(C) The development shall not be occupied or put into first use until the site investigation and post-investigation assessment has been completed in accordance with the programme set out in the archaeological written scheme of investigation.

Splitting the condition in this way will allow for partial discharge as each stage is completed. The wording will often vary and not all examples of archaeological conditions are staged meaning that all tasks must be completed before the condition can be discharged in full. An archaeological planning condition will always include three tasks: to write a written scheme of investigation (see our upcoming blog for more information on these), to undertake the archaeological investigations as set out in the WSI, and to provide the full post-investigation report to the county archaeologist.

Future blogs in this series will discuss the different types of archaeological investigations (including geophysical surveys, watching briefs, and trial trenching) and how they are applied through the development and planning process.


Further information

Contact Rachel Scrutton

Archaeology and the planning process

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