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Archaeological planning conditions

Scope, compliance and discharge

Image by Hulki Okan Tabak

In pricing this work, it is important to note that the costs of off-site works will necessarily depend on the nature and significances of the discoveries on site and it is commonplace for the costs of this stage of work to be adjusted accordingly.


The costs of storage of the finds and archive during the analysis phase and deposition charges levied by museums will also need to be considered; the latter in particular can be substantial.


Where heritage assets would be affected by development, planning consent is likely to be subject to a negative condition requiring the implementation of a scheme of archaeological investigation and recording approved by the LPA. 

This may include further stages of evaluation surveys, particularly if trial trenching has not been undertaken at the pre-consent stage; works to mitigate the loss of archaeological remains, such as a watching brief or excavation & mitigation; off-site analysis and publication of the results of the archaeological work; and deposition of the archive with a repository approved by the LPA (usually a local authority museum).


Again, the archaeological advisor will prepare a detailed design for the further evaluation and/or mitigation work in the form of a further Written Scheme of Investigation for approval by the planning archaeologist. This will include all stages of work that are required, both on and off site.

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It should also be noted that analysis and publication of the results of complex archaeological excavations can take longer than some development programmes to complete and, furthermore, government funding cutbacks mean there may be delays in museums accepting archives. LPAs will usually not discharge archaeological planning conditions until they are satisfied that both publication and deposition have been secured and funded, this is a common concern when development sites are sold on with extant conditions.

The usual approach is to provide written confirmation of the extent to which the approved scheme of work described in the WSI and secured under the condition has been completed and what work remains to allow full discharge of the relevant condition(s). Even where the archaeological condition has been discharged, completion of obligations regarding publication and deposition may be subject to enforcement action by the LPA.

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