Local planning authorities (LPAs) are required to maintain Historic Environment Records (HERs) and to have a planning archaeologist to advise them on heritage issues.
Heritage assets include buildings, monuments and sites and their settings, some of which may be protected by law (designated heritage assets) and others which, whilst not statutorily protected, will also require consideration (non-designated heritage assets).
Awareness of potential heritage issues prior to acquisition of a development site, even where the site is allocated in the local development framework requires expert advice.
A rapid appraisal by an archaeological advisor will highlight statutory constraints such as scheduled monuments or listed buildings, and other heritage issues that will need to be considered in development proposals. As well as designated heritage assets requiring specific treatment under NPPF, understanding the significance of non-designated heritage assets and in particular potential buried archaeological remains is key to early risk identification.
Pre-application consultation with the LPA planning archaeologist is recommended to confirm the requirements for any archaeological information to support a planning application. Usually a desk-based assessment (DBA) will be needed to identify known and potential archaeological and built heritage assets, their significance, and the extent to which the development proposal would affect them.
This will result in a heritage statement for inclusion as part of an environmental statement and/or a design and access statement. A heritage statement is usually required in order to allow validation of a planning application, even where historic environment effects have been ‘scoped out’ of any Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).