Archaeology, Heritage & Conservation

Archaeology and the National Planning Policy Framework

The value of archaeology in creating a sense of place and local character is recognised in the National Planning Policy Framework (link opens in new window) ( NPPF), as is its value in contributing to our understanding of the past.

When a planning application is submitted that will affect archaeological remains it must include a description of the significance of the heritage asset with archaeological interest as required by paragraph 128 of the NPPF. In Central Bedfordshire we do not ask for all planning applications to include this information, so if in doubt please contact the Archaeology Team  on 0300 300 6603 or 0300 300 6029 to see if this is required.

If a description of significance is required it should form part of an archaeological Heritage Statement. The Heritage Statement should contain two elements:

  • A description of the significance of the heritage assets with archaeological interest (this is usually drawn from information obtained from the Historic Environment Record)
  • An assessment of the impact of the development on the heritage assets. For example will the excavation of foundations damage any surviving archaeological remains?

If the appropriate information on archaeology is not submitted with the planning application it will either not be validated or can be withdrawn until the information has been obtained. Ultimately if the appropriate Heritage Statement is not supplied, the planning application can be refused.

Some planning applications may be refused on archaeological grounds, for example if development proposals would cause substantial harm to archaeological remains or their significance. However it is more usual to make approval conditional on an archaeological investigation being undertaken in advance of construction work. The outcome of the archaeological investigation is a published report and the finds and records from the excavation are deposited with a local accredited museum where they are publicly accessible.

Some archaeological remains can be preserved within a development, for example within a public open space or under a building where foundations have been designed not to impact on archaeological deposits. Appropriate interpretation of such remains can be required through planning conditions.