During a recent round of visits, it has become clear that archaeology, far from being detrimental to development, can actually help steer it safely through a part of the planning process that could easily derail a multi-million pound project.  If carried out professionally, and given an adequate budget and time, any temporal contamination becomes an asset that benefits both the community and the client.

Crucial advice on setting

Headland Archaeology recently announced that another planning appeal has been granted.  The proposals, for a 34.2m high wind turbine at New Hartswell Farm, Herodsfoot, Liskeard, Cornwall, initially gave rise to concerns from English Heritage due to the proximity of Bury Down hillfort, a Scheduled Monument. The location of the turbine was revised slightly to minimise these concerns thanks in part to the work of Headland’s Jen Richards, who had prepared a cultural heritage assessment for these proposals, including assessments of the setting of heritage assets, on behalf of the landowner and Drakes Renewables.

Full details of the Inspector’s Decision can be accessed here.

Headland Archaeology News: http://www.headlandarchaeology.com/News/2015/2015.01.html

Derelict buildings revived

Wardell Armstrong Archaeology was commissioned to undertake a heritage assessment of a derelict railway building situated within the extensive former Horwich Loco Works. The Horwich Loco Works is a major redevelopment site on the outskirts of Bolton which contains a number of large scale late Victorian engine sheds.  The whole of the Loco Works had been designated as a conservation area and highlighted by English Heritage for conservation led regeneration.

Horwich Loco Works Heritage Assessment

A financial appraisal had established that there was a considerable conservation deficit relating to the retention of the stores building in its current form.

Through the identification of the key heritage values of the stores building, Wardell Armstrong Archaeology were able to assist in the development of a scheme which sustained the heritage significance of the building and delivered a commercially viable design.

Further design guidance was provided on the layout, density and design of new development within the conservation area in order to preserve and enhance its character – and to deliver a successful scheme within a sensitive historic environment.

Wardell Armstrong Archaeology News: http://wa-archaeology.com/portfolio-item/heritage-assessment-of-railway-building-in-horwich/

All this provides long term cost savings and increases the value both financially and socially of the project.   http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/business/property/green-light-260m-revamp-loco-7787922

Professional services

These two examples only go to highlight that the idea archaeology gets in the way, or slows down a project is outdated and more of these stories need to be brought forward to show ever cautious developers and jittery politicians the various values of archaeology:  both tangible and intangible.   And to support this, we need fulltime archaeological curatorial staff in council planning departments to ensure the best advice can be given.