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Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Printable Version

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Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - GnomeKing - 4th June 2014

P Prentice Wrote:most decisions to try to develop are made prior to any attempt to understand the heritage impact. developers buy a statement to support their application (or they wouldn't submit it).

even worse when OldGerkinHead gets involved :

VinegaryTyrants aside...problem (again) is lack of scrutiny/'peer review' of heritage related planning decisions / consultants input / contractors output
> its too late after the event (when documents might be available), and extremely difficult to make headway (from outside as a 'third party') while a plan is under review or being executed...

This would all be fine if we could 'trust' the consultants and councils to perform to highest professional and research (IFA) standards...but there appear to be a range of cases where this could be questioned > we should examine these, as they shed light on the functionality of the overall system. > for example, the tendering and monitoring process

..and i think we need to remember to focus on the role of the increasingly 'heritage-aware' public, and our own research objectives as archaeologists...

That is to say, a preference for being a 'public-' or 'research-focused' archaeologist, rather than a "developer-focused archaeologist" (!?!), as sought by a recent job advert...
>>> even better; an archaeology focused archaeologist

I find it worrying that "developer-focused" executives (esp in the IFA) seem to be setting the agenda for standards and practice, without necessarily making sure these are carried out in reality.
One doesn't need to explicity recommend a devlopment to play the heritage in such a way as reduce its apparent significance or value > certain types of archaeology are more prone to this than others (eg early prehistory, lithics, and other 'ephemeral' remains), whilst others seem always to get the full-bells-and-whistles (eg Roman stuff) > maybe this just because the paper work, significance assessment and project design is easier.{

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Marc Berger - 5th June 2014

What you are saying Gnomeking is if a developer contacts a field archaeologist to undertake a heritage statement that the archaeologist should charge evaluation day rates, if that is how they charge, and undertake an evaluation of the site to save all the double handling of heritage statements and desk based assessments. This evaluation should be able to surmise the cost of an excavation if nessesary and also make the field archaeologist the foremost archaeological wittiness at any possible inquiry...

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - beamo - 5th June 2014


Try this link for inquiry procedures:

You said 'When ever I have seen archaeology discussed at a public enquiry there has been a archaeologist for the scheme and one against.'

What you are supposed to be seeing is two archaeologists giving expert opinions (which may well differ) in order to inform the inspector. In the adversarial court of the public inquiry, each team will use whatever tactics they can get away with to undermine the credibility and the expertise of the archaeological expert witness and make him/her out to be 'less' of an expert than their preferred expert witness. Many of the heritage issues under discussion at Inquiries are fairly subjective (e.g. how much of an impact will a proposed development have on the setting of a Grade II listed building, how will this affect the significance of the building etc) and therefore it all comes down to opinion rather than fact. Of course, the expert witness may well convince that Inspector that his/her opinion is the more credible, only for Old Gherkinhead to over-rule the Inspector's decision on the basis of nothing in particular.


Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Marc Berger - 7th June 2014

Beamo what do want me to say? It's a bloody interesting document that you point us to, especially all the before date qualifications. Do you know who wrote it?

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - beamo - 8th June 2014


Document was issued by PINS, so presumably it was written by a team of experienced Inspectors with some assistance from the Government legal advisors. More recently I have been involved in hearings for Development Control Orders (DCOs) which in the consenting mechanism for National Infrastructure Projects (NSIPs). These are far less adversarial than Public Inquiries, with all parties submitting written evidence and then the Examining Authority (a panel of one or more Inspectors) asking questions (oral and written). There is no direct cross-examination of expert witnesses, so the Examining Authority can focus in on what they consider to be the main issues which require clarification. Planning policy for NSIPs is mostly through National Policy Statements (NPSs), with much less weight given to the NPPF and local plan policies.


Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Marc Berger - 9th June 2014

Quote:N What is "Expert evidence"?

N.1 Who provides expert evidence?

[SIZE=3]N.1.1 Expert evidence is evidence that is given by a person who is qualified, by training and experience in a particular subject or subjects, to express an opinion. It is the duty of an expert to help an Inspector on matters within his or her expertise. This duty overrides any obligation to the person from whom the expert has received instructions or by whom he or she is paid.

N.1.2 The evidence should be accurate, concise and complete as to relevant fact(s) within the expert’s knowledge and should represent his or her honest and objective opinion. If a professional body has adopted a code of practice on professional conduct dealing with the giving of evidence, then a member of that body will be expected to comply with the provisions of the code in the preparation and presentation (written or in person) of the expert evidence.

N.2 Endorsement

[SIZE=3]N.2.1 Expert evidence should include an endorsement such as that set out below or similar (such as that required by a particular professional body). This will enable the Inspector and others involved in an appeal or a called-in application to know that the material in a proof of evidence, written statement or report is provided as ‘expert evidence’. An appropriate form of endorsement is:

[SIZE=3]"The evidence which I have prepared and provide for this appeal reference APP/xxx (in this proof of evidence, written statement or report) is true and has been prepared and is given in accordance with the guidance of my professional institution and I confirm that the opinions expressed are my true and professional opinions.".

[SIZE=3]N.2.2 Giving expert evidence does not prevent an expert from acting as an advocate so long as it is made clear through the endorsement or otherwise what is given as expert evidence and what is not.

so in effect there are three ways to get to be a expert? One is as the authorities curator, 2. as the applicants archaeologist or three as a commentator to the application. If there has been no Heritage statement and, or public comments made about the archaeology then only the authorities curators could be called and probably wouldn't if no comments had been made to the application? Its interesting to note that the inspectors expect the expert to act as an advocate , within their professional codes. One of the things that I have wondered is that a heritage statement should advocate which mitigation should be used or even that the mitigation should be undertaken before application to be included in the application. The wording of PNNF suggest that if so a a desk based assessment and evaluation could be undertaken.

One of the things going on though seems to be that Heritage statements seem to have evolved very quickly to be like eias rather than a visit by the applicatant to their friendly HER. Heres 57 pages of a Heritage statement and seems to advocate the mitigation required. Admittedly it seems to have been undertaken because it was next to a designated park.

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - beamo - 9th June 2014


It is not that the Inspectorate 'expect the expert to acct as an advocate' - N.2.2. from your quotation merely states that this action is possible, but that it must be made clear within the endorsement of the expert witness' written evidence as to what is being presented as expert opinion and what is being put forward as the promotion of the proposed scheme.

With regard to your second point, the NPPF is quite clear as to the purpose of a heritage statement or assessment (para 128) and of the minimum requirement necessary to fulfil that purpose. For a proposed scheme that affects a number of heritage assets in different ways, it is very likely that the heritage statement/assessment will look more like an EIA as there will need to be some explanation of the methodology that has been used in order to reach the conclusions expressed in that document with regard to significance of impact/effect etc.


Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Marc Berger - 9th June 2014

I must admit that I am not all that clear on what the purpose of a heritage statement, obviously something to do with heritage. Thing is I fancy my self as a bit of a field archaeologist. That's what I try to base my day rate on. Anybody sent my direction pre application and condition and what I would like to tell the client is how much it would cost to excavate the site and how to go about evaluating that cost. I am quite interested in soil type, depths to natural and types of material that have been found in the vicinity. PPG16 was based on that model. tenders , "inexpensive evaluation". The clears as mud NPPF- lets write ppg16 in a paragraph and bury it in an eia-seems to have just created extra levels of verbiage for the inspectorate business. It would appear that field archaeologists are the least of their concerns. I don't know whether it is good or bad but I have just come across a first example of a small single residence being turned down with the grounds that a Heritage statement was not supplied with the application. What also interesting is that three years ago the other half of the same plot was granted permission with a watching brief condition (came up with 2 residual medieval sherds) where no pre application information had been supplied to the same authorities. NPPF is just a big piss take of the Localism Bill by the public servants.

Sorry where I am trying to go with this is that when local authority archaeologists suggest conditions to the planning authority/committee they don't have to write a desk-based assessment. The authorities condition in effect gets them into the inquiry. What I am feeling is that an equivalent system for the developers pet archaeologist is that they put their recommendation in through the public comments and we don't have to have this useless production of frankly embarrassing heritage receptor rubbish.

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - Marc Berger - 10th June 2014

I have just sniffed around the 57 page heritage assessment which advocates a "strip, record and sample" which has subsequently been ignored in the conditions (is it because they did the mitigation without needing a condition?) and found that on the very same site for a large scale development, this was what the heritage potential was reduced to in 2009:

how much did that 57 pages cost and how much was not spent on field archaeology? The whole system is about not doing archaeology.

Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments - GnomeKing - 20th June 2014

Marc Berger Wrote:The whole system is about not doing archaeology.
......certainly sometimes seems that way

interesting discussion -think i will delve a bit...