BAJR Federation Archaeology
How can adequate development planning occur when... - Printable Version

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How can adequate development planning occur when... - GnomeKing - 25th May 2017

How can adequate development planning occur when some important commercial sites are neither listed in HERs, OASIS or any other publicly accessible record?

This is no trivial matter - i have personal knowledge of at least 4 non-trivial sites, each with some 'difficulties' in initially planning approval, one nearly 10 years old, excavated under full commercial contracts and planning legislation, for which there is no Report, no deposited Archive, no digital listing, and (rather shockingly) no County Council listing or HER entry.

A 'Desk-Based' survey for the areas would suggest no known archaeology for any subsequent development. Sure, if the friendly Mounty remembers the work, and happens to have time to speak to you, they might remember that some work was done, and perhaps even the most broad archaeological narrative. However this is utterly sub-standard for planning commercial risk, archaeological potential, and in PREPARING ADEQUATE METHODS for heritage mitigation. We need plans. We need assemblages. We need dates. WE NEED THE DETAILS.

Even when a Mounty might have provided this kind of input, there is no guarantee they will, for a variety of reasons (eg generally not wanting to get involved with problems, overworked/under-funded, simple Council power games etc).
In at least one other case, the lack of an updated HER record meant that a 'significant' site was discovered in an area which had been judged 'low significance', but would have been considered 'high' had the previous adjacent excavation (with no public record) had been factored in. The Mounty said nothing. I have personal experience of exactly the same - different County/Company/Site, but same old story...

I am very much first-in-line to defend our Public Services and County Council colleagues, and i put the blame firmly in the hands of the Commercial sector, who still seem to think that County Councils, Museums, and Public Archives will just clean up their mess, essentially for free!

But, this is just not good enough. The Commercial sector will do nothing unless the CCs get much MUCH tougher...i don't see much prospect of that, so what do we do ?

ps: please please please do not mention the Charted Institute of FA...that really will not help us, not unless most of the executive body is severely shaken up...at every turn where the Institute of FA should have helped, it has proved a closed door, dead-end, and total waste of ones time + ink.


RE: How can adequate development planning occur when... - Marc Berger - 29th May 2017

The first thing that I would say gnomeking is don’t worry about it unless you have a way to make any money out of your concerns. Do you own any of the archaeology from these sites? I suspect that those that do own the archaeology from these sites do not care and or have a financial disincentive to take them any further. They own it, not your problem.

To take cases like these further a few other things need to change before your view of what commercial archaeology is can be straightened. Privatise the museums, get rid of the archaeological officer post in the planning advice system and make all archaeological consideration pre application and in no way subject to post application conditions. Oh and stop using Council HERs hopefully they will close them down and let museums and other bodies collate information that is thoroughly irrelevant to archaeological field evaluation


RE: How can adequate development planning occur when... - Dinosaur - 10th July 2017

GK - there are a lot more projects out there in the same state of limbo, I know, several of them are mine. In a number of cases the client has 'walked away' from the archaeology once their whatever has been built, and the County Mounty has done f***-all about it, leaving us dumped with the archive and no money to do anything with it. Seems to be better these days (good set of CC staff at all the local HERs currently, who actually chase stuff up), but no help with the historic backlog :-(