Archaeology and Planning
Archaeological advice is provided for matters relating to planning in West Berkshire, both strategic and development led.
The archaeology service works to ensure that the finite, non-renewable historic environment resource of the district is protected through the statutory planning system.
This is a time of great change within the planning system with the introduction of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), the removal of Regional Spatial Strategies, the importance of Local Development Plans and neighbourhood planning, and a greater emphasis on the role of communities in the development of plans.
Where significant archaeological remains will be affected by development, planning guidance allows for work to be carried out to preserve information through recording.The government's policy on dealing with the historic environment within the planning system is set out in the NPPF. Conservation and enhancement of the historic environment is one of the twelve core planning principles that underpin the framework. The policy approach is set out in section 12 of the NPPF.
It recognises that planning has a central role to play in conserving our heritage assets (buildings, monuments, sites, places, areas or landscapes that are considered to have a degree of significance because of their heritage interest). It also states that heritage assets are an irreplaceable resource and should be conserved in a manner appropriate to their significance.
The NPPF makes it clear that "local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. The level of detail should be proportionate to the assets' importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance. As a minimum the relevant historic environment record should have been consulted and the heritage assets assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary." (NPPF, Para 128)
Information about the impact of the proposal must be included with any planning application. The West Berkshire Council Archaeology Service remains the primary source of information and advice for planning officers in both policy development and individual development management cases.