You have reached the pages dealing specifically with archaeology, planning and development. If you need to look at the Sites and Monuments Record or find out about other aspects of archaeology in the area please follow the links in the left column.
The threat to archaeology and the historic environment
Archaeological evidence is unique. It can be the only source of information about large parts of a region or district’s past. It is a finite, non-renewable and in many cases a very fragile resource, vulnerable to even slight changes to the site or structure in some circumstances. Archaeological sites and the information they contain cannot be restored once they have been destroyed. The government has recognised this through publication of National Planning Policy Framework which provides guidance on the treatment of archaeological remains in the planning process.
44% of all land known to contain archaeological remains had been destroyed before 1995, 9% through wholesale destruction of monuments, 35% through piecemeal losses (Monuments At Risk Survey of England 1995 - Bournemouth University and Historic England).
Archaeological remains can be buried stone building foundations and intact floors surviving in pasture which has never been ploughed. Buried remains can also be less obvious. Slight colour changes in the subsoil or dark circular areas of soil in exposed bedrock can be all that remains of prehistoric houses. An abandoned and ruinous farm building may date back to the medieval period. Many of the walls and hedges that add so much to the quality of the rural environment in the region can have their origins in the late medieval period and in some cases much earlier.
Five hazards - development and urbanisation, demolition and building alterations, mineral extraction and industry, agriculture, and road-building account for nearly 80% of all wholesale destruction (of archaeological monuments (Monuments At Risk Survey of England 1995 - Bournemouth University and Historic England).
Archaeological planning advice
The Council has previously adopted two Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) documents relating to archaeology in the district. These documents have now been overtaken by changes in national planning policy guidance, and will be revised in due course. Nevertheless they contain useful information and guidance that should still answer most of your questions:
* The SPG on general archaeological issues and planning in Bath & North East Somerset deals with the steps that you should follow if you are wishing to develop in an archaeologically sensitive area. What it will not do is explain the location of all archaeology in the District. For this you will need to consult the Historic Environment Record.
* The SPG on archaeology in the City of Bath contains a series of maps outlining the archaeological character of Bath through descriptions of 37 Character Zones. There is also useful information on development control procedures and archaeological methods.
The full PDF versions can be downloaded from the Documents section on this page.
We are not in a position to recommend particular archaeological contractors for work commissioned in connection with development or development related activities. The Institute for Archaeologists (IfA) maintains a list of individual members and Registered Archaeological Organisations (RAO's), details of which can be found at the IfA's web site.
The Council for British Archaeology has prepared some useful documents on Local Development Plans and the development control process aimed at non-professionals. This fact sheet series has been written to help local groups and individuals interested in the conservation of their local archaeological and historic heritage to understand and become more involved in planning in their area.
This series is published under the title of; Planning for Archaeology and the Historic Environment: Having your say.