Conservation, archaeology and planning

Archaeology and Planning

Archaeology is carried out through the planning process, which ensures that it is managed in line with the latest government guidance (currently Planning Policy Statement 5 (PPS5) - Planning for the Historic Environment). It is required that the  archaeology of a site is taken into consideration if it is to be affected by any development.  

Some examples of development which may affect archaeological remains because of ground works: 

  • The erection of buildings and other structures
  • Extensions and modifications to existing buildings
  • Construction of car parks or roads
  • Installation of drainage and other services such as water and gas
  • Landscaping and surface stripping

An important function of the Heritage Team is to provide the local planning authority and others engaged in development with advice on archaeological matters in the City. With information from the Lincoln Heritage Database and the Lincoln Archaeological Research Assessment (LARA), as well the specialist knowledge and expertise of staff, we examine and advise on all planning applications that might affect the City’s historic environment.

We use this information to assess the potential impact of development in order to ensure that damage is kept to a minimum. Sometimes the developer is required to submit with the application: 

  • An Archaeological Assessment of the likely impact of proposed development
  • An Archaeological Evaluation of the site to provide more information on the likely impact. This could consist of a desk-based assessment and/or trial excavations
  • A strategy document detailing how the archaeology of the site is to be protected and preserved.

Planning Permission may be granted with one or more conditions related to archaeology, in order that a satisfactory programme of archaeological work is carried out. The exact nature of the programme will depend on the location and scale of the development, and the extent of proposed ground disturbance. This work must be carried out by a professional archaeological unit, and it is the responsibility of the developer to meet the cost. 

Where the impact is minimal, we sometimes ask to be contacted to arrange a visit for a “Voluntary Observation” by a member of the Heritage Team. There is no cost for this and no disruption to development; the information gathered adds to knowledge of the City’s archaeology and helps to inform archaeological decisions about the impact of future development.

Notes for developers

Developers are advised that early discussions with the Planning Department are essential so that archaeological issues can be highlighted at the pre-application stage. Geotechnical investigations also provide information on the nature and survival of archaeological remains. Often time and money can be saved by combining both operations, and an archaeological programme can be factored into the overall development timetable.