South East England’s Undeveloped Land
Consisting of the predominantly countryside counties of Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex, more than 80% of the South East region in England is considered rural. Such an emphasis on retaining and protecting existing greenfield land has led South East England to leaving 90.4% of the land undeveloped.
Only narrowly beaten by the South West region, South East England has the second highest average cost of land by pounds per acre, with the same trend for poor, average and prime arable and pasture land. Along with a handful of applicable factors, the South East has been a popular destination for developers looking to stage projects due to the abundance of greenfield areas, offering them a clean slate in which to construct new infrastructure.
As such, the lack of constraints caused by previous works make undeveloped land a desirable commodity, and it can also mean that the need for a topographical survey, measurement services or other forms of land surveys is simply not needed. An issue with developing on undeveloped land, however, is that potential historic remains could be present on, above or below the surface of the ground.
Issues with Planning as a Result of Historic Assets
Assessments are available in a variety of forms to suit a full range of purposes. For example, a BS5837 tree survey will allow an arboriculturist to analyse trees on a site, and a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) will act as an opportunity for an ecologist to inspect a site for the presence of certain protected species such as bats and birds. Additionally, an ecological surveyor can also conduct other forms of ecology survey for other protected species present or species of plant that are invasive or considered valuable.
In terms of undeveloped land where historic remains may be present or an historic environment with historic buildings present, an archaeological survey on the South East site would be needed. Over the course of an archaeology survey, an archaeologist will visit a development site and assess all areas to identify signs of historic remains. Parts of the process may include a desk based assessment, geophysical survey, heritage impact assessment, archaeological excavation, watching briefs, archaeological research, and more options based on the archaeological services needed for the site. Based on the findings from the survey, the archaeologist will then develop steps that will make it possible to progress the project, even with certain features of archaeological record on the site.
Whenever a development site has historic remains present, the planning project may be subject to problems that could lead to wasting time or money to fix them. Not only does this include the likelihood of fines or imprisonment as a result of breaking laws relating to damage and disruption caused to historic remains, but also potential for issues relating to draining and subsidence, or hazards related to the archaeological materials in question.
Following on from over 15 years in business, Arbtech has become a reliable and trustworthy source of providing a full range of arboricultural and ecological surveys to clients across the length and breadth of the UK. With their help, planning officers from local planning authorities have received all the evidence they need to grant planning applications. As well as assessments relating to trees and ecology, we also act as a centre for applied archaeology, managing consultants with experience in the British archaeology industry to provide South East archaeological services.
Our highly-professional team has a headquarters in Chester that sends knowledgeable, experienced and properly licensed surveyors out to sites all over the UK. Dealing with undeveloped land, historic buildings and any form of discovered or undiscovered historic environment, our archaeologists are ready and able to visit your development site and produce the best possible results to support your application for planning consent.
More specifically, each archaeological surveyor in our team has qualifications that are closely related to applied archaeology and heritage protection, licensing to allow them to conduct archaeological work, accreditations from corresponding bodies within community archaeology, an understanding of the full range of similar technologies within archaeology and heritage protection surveys, knowledge of health and safety regulations to offer a safer experience, and ties to organisations that support archaeology such as the National Trust and Natural England / Natural Resources Wales. Our archaeologists also hold individual skills that enhance their effectiveness in the field, such as powerful communication, the initiative to produce a quality service, and the drive to cater to developers and local councils in every way possible.
Archaeology – South East England
Planning projects that involve a scheduled monument, undeveloped land or an historic site would need an archaeological survey undertaken by a professional archaeologist on your South East development site. It would start with the archaeological surveyor carrying out any number of desk based assessments to retrieve existing archaeological information controls about the site. Bearing in mind any insight found during the archaeological research stage, the archaeological consultant would then use two survey techniques to analyse the site – a surface survey and a geophysical survey.
As the name suggests, a surface survey entails identifying certain features of historic remains based on observations on a surface level. The geophysical survey will then see the archaeologist utilising highly-specialised equipment and similar technologies such as a ground penetrating radar (GPR) to paint a picture of every feature below ground level. While some historic material within the ground will be discovered at the desk based assessment stage, the GPR will identify all other certain features by sending radio waves into the ground, seeing them bounce back once they reach a solid object, and finding any unexpected materials when the distance is shorter.
Any time that a reading from a geophysical survey isn’t explained in data taken from the desk based assessment, the archaeological consultant will need to determine whether or not an excavation of the area is necessary. Other ways that the archaeologist may decide to assess the site include aerial photography, contours, earthworks, site discovery, walkovers, watching briefs, existing building survey data, and methods of determining correlation to the National Grid.
Immediately after every survey we conduct, the surveyor will create a report that features details of the assessment and next steps that will satisfy the local planning authority, allowing the project to move forwards and playing a key role in the application for a planning condition. Our archaeology surveys and heritage protection activities are the same, with our archaeologists developing insightful recommendations that will benefit developers and please the local council.
Usually produced within a few days of the archaeology survey, the archaeology report will include evidence of consideration to archaeological remains on the site and any archaeological sites adjacent to the site or in the local vicinity. The evidence and supporting information will ease any concerns the local council has in regards to the site, simplifying the process of granting planning consent.
If anything could bolster the report in terms of archaeological research, assurances over a safer experience to individuals on the site or data about certain features of archaeological record, the archaeological consultant can improve content on the report to match the expectations of the local planning officer, making necessary alterations to reflect the nature of archaeology in South East England and get the application for planning consent over the line.
Speak to Our Archaeological Consultancy Today
Possessing a wealth of experience in conducting quality archaeology surveys to support planning applications, our advanced team of archaeologists are vitally important for any project involving undeveloped land or an historic site. Speak to Arbtech and we can get the ball rolling and help you to identify and eliminate any issues relating to historic remains on your development site.
You can talk to us about your project by checking out our contact page. More options and other ways of contacting us include calling the number at the top of this page or filling out our quick quote form. With the specifications of your site, we can assemble an accurate free quote, and if you are happy with it, we will work with you to decide on a suitable time to attend your site, conduct the archaeology survey, and help you to achieve a successful planning application.