South West England Greenfield Locations
Containing the primarily grassland counties of Bristol, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire, England’s South West region is predominantly rural. The extent of countryside areas actually leaves South West England 93.2% undeveloped, with only 6.7% of the region altered from its original condition following the construction of varying forms of infrastructure.
According to statistics from Farmers Weekly, the South West region has the highest average cost of land pounds per acre of any region in the country. Not only that, but the price of land is higher in the region compared to any other region in each category, with the South West holding the largest figures for poor, average or prime standards of both arable and pasture land.
Even with the most expensive prices for land, developers find the South West to be one of the best locations to stage planning projects. In any land development, however, the ground could be hiding potential issues, especially if the site has archaeological remains partly hidden on the surface or completely hidden underground.
Planning Problems Caused by Historic Assets
Determined by the condition and circumstances of the site and project, a property or land development could feature any number of problems, leading to the need to book suitable assessments. Examples include a BS5837 tree survey for sites with trees present, a Preliminary Roost Assessment (PRA) for existing buildings that could house bats and birds, or any number of further surveys based on the presence of protected species of animal or plant.
As for an historic environment, historic buildings or plots of land that are entirely or partly undeveloped, archaeological surveys and archaeological services are required to gauge the presence of historic remains of archaeological record present on the site and hidden below the surface. From the results of a geophysical survey, desk based assessments, heritage impact assessments, historic buildings surveys, archaeological excavation exercises and archaeological watching brief practices, archaeological surveyors will assemble a set of steps to move the planning project into future stages without harming archaeological features.
Failure to show consideration to archaeological remains on the specific plot of land will run the risk of potentially devastating issues with the development, and likely time and money wasted attempting to fix them. Along with the chance of fines and imprisonment through breaching UK laws, problems that could come from carelessly ignoring the need for an archaeological and historic land and building survey involve drainage, subsidence and issues caused by the specific historic remains.
Archaeological Services in the South West of England
Spanning a period of more than 15 years, the surveyors at Arbtech have assisted clients across the UK and sections of mainland Europe upon request with arboricultural and ecological survey services to help with development projects and the process of securing successful planning applications. Likewise, our consultants have criss-crossed their knowledge with the archaeology industry to produce an offering of South West archaeology surveys and archaeological services from our archaeological consultancy in close partnership with clients that need them.
We are a well-established and highly-professional team with an independent practice based in the Chester area. Featuring a broad depth of knowledge and a comprehensive range of skills across our limited company, our archaeological consultancy holds an extensive understanding of dealing with historic buildings and the historic environment, and we yearn to produce the best possible results for all of our clients.
The archaeological consultants within our ranks possess the qualifications, licensing and accreditation from government bodies and relevant organisations such as the National Trust to undertake South West archaeology surveys for client development sites. As well as a broad depth of recognised degrees and other forms of further education in archaeological and professional disciplines, all of our archaeological surveyors have a comprehensive range of individual skills that only enhance their ability. Examples include the ambition to provide a quality standard service, effective communication, and an enthusiastic approach that prompts the necessary outcomes and the best possible results to advise developers and local councils.
South West Archaeology Surveys on Development Sites
Developments involving historic sites, a scheduled monument, or undeveloped land, will typically require an archaeological survey, starting with desk based assessments that enable the archaeologist an opportunity to find any existing information about archaeological features on the site, and any archaeological record that points towards the site holding a level of historic importance.
Using information from the desk based assessments, the archaeological consultant in charge of the process will move on to physically inspecting the site for the first of two survey techniques – a surface survey to find all visible historic remains and findings that could indicate hidden historic remains in the ground below. The second survey technique – a geophysical survey – will comprise of the archaeological surveyor using highly-specialised equipment such as a ground penetrating radar (GPR) to develop an understanding of all features below ground and identify any otherwise hidden historic materials.
Passing the GPR device over the ground on the site as the focal point of geophysical surveys, radio waves will pass into the soil and reflect backwards with data that indicates the distances the radio waves travelled. Such advanced archaeological techniques will be able to gauge the presence of even the earliest feature situated below ground level. If some areas display shorter distances, it could be an indication of archaeological remains, and if the data from the desk based assessments doesn’t explain the reading, the archaeologist may choose to stage an archaeological excavation of the area.
Judged by the site, project and findings from the survey, the archaeological consultants may also include other archaeological techniques involving aerial photography, correlation to the National Grid, contours, earthworks, existing building survey results and plans, site discovery and evaluation, walkovers, watching briefs, and additional observations about the site.
Accompanying Archaeological Survey Report
Every survey we carry out results with the consultant producing a report to explain information about the assessment, the methodology used, and observations that are specific to the site and project. Archaeological and historic building surveys are no different, with archaeology reports created as a method of dating information and supplying vital data to the developer, giving the planning department of the local council all they need to grant a planning condition on the site.
An archaeology survey report will be put together within a few short days of the assessment on the development site. Showing consideration to archaeological remains on the site and archaeological sites within the vicinity, the report will act as concrete evidence that a professional archaeologist has surveyed the site, and dating evidence and information within the report will eliminate issues and ease any qualms, significantly bolstering the application for planning consent.
Contact Our Archaeological Consultancy for a Quote
In projects on recognised historic sites and undeveloped patches of land, it would be advisable to speak to Arbtech about an archaeological survey. With vast experience in carrying out high quality surveys that support planning applications, our highly-professional team are equipped in assisting you with your needs and advising on the necessary assessments based on the circumstances of your site, project and the nearby historic environment.
Reach out to us by calling the number above, filling out our quote form or visiting our contact page, and we can give you a free quote and decide on a suitable time to visit your site for a South West archaeology survey with the necessary archaeological and professional disciplines. Between the information you give us and the comprehensive range of expertise from our well-established archaeologists, we can work in close partnership with you to push your project through future stages and obtain a planning condition for your site.