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HER Searches - In Person?
BAJR Wrote:and would let you know on teh phone - tht there was additional material that would require you to come in...

But would you like to go in and be told... nope there is nothing extra. ?
no - that would be a major problem and i would in the first instance complain to the her, their line management and then the chief executive if i was not satisfied.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
About the distances - fair enough people do travel, and obviously people from outside an area may travel further but my point was really that you ought to know if this is going to be necessary before making such a massive journey. Also, there's a massive difference between the 200 miles initially mentioned and 100 miles (or 100km, which is closer to 100 miles). I've certainly made 100 mile round trips to the HER, that's not exactly unusual.
BAJR Wrote:The point of the original post is if it should be blanket required --- the answer i feel is no... it should be dependant on the site and the material curated by the HER - the quality of which is constantly getting better. .

Surely it to some essentially depends on the brief. If it says you must visit, then visit you must. If it says 'consult', then that's a bit more vague. I get a bit hacked off seeing reports where the brief says consult the local record office and its fairly clear that all they have done is got some old maps off '' -which is cheaper, but basically a way of circumventing the brief and doesn't take into account other sources such as Tithe maps etc etc. I would always assume a day or so to visit archives and HER is likely, but for something small I would imagine there would be some sensible flexibility. The worst cases of this kind of minimal approach always seem to be the generally very poor contractors and those coming into an area from further away, who seem to think that parroting the HER, and getting some maps from is sufficient, basically because that is how they have won the job - by not costing in actual visits.
Oh, and obviously the situation with having to get a ferry to a site is not all that typical, although I have been there!
"The worst cases of this kind of minimal approach always seem to be the generally very poor contractors and those coming into an area from further away, who seem to think that parroting the HER, and getting some maps from is sufficient, basically because that is how they have won the job - by not costing in actual visits"

But surely this is a completely different issue and if the County Archaeologists are willing to accept this work then shame on them!
I don't think the commercial effects of briefs ought to be a major consideration - as you say, the important thing is whether substandard reports are being accepted as 'good enough'. However, I would guess that it could be cheaper to send A N Other to visit a shopping list of places than to consider the evidence (and its adequacy) and engage with it in order to reach conclusion. The bad DBAs I have seen have been poor because they do not address the nature of the resource and its implications in a coherent and credible way; they would often claim to have consulted the relevant sources, but if so they have failed to learn anything from them.
As the HER records are held (normally) by local authorities and the DBAs are prepared for LA planning committees why don't we have a system where the assessment is written by an employee of the LA. Surely it is just the same as the planning authority commissioning a technical report from one of its other advisors. That is the system we have in Norway and it works fine (in fact it works right the way up to the initial field evaluation if required). The national heritage board acts as arbiter if there is any question of bias....but anyway why do we let the 'polluter' commission their own mitigation report? That seems guaranteed to ensure bias...Costs could be recovered if and when developer submits an application.
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
Oh, don't be silly Kevin! That'd involve marginally "bigger" government, and would stifle "healthy" competition! After all, the private sector has done so well with our utilities, our railways, and more recently the PFI funding of our hospitals... (Can you say "carpet-baggers", kids?)

Come the revolution, I'm opening an arms factory for all the bullets we'll need, and a brickworks to make enough walls to stick'em up against!
It's worth noting that when DBAs first appeared they were called desk-top studies, using a term imported from architecture for the sort of quick thing you put together without leaving the office. The idea was that a relatively simple and noncontroversial statement of the known archaeological resource, extracted from a reliable source, would then be used to advise developers at an early stage which bits of their proposals might be problematic before the design became fixed. Through a combination of the undeveloped nature of HER information (you might have thought after 30 years that anything notable shown on APs, OS and tithe maps would have been spotted and recorded in the HER), and the failure of developers to think about archaeology until they are preparing to submit a planning application, the DBA has become a research project in its own right with little influence on design.

One of the side effects of statutory status fro HERs, had it happened, could well have been that the HER became the definitive definition of known sites, and therefore restored the desk-top to its original scope (and the unsought consequence of the failure to mitigate effects on other sites).
Just popped in to say... damn good reply/point.

The DBA is now a project in itself, where the client researches and collates ( via the archaeologists ) the information that should be already available. So it can be researched again the next time by the next client.

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