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Should an archaeologist recommend a development in the planning application comments
#1
With the advent of NPPF para. 128 pre application heritage statements and commercial archaeologists getting involved in the pre application "market" should the archaeologist be honour bound (part of the package) to recommend the application?, obviously with the grounds that the development is undertaken with the appropriate archaeological evaluation and mitigation.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#2
[INDENT]I feel this may be a trick question.....if an archaeologist gives an objective view in an evaluation report as to the form, the condition and significance of the archaeological resource within a development area, does that indicate a recommendation either for or against the development? Or is the archaeological opinion always subjective? In which case does that indicate a recommendation either for or against the development? In the forest who can hear the trees falling.......[/INDENT]
With peace and consolation hath dismist, And calm of mind all passion spent...
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#3
I would say that it is a tricky question but what it relates to is are the curators archaeological conditions also in effect a recommendation for a development?, presumably they are put forward pre decision. The situation is also pre any evaluation more desk based situation. I would be interested if anybody has been asked to recommend mostly because the public comments seem to be categorised as objections/in favour suggesting that this carries some weight. Perversely it seems to me that it might be a way of declaring that my opinion may be biased for the development because I am being paid by them.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#4
it is usually pretty clear on which side you are falling but it remains entirely subjective....... and lucrative when it goes to enquirey
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#5
Is it that clear. Aren't a lot of consultants trying to make out that they are neutral and somehow constrained by a code of conduct and ethics like preservation in situ. The NPPF heritage statements are part of the pre application submissions. These submissions are supposed to be by the "applicant". NPPF says "As a minimum the relevant historic environment record should have been consulted and the heritage assets assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary." We seem to come in as a "where necessary" and it still appears that the applicant is the submittant.

Paragraph 128 seems to say that a further desk based and field evaluation may be required. What it doesn't say is at what stage might the desk based or the field evaluation be required. Seems to me that it was intended to be pre application but that once the application is in, the requirement will result from consultee comments.

The comments in my local planning application section are split between "public comments" and "consultee comments". Public comments seem to be headed as neutral, objections or supports. What seems pertinent about these public comments is that if the decision gets appealed to public inspector that only public that made the original representations can make representations to them (is that true?). Obviously the decision would only go to an inspector mostly because an appeal had been made by the developer in which employ you are so your heritage statement presumably gets in. My instinct is that I want the heritage statement to be in my name as that is a product like any other that I am selling the client as would an evaluation and that it would be my name in an inquiry. In which case shouldn't the heritage statement be placed in public comments for "supports" when the decision is pending.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#6
you could submit a heritage statement to a planning authority as a public comment but what would be the point?
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#7
Most archaeological reports submitted as part of a planning application (including those prepared under para. 128 of the NPPF) do not (and should not) include anything that could be seen as recommending the proposed development - these reports describe the likely effects of the development on aspects of the historic environment and in many cases go on to suggest measures that could reduce the level of effect (i.e. mitigation).

Cuarators will review the application documents and advise on whether or not an adequate level of information has been submitted in order for them to be able to advise on determination. This advice may well indicate that the application is acceptable (with appropriate mitigation) or unacceptable. In the former situation, a statement that the development is acceptable should not be seen as a recommendation. In the latter case, the curator may well state an objection but also propose conditions that should be applied in the case of the application being consented - remember that the curator is providing advice to those who are determining the application.

At a Public Inquiry the duties of expert witnesses are clearly established through legal process - you are there as an expert in your subject area (e.g. archaeology) to provide independent opinion that will assist the planning decision maker to reach an informed conclusion as to the merits or otherwise of the proposed development. Again it is important not to recommend the development but to provide unbiased objective opinion (see PINS Circular 01/09).
The duty to provide an independent opinion over-rides any contractual duty to a client.


Beamo
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#8
Not sure I got the PINS CIrcular reference. Find something to do with rights of way and defra? Not sure How independent opinion leads to reaching a conclusion as to the merits of a proposed devopment other than by supporting it or objecting to it.

Thing is Beamo I am not a public servant I am paid for by the developer presumably under polluter pays principles. I am also not sure that the NPPF heritage statement is an archaeological report. I presume that the reason a developer would submit the document is because it does recomend the development, because the developer has considered the impact on the heritage and that they have suitably mitigated for it. Possibly recommendation by nullification but the examples I am thinking of are where the client has asked for a statement from the archaeologist that the proposed mitigation would allow the development to go ahead. Seems to me that the client wants me to help them get their permission and that I should put my mouth where the money is and make a public comment about it like everybody else. If the curator wants to disagree then they can say so. Doing it like this I think would make the process transparent.

When ever I have seen archaeology discussed at a public enquiry there has been a archaeologist for the scheme and one against.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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#9
most decisions to try to develop are made prior to any attempt to understand the heritage impact. developers buy a statement to support their application (or they wouldnt submit it). often they are returned with the explicit request to tone down or tone up certain aspects and we professionals have to decide if we can live with their request. if we cant, and it happens a lot, they go elsewhere and try again. ulimately we provide a subjective argument as it is quite possible for two or more professionals to have differing opinions. statements are littered with subjective comments regarding liklihood and significance to the point where i have been amazed at how certain consultants will automatically presume that the likelyhood of unknown undesignated assetts being present on a given area is 'low' on the basis that nothing is already known in that area! makes me weep.
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
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#10
I have just read one where the impact to unknown is considered high based on all development is destructive of unknown archaeology....and the consultant has recommended something called a strip record and sample but the decision notice has no condition required. I am currently wondering if the reason that there is no condition is that because it was written in the heritage statement so the developer undertook it. The decision is recent so I haven't found out if they have developed yet and if they did some form of monitoring without a requirement condition.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
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