Guidance for Developers

Rothwell Castle

West Yorkshire's historic landscape is an important part of our heritage and is provided with protection under the planning process.

This page offers guidance to developers on how their development proposals may be affected by archaeology and how archaeological concerns may be accommodated within the design of the development and planning submission.

How can your planning application be affected by archaeology?

All applications submitted to the Planning Departments of Bradford, Calderdale, Kirklees, Leeds and Wakefield Districts are monitored by us, the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service (WYAAS), in accordance with Central Government policy and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

This is to enable us to assess the likely impact of development upon any archaeological remains or monuments within or adjacent to the development site.

On the basis of this assessment, we then provide advice to the District's Planning Authority; such advice may in some instances lead to:

  • a requirement that the applicant commission a detailed appraisal of available information about a site or area before a planning application is submitted or approved; this is usually referred to as a desk-based assessment.
  •  a requirement that the applicant commission a field evaluation in the form of a survey or excavation to find out more about a site before a planning application is submitted or approved. 
  • conditions attached to a planning consent requiring the applicant to commission archaeological investigation and recording before or during development - this can include a building survey, watching brief or excavation
  • refusal of the submission on the ground that the archaeological remains are of sufficient importance to warrant preservation.

Developers are expected to pay for the cost of any archaeological works required by the Planning Authority. If you are planning a large-scale development it is therefore in your own interests to find out whether there are archaeological implications before submitting an application. 

Please note that the developer will need to employ a professional archaeological contractor to undertake any archaeological work needed to fulfill their planning conditions.

How do you find out about archaeology?

The definitive record of archaeological remains and monuments in West Yorkshire is known as the Historic Environment Record, and is held and maintained by the WYAAS. By consulting this record you can find out:

  • whether your proposed development would affect the sites or settings of any designated heritage assets which have statutory protection, as well as other archaeological remains or buildings which would merit preservation. 
  • whether it would affect areas requiring archaeological investigation and recording in advance of development; 
  • whether it includes areas which would warrant archaeological evaluation in advance of determining any planning submission.

As the West Yorkshire HER is updated continually, it is important that consultation should be made for every proposal. The inclusion of a site in the HER gives it formal recognition in the planning process and District Planning Authorities will take account of this in preparing development plans and reaching planning decisions.

Please note that commercial consultation of the HER must be done by contacting the HER Officer directly (it is not acceptable to only consult the Heritage Gateway), and any HER data supplied to a commercial user will be subject to a charge. 

What happens if archaeology is identified on, or adjacent to my site?

Our Senior Archaeologist can advise on:

  • how to modify design proposals to reduce their impact on archaeological remains. 
  • how to satisfy archaeological conditions in planning permissions; 
  • the identification, conservation, interpretation and presentation of sites; 
  • opportunities for promoting the archaeological interest of the site; 
  • the engagement of archaeological consultants and contractors.

Early consultation may help you to avoid delays and unnecessary expense at a later stage. If you are considering a development, whatever its scale or location, please contact us for further information and advice.

Why protect our past?

Our present landscape is the product of changes made by man over the last 10,000 years. This historic landscape with its settlements, fields, woodlands, industries, roads, railways and canals provides the framework in which we live and work. It is one of our richest resources and provides the link between ourselves and the past.

The landscape is our main source of evidence for the development of human culture, religion, society, economy and land use. It is irreplaceable. Archaeology enriches our landscape and contributes to education, recreation and cultural tourism.

Archaeology is concerned with the development of the whole landscape, not merely individual sites within it. The need to conserve historic landscapes is inseparable from the need to protect the countryside and towns in general.

The continuing process of renewal in both town and country is unavoidable, necessary and often welcome, but ways must be found of managing change in a way that will allow future generations to enjoy a past for themselves.


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