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Planning Services

About Planning Services

An important function of the Welsh Archaeological Trusts is to provide local authority planners and others engaged in development and land-use change, in both the private and public sectors, with a uniform development control service across the whole of Wales. CPAT's Planning Service utilises information in the Regional Sites and Monuments Record and the specialist knowledge and expertise available within the Trust to scrutinise and comment on all planning applications that might adversely effect the historic environment. Local planning authorities use the advice from CPAT to assess the potential impact of development on the heritage, thus trying to ensure that damage is kept to a minimum.


Left: A small-scale evaluation in progress. © CPAT 92/64/02

Most developments do not have a significant impact on the heritage, but when they do CPAT may respond to consultation by local planning authorities in a number of ways. In a very few cases this response may advise that a planning application is refused in order to protect archaeology or historic buildings, but more commonly will ask for the planning authority to impose conditions on any permission granted. Conditions might require that parts of the site are not used for building, or that parts of it are archaeologically excavated before development starts, or that an archaeologist is present during building work to carry out a watching brief (and record anything brought to light).

In some cases the local authority may consider that a development effects an area of high archaeological potential but feel that they do not have enough information to decide how to treat the planning application. Here they may ask the applicant to carry out an archaeological evaluation, before they will determine the application, to gather more evidence about the likely effects that their development will have. This evaluation may consist of documentary research, survey and/or limited trial excavation, and its results will allow the planners to make a balanced decision about the future of the site. Work such as evaluation, or excavation required by planning conditions, is normally carried out by Archaeological Contractors. The Institute for Archaeologist's operates a list of Registered Archaeological Organisations, which you can see by following the link below. You can also contact the Development Control Section of CPAT for advice about selecting a contractor and the planning process in general by emailing Mark Walters at, or by phoning 01938 553670.


Right: Archaeologists carrying out a contour survey. © CPAT CS89/25/24

Further information about archaeology in the planning process is contained in the Welsh Government policy document Planning Policy Wales (Edition 4, February 2011) and in Welsh Office Circulars 60/96 (Planning and the Historic Environment: Archaeology) and 61/96 (PLanning and the Historic Environment: Historic Buildings and Conservation Areas) . References to these documents and a limited discussion of their content can also be found below under the Welsh Archaeological Trusts' Curators' Code of Practice.

To find out more about archaeology and planning, or to look at the impacts that your development might have on the historic environment, why not contact CPAT's Planning Service to discuss these issues before you submit your planning application. Early discussions are almost always the best way to avoid conflicts between development and the needs of conservation.

Curators' Code Of Practice - The Welsh Archaeological Trusts' Curators' Code of Practice

Registered Archaeological Organisations - A link to the list of Registered Archaeological Organisations maintained by the Institute for Archaeologists.

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