Heritage Policy

Aim

To strive for the safeguarding, investigation and preservation of Cambridgeshire's past, and to act as a key disseminator of knowledge about the County.

Policy Items

  1. To attract a wide-ranging membership with an interest and/or knowledge in a diverse set of academic fields relating to Cambridgeshire's past.
  2. To act as a local voice to ensure full consideration is given to the significance and care of Cambridgeshire's past.
  3. To publish the Proceedings of the Cambridge Antiquarian Society as a key outlet for research and information about Cambridgeshire's past.
  4. To run conferences and lectures attractive to the membership which also stimulate areas of research into the past of Cambridgeshire.
  5. To act as an independent source of advice for professionals and organisations engaged in investigating, protecting and promoting Cambridgeshire's heritage.
  6. To encourage and enable voluntary participation in local studies, documentary research and fieldwork, harnessing enthusiasm and guiding it to worthwhile endeavour.
  7. To encourage the inclusion and development of archaeology at all levels within the educational system by helping co-ordinate the activities of the many different providers in the County.
  8. To add pressure for improved County Museum provision and better presentation for the County's heritage.
  9. To campaign to ensure comprehensive information on Cambridgeshire's past is available to members of the general public.

Archaeology and Planning

Archaeology is a material consideration in the planning process. This is confirmed by Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning and the Historic Environment, published in 2010, which replaced PPGs 15 & 16 that in their time were the major development in heritage management in this country.

The basic principle is that any development has to consider the significance of the historic environment together with the impact of the development upon it, and submit a proposal that allows for an appropriate level of mitigation to take place. This can include changing the proposal to reduce the impact, funded excavation to help understand the heritage being impacted, or putting forwards programmes to enhance the heritage asset as part of the development. This can be done pre-application (the favoured approach) or as part of the application/consent process. Major schemes will usually have an Environmental Impact Assessment that will include a section on the historic environment.

Awareness of all aspects of historic environment is the responsibility of the local planning authority, but with regard to archaeology, the County Council's Historic Environment Team undertakes this role on behalf of the districts and county.

The key consideration remains the assessment of significance and the determination of impact. It is this 'equation' that informs the mitigation. Any decision made on archaeological impact has to be defensible in a planning enquiry, so there is a need to be reasonable. It would not be reasonable, for example, in most cases to insist that a homeowner undertakes a full excavation for a conservatory, although it can happen!

The county's archaeologists assess all planning applications and determine the balance between the impacts of development against the known or potential archaeology, making use of the Historic Environment Record, local expertise and professional judgement. Each district council maintains a conservation function to meet the needs of listed buildings and conservation areas.

An important change with PPS5 has been the increased emphasis on public involvement with the process, both in assessing the significance of the heritage and also with taking part in the wider process. Developers and decision makers are encouraged to take into account the views of local people and groups are encouraged to submit their views, and it is now recognised that significance and importance have a greater meaning than just the 'official' level of designation.

Planning officers and committees are obliged to consider all representations and comments made by members of the public, and there is always an opportunity for local people to get involved with the planning process in their area and to raise concerns or comments on what they view as important local heritage. To find out about planning applications, you need to access the online planning registration systems.

The online system will supply details, including maps and plans, of proposed developments, as well as deadlines and details of how to respond. It should be noted that any response to a planning application, in particular an objection, benefits from a direct connection to the proposal. Concerns about the impact on aspects of an area will carry more weight if they come from someone within that area and responses need to be reasonable and supported by evidence.

Links

Planning Policy Statement 5

Cambridge City Council

East Cambridgeshire District Council Conservation Team

Fenland District Council
- Conservation Team

Huntingdonshire District Council
- Conservation Areas

South Cambridgeshire District Council
- Conservation Team