The City Council's policies towards archaeology are based on guidance given by national government within the National Planning Policy Framework March 2012.
Early consultation with the County Archaeologist and the Industrial Archaeologist is of enormous importance. They can provide an initial appraisal of the likelihood that archaeologically sensitive deposits need to be considered for any specific planning application, and give advice on the steps that may need to be taken at each stage of the process.
If a site is within an area of potential archaeological interest the applicant may need to provide the Planning Authority with information of the likely impact of the scheme on any buried remains. This is estimated from existing records, including historical accounts, and reports of archaeological work in the vicinity, in conjunction with a number of sources which suggest the nature of deposits on the site, like bore-hole logs and cellar surveys. This is presented in a standard format, known as a Desk Top Assessment.
The result of all the initial work is a Written Scheme of Investigation.
The Written Scheme of Investigation is a detailed document which sets out the precise work required, covering the area to be excavated, the volume of deposits to be recorded, the methodology employed, the degree of expertise required, the amount of analysis and research required, finds collection policies, conservation of perishable artefacts, the deposition of finds and archives and the eventual publication of the results. Such programmes are expensive and time-consuming, and represent to the developer a construction cost against which to balance the real benefits of locating in the historic centre of the town.
Unexpected Archaeological Finds
NPPF provides advice on the extremely rare circumstance when exceptional and unpredicted remains are encountered while development is in progress. There are powers at the discretion of both the Secretary of State, and the Planning Authority to intervene to ensure that nationally important remains are protected. The developer can insure against any resultant loss, and would, if all appropriate steps have been taken, be entitled to compensation. In most cases, it has proved possible to achieve a satisfactory conclusion through voluntary negotiation. The best insurance is to take the appropriate steps (assessment, evaluation etc.) at the right time.
The County Archaeology service is responsible for maintaining and enhancing the Tyne and Wear Historic Environment Record, the database of known archaeological and historical sites throughout the five districts which once formed Tyne and Wear (Gateshead, Newcastle, North Tyneside, South Tyneside and Sunderland). There are over 5000 sites on our database, which include monuments, earthworks, cropmarks, historic parks and gardens, battlefields, industrial sites and twentieth century defence sites. We hold a wide collection of associated historic maps, photographs, archaeological fieldwork reports and reports on historic building recording. The Historic Environment Record is available for public and professional consultation by appointment only.
The HER and accompanying archives can be consulted by visiting the the County Archaeologist's office at the 9th Floor, Civic Centre, Newcastle upon Tyne. The database is available for public and professional consultation during normal office hours, Monday to Friday, by appointment only.
Phone: 0191 211 6218
A charge will normally be made for consulting the HER whether in person or by telephone/fax/email etc.. The fee is to cover staff time a will vary according to the nature of the enquiry. Some fees may be waived in certain circumstances for instance for members of the public or scholars carrying out a search of the HER for their own personal research and not for profit-making purposes.
Initial search fee: (up to 1/2 hour of staff time) (£50)
Staff time up to one hour: £100
Staff time per hour thereafter: £100
Photocopying costs A4 or A3: 20p per copy
Fees for HER search will be invoiced to the HER user by Newcastle City Council's finance department. All fees are subject to review.
The HER is accessible at Historic Environment, 9th Floor, Civic Centre, Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 8PD
Tyne and Wear SiteLines - online access to Tyne and Wear's Historic Environment Record: 'SiteLines'.