Brownfield sites – hidden treasures or costly constraints?
The Government is keen to promote building in urban areas, particularly on underutilised brownfield land. This protects green spaces and creates housing close to jobs and important infrastructure.
Regenerating such areas is important for economic prosperity and has other social benefits, including filtering into the growing importance of industrial heritage to local communities, and creating a sense of ownership and place to many. The need to consider brownfield sites from a heritage perspective, in planning terms, comes with the need for careful consideration of the site and possible resource to avoid costly missteps – not least because heritage remains can sometimes be difficult to understand or be hidden in plain sight.
Equally, not all elements of our industrial past have the same significance, and a pragmatic and phased approach is required to ensure a win-win scenario that balances the needs of development with heritage. There is little benefit in pushing forward with a complex, costly and wide-ranging series of archaeological works until an early and appropriate understanding of what issues are present has been established.
AB Heritage therefore recommends a phased approach to works on brownfield sites, with developers engaging a professional heritage consultant who has experience of managing such site works to provide strategic input into scheme designs. Such early input can help to mitigate constraints at the design stage, helping to control long term costs and reduce delays.
We are registered with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists and operate nationwide from offices in London, Exeter, Leeds and Newcastle.