Planning for Heritage – Collaboration with Stakeholders is Key
The UK has a wealth of heritage and archaeology, which can often overlap with development. Undiscovered archaeology can cause a risk to project programmes and budgets, while the impact of local heritage (sometimes too easily overlooked) can limit design options.
To ensure such issues are minimised, or removed as a possibility, clear communication between all parties is vital to a well-run project. This point was the central theme at the recent Planning for Heritage event that AB Heritage attended, which was hosted by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA). The discussions during this event focused on how and where Built Heritage and Archaeology best fit into the planning process.
A key issue raised by the speakers was that Statutory Consultees feel that they are not always properly consulted by some within the industry, resulting in them not always being included in updates on the progression of development works in areas they cover. The common consensus amongst the participants was that the very best examples of successful projects always involved better communication and collaboration with the Heritage Consultants managing works on a scheme.
AB Heritage is a CIfA Registered Archaeology Organisation (RAO) and follow the standards and guidance set by the CIfA, which state that:
‘consultation with the local authority’s historic environment advisers in advance of research, to seek to agree the aims and methodology, will ensure that unnecessary work is avoided and that the results are useful and properly able to inform the planning process’.
The important part of the above statement is ‘seek to agree the aims and methodology’. This means, as a RAO, the team at AB Heritage is committed to discussing and agreeing (in advance) the approach we adopt for our works with the LPA Consultee, whether this is contained in a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) for complex works or a call to discuss and confirm the general approach to more straightforward works.
As AB Heritage begins its next 10 years of serving the development sector, we understand that better communication throughout the project lifecycle always leads to better outcomes for the client, potentially with identification of preferred options or mitigation at an earlier stage.
This holds true across AB Heritage’s archaeology and built heritage services. Working with Local Authorities, Planning Archaeologists and Conservation Officers, as well as our clients and other notable stakeholders, we understand that it is imperative to agree, at the outset, any specific or unique requirements we need to address during our works; clear, concise and accurate communication between parties builds trust and saves time and money.
Our Clients have told us they appreciate our straightforward efficient and thorough approach to works undertaken. After all, what is good for the client’s project, the planner, and the curator is also ultimately good for AB Heritage, and helps us continue to secure the protection of the UK’s most important heritage assets balanced against the needs of development.
Daniel Dodds, Associate Director