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Archaeology and Planning

Worcester is one of England's oldest historic cities and archaeological remains of all periods are found here. A number of sites are protected as scheduled monuments.
Of particular importance are remains relating to:
  • the prehistoric origins of the settlement
  • the Roman industrial town
  • the Anglo-Saxon burh
  • the medieval city and its suburbs, the cathedral precinct and the city defences
  • the Civil Wars of 1642-51
  • post-medieval industries

An pdf outline resource assessment and research framework for the archaeology of Worcester (713 KB)  was published in 2007. This underpins all archaeological work done in the city through the development process and provides a framework within which the requirements of NPPF paragraph 199 can be addressed.

pdf Guidelines for archaeological work in Worcester (688 KB) sets out how archaeological projects in the city should be conducted. The guidelines cover desk-based assessments; written schemes of investigation; fieldwork; analysis, reporting, dissemination, publication and archiving; and public archaeology.

The revised National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) was published in 2019 and includes policies to conserve and enhance the historic environment and all heritage assets.

Local policy is set out in the SWDP (South Worcestershire Development Plan) (policies SWDP6 and SWDP24).

Although national and local policy do not generally distinguish between different types of heritage asset, there are specific requirements for assets with archaeological interest. These are not just buried archaeological sites. Historic buildings and structures contain such evidence in the same way as buried archaeological remains do.

Where heritage assets with archaeological interest are, or are potentially, affected by a development proposal, Worcester City Council will require sufficient information on the assets affected, their significance, and the extent of the development impact on them, in order to determine the application. This information must be submitted with the application, and may take one of three forms.

Statement of significance

‘In determining applications, local planning authorities should require an applicant to describe the significance of any heritage assets affected, including any contribution made by their setting. The level of detail should be proportionate to the assets’ importance and no more than is sufficient to understand the potential impact of the proposal on their significance. As a minimum the relevant historic environment record should have been consulted and the heritage assets assessed using appropriate expertise where necessary.’ (NPPF, para 189).

Desk-based assessment

An ‘appropriate desk-based assessment' should be submitted where ‘a site on which development is proposed includes, or has the potential to include, heritage assets with archaeological interest' (NPPF, para 189).

Field evaluation

Where desk-based research is insufficient to properly assess the archaeological interest, a field evaluation should be undertaken.

Archaeology Services

Worcester City Council makes charges for certain services relating to archaeological work in the planning process. The charges cover work relating to the implementation of planning conditions and do not relate to the fee for discharge of conditions.

Worcester City Council's heritage team are able to advise on all matters relating to archaeology and planning in Worcester. For further advice or information please contact:-

Worcester City Council
The Guildhall
High Street

Tel: 01905 721132 or 721133 or complete our Enquiry Form