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Archaeology planning and other advice

Our Historic Environment (Archaeology) Team provides specialist archaeological advice to support the planning process in line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) on householder proposals to major transport, commercial, housing and leisure developments.

This includes advice on:

  • Local and Neighbourhood Plans
  • Sustainability Appraisals
  • Pre-application enquiries/ planning applications
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Discharge of Conditions/ S106 Agreements
  • Planning appeals and enquiries

See our charges for archaeological information and advice (PDF).

Pre-application and pre-determination archaeological investigations

The National Planning Policy Framework (2019) notes that:

"Where a site on which development is proposed includes or has the potential to include heritage assets with archaeological interest, local planning authorities should require developers to submit an appropriate desk-based assessment and, where necessary, a field evaluation."

Submit a pre-application enquiry to the Archaeology Team for advice on what archaeological information should be submitted with a planning proposal.

Archaeological planning conditions

If planning permission is granted for a development, it may come with one or more conditions for archaeological work attached.

The process below is a general guide to discharging those conditions.

  1. Email the Archaeology Team at archaeology@bedford.gov.uk to request an archaeological design brief setting out the scope of the investigation required to discharge the condition.
  2. Find an archaeological contractor qualified to undertake the required work. We recommend you use a contractor who is CIfA registered.
  3. The archaeological contractor must then produce a Written Scheme of Investigation (WSI) outlining the detailed method for undertaking the archaeological works (including post-excavation and reporting) that are necessary. This WSI must be submitted to the Council's Planning Department who will approve the document or request changes before any development begins.
  4. Once the Council has approved the WSI, the archaeological work may begin. Monitoring visits will be undertaken on behalf of the Council to oversee the ongoing work.
  5. Once the work has been completed, the archaeological contractor will produce a report for submission to the Council for approval.
  6. As each stage of the archaeological condition is completed - fieldwork, post-excavation assessment, analysis, publication and archiving - it can either be discharged separately upon application to approve by the Council or an application can be made at a later stage to discharge all the conditions together.

Other advice

Countryside stewardship

As part of the countryside stewardship scheme we advise Natural England and landowners on the sensitive management of archaeological remains.

See further details on the scheme and how to apply.

Utility companies

We provide advice on the archaeological impact of utility works such as new pipelines.

Large-scale infrastructure proposals

We provide advice on the archaeological requirements for large-scale infrastructure works such as new road schemes and rail lines.

Community archaeology

We can also provide advice to local community archaeology groups.

Reporting archaeological artefacts

Please report chance discoveries of archaeological artefacts to the Portable Antiquities Scheme