Heritage Consultancy

The consideration of heritage and archaeology issues can be a thorny part of the planning process requiring early engagement, consultation with many curatorial bodies, and preparation of a number of different documents to satisfy the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework and associated guidance. This can be the case whether the development in question is anywhere from a small conversion to a single property, a quarry extending over hundreds of hectares, or any point between.

Understanding that the requirements of each site are different, Solstice offer a bespoke consultancy service to navigate a development through heritage and archaeology issues from project inception through to post-approval and advice on the positive benefits of making heritage a key component of your development.

Please use the tabs below right to explore the Heritage Consultancy Services offered by Solstice:

  • Heritage Statements
  • Desk-Based Assessments
  • Setting Assessments
  • Environmental Statements
  • Heritage Management Plans
  • Heritage Interpretation and Access Plans

In order to satisfy the requirements of the National Planning Policy Framework, a development ought to include a statement which addresses the potential impact of the development on any archaeology or historic buildings. A Heritage Statement provides the simplest form for such an assessment and is often required where there are to be only minor alterations to a known heritage site, such as a Listed Building, which nevertheless requires professional input. 

Heritage Statements can also be commissioned as a form of feasibility study at project inception. Whether to accompany a formal scoping request for a larger development, or as a stand-alone initial assessment of cultural heritage risk, a Heritage Statement will provide essential baseline data for the strategic planning of a project.

Where the potential of a development to impact on archaeology or other historic sites is not clear, the usual furst step in the process is a desk-based assessment. Although there are a certain number of standard elements to a desk-based assessment (including consulting the local Historic Environment Record or a historic map analysis), a development is best served by a bespoke piece of work which focuses on the key elements of the historic environment that may be impacted upon. A good desk-based assessment assembles all the relevant baseline information and will set the tone for any further work which is required. As such it is a critical document for any development and it is always worth obtaining the best service possible.

A preliminary assessment of the impact of a development on the setting of surrounding archaeological sites and historic buildings will often form part of a desk-based assessment. However with setting being such a key issue, particularly with developments such as wind renewables, Solstice offer a sliding scale of setting study which can be tailored to the specific needs of a development. This ranges from rapid desk-based assessment of likely impacts, through site-based survey of viewsheds to rigorous GIS-led visual impact assessment to EIA standards.  It is also common for setting assessment to be undertaken to assess the potential impact of a development on a single site such as particularly significant historic building, though again there are a range of different methods which can be employed to provide the best fit.

As a material consideration in the planning process, archaeology and cultural heritage are a required component of Environmental Impact Assessment. Solstice have longstanding experience in the preparation of Cultural Heritage Chapters for Environmental Statements, and early consultation is the key to getting the best outcome. 

For large-scale developments, management of cultural heritage can be a key issue which requires careful integration throughout the life a project. The best way to ensure a coherent strategy for the management of cultural heritage is to commission the preparation of a Heritage Management Plan. This plan can provide an overarching route map for succesfully negotiating archaeology and cultural heritage issues through the course of a development, ensuring full compliance with both the letter and spirit of guidance and legislation, and also implementing best practice systems for documenting and managing cultural heritage responses.

Heritage and archaeology are one of the strongest tools for engaging with and enthusing the wider public, yet countless developments still treat cultural heritage as an obstacle to be negotiated rather than as an opportunity. A Heritage Interpretation and Access Plan will assess the potential for the archaeology and heritage resource to add value both to a development and to the local community by generating a series of options. These can range from basic dissemination options that maximise the existing investment made in addressing heritage in the planning process, through to incorporating heritage into long term landscape plans or even becoming a partner to existing heritage projects in the local area.

With the National Planning Policy Framework putting sustainability front and centre, developers who make a commitment to the archaeology and heritage of a local area will be leading the way.