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Archaeological advice for planning developments

Archaeological advice

The UK Government published the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in March 2012 (last updated February 2019).

In line with government policy the Historic Environment Team (HET) provides archaeological advice in relation to the planning process to:

  • members of the public
  • local Districts Councils
  • Planning, Minerals and Waste Authorities
  • archaeological organisations
  • applicants, developers and their agents

The council strongly recommends that developers seek early advice from HET about the potential impacts of development proposals that impact known or anticipated, designated or non-designated heritage assets, and their settings and how they can best be managed in line with the principles set out in the NPPF.

Early consultation with HET can ensure that a proportionate scope of archaeological work is designed to enable applicants to provide appropriate evidence that is able to inform planning decisions and shape mitigation strategies.

We use an archaeological brief-led process for development schemes. A Written Schemes of Investigation (WSI) must be prepared by the archaeological organisation appointed to carry out the investigation programme. A list of Registered Organisations (ROs) can be found on the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIfA) website.

The Development Management process flow chart gives more detailed guidance on the stages of archaeological engagement with HET.

Charging schedule

In March 2013 the council's cabinet decided that HET should charge for certain parts of its service to assist with its operational costs. Archaeological advice carried out for the five Cambridgeshire Districts Councils and the two County Council planning authorities is delivered through Service Level Agreements. HET involvement in major development schemes, such as New Towns or Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects, may be charged via a Planning Performance Agreement with the County Council. Other charges are calculated according to the council’s scales of development and are included in the charging schedule.

HET Charging Schedule 2024-25238KBpdf
Size: 238KBFile format: pdf

Current response times

Our expected response times are currently as follows:

  • Production of Briefs (including HER search) – up to 20 working days.
  • Initial comments and review of WSIs – up to 20 working days.
  • Review of evaluation reports, PXA reports, archive reports and publication text – project specific and subject to caseload pressures, particularly ‘ongoing’ fieldwork.

Please note that our response times are linked to case load and are subject to review.

Please note that if we are able to provide a response within the estimated timeframes above, we will of course do so.

Contact us

For more information or archaeological planning advice please contact HET at or on 01223 728 564.