Have you been asked to commission a desk-based assessment as part of your planning application? Read on to find out what a desk-based assessment is, why it’s sometimes necessary as part of a planning application and how much it is likely to cost.
What is a Desk-Based Assessment?
A desk-based assessment is essentially a short research project exploring the history and archaeological development of a particular piece of land or building. In order to compile the report sources such as historic maps and documents from the local Record Office and material held at the local ‘Historic Environment Record’ would be consulted. A site visit will be carried out and information from other investigations relating to the proposed development such as geotechnical boreholes or geophysical surveys will also be consulted. The desk-based assessment needs to be researched and written by an archaeological or heritage consultant skilled in undertaking this particular type of report.
Why do I need to commission a desk-based assessment?
If you want to get planning permission to renovate or demolish buildings, develop a piece of land for housing, solar farms, cable lines or any other reason, you might be asked by your local planning department to commission a desk-based assessment. It usually forms the initial stage of a programme of archaeological work and is used to assess whether there is likely to be any archaeological remains on or near a planned development. It also helps the planning department decide whether further archaeological work, such as trench evaluations, watching briefs and/or excavations, are needed as part of the grant of planning consent. It also provides information on whether the development will affect the setting or significance of known heritage assets, such as listed buildings or scheduled monuments.
How much will a desk-based assessment cost?
Costs for a desk-based assessment will vary according to the scale of the proposed development, its location (rural or urban), the scope of the research (defined in a brief produced by the relevant planning archaeologist), and the amount of travel which might be required. If the proposed development is a small-scale residential development or listed building conversion the cost of undertaking a desk-based appraisal would be in the range of £250-£500, whereas a desk-based assessment, heritage statement or Heritage Impact Assessment for a housing development or infrastructure project would be in the region of £1,350-£2,500.
Oakford Archaeology offer a range of archaeological services and have considerable expertise in the compilation of Desk-based Assessments. Please contact us for a free, fixed cost quotation – we work with clients in Exeter, Devon and across the South West.