Protecting pre-commencement archaeological conditions: Rescue write to APPAG with concerns about the Neighbourhood Planning Bill

Rescue have written to all members of the All Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG) to express our concerning regarding part of the current Neighbourhood Planning Bill, which will go through a second reading on 17th January.

These concerns focus on the clause (currently clause 12) of the Bill which proposes changes to the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, particularly around the process of applying planning conditions that have to be carried out before development works begin (‘pre-commencement’ conditions)…

…Pre-commencement conditions are essential for the recording of significant archaeological remains and this has been recognised by the government during the passage of the Bill so far. However, the response to the DCLG consultation indicates that no exemptions are proposed to the requirement for pre-commencement conditions to be agreed in writing by the applicant. RESCUE strongly believes that if the only alternative to written applicant agreement to an archaeological condition is refusal of the entire application – an unlikely step given the likelihood of appeals against refusal and the present cash-strapped climate within local authorities – this would lead to planning permissions being granted without pre-commencement conditions and the resultant unrecorded destruction of archaeology, unmitigated damage to historic landscapes and Listed Buildings, and inevitably serious harm to the heritage of the country.

Read our full response below.

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