Planning Supporting Statements & Desk Based Studies
There are a series of different types of study that can be undertaken to provide the information required in support of any planning application. The planning process follows a staged approach which is reflected in the kinds of assessments that can be delivered to address potential issues and opportunities that the historic environment might bring to a project. The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) identifies 13 stages from conceptual design through detailed design, to construction and operation, and within this framework standard heritage assessments can be assigned.
For due diligence a feasibility study of heritage risk assessment might be best, a succinct overview of the potential constraints and risks that would need to be overcome before committing to buying land or commencing on an application.
Further background information and a recommended approach for more appropriate assessment would be required as part of the pre-application consultation process.
As part of validation for an application a Heritage Statement would be expected by the local planning authority, especially if the development might affect designated heritage assets and the built heritage.
This should identify whether there are any significant issues that need resolving, and a more detailed study might follow, such as a Heritage Impact Assessment or a Cultural Heritage chapter in an Environmental Impact Assessment.
In England the NPPF requires a desk-based assessment and consultation of the local Historic Environment Record, so that applicants can submit a planning supporting statement which details the context of the historic environment to their site, and the potential for known and unknown archaeological remains to exist within it. This study is required for determination of applications, and further non-intrusive and intrusive site investigation may also be requested, such as geophysical surveys, and trial trenching.
Together this raft of information in support of an application allows the local planning authority the confidence to make an informed decision based on a balance between the public benefit it would bring and the potential harm that might result from development.