West Berkshire Council

Historic Environment - Planning Advice

Ensuring that the historic environment is protected through the statutory planning system

The historic environment is under threat from the changing pressures of modern life - we want to work to make sure that it's not needlessly or thoughtlessly lost.  We do this by collecting and providing historic environment data, giving advice and help during the planning process to protect heritage assets, and by making sure careful records are made of sites that can't be preserved. Our involvement can include correspondence on policy and development management, as well as contact with planning officers, applicants and archaeological contractors.  We offer advice to all parties involved throughout the process, and we also maintain a Historic Environment Record (HER).  This acts as the primary source of evidence that we use to make sure all decisions are made in an informed way.

Advice and information

Pre-application discussions can save you both time and money.  It's advisable to consider whether the site of any proposed development is important to the historic environment.  We suggest that the HER is consulted at an early stage to see if there are any known heritage assets on, or close to, a proposed development area.  

Early discussions can be made with the Archaeology Service for advice on whether a site can be developed or not. For advice on planning applications and planning compliance regarding Listed Buildings, or buildings within a Conservation Area, please contact our Conservation and Design Team at the Planning Service
The historic environment doesn't have to act as an obstacle - understanding the heritage aspects of a proposed development area and its context can often provide positive effects on site layout, design, materials or landscaping, and create a real sense of place and local identity.

How we respond to planning applications

There are four potential responses to any application from a historic environment perspective:

  • No impact - the proposed development will not impact on any heritage assets
  • More information needed - more information is required relating to heritage assets that may be affected
  • Programme of recording - heritage assets affected by approved developments will be subject to a recording programme
  • Development cannot proceed - development may be refused if substantial harm will be caused to significant heritage assets 

More detail on each of these responses, along with answers to frequently asked questions, can be found on ourpdf icon Archaeology and Planning leaflet [478kb].
The Chartered Institute for Archaeologists provides a a list of registered archaeological contractors

Further advice on how to manage heritage assets can be found on the Managing the Historic Environment webpage 

Who To Contact