Planning Case Study 14

West Buckland Junction, A361 North Devon Link Road, Devon


Planning scenario(s)

1 - Pre-determination assessment/evaluation identified significant new heritage assets - Pre-determination assessment/evaluation identified significant archaeology on the development site (i.e. the results created significant new knowledge), especially where none was previously known in the HER.

Heritage assets affected

Undesignated heritage assets with archaeological and historic interest

Type of application & broad category


Local planning authority

Authority: Devon County Council
References: DCC/4091/2018

Development proposal

Improvements to the A361 North Devon Link Road and the creation of a road bridge and junction at West Buckland.

Archaeological information known about the site before the planning application was made, or before the development commenced, as appropriate

There were no HER records for the immediate area affected by the West Buckland junction.

Prehistoric activity has been recorded in the much wider landscape; there was no known Romano-British activity. A fishpond c.1km to the east and a deserted medieval settlement some 4.2km to the west are both scheduled monuments. There were HER records nearby for landscape features associated with a Registered Park, historic farmscape and quarries.

Archaeological/planning processes

The site topography was assessed as being conducive to settlement, i.e. a flat terrace just above the valley floor with good prospects across the landscape. A programme of geophysical survey and evaluation was therefore requested pre-application in advance of the production of, and to support, an EIA.

Outcomes: archaeological

A prehistoric or Romano-British ditched enclosure and associated field system were identified through geophysical survey and confirmed by field evaluation.

This work has enabled Devon County Council to scope out any unexpected significant archaeological deposits within the road scheme and allowed the mitigation (small-scale area excavation) to be integrated into the project budget and construction timetable. Those elements of the field system affected by the scheme can be excavated in advance of construction. The area of more sensitive archaeology – the enclosure – has been identified and will not be impacted by the scheme.

Carrying out this work pre-application has enabled a WSI to be submitted in support of the planning application for the archaeological work and no pre-commencement condition will be required. Instead the recommended condition refers to the WSI prepared by Cotswold Archaeology and submitted with the planning application. This is worded as:

‘The development shall proceed in accordance with the programme of archaeological work as set out in the written scheme of investigation (WSI) prepared by Cotswold Archaeology that has been submitted in support of the planning application in Appendix 7.6 (West Buckland Junction - Written Scheme of Investigation for an Archaeological SMS Excavation, CA Project ref: 880347 and dated 19th October 2018). The development shall be carried out at all times in accordance with the approved scheme, or such other details as may be subsequently agreed in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: To ensure, in accordance with paragraph 199 of the National Planning Policy Framework (2018), that an appropriate record is made of archaeological evidence that may be affected by the development'

References and links/bibliography

  • Cotswold Archaeology 2018, North Devon Link Road Improvements Borners Bridge to Buckleigh Road, Devon, Heritage Assessment. Unpublished report, CA 18005.
  • Substrata 2018, An archaeological magnetometer survey, Land at West Buckland Junction, A361, Devon. Unpublished report.
  • Cotswold Archaeology 2018, Land at West Buckland Junction, A361, Devon, Archaeological Evaluation. Unpublished report CA 18525.