Planning Case Study 15

Land at Burwood Lane, Great Torrington, 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: Torridge District Council
References: 1/0246/2017/OUTM, 1/0246/2018

Development proposal

Major, Residential development of up to 181 dwellings and ancillary works.

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

There was no HER data for the site or for the vicinity. A Civil War battle was thought to have taken place somewhere in this landscape. The site overlooks the town of Great Torrington.

Archaeological/planning processes

Pre-application assessment was requested because of the possibility of a Civil War battlefield site in the area. The size of the application area and its location in a prominent position in the landscape meant that its archaeological potential was defined by its topographical position and size rather than by known archaeology. This part of the county is rural and there has been little large-scale development – though this is changing now – so the absence of HER data doesn’t really reflect an absence of archaeology but the absence of opportunities to identify archaeology.

A desk-based assessment identified the archaeological potential of the study area as low.

Pre-application geophysical survey was requested by the Historic Environment Team, and on the basis of the results, a field evaluation. The results of this work were submitted to support the planning application to enable an informed and reasonable planning decision to be made.

Outcomes: archaeological

A large possible Iron Age enclosure, measuring c.150m by at least 100m, was identified through the geophysical survey and confirmed by field evaluation. Isolated pits were also exposed.

A pre-commencement condition to secure a programme of archaeological investigation and recording was recommended but the application was refused by the LPA on other grounds.

Other outcomes/outputs e.g. other public benefit such as public engagement, research and new/changed work practices

Had the scheme been granted permission public outreach would have been specified as part of the archaeological works and this would have been set out in the WSI.

References and links/bibliography

  • Archaeological Landscape Investigation 2017, Desk Based Assessment: Land off Burwood Lane/Caddywell Lane, Great Torrington, Devon. Unpublished report.
  • Archaeological Surveys 2017, Land off Burwood Lane/Caddywell Lane, Great Torrington, Devon, Magnetometer Survey Report. Unpublished report.
  • AC archaeology 2017, Land off Burwood Lane/Caddywell Lane, Great Torrington, Devon, Results of an archaeological trench evaluation. Unpublished report ACD1608/2/0.