Planning Case Study 6

Land north of Hare Street Road, Buntingford, Hertfordshire


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.
7 - Pre-commencement archaeological conditions were attached to a planning permission - Pre-commencement archaeological conditions were attached to a planning permission and were necessary in order to enable the development to be permitted.

Heritage assets affected

Non-designated heritage assets with archaeological and historic interest

Type of application & broad category

Major, residential – 8.6ha

Local planning authority

Authority: East Hertfordshire District Council
References: 3/13/1000/FP

Development proposal

Erection of 160 dwellings with associated garages, car parking, public open space, children's play area, landscaping, diversion of footpath, pumping station with associated works and new vehicular, pedestrian and cyclist accesses and the provision of allotments and the change of use of land for a cemetery with associated accesses, car parking and landscaping.

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

No archaeology known from the site, but prehistoric and Roman archaeology known from the vicinity and it is topographically suited to settlement.

Archaeological/planning processes

Pre-application evaluation advised in response to enquiry from developer. This was undertaken in 2012 and comprised desk-based assessment, geophysical survey and trial trench evaluation.

The geophysical survey identified anomalies of archaeological origin which were then evaluated, identifying later Iron Age enclosures and early Roman pits.

A planning application was submitted in 2013; refused by the LPA (not on archaeology grounds); appealed by developer; application then approved by planning inspector in December 2013 with archaeology pre-commencement condition.

Further post-determination trial trench evaluation in 2014, via condition, identified middle Iron Age settlement and Neolithic pits.

The evaluation was followed by open excavations in three areas of the site between September and December 2014 which produced extensive and significant archaeological evidence. These included middle Neolithic remains (decorated pottery and flint flakes), and rural settlement remains including roundhouses with an associated system of land division and enclosure originating in the middle Iron Age and evolving through the late Iron Age period and into the early Roman period. Late Iron Age remains that appear to respect the middle Age remains indicate some continuity in the use of the site. A quantity of Iron Age pottery and kiln furniture was recovered that demonstrate good research potential at both local and regional level.

Outcomes: archaeological

Pre-application evaluation successfully identified archaeology potential, which was significant, but was not an issue at appeal.

The pre-commencement condition secured the post-determination archaeological mitigation including publication.

References and links/bibliography

  • Northamptonshire Archaeology 2012, An archaeological trial trench evaluation of land to the east of Buntingford Hertfordshire. Unpublished report.
  • Oxford Archaeology East 2015, An Iron Age settlement at land north of Hare Street Road, Buntingford, Hertfordshire: post-excavation assessment and updated project design. Unpublished report.
  • Clarke, Graeme, A middle to late Iron Age farmstead and enclosures at Hare Street Road, Buntingford, Hertfordshire Archaeology and History, forthcoming