Archaeology and planning

Information about archaeology and the planning process in Southampton.

Planning policies covering archaeology

Local Areas of Archaeological Potential (LAAP)

There are sixteen local areas of archaeological potential, defined in Southampton's Local Plan and Core Strategy. These cover the whole of the city. Development in an area of archaeological potential may require archaeological fieldwork in advance of and during construction works.

Southampton Historic Environment Record (HER): information about archaeological sites in the city.

Map of archaeological fieldwork in Southampton: The map shows the location of archaeological investigations that have taken place in Southampton. Nearly two-thirds of these have been carried out since 1990 as developer-funded work associated with planning consents.

Archaeological planning advice

We assess proposed developments and current planning applications to determine their likely impact on known or potential archaeological remains. To do this, we consult the Historic Environment Record (HER) database, maps and other sources of information. Where development may affect archaeological remains we make a recommendation to the planning authority or developer on whether an application should be accepted or rejected, and on the planning conditions required to ensure that an appropriate level of archaeological investigation is carried out.

Pre-application advice: Anyone thinking of developing a site is encouraged to discuss the implications with us before submitting a planning application. It is sometimes possible to reduce the threat to archaeological remains by redesigning foundations, services, etc. We can give advice on this, and on what information is required to support an application. Please see the pre-application advice page for details of this planning service.

Heritage Statement: Planning applications for sites of archaeological potential must be accompanied by a Heritage Statement, if ground disturbance is proposed. You will be advised on this if you submit a formal pre-application enquiry. A Heritage Statement can include a desk-based assessment of existing information and sometimes a limited site investigation known as an evaluation.

Archaeological planning conditions guide: This document explains the archaeological conditions that may be attached to planning consents. We advise developers on what works are required to comply with these conditions.

Doing the work - archaeological contractors

Our job is to give advice and to ensure that the work is carried out. It is the responsibility of the developer to fund any investigations.

It is important to engage appropriately qualified and experienced personnel to undertake archaeological assessment and fieldwork. We can provide contacts to archaeological contractors if required. Developers are advised to contact us to obtain a written brief for the work before obtaining quotes from contractors.

All work must be carried out under a written scheme of investigation (WSI) written by a qualified person and approved by us. Once an archaeological investigation has started, we monitor the work to ensure compliance with agreed or required standards.

From April 2023 charges apply covering archaeological work relating to the implementation of planning conditions. The charges cover the:

  • Production of written briefs
  • Approval of WSIs
  • Monitoring of investigations
  • Approval of reports

The charges are explained in Planning Archaeology Guidelines and Charges. To obtain these services, please complete a service application form (this form can be completed either by the developer, an archaeological consultant or archaeological contractor).

Archaeology in Southampton: Information about other archaeological services provided by Southampton City Council, including our own archaeology field unit.

Contact us

Contact online or telephone on 023 8083 2850.

Planning Archaeologist,
Planning and Economic Development,
Southampton City Council,
Civic Centre,
SO14 7LY.