Planning and building

Archaeological advice for developers

The National Planning Policy Framework dictates that all proposed planning and building developments must consider how work may affect heritage assets or sites of archaeological interest.

Archaeological investigation through the planning process

If your planning application is within an 'Area of Archaeological Importance' or an area considered to be of archaeological interest, you may need to carry out an archaeological investigation either as part of the 'pre-application' process, or a condition of planning permission ('post-application').

Our pre-application planning service provides advice on all aspects of development, including:

  • whether your development is affected by local archaeology sites
  • what supporting information you're likely to need to provide

Archaeology and pre-planning permission

If we find that your development is in an 'Area of Archaeological Importance' during the pre-application stage of planning, you'll need to:

  • provide further information with your planning application
  • describe the significance of archaeological features and deposits on the site
  • tell us what steps will be taken to preserve or record significant archaeology

You may need to employ an archaeologist to carry out either a desk-based assessment, watching brief, archaeological investigation (including geophysical surveys, boreholes or archaeological trial trenches) or a building recording to determine the nature and significance of any heritage assets, or to record assets prior to destruction/alteration. 

We've provided an explanation of the most common types of archaeological works including the level and quality of work we expect to be undertaken.

If you know that an archaeological evaluation is required at the pre-application stage, you must submit a report on the works along with your planning application.

Archaeology and post-planning permission

If planning permission is granted, we may still require some post-application archaeological monitoring or excavation to be carried out as a planning condition.

Planning permission within the historic core

You'll be granted planning permission if your development preserves more than 95% of the archaeological features and deposits within the 'red line site' on your planning application. This is normally achieved through designing an appropriate 'piled' foundation system.

Within the historic core of York, you may be required to carry out an archaeological excavation before development starts.

This is to record archaeological features and deposits that:

  • do not merit preservation
  • cannot be preserved within your development

If you're disturbing ground or demolishing a building within the city centre (an 'Area of Archaeological Importance'), you'll need to submit an operations notice to York Archaeological Trust and City of York Council (free of charge).

The York archaeological development study sets out an approach to development which gives consideration to York's archaeological heritage.

Also see


City of York Council, West Offices, Station Rise, York, YO1 6GA