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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 as a condition of planning permission.

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

  • whether your development will impact upo the archaeological resource
  • 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 describing 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 archaeological contractor 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.

All archaeological work must meet the standards set by the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists (CIFA). We also endorse the Regional Statement of Good Practice for Archaeology and expect these standards to be adhered to when conducting archaeological fieldwork.

We recommend that you contact an archaeological contractor for different quotes for your works. See details of how to find an archaeological contractor.

Archaeology and planning permission

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

Planning permission within York's 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

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

Ground disturbing work outside of planning process

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).

See our guidance document for utility companies working in York.

Also see


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