HC Deb 16 October 2002 vol 390 c850W
Tony Baldry

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what archaeological surveys have been conducted by(a) her Department, (b) the County Archaeological Office and (c) English Heritage in respect of the sites identified for development as asylum accommodation centres; if the Government will publish the reports; and what further plans the Government have to commission such surveys. [74520]

Dr. Howells

It is for the developing agency, not the DCMS, the County Archaeologist or English Heritage to undertake archaeological surveys to inform proposals for development.

From the outset of the Accommodation Centre project, archaeology has been dealt with in accordance with government guidance as set out in PPG 16 "Archaeology and Planning". At the site option screening stage, archaeology was one of many factors used to identify sites where an Accommodation Centre might be developed without significant adverse impact to heritage interests, to preclude other sites where unacceptable impacts would occur and to identify those possible sites where desk studies, field evaluation or other archaeological measures would be necessary.

Archaeological desk and field evaluation studies have been commissioned by the Home Office for the Accommodation Centres proposed at Newton, Bicester and Pershore. Field evaluation trenching has also been undertaken at Newton and Bicester, and is under consideration at Pershore.

At Newton and Bicester the results of the desk and field studies have been submitted as part of the planning notification process, and documentation for Pershore will similarly form part of the planning submission. In due course, if development goes ahead any archaeological investigations in advance of development will be published in accordance with government guidance and archaeological best practice.