Scheduled Monument Consent applications

Your intended development or alterations may be on a site classified as a Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) (or a part of one) or your proposals may have the potential to affect the setting of a Scheduled Ancient Monument on adjacent land or further afield. For these proposed development sites, planning consent from the local planning authority is only part of the process - you will also need to obtain Scheduled Monument Consent (SMC) from the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for any works which might affect a monument above or below ground.

Applications for Scheduled Monument Consent in England are sent on a form to the regional office of English Heritage. The regional Inspectors assess the proposals, liaise with the applicant, and advise the Secretary of State. Written consent from the DCMS is needed before works can be begun, regardless of whether other permissions have been obtained.

The process can take several weeks and it is sensible to apply at an early stage in the planning process - and certainly before you arrange any groundworkers or builders.

Free advice is available from English Heritage, but you are likely to find it simpler to commission help. I have experience (before becoming freelance) of successfully applying for SMC for works on sensitive scheduled sites including Merton Priory (proposed for World Heritage site status) and The Queen's Sconce (Newark), as well as others in the City of Lincoln. In 2012 I assisted a client to obtain approval for a Staffordshire development proposal which lay beside a scheduled monument. My reports have also successfully supported applications made by others.

My approach is to provide English Heritage and the DCMS with similar detailed information as collected for the Heritage Assessment or Desk-Based Assessment, describing the site as it is now, the evidence for its past use, the details of the planning proposals, and a detailed mitigation strategy to remove or reduce any damage to the monument or its setting. In addition, I detail the scheduled monument/s which are affected by the proposals.

In many cases, English Heritage will want to be confident that their response is not in conflict with that of the Local Authority, and it is sensible to engage in dialogue with both parties if potential problems appear. For instance, SMC may be conditional on one type of foundation, and it is vital to be sure that this will also satisfy the Local Authority and that it will be practical on the ground. Throughout the application process, I will check with you and your structural engineers/architects that nothing is being proposed that cannot be achieved.

When your application has been successful and your written consent has arrived, I can arrange for professional archaeologists to help you comply with any conditions which the DCMS have demanded, and provide the report and archiving stage which brings the scheme to a conclusion.