Spring has Sprung

It’s been a while since we’ve posted a blog, too long really but this reflects how busy the first three months of 2017 has been. At AH we’ve been juggling large and small fieldwork projects with an unusually high demand for heritage statements and desk based assessments so our team has been pretty much flat out since the start of the year – not complaining of course!
As ever, our workload has been a combination of new and returning clients, all whom have our undying gratitude for choosing AH to assist with their planning needs, be they planning conditions work that need discharging or advice and pre-planning documents relating to archaeology, designated sites and buildings or assessments of archaeological potential – everyone needs a heads-up when it comes to potential ‘buried’ costs!
Outside the sun is finally shining, the birds are singing (and visiting our office window feeder in droves) - even our office heating has at last been turned down!
There’s still a certain amount of uncertainty about what the future may hold, particularly with the final triggering of Article 50 but we remain positive – houses still need to be built, more so than ever if the media reports of a looming ‘housing crisis’ are to be believed and Listed Buildings and other properties in Conservation Areas still need to be assessed ahead of extension or refurbishment.
Speaking of Listed Buildings and Conservation Area issues, we were pleased to hear that the proposed total rebuild of the Grade II Listed Old Sardine Factory in East Looe, Cornwall (pictured), has finally accrued the funding necessary to complete the project. AH has been involved from the project’s inception and it has provided both interesting and challenging work, from initial assessment to the difficulties encountered when it became clear that the mid-19th century structure was irretrievably unstable, its foundations having been undermined by the tidal flow of the adjacent river. The building is now set for demolition and a Level 4 building survey will be completed prior to that, along with monitoring works and potentially an evaluation post-demolition. The building will unfortunately need to be de-Listed, a process not undertaken lightly by Historic England but this has proved to be the only safe and pragmatic course of action.
 

All in all a bright and varied first quarter to 2017 and we are looking forward to the next few months as large-scale excavation and evaluation work at our Littlehampton site resumes following a short hiatus. Ongoing work across a number of counties, including Wiltshire, Oxfordshire, Shropshire, Worcestershire, Devon, Bath & North East Somerset, Hampshire, Hertfordshire and the London Boroughs of Lewisham, Merton and the City of Westminster will keep us busy I’m sure.

Looking Back, Looking Forward...

2016 was AH’s fourth complete year of operations and represented our most successful both in terms of the number of projects completed and company turnover, for which we are very grateful to all our clients, both returning and new. Last year also saw AH accepted as a Registered Organisation with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists, a significant step forward for us and a guarantee of our competence and our professional approach to a wide range of projects, from small alterations to Listed Buildings or undesignated buildings in Conservation Areas, to large scale excavations for housing and mixed-use developments. Geographically, as anyone who follows @Armourheritage on Twitter will know, we have completed projects from the far west of Cornwall to Kent and Sussex, and from Greater London to the Midlands and Yorkshire – if road miles translated to air miles we’d be due a free holiday in the sun!
Looking forward to 2017, although the immediate future is fuelled by a high level of uncertainty engendered by the referendum result, our clients remain very positive, and the beginning of the year is happily just as busy as the end of the last. Construction of new housing, development led work in schools, and energy projects across the south is resulting in a busy project worksheet, with a happy balance of desk based and fieldwork set to keep us busy at the start of the year!
Here’s wishing all our clients, sub-contractors and everyone else a happy and prosperous new year!

 

Happy Birthday AH!

It’s exactly four years to the day that I took the fateful step to quit my employment and start AH, and four years on AH has become established in the heritage sector with a growing client base including both repeat clients and a steady stream of new ones, from individual householders to larger more well-known developers looking for a change in their heritage advisors.

In the early days our work focused, as it does today, on housing and mixed use development although a decent percentage involved renewable energy. Wind turbines gave us much of our earlier assessment work with solar adding significantly to the mix after a few months. This sustained us well for a couple of years until the removal of government support triggered the renewables sector to crash – causing us more than a little consternation at the time!

Since then, through a combination of advertising, contacts and word of mouth, our market share has grown significantly with year-on-year workloads and turnover continuing to rise.

This past year and a half has been our busiest yet. With the arrival of Sue Farr two years ago, we have been able to branch out, allowing more archaeological consultancy and fieldwork management of large-scale schemes to complement our ‘bread-and-butter’ heritage-led work.

Despite the economic uncertainty engendered by the referendum result, we remain cautiously optimistic for the future, and we hope to be repeating our now ‘traditional’ birthday blog for many years to come! 

"Found any gold yet?"

Posted on December 7, 2016 .

AH Tour of Britain #2

It’s almost the weekend, and this morning at Armour Heritage we’ve been cataloguing some of the digital images we’ve taken from recent sites, and getting nostalgic about the projects we’ve been involved in over the last 12 months. 


Our whizzy new Lightbox software from Adobe allows us to map the areas we’ve worked in around the UK, through use of the photographs’ geo-tagging, and shows a concentration in Greater London and Cornwall, both areas where setting of historic assets, impacts of conversions or new build in Conservation Areas, and World Heritage Site issues are regularly contentious topics. Not surprisingly, the map also shows we’ve been busy closer to our main office in Somerset, and local areas of Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Berkshire where we regularly complete watching briefs, evaluations and archaeological mitigation. It's worth noting that the numbers on the screen-dump refer to the numbers of photographs from the wider area rather than the number of projects undertaken. Penwith, for example, in West Cornwall, shows 101 photographs - these refer to around 15 recent sites.

UK map showing a broad distribution of AH sites


Through the many projects we’ve been involved in, we’re in no doubt a bespoke, tailored heritage statement can help to identify and mitigate the impacts of any development proposal on heritage assets, thus providing a cost-effective approach to independently assessing the significance of assets in and around a site. Moreover, our desk based assessments can offer suggestions and solutions with regard to the potential affects the development may have on the historic environment, and ultimately may contribute toward that all-important resolution between the planners and our valued clients.

 

The AH Tour of Britain

The Tour of Britain cycling event finishes in the World Heritage Site city of Bath later today, and as well as a guaranteed early finish for Team AH (big cycling fans that we are!), we’re also reminded of our own excursions around the UK over the last few months.

Although we’ve not made it into Scotland just yet, work continues apace across the much of the rest of the UK. Regionally, Greater London and Cornwall seem to top the bill although we still can’t put our finger on why, when you get one project in a certain area, another seems to quickly follow. Chaos theory perhaps…

One thing we find continually is the learning curve working nationally engenders. Our recent work in Greater London for example has been across a number of the suburbs – Greenwich, Charlton, Lewisham, Catford and Brockley, as well as more centrally with a site in historic Southwark. Each site came with its own specific set of challenges, due in part to their varied locations and in part to the variety of works proposed, which offered Conservation Area & Listed Building issues as well as some insights into some exceptional archaeological potential – particularly true in Southwark with our site adjacent to the former major Roman road of Watling Street. We’d recommend an excellent monograph produced by the Museum of London Archaeology Service (now MOLA) which reports on excavations on Great Dover Street, very close to our site, available here http://www.mola.org.uk/publications/romano-british-cemetery-watling-street-excavations-165-great-dover-street-southwark.

Amongst the subject matter we’ve been sifting through, the exponential expansion of the London Suburbs in the later 19th century has become clear, reflecting the desire of the wealthier to move away from the centre of the city and out into the leafier areas of Lewisham and other parts of what was then still Kent. Of interest also has been the changing face of the streetscape, both in the centre of the city with some iconic buildings being constructed in recent years (the Gherkin, the Shard etc), and the changes in the Georgian and Victorian terraces of the suburbs, often the result of bomb damage during the Blitz – Bombsight.org offers a good insight into this, particularly in conjunction with comparisons between pre-War and 1950s OS maps.

From the very beginnings of each new project at AH, and the journey it takes us on, we increasingly recognise the wealth of knowledge out there and the importance of maintaining all of our heritage resources, and good easy access to them.  They, like the whole of the heritage industry, rely on the support of both professionals and the public at large.

Summer's Here

Plenty has happened since our last blog back in June – seems hard to believe it was really only just over a month ago? 

England’s footballers, true to form, failed miserably at Euro 2016, falling to a team of mighty part-timers managed by a dentist, and supported clearly and unfairly by Thor. On the positive side, the weather seems to have taken a turn to the good recently – you could almost mistake it for summer - which has made our site visits of late rather pleasant, in particular those down to the Cornish coast! Thanks go to a number of our clients for their impeccable timing!

But I suppose of most significance to small businesses like Armour Heritage, Britain has, for good or ill, voted to leave the EU at some as yet unspecified time in the future. It’s far too soon to say how, or indeed if, this will impact on the heritage sector. The message we’re getting thus far is ‘business as usual’, which is encouraging in the short term at least. In a similar vein we also wait and wonder what impact, if any, a new Prime Minister and Cabinet will have on the UK’s heritage sector. 

This in mind, we can report a positive past few weeks work-wise, including the aforementioned new projects in North, South and West Cornwall, London, Warwickshire and Wiltshire alongside the securing of a substantial fieldwork project in Sussex. All of this will help to augment our ongoing heritage and archaeology work across the country, so things at AH remain busy and we, the Directors, remain happy! 

 

Posted on July 21, 2016 .

Half Time 2016

As we rapidly approach the halfway point of another year, we thought this would be a good time to reflect on the past 6 months – please excuse the football related title, but it’s the Euros so we had no choice!

The start of the year saw Armour Heritage become a Registered Organisation with the CIfA, which was an excellent outcome following a considerable amount of form-filling and a very helpful meeting with the CIfA’s representatives just before Christmas. The feedback from our clients has been positive too, and has confirmed that our continued commitment to delivering independent, professional, and pragmatic advice on all heritage related projects is good for client and heritage alike.

Since receiving the CIfA kitemark, it’s proven to be a very busy time, with multiple projects across the UK, ranging geographically from the western tip of Cornwall to Rainham in Essex in the south, and occasional trips ‘up country’ to the East Midlands and beyond for fieldwork and desk-based heritage projects. The end of May also saw the winding-up of our extensive excavations at Winnersh in Berkshire – see the galleries section for a bit more on this. The dig was AH’s biggest project to date, and provided a number of logistical challenges, interesting archaeology and welcome outreach opportunities, including a well-attended open day. 

Of course, every half-year has its hitches and we, like the rest of our profession, remain concerned over the contents of the Queen’s Speech, in particular elements of the Neighbourhood Planning and Infrastructure Bill, which in its current form, jeopardises over 25 years of improved heritage protection within the planning system, putting future construction projects at greater financial risk, and our valued clients with the threat of potential lengthy delays on site.  AH has joined in our industry’s robust opposition to aspects of the proposed changes in their current form, and we await the outcome of consultations triggered by the well-supported online petition in this regard.

It’s less than a couple of weeks until the in/out EU vote, another cause of concern here and elsewhere across the profession. Although we can’t be clear on how the outcome will affect our profession and the wider economy in the longer term, we are under no illusion that much of our heritage and environmental protection stems from European policy – though not all strictly EU based - and continued membership of the EU would support these conventions in a positive manner.

All-in-all a positive first half to the year, may the second half bring continued success!

Open Day at the Winnersh excavations - a follow up

The open day at Hatch Farm attracted over 260 visitors on what turned out to be a bright though very chilly Sunday afternoon. Visitors were taken on site tours and had the opportunity to see the ongoing excavation of features, chat to the teams from AH and TVAS, and to view and handle some of the many finds excavated over the past few weeks.

A gallery showcasing elements of the event is available here.

Archaeological Excavation Open Day - Reading, Berkshire

For some months now Armour Heritage, in association with Thames Valley Archaeological Services, has been involved in large scale excavations at Hatch Farm, Winnersh, prior to its development for housing. The excavations, joint funded by Bovis Homes and Persimmon Homes Thames Valley, have been undertaken over a number of areas identified during two phases of archaeological trial trench evaluation. The majority of the remains uncovered relate to a small rural farmstead, occupied during the later Iron Age and the earliest phases of the Roman occupation. Remains dating to earlier and later periods have also been identified at Hatch Farm and you are invited to come and see for yourself! The site is open to the public on Sunday the 24th April from 10am until 3pm, see fliers below for details - we hope to see you there!

Posted on April 20, 2016 .

Chartered Institute for Archaeologists

After some considerable form filling and a morning entertaining CIfA folk at our Trudoxhill offices, Armour Heritage is very pleased to announce that we are now an approved Registered Organisation. 

With the recent exponential growth of the company’s workload and turnover, both in Heritage Consultancy and archaeological fieldwork management, this for us is an important and very welcome addition to our CV.

We applied for the RO scheme at the back end of last autumn, although our work commitments then meant that the initial application forms were filled out in rather piecemeal fashion. However, the important thing for us is that we got there…and not just for us. The RO membership represents a ‘kite mark’ through which our valued clients, existing and future, can feel assured that AH will continue to offer them an excellent professional service, undertaken to the highest standard and in line with the CIfA’s guidance.

As AH continues to advance as a heritage practice, we welcome the support of the CIfA - not just for us, and our clients, but for the profession as a whole.

 

25 years of developer funded archaeology

The publication of PPG16 (Planning Policy Guidance Note 16, on 'Archaeology and Planning') in November 1990 allowed, for the first time, the integration of archaeology into the planning process, with the responsibility for the funding of any archaeological works falling to the developer.

 This represented a sea-change in the approach to archaeology and planning. Whilst previously the discovery of archaeological remains was generally dealt with through a process of ‘rescue’ digs, reliant  on central and local government funding, now the archaeological potential of a proposed development site could be assessed in advance. This allowed appropriate mitigation to be set out as a condition or conditions attached to planning consent.

Since the issue of PPG16, and its counterpart PPG15 (Planning and the Historic Environment), which was concerned with built heritage, Conservation Areas and the historic environment, attitudes toward archaeology and heritage in the planning system have fundamentally changed. True enough, we still occasionally hear “…so what happens if you find something, do you bring in students to dig it up…”, from the viewpoint of the developer, dealing with archaeology and heritage matters is now an accepted part of the planning process.

Whilst the tenets set out in the PPGs have been adapted through changes in national planning policy, through PPS5 to the current NPPF, the principles remain, probably stronger now than ever, with the support of a number of guidance documents released by both central government and Historic England. 

As heritage professionals, the continued support for heritage through the planning system is of course fundamental to our heritage consultancy's continuing existence, however, stepping away from thoughts of commercial  viability, this support needs to remain in place to ensure our heritage is appropriately maintained, recorded and protected.

 

A Lively Start to the Year

Despite our earnest predictions that January would be a relatively quiet start to 2016, something along the lines of… “time to get over Christmas and ease back into work gently”… or words to that effect, January has proved to be our busiest and most successful month in the three-and-a-bit years since AH was set up. Rather than the “gentle start” we predicted, we've found ourselves to be very busy indeed, working the occasional weekend on a range of projects across England, stretching from West Cornwall to Norfolk and Suffolk , along with several developments closer to home in Somerset and Wiltshire too.

Things have been busy on both AH’s main ‘fronts’ – heritage assessment work and archaeological fieldwork management – with a number of new clients coming on board over the past few weeks with new housing schemes and work assessing Listed Buildings ahead of their conversion/re-use, alongside the re-emergence of projects put on the back burner, which we had considered may not be happening at all.

All in all it’s been a bright start to the new year then, with current projects extending, in some cases, through to the summer and beyond. We look forward to more of the same as the year progresses!

 

Posted on February 1, 2016 .

2016 So Far

So, a new year with new challenges. At AH the year has started brightly with some interesting new projects on our books already, including heritage work in Bridgwater, Swindon and the Liskeard area of Cornwall. Further management of large scale archaeological excavations in Berkshire looks likely, alongside a number of continuing projects across the counties of Suffolk, Norfolk, Staffordshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Worcestershire and Devon. Still awaiting our ‘Must Farm buried Bronze Age houses’ moment, but we live in hope! 

Hits on the web site have increased exponentially over the past few months, and we’re adding new sections all the time so please keep checking it out when you’ve a spare moment. 
Domestically we’re still mulling over the financial benefits (or otherwise) of having new offices built from scratch, although looking out of our Foghamshire Lane office window at the frost covered fields, I think we may just prefer to stay where we are. It is a truly stunning morning in Somerset.

Christmas time, mostly definitely wine...

It’s Christmas, and here at AH we’ve been looking into the origins of the festive period.

The concept of a celebration around the winter solstice, as with so many other ‘traditions’, predates the Christian era, probably by millennia. In pre-Christian Northern Europe, the period was known as Jul, still preserved in the English language as Yule, and the custom of burning the Yule Log goes back to at least the Vikings, who traditionally brought in the Yule Log and drank mead whilst it burned, celebrating the return of light after the prolonged darkness of the Scandinavian winter. During the medieval period, an entire tree was sometimes brought into the house with great ceremony. The tree/alcohol traditional is of course still prevalent today!

In the UK, many of our earliest monuments are aligned to the rising midwinter sun, including Stonehenge, pointing to traditions going back many thousands of years to the earliest farmers and settlements in this country.

The Romans knew the season as Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, which translates roughly as ‘the (re)birth of the unconquered Sun’, and through a period of sacrifice and feasting, the people celebrated the prospect of the lengthening of the days and the return of summer. The Roman Pope Julius I chose December 25th to celebrate the birth of Jesus primarily because that date already hosted two related festivals of birth: the Dies Natalis Solis Invicti, and the celebration of the birth of the god Mithras, known as the ‘Sun of Righteousness’.

Christmas decorations too have their roots in earlier pre-Christian traditions. The Romans were said to have decorated living trees with fragments of metal and images of Bacchus, god of wine and revelry, whilst twelve candles on a tree honoured the sun god Mithras. The writings of Tertullian (c. AD155-240) suggest early Christians imitated their pagan neighbours by decorating their homes with candles and laurel at the turn of the year.

Many more historical analogies are available and well worth a bit of online, or perish the thought, library research! 

We at Armour Heritage wish you all a peaceful and happy season, whatever your belief system (or lack thereof), and a prosperous and successful 2016.

Posted on December 21, 2015 .

Heritage Funding and Support

It has recently been reported that, as part of a wide range of cuts to services, Lancashire County Council have tabled plans to cut their heritage services, including provision of an historic environment record (HER), and curatorial input into planning applications.

The requirement for archaeological assessment, survey, excavation and protection is a statutory requirement, set out clearly in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), which follows broadly the principles set out in the European Convention on the Protection of the Archaeological Heritage (The Valetta Treaty), and to which the UK is a signatory. The need for a Local Planning Authority to maintain and have access to a functioning HER as part of this process is clearly set out in the NPPF (para. 169). LCC’s current proposals effectively indicate that they intend to proceed with a planning system which employs the selective and subjective imposition of national principles and policies. This would leave the authority open to numerous challenges, ranging from grounds of non-compliance with national policy, to having the validity of individual application decisions queried and overturned. 

This could also affect later stages of the development process. The NPPF and its predecessors have been relatively effective at identifying archaeological risk at an early stage, allowing effective mitigation through fieldwork or design iteration. The removal of archaeological input from the early stages of the planning process leaves developers open to the potential to discover extensive and important archaeological remains at a much later stage, i.e. during construction, leading to costly delays. 

Strong letters of objection have been lodged from a number of organisations including the Council for British Archaeology (CBA) and RESCUE (The British Archaeological Trust), and we at Armour Heritage would like to add our protest and would urge our colleagues in the profession to do the same.

On a related subject, Armour Heritage’s offices were recently visited by our local representative, David Warburton MP, at our invitation. We discussed a number of matters, foremost amongst them the changes to the Feed-In Tariff Scheme (FITS) for the renewable energy sector and support for heritage and archaeology in parliament. Whilst we felt the meeting ended on a positive note, issues like that currently emerging in Lancashire emphasise the point that archaeology and heritage are considered of relatively low importance, at least at local government level, and we fear that cuts to services in other authorities may follow a similar path.

The role of companies like AH in the planning system is an important one, both in terms of the appropriate assessment, recording and protection of our nation’s heritage, and in the contribution small businesses make to the UK economy. On either front, a watering down of the value and significance of heritage and archaeology at local government level can only ultimately be detrimental to us all. 

The Archaeology of Vinyl

So, what do archaeologist and heritage professionals do in their spare time? More archaeology, historical research, go to the football?

AH’s founder and director Rob Armour Chelu, has inadvertently found a way to combine a love of archaeology with a lifelong passion for music, thus filling a significant area of his house with vinyl records from the 1960s onwards. He’s also managed to cross-over archaeological techniques with record collecting. 

Written archives (online catalogues) are trawled for information and a number of ‘sites’ (record shops, charity shops, markets and EBay) are investigated for ‘finds’. Once the ‘finds’ are selected (and paid for), they are processed. This involves again a similar process, the vinyl is cleaned, catalogued and added to the archive – which will soon need additional storage space, much like the UK’s museums!

Most recently the collection has begun to be displayed in public, with ‘open events’ recently in Frome (a DJ set at the Wheatsheaf) and upcoming at AH’s home venue, the White Hart in Trudoxhill, Somerset where archive material from the 1970s and 1980s will be played.

70s-80s-night (1).jpg
Posted on October 21, 2015 .

Renewable Energy Policy and the Heritage/Archaeology Profession

Recent changes to renewable energy policy implemented by Westminster will undoubtedly have a knock-on effect, not just in the renewables sector, but in the wider raft of contractors who contribute to the industry as a whole. Latest predictions suggest around 20,000 potential job losses in the solar industry alone, but has anyone sought to calculate the effect on other industries such as manufacturing, haulage, groundworks, solar panel and wind turbine installation, ecology, planning consultancies and, closest to our hearts of course, the heritage consultancy and archaeological fieldwork sectors? All of these industries and many more contribute to both the local and national economy.

At AH we have seen a sudden and fairly alarming drop-off in desk based assessment and heritage statement work – much of our turnover has traditionally been within the wind and solar energy markets, two sectors really at the core of the company’s set-up in the first place. We assume we, as a heritage consultancy, are not alone in this – and whilst we have no figures, we assume similar reductions in turnover in the other related industries mentioned earlier.

Not only will the new policy result in substantial job losses with almost one million fewer solar schemes being installed by 2020, it will also serve to increase the UK’s annual carbon emissions by 1.6 million tonnes. It will mean it will take longer than 20 years for solar panels to pay for themselves, and only those with thousands of pounds of disposable income will be able to install them. Most private residents, schools, council tenants and community groups will be forced out of the renewable energy revolution, with only an estimated £6 per year reduction in annual household bills as a result.

This proposal will leave the UK trailing behind in the global solar revolution, and needlessly threaten jobs that will be vital to our future low-carbon economy, and the short and long-term survival of many small businesses.

We are obviously seeking to mitigate this, through further diversification into other planning-related markets but it will not be an easy transition. Whilst the reduction in the Feed-in Tariff (FiT) - the scheme which supports small scale renewables - was always on the cards, the dramatic and draconian manner in which they were introduced earlier this year was both unexpected and unprecedented.

We would urge the government to rethink this policy and consider the points raised above. We would also urge our friends and colleagues in the heritage and archaeology industry to petition their MPs, as we have done, to request a broader debate and public consultation on these issues. Surely there is a better way forward than this, for both the UK economy and the environment.

Respect?

It seems that for some years now our industry has been under pressure. The sources have been many and various: changes in government planning policy, recession, the recent attempts to destroy the renewable energy industry…I could go on, but you get the gist I’m sure.

The most recent incident we are taking more personally, although I’m sure we’re neither the first nor the last independent heritage consultancy to experience this.

A very good client of ours, one of our best to be honest, recently put in a planning application and, as normal, we have supplied the desk based assessment as the first stage of the planning process. They informed us a week or two ago that a local anti-development objector group had been formed, which is not unusual in itself and was kind of anticipated by our clients and ourselves. What we were not expecting was the ‘response’ to our DBA, undertaken by a large consultancy; not a heritage based company I should stress, but rather a large land agency type company with their own in-house ‘heritage consultant’.

The tone of the objector-funded ‘response’ was both aggressive and patronising and ended with the clearly bought-and-paid-for conclusion of ‘substantial harm’, despite the fact that Historic England, the County Archaeologist and the Conservation officer have all conceded ‘less than substantial harm’, as did we in our report. The majority of the ‘response’ comprised nit-picking and repetitive claims of ‘fundamentally flawed’ research, which is really not worth the effort to reiterate – life’s too short.

What was the price of the ‘substantial harm’ conclusion, we’ll never know. We do know that the individual who provided the response could have damaged our company’s good name, with their rather tawdry piece of work now out there in the public domain. 

At Armour Heritage, we have always prided ourselves on our company ethics – there are things we will not touch: nuclear, HS2 and dragging our fellow professionals’ names through the dirt. We also pride ourselves on giving our clients the best advice. Where there really is the possibility of ‘substantial harm’, we will tell them so, even though it will cost us further down the line if the project goes no further based on our advice. 

The title of this piece is ‘Respect’ for a reason. Surely as a profession under constant pressure, we should be respecting and supporting our colleagues in the industry, not undermining them to the highest bidder. To say we are disappointed is something of an understatement, we would expect better.

Posted on September 15, 2015 .

An upturn in housing development?

“Small builders will benefit from a £100 million cash boost to recognise and support their important role in keeping the country building”, Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said on 6th July this year.

The Housing Growth Partnership will act as a dedicated initiative that will invest alongside smaller builders in new developments, providing money to support their businesses, helping get workers onto sites and increasing housing supply.

At AH we’re hoping this projected boom in house building will correspond with an increase in heritage work, both pre-application and further down the planning and post-planning road. It may be that we are already seeing the beginnings of this with, last week, the news that Armour Heritage has won the first of a number of multi-site pre-planning contracts for a single developer which will keep us busy, initially with archaeological desk based assessments and heritage statements, for some considerable time! Unusually for us recently, these sites are all relatively local to our Somerset offices, all of the first batch are located in Wiltshire, so less need for arduous summer travel on holiday-clogged roads; the A303 at Stonehenge, the obvious exception of course!

Of course, from pre-planning work comes further fieldwork, be it pre-determination geophysical survey, earthwork survey or trial trenching, all of which are services provided by Armour Heritage.

Hopefully then, with an already very bright start to 2015, our success will continue in the year’s second two quarters.

Friday, Work Streams and the CIfA

Well, it’s Friday and the sun is shining and things are going well here at Armour Heritage – we may even allow ourselves an early weekend after lunch…

Our heritage consultancy work in the renewables and green energy sector continues to grow, with a recent notable increase in enquiries and projects related to new housing and Listed Building consents, trends which we hope will continue into the future.

Away from our project work and lead by AH Director Sue Farr, is our drive toward Registered Organisation status with the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists. Whilst initially the paperwork seemed a little daunting, Sue has embraced it and our application is well on track. We feel that RO status is important, both as a ‘kite mark’ of quality within the heritage industry, and its focusing of our skills in potentially new directions, such as graduate training or community based schemes.

Time, as always, is against us of course, with deadlines constantly rearing their heads and deflecting us from tasks such as the CIfA RO forms. But, with a fair wind and brute determination, I hope we will be able to submit by the end of next month.