Since early September, Bath and North East Somerset Council has been without official oversight on archaeological matters. During the intervening time the council will have received hundreds of planning applications. Last week we received welcome news when the council announced its selection of South West Heritage Trust (SWHT) to advise on planning applications (and to maintain the Historic Environment Record).
In order to express our concerns over the loss of the archaeological officer posts and the change in approach we sought a meeting with Bob Goodman – Cabinet member responsible for Development and Neighbourhoods. The meeting went well and he asked us to highlight areas where we still have concerns. Issues such as watching briefs, permitted developments and a planned approach to archaeological investigation are high on our list. As the officer responsible, Richard Sermon provided valuable assistance and advice and friendly direction to us, most recently on our excavations of the Roman Villa at Keynsham and our investigations on Lansdown. He also provided expert guidance to us on our selection of sites to be included in the Bathscape project. How we liaise with SWHT will be pivotal in maintaining a well-coordinated approach to archaeology in our area and we look forward to working with them on our up-coming projects.