In response to Bernard Barr.
It is a bit simplistic to say that developers deduct
the cost of archaeology from the land purchase price.
The presence of archaeological remains, or the notion
that they might be present, can, but does not always,
affect the land value.
Pre planning permission, how is a developer to know
there is an archaeological interest in the land,
unless it is obvious, without commissioning a survey?
In simple general terms, at this stage somebody will
bid for the land ignoring the possibility that
archaeological remains may be present, although the
offer may be conditional on a clean planning
permission being obtained.
Once planning permission has been obtained, the
archaeological interest or not in the land may be
known and there may be an adjustment in value.
However; at this stage the cost of an excavation,
particularly when an evaluation has not been
undertaken, is both unknown and liable to vary, so the
issue is - how is a figure arrived at!
The issue at this stage is, does the cost of the
excavation have the potential to make that development
uneconomic in the worst case scenario, and is somebody
willing to take the risk? The perception of the risks
may be such that it may not be possible to sell the
I think I would surprise list members if I revealed
just how developers buy and sell land – I think most
archaeologists would consider it illogical. I have
come across a spectrum from the presence of a
Scheduled Ancient Monument making no or little
difference to, in contrast, a watching brief condition
making land unsaleable for 2 years.
There are many approaches, it all depends upon the
market situation, the seriousness of the
archaeological situation, how the land is being sold,
who is bidding for the land, what they are going to do
with it, and a host of other factors.
It may be that the landowner has agreed to pick up the
tab for archaeology and hence the developer appears
generous. To complicate matters further the developer
may pass the responsibilities for the archaeological
costs to the contractor as part of a design and build
The developer may consider it expedient to be
generous, but there will be a good reason. Whatever
the situation as to land value adjustments, there is
not a pot of money for archaeological research, but a
budget for archaeological mitigation.
The profit margins for development companies are
actually a lot smaller than many archaeologists think,
and in all cases they will wish to see the minimum, or
the most cost effective, necessary expenditure for the
archaeological planning conditions to be discharged.
If the developer is a PLC there is a duty to
shareholders to do just this. This does not mean bad
archaeology but they conform with the reasonable
requirements of the planning authority, no more no
Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free @[log in to unmask] address at http://mail.yahoo.co.uk
or your free @[log in to unmask] address at http://mail.yahoo.ie