As Bob Sydes has said there has been argument over this!
Anyway, in Somerset we've had Areas of High Archaeological Potential for
years and not had any trouble. We have local plan policies which say that
development within them will involve archaeological considerations and
development outside them may. We quite often justify an evaluation because
it's next to an AHAP.
As to how they're defined, which I think was the original question, because
of long use they have been defined using several criteria. The first was
predictive when John Coles predicted where prehistoric wooden trackways were
likely. Secondly we have defined them in areas where we know there is
diffuse archaeological and ill-recorded remains - thinking specifically of
areas of mining remains, deposits of palaeolith rich gravels etc. Finally we
have defined them around the "historic core" of villages using the tithe map
to define the core and then adding other information from the SMR (eg of
shrunken village earthworks). The EUS has been used for towns.
All these are a trigger for planning - each application is still judged on
its merits, but at least developers can't say "I never knew" in these areas.
Somerset Sites and Monuments Record
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