Planning and the historic environment

The historic environment and archaeological remains are protected through policies in Local Development Frameworks, planning legislation and The National Planning Policy Framework.

The Historic Environment Service monitors all planning applications in Norfolk.

What we do

We provide advice to applicants, developers, landowners and to the Local Planning Authorities and work to ensure that any plans for development take into account conservation of the historic environment.

There is a presumption that all heritage assets of national importance and their settings should be preserved, and that on such sites planning permission will not normally be granted.

On other sites, a field evaluation may be required before an application is determined, so that informed and reasonable planning decisions can be taken.

When a planning authority decides that the preservation of any heritage asset is not justified, planning permission may only be granted when the developer has made provision for excavation, recording, analysis and publication of the results.

This is usually secured through a condition on the planning permission or a legal agreement.

Early consultation is particularly important in the four historic urban centres of Norwich, King’s Lynn, Thetford and Great Yarmouth, where there may be deep and well-preserved archaeological deposits. In these areas, very careful consideration needs to be given to design and, where possible, engineering solutions found to achieve the preservation of archaeological remains in situ.

Contact us

We can provide advice on any site and let you know if developer-funded excavation or recording work is necessary. We charge for development management works. See our archaeological planning charges.

For further advice on planning and the historic environment in Norfolk, email