Archaeological site Derby has a rich archaeological resource, ranging from the remains of Roman forts, through the Viking-age and medieval towns, to the industrial archaeology of the railway era.


How is archaeology dealt with through the planning process?

Derby's archaeology is protected through the planning process, in line with Section 12 of the Government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), and the City of Derby Local Plan Review (2006), Policy E21. These policies ensure that archaeological sites are taken in consideration where they will be impacted by a development.

Download the Derby Local Plan review - Chapter 9 (environment).

We have identified 'Archaeological Alert Areas' in the City of Derby Local Plan Review Map, where archaeological remains of particular importance are likely to survive.

What should a developer do first when a site may affect Derby's archaeology?

If you think your development may affect archaeology in the city, we recommend you contact us as soon as the development is identified, and before the design is begun. We will be able to advise on likely archaeological implications.

What else might I need to submit with my planning application?

You may need to submit archaeological information as part of your planning application. More information on this is available in Section 12, paragraph 128 of the NPPF.

This information may be something brief you can put together yourself, or it may need to be involve:

  • a report (desk-based assessment)
  • the results of sample excavations (field evaluation) carried out by a professional archaeological contractor.

Substantial development of our Archaeological Alert Areas will usually require a level of professional study. We will be able to advise you on what is required.

Inadequate assessment of archaeological implications can result in the refusal of planning permission.

How are planning applications affecting archaeology dealt with?

When a planning application (with any additional archaeological information) is submitted, we use the Derbyshire Historic Environment Record (HER) to assess the application and to advise on the archaeological implications and appropriate actions.

If we decide that a proposed development will adversely impact upon nationally-important archaeological remains, then planning permission will not be granted unless exceptional circumstances apply. See Section 12, paragraphs 132-133 of the NPPF.

Where archaeological remains of lesser importance will be impacted then planning permission may be granted provided the benefits of a development can be shown to outweigh these impacts. See Section 12, paragraph 134 of the NPPF.

If this is the case then we may attach planning conditions to a planning consent to ensure that an appropriate archaeological record is made.

The work required under archaeological planning conditions may include:

  • ensuring that archaeological remains are preserved within a development
  • archaeological monitoring of development groundworks
  • historic building recording
  • archaeological survey - field walking, topographic, geophysical
  • archaeological trial trenching/test pitting
  • archaeological excavation of all or part of a site.

This work will be carried out at the developer's expense

What do I do if I have a planning permission with conditions about archaeology?

Once a planning consent is granted with archaeological conditions, you should contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss the type of work required.

We can provide a written specification (brief) for the work, and can help developers find an archaeological contractor.

The developer or their archaeological contractor should then submit a 'written scheme of investigation' (WSI) for the archaeological work. This forms the first part of the archaeological condition.

The WSI describes the archaeological work that will be carried out, and the provisions to be made for reporting, publishing and archiving the results. Once this document is approved it represents an enforceable agreement between us and the developer.

The archaeological work may then take place according to the approved WSI. We will monitor the work and will advise our planning department when conditions may be discharged or partially discharged to allow the development to start.

What are Scheduled Monuments?

Scheduled Monuments are nationally-important archaeological sites given legal protection under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979.

The system of designating Scheduled Monuments is administered by Historic England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It is an offence to carry out any works or operations (including works such as repair or cleaning) in any way affecting or altering a scheduled ancient monument without first applying for and obtaining Scheduled Monument Consent from the Secretary of State. This is separate from any requirement for planning permission.

Where are the Scheduled Monuments in Derby?

The majority of nationally-important archaeological sites are not Scheduled Monuments.

Here is a list of the Scheduled Monuments in Derby:

  • St Mary's Bridge
  • Darley Abbey (remains of)
  • Roman Hypocaust under school playing field
  • Little Chester Roman site
  • Derby Racecourse Roman vicus and cemetery
  • Section of Rykneld Street Roman Road
  • Anglo-Scandinavian high cross shaft.

For more information about these sites, please visit the Historic England website.

How can I find out more about Scheduled Monuments?

Enquiries about Scheduled Monument Consent should be addressed to:

Historic England 
2nd floor
Windsor House

Telephone: 01604 735460.


Contact details

Post address:
Derby City Council
Environment and Climate Change
Planning Division
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640809
Minicom: 01332 640666
Derby City Council
Spatial Planning and Climate Change
The Council House
Corporation Street