South Marston, Swindon North Eastern Villages
Strategic Land: South Marston, Swindon North Eastern Villages
Client: Hallam Land Management, Taylor Wimpey and Hannick Homes
South Marston is a major, consented residential scheme for 2,380 homes, community facilities, a new primary school, and abundant green space. It forms the northern part of the Swindon North Eastern Villages expansion area, located in an area of high archaeological potential. After years of consulting on the project, Orion was appointed to undertake a heritage assessment and heritage Environmental Statement chapter for the outline planning application and then the discharge of the archaeological conditions on the outline consent.
Orion undertook a desk-based assessment, geophysical surveys, and several phases of archaeological evaluations to establish the possible impact of the scheme. Rigorous evaluation identified the presence of multiple historic settlements and features, including Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman. On our expert advice, the scheme layout was devised to exclude most of the large historic settlement to reduce both the potential impact on the remains and the cost of excavation. Our assessment also showed that there would be no negative effect on nearby listed buildings.
We formulated and agreed a site-wide outline archaeological mitigation strategy, which was written into the archaeological planning conditions. After planning permission was granted, we devised and agreed a thorough site-wide Written Scheme of Investigation and an outline archaeological management plan for the archaeological remains to be preserved in the open space of the scheme.
Our informed, pragmatic and cost-effective approach to the project enabled the development to accommodate the considerable challenge posed by archaeology. This led to planning permission being granted with archaeological conditions including further investigation, management of archaeology that is being preserved and a programme of public outreach.
We continue to work with the clients to run the archaeological mitigation excavations required prior to preparing the site for the first stage of development. This will be followed in the coming years by the procurement and management of further archaeological investigations ahead of construction in the subsequent phases of the development.