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Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Essex County Council Response Regarding Historic Environment

Essex County Council 
Cabinet Office 
PO Box 11 
County Hall 
Chelmsford Essex CM1 1LX 

Mr Adrian Corder-Birch D.L. 
President, Essex Society for Archaeology and History 

21 December 2016

Dear Mr Corder-Birch, 

Thank you for your letter dated 15th November and for the copy of The Archaeology of Essex: proceedings of the Chelmsford Conference, which I enjoyed reading. You may be aware that earlier this year our Place Services team ran a one-day conference at Audley End on 'Capability Brown in Essex', in celebration of the 300th anniversary of the birth of Lancelot 'Capability' Brown that one of your members Michael Leach contributed a talk to, and which was well received. We hope that there will be future such opportunities for ECC and the Essex Society for Archaeology and History to co-operate on the understanding and promotion of the county's historic environment. 

In relation to your query about Essex County Council's financial support of Place Services, for the Historic Environment Record, and their specialist advice, I can confirm that as a traded service, a number of teams within the County Council 'buy' the specialist services provided by Place Services via Service Level Agreements, and on a project by project basis. These include, but are not limited to, our Minerals and Waster Planners, Essex Highways, Floods and SuDS, and Essex Properties and Facilities. Some of the income generated by this activity is then used to support the maintenance of the Historic Environment Record. 

We are encouraged that you see the benefits of a more integrated approach to the management of the natural and historic environment that have come from the creation of Place Services, and can confirm that we are already seeing positive results from this. For example, the team has instigated a system of 'single responses' to internal planning consultations, such that conflicting issues between our different specialist advisors are resolved wherever possible prior to a response being sent back to ECC planners. This helps to save both time and money, and supports our planners in ensuring that development in the County is truly sustainable. 

With regards to your query about the NPPF (paragraph 126) requirement for local planning authorities to have in place a 'strategy for the positive conservation and enjoyment of the historic environment', I can confirm that the Place Services team feeds into strategic planning policy, including in the development of Local Plans, for both Essex County Council (e.g. the Essex Minerals Plan) and our local planning authority partners in Essex to help ensure positive planning for the historic environment of the county. 

I hope the above information helps to answer your queries and I would very happy to discuss these issues with you should you so wish. 

Yours Sincerely, 

Cllr Simon Walsh Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste Essex County Council 

cc. Cllr. John Spence, Cabinet Member for Finance Housing and Planning air David Finch, Leader, Essex County Council 

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