Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment for a New Housing Development in Buxted

Application Type: Archaeology Support for Planning Permission
Development Description: New Housing Development Comprising Approximately 40 New Houses
Local Authorities/Councils: Wealden District Council

Fuller Long are thrilled to have worked alongside Brookworth Homes, providing an Archaeological Desk-Based Assessment (ADBA) for a scheme comprising approximately 40 new houses.

The site is located within the boundary of Wealden District Council, and is a large tract of agricultural land. The size of the development site meant that an ADBA was required to support the application. However, the importance of an ADBA was compounded by the site’s proximity to two Archaeological Notification Areas (ANAs) and a Scheduled Monument. 

Following a thorough review of the Historic Environment Record (HER), topographical data, geological models, local history, cartographic sources and aerial images of the Site, our archaeological consultants were able to produce a detailed report outlining what archaeological remains were likely to be present within the Site boundary. 

A study of available data sources confirmed that the River Uck and associated feeder stream, located in close proximity to the Site, were focal points of activity during the Mesolithic period (10,000 to 4,000 BC). Evidence dating to the Mesolithic generally comprises finds or clusters of finds as opposed to features.

Evidence indicated a prevalence of Mesolithic flint close to the Site, in the vicinity of the River and feeder stream. The Site was therefore considered to have potential for finds dating to this period, most likely comprising individual flint findspots, though  the site could also have potential for small assemblages of flint representing working floors. Larger assemblages of Mesolithic flint have the potential to contribute to multiple research aims in the South East Research Framework, including improving understanding of habitat preferences during this time, and whether lithics indicate choices of local or distant materials. This means that any assemblages could be of regional significance. 

Based on evidence from the Site and its surrounds, the Site was considered to have highest potential for cut features dating to the Medieval and Post-Medieval periods, associated with the land’s historic use as agricultural fields during these eras. However, if present, these features were not considered likely to be of any significance.

There are two extant pill boxes surviving in the north-east of the Site. Localised features associated with these pillboxes had the potential to be present. The pillboxes themselves were not proposed for removal as part of the development.

It was considered that agricultural use of the Site meant that there may have been some truncation of any features present within the upper soil horizons as a result of repeated ploughing in the modern period, but  that generally most features within the Site were likely to survive relatively untruncated by post-medieval and modern activity.

The report confirmed that groundworks associated with the proposed development had the potential to result in damage to or loss of buried archaeological remains which may have been present in the Site. 

It was considered that based on the Site’s size and potential for archaeology, further archaeological work would be required before the Site is developed.

An ADBA is usually a validation requirement for a large site or for a site with potential for archaeology, especially if it is located within or near an Archaeological Notification Area or Archaeological Priority Area. By commissioning an ADBA early on, clients do not have to wait for one to be produced in order to get their application validated. 

Early commission also allows for earlier identification of Sites which are likely to require intrusive archaeological surveys (evaluation, excavation or watching brief). This allows us to undertake consultation with the archaeology advisor to get the scope of these works agreed at an earlier stage. As a result, we can submit a WSI covering these works to the Local Planning Authority as part of the planning application, and get this approved at the same time as the wider application. This allows us to mobilise fieldstaff so that they are ready to begin fieldwork as soon as permission is granted. This drastically reduces the potential for archaeology to result in delays to the construction timeline, and therefore save money. 

If you are a developer seeking archaeological assistance with your scheme, Fuller Long can help.  To speak with one of our experienced team of consultants, please call us on 0808 164 1288 or email us at

Meet our team

Sophie Bell

Archaeology Consultant

Andrew Rudge

Heritage Consultant