Cowage Farm, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
Proposal: New agricultural units
AH completed an historic environment desk based assessment regarding a proposal to build two substantial agricultural units on a site close to Cowage Farm. An extension to the existing farmyard was originally considered although a site further from the farm was eventually settled upon due to environmental constraints. The site chosen for the proposal was situated immediately adjacent to a substantial Scheduled Monument comprising the buried remains of a Saxon church and associated settlement, identified through historic survey work and subsequently designated as nationally important.
Following AH’s negotiations with Historic England, their representative finally agreed that the siting of new agricultural units in a rural agricultural setting was acceptable, given that no above ground remains of the Saxon site were visible. The desk based assessment identified that the parish boundary formed both the eastern extent of the Saxon site and the western boundary of the application site. Given that the boundary was no longer extant and of at least Saxon date, it was proposed that, as part of any mitigation, the parish boundary should be re-established as a physical entity through the replanting of a hedgerow which was removed in the 1970s.
A programme of geophysical survey was undertaken to further inform the planning process which identified a small number of magnetic anomalies of possible archaeological origin. This survey also served to show that, as concluded in the desk based assessment, the Saxon remains appeared to lie entirely within the Scheduled area.
Following granting of planning consent for the scheme, further archaeological fieldwork was conditioned and comprised a strip, map and sample excavation across the footprint of the proposed new build. The fieldwork identified nothing of archaeological significance.
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