Archaeology and scheduled monuments
Archaeological Priority Zones (APZs)
There are currently nine Archaeological Priority Zones (APZs) adopted in Southwark. An APZ is a defined area where there's significant known archaeological interest or particular potential for new archaeological discoveries. The location and extent of these areas is based on evidence held in the Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER), maintained by Historic England.
The nine Southwark APZs are:
- Borough, Bermondsey and Riverside
- Kennington Road and Elephant and Castle
- Walworth Village
- Old Kent Road
- Camberwell Green
- Peckham Village
- Dulwich Village
- Bermondsey Lake
- London to Lewes Road
You can check whether your property is located within an APZ on Southwark Maps. Click on the box to show APZs and enter your address to find your property. You can find further information and guidance on APZs across London.
In addition to the APZs, there are eight Scheduled Ancient Monuments (SAMs) in Southwark that are protected by law. You can find further information for development within SAMs is located.
The Southwark APZs and the Greater London APAs are currently under review and will be reclassified into a tiered system in due course.
Sites within an APZ
If you're planning to develop in an APZ, early consultation with the archaeology officer is highly recommended. Every archaeological site is different, so an individual appraisal that commensurates to its archaeological significance and to the impact of the development proposal is required.
The archaeology officer will:
- explain what archaeological interventions are required for your site in order to conform to current policy and guidance; they'll also assist you through the planning process
- monitor the quality of archaeological work undertaken by contractors and consultants, and ensure it conforms to the research objectives of the archaeological project and promotes best practice
As each archaeological site is different, different approaches occasionally apply, and early consultation is recommended in order to design the most appropriate archaeological strategy for your site.
Information on the results of archaeological investigations can be requested from the archaeology officer. Alternatively, you can get further site-specific information from the Greater London Historic Environment Record (GLHER) at Historic England.
The approach to archaeology in the planning process is set out in Saved Policy 3.19 of the Southwark Plan 2007, which states:
‘Planning applications affecting sites within Archaeological Priority Zones (APZs) ….. shall be accompanied by an archaeological assessment and evaluation of the site, including the impact of the proposed development. There is a presumption in favour of preservation in situ, to protect and safeguard archaeological remains of national importance, including scheduled monuments and their settings. The in situ preservation of archaeological remains of local importance will also be sought unless the importance of the development outweighs the local value of the remains. If planning permission is granted to develop any site where there are archaeological remains or there is good reason to believe that such remains exist, conditions will be attached to secure the excavation and recording or preservation in whole or in part, if justified, before development begins’. Saved Policy 3.19, 2007.
River Thames and Tower of London
Archaeological remains are not only confined to the APZs and sites of interest can be identified outside these zones. Any proposed development affecting the river or foreshore of the Thames (London’s largest archaeological site), or within the ‘local setting’ zone of the Tower of London UNESCO World Heritage Site (WHS), will also require archaeological safeguards and appropriate permissions.
Guidance papers produced by the Greater London Archaeology Advisory Service (GLAAS) at Historic England set the standards for archaeological work within Greater London and aim to achieve consistent practice across the capital.
Page last updated: 11 January 2022