Local Authority: Hillingdon
Summary: The assessment covered both the built environment and buried archaeological remains in considerable detail. The built environment component of the survey identified features and buildings of architectural or historic interest within the existing conservation area, and fragments of historic landscape, buildings and features within the wider study area, revealing an historic connection between structures and landscape.
Description: The Harmondsworth assessment was helpful to advisors within English Heritage, providing evidence of the impact on the historic environment that would result from the proposals for a third runway at Heathrow Airport. The study was also used by the Diocese of London to assist them in preparing a case against the destruction of the village of Harmondsworth by the new runway, as originally planned.
Issue: English Heritage commissioned Pre-Construct Archaeology to carry out an assessment of Harmondsworth (London borough of Hillingdon) and its immediate surroundings in anticipation of large-scale developments. The most prominent of these was the requirement for a third runway at Heathrow Airport, although no planning applications had been received at the time that the assessment was carried out.
Strategy: The HAA demonstrated that the character and importance of many of the buildings is enhanced by or dependent upon their location, and that the level of historic survival was unusually high for a village settlement relatively close to London, retaining evidence of both its rural character and its historic reliance on agriculture. The report identified and assessed such archaeological remains as might be damaged or lost through construction and other works associated with any possible redevelopment of the site. The study recommended that some buildings were assessed further to establish whether they should be listed or locally listed. No new conservation area extensions or designations were recommended.
Outcome: The revised proposal is for an altered alignment of the runway that now preserves the village; a victory for the Diocese and the village residents. The study has been presented to the Department of Transport to provide baseline information for those considering the impact of the proposed third runway on the historic environment.
Keywords: ASSESSMENT AND CHARACTERISATION
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