FAME has written to the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities to express its concern over the proposed closure of GMAU and the future provision of archaeological advice in Greater Manchester.

Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit

The Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers (FAME) was concerned to learn of the proposed closure of the Greater Manchester Archaeological Unit (GMAU).

FAME represents around 50 archaeological businesses providing advice and specialist services to commercial clients and developers throughout the UK. Its members have been actively engaged in archaeological excavation, recording and publication in Greater Manchester for many years.

This work has only been made possible through the advice and expertise of GMAU in informing local planning decisions, promoting sustainable growth and protecting the historic environment of the area. In the thirty years since it was established, GMAU has been instrumental in highlighting the international importance of Greater Manchester’s industrial heritage, and at the forefront of promoting community engagement and regeneration through the historic environment.

Through its support for GMAU, AGMA enables the local planning authorities of Greater Manchester to meet their obligations, under Planning Policy Statement 5: Planning for the Historic Environment and the draft National Planning Policy Framework, to have access to expert advice and to maintain or have access to a Historic Environment Record (HER). It also enables them to implement those historic environment policies set out in their statutory Local Development Frameworks and emerging neighbourhood development plans.

Any interruption to the service provided by GMAU would have serious consequences for the archaeology of Greater Manchester, those businesses who record and interpret it and those local residents and communities who benefit from it.

It would also have a serious impact on our clients in both the public and private sector, who depend upon timely and expert advice and an up-to-date HER to provide greater certainty before planning applications are determined, and to reduce the risk to them of costly delays and disruption once planning consent has been granted and development is underway.

Whilst we fully understand the budgetary pressures currently facing local government, we are very concerned by the potential consequences of the closure of GMAU, and ask for your reassurance that there will be no interruption either to the maintenance of the HER or to the provision of specialist archaeological advice in Greater Manchester.

Yours sincerely

Adrian Tindall MA FSA MIfA

Chief Executive, Federation of Archaeological Managers and Employers

Anyone concerned about future archaeological provision in Greater Manchester should write to Chris Findley, Planning Lead, Association of Greater Manchester Authorities, chris.findley@salford.gov.uk