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Ancient monuments

What is a scheduled monument?

Scheduled monuments are sites that should be preserved in the public interest by virtue of their special historic, architectural, traditional, artistic or archaeological interest. They can be any building, structure or other work, above or below the surface, and any cave or excavation which is unoccupied.

Scheduled monuments are in the protection of the Secretary of State for Culture Media and Sport and any works to a scheduled monument require Scheduled Monument Consent to be obtained from the Secretary of State. Guidance on the protection of scheduled monuments may be obtained from Historic England.

Sometimes scheduled monuments are also listed buildings.

You can download a list of scheduled monuments in St Helens Borough at the foot of this page.

How is a site or building scheduled?

To be eligible for scheduling, the following broad criteria is used:

  • Period - the length of time it remained in use;
  • Rarity - monuments with few known comparators are more likely to be scheduled;
  • Documentation - information from earlier investigations at a site can inform on its significance;
  • Group value - where a monument forms part of a wider geographical landscape of important sites;
  • Survival/condition - the degree to which the surviving remains convey the size, shape and function of the site;
  • Fragility/vulnerability - threats to the site from natural agencies, tourism or development can lead to a monument being scheduled for its protection;
  • Representivity - how well the monument represents diverse similar types and/or whether it contains unique features;
  • Potential - its ability to contribute to our knowledge through further study.

Historic England gathers information on a site, defines a boundary around it and advises the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport of its eligibility for inclusion on the schedule. There is no appeal against the scheduling process.

How is a scheduled monument protected?

Protection is provided in the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979, with planning policy guidance provided in the government's National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). Policy ENV 23 of our Unitary Development Plan also offers some local planning guidance on archaeological sites or remains.

Damage to scheduled monuments is a criminal offence and any works affecting one require Scheduled Monument Consent from the Secretary of State. Development close to a scheduled monument which might damage its setting is also material consideration in the planning system and may require consent. Where a monument is both scheduled and listed, provisions for scheduled monuments take precedent.

Protection can also be given by another process, additional to or separate from scheduling, taking the monument into state ownership or placing it under guardianship, the latter meaning that the owner retains possession, while the appropriate national heritage body maintains it and (usually) opens it to the public.