New rules to be set for metal detecting in Portsmouth

RULES will be set to allow metal detecting to be carried out in Portsmouth following a run of archaeological discoveries made during work on the Southsea sea defence scheme.

Saturday, 6th March 2021, 11:00 am
New policy will be set for metal detecting in Portsmouth. Pictured: A metal detectorist at the Petworth Big Dig ks1500405-12

The city council is due to roll out new policy to allow metal detectorists to work in agreed locations, at set times and with other guidelines in place.

It comes as several requests have been made recently to detect on Portsmouth City Council land - thought to be a result of a string of historical finds along Southsea seafront.

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Here’s what the Southsea sea defences work will look like in the next 18 months

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In a report to be considered next week, Stephen Baily - the council's director of culture, leisure and regulatory services - said: 'Portsmouth has a long history of occupation and much of the land in the city has archaeological potential, due to historical land use and Portsmouth's role as a naval dockyard and fortified garrison town.

'Much of the land that is of interest to metal detectorists is owned by the city council, and has either scheduled monument or site of special scientific interest status.'

Currently the council does not have any policy in place for metal detecting but going forward requests will be considered by the authority on a case-by-case basis.

Applications will have to be made to Portsmouth City Council in advance - allowing for time to check land ownership, legal restrictions and to assess the suitability of the request.

The report added: 'Other local authorities operate permit schemes for metal detecting. However, these usually have much larger areas of rural and agricultural land, which is already disturbed by ploughing and therefore suitable for metal detecting.

'Our land profile in Portsmouth is very different and it is felt that a permit scheme would not be appropriate. Therefore, we intend to consider applications on a case-by-case basis as outlined in the policy.'

Since work on the Southsea Coastal Scheme began last year a slew of historical discoveries have been made including 17th century sea defences, part of an Edwardian promenade and stonemasons' signatures.

Most recently some 17th century seawalls were found by Spur Redoubt at Long Curtain Moat.

The metal detecting policy will be considered at a culture, leisure and economic development meeting on Friday, March 12.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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