There are three Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) who are responsible for planning applications within the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) boundary; South Hams District Council, Torbay Council and Plymouth City Council. It is these organisations that create the planning policies that apply to the AONB, and also determine planning permissions within the AONB. If you have any concerns or questions regarding planning policy or a planning application, you should contact your Local Planning Authority for advice and guidance.
Comments submitted by the AONB Unit are available to view on the Council's websites.
Whilst the South Devon AONB Partnership is a non-statutory consultee with regard to planning policies and decisions, it does influence the planning process in the following ways:
• Assistance in preparing Local Plans with Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) including district wide strategy and planning policy development.
• Provide specialist advice to LPAs on individual planning applications that are classified as major developments, or as having a significant effect on the natural beauty of the AONB.
• The AONB Partnership also supports the preparation of Parish Plans which can contribute to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB.
The primary purpose of AONB designation is to ‘conserve and enhance’ the natural beauty of the landscape. The Government has confirmed that AONBs are equivalent in planning status to National Parks, in terms of their landscape quality and scenic beauty.
The Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 gives LPAs a legal duty to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB in carrying out planning and other functions. This includes any applications assessed at a county or national level, including infrastructure and utilities.
In addition, the statutory AONB Management Plan, though not a part of the formal planning system, is a material consideration affecting planning decisions and is a driver for policy change.
Planning applications in the AONB do not have to be judged differently from those outside; national planning policy requires that conserving and enhancing natural beauty must be given great weight in AONBs.
The AONB is a protected landscape, and as such your proposal will need to adhere to local planning policy and not detract from the natural beauty of the AONB. To find out more about policies and guidance relevant to your proposal and the likelihood of it being approved contact the relevant local planning authority.
The AONB may be a consideration in larger development proposals outside the AONB boundary, if the proposals might have a significant impact on the setting of the AONB.
Your first point of contact should be the relevant LPA. You may be able to see details and plans for the application on their website or otherwise at their offices. You will also be able to find out what other comments have been made about the application.
The South Devon AONB Unit works alongside LPAs to ensure that our primary aim of ‘protecting and enhancing the natural environment’ is represented in planning policy. Planning Officers give regard to the ‘protected landscape’ status of the AONB when considering applications that could have an impact on the AONB.
The South Devon AONB Unit is a progressive organisation that wants to see a sustainable future for the area and so may support developments which it feels contribute to a living and working, sustainable landscape.
Your LPA has a duty to consult the public when creating planning strategy and policy. Your LPA will be able to advise you when the next phase of consultations or policy review is expected to happen, and how you can get involved.
You can view a detailed map on the website www.magic.gov.uk run by Natural England on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Navigate to the interactive map and select ‘Rural Designations – Statutory’ and then find an area by searching for a postcode or village, for example. The display changes to 1:25000 and 1:10000 Ordnance Survey mapping by zooming in so an area can be seen in detail. Other statutory datasets can be turned off by clicking on ‘List of Layers’ and un-ticking the boxes of the relevant sets.
Planning Aid – This service is offered by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) and offers free, impartial planning advice to individuals and communities.
Neighbourhood Planning – Some valuable information on the process of neighbourhood planning, sources of help and funding can be found on the My Community Rights website.
National Planning Policy, Circulars and Guidance – Information on the latest national planning consultations, guidance, circulars and legislation produced by the Department for Communities and Local Government can be found on the GOV.UK website
Heritage – Information on historic sites and buildings can be found on the Heritage Gateway website or by contacting the Local Planning Authority.http://www.heritagegateway.org.uk/gateway/
The AONB Unit is currently developing a Planning Guidance Document. Following meetings with amenity group representatives and planning professionals the document will be subject to a consultation period in January 2016.
This is a summary of the protocol which was endorsed by the planning authorities in September 2003 and shows how the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership is involved in planning and development control issues.
The Partnership Committee of the South Devon AONB is committed to adopting a positive approach to the development of renewable energy technologies in the area, while at the same time having regard for the primary statutory purpose of conserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the area.
The South Devon AONB's position statement on renewable energy can be downloaded on the right.