Planning & Development

The North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership is part of a much wider picture contributing towards the conservation and enhancement of some of Britain’s finest countryside.

We seek to promote positive planning across the AONB to maintain the natural beauty of the landscape which is rooted in the natural world but is also concerned with the relationship between people and place. It encompasses everything – ‘natural’ and human – that makes an area distinctive including geology and landform, climate and soils, flora and fauna. It includes the rich history of human settlement, land use over the centuries, archaeology, buildings and cultural associations and this provides a sense of place within this varied landscape.

AONBs and National Parks have equal status in terms of landscape value and protection under law.  However National Parks have independent authorities with their own planning functions.  Within AONBs the primary role for planning rests with the Local Planning Authority (LPA) and Natural England has a role as statutory consultee. However, Natural England includes a caveat on all consultation responses to seek the advice of the local AONB unit in recognition of the fact that local teams have a greater knowledge of the landscape and are better placed to comment.

The North Wessex Downs AONB Partnership has a non-statutory, advisory role in the planning process. This means that local planning authorities are not legally obliged to consult the AONB Partnership on planning applications.

image credits: Pewsey new housing 2015; Streatley; The Knapp, Ramsbury, Rowan Whimster; Ramsbury from Spring Hill, Rowan Whimster;
Ogbourne St George, Great West Way; Thatched barn Lambourn