For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Government has extended an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The Suffolk Coasts and Heaths AONB, which has included land to the north of the Stour Estuary as well as land on either side of the Orwell Estuary, has been extended.
The AONB has been enlarged to the south to include the Stour Estuary itself as well as land at Mistley, Bradfield, Wrabness and Ramsey, and also to the west to include land near Brantham and East Bergholt. A further extension has incorporated the Freston Brook Valley into the AONB.
The National Planning Policy Framework states that AONBs have the highest status of protection alongside National Parks and The Broads, and great weight is given to conserving and enhancing the landscape and scenic beauty of these areas. The NPPF states that the scale and extent of development in AONBs should be limited and that major development should be permitted in exceptional circumstances and where the development is in the public interest. This demonstrates the status of AONBs as areas to be protected.
The extension of the AONB not only affects planning applications, but may also affect permitted development rights, including prior approval applications, that ordinarily would have applied but in many case now will not due to the presence of the AONB designation. If your property is within the AONB, and you are considering any form of development, please contact our planners who will be happy to advise you on how to best proceed.