Development proposals and planning applications

We comment on individual planning applications, and proposals for other forms of consent, from major infrastructure development to tree management.

There are in effect two sides to planning: setting the rules (legislation and policy) for what types of development can take place and where, and making decisions on individual proposals for development on particular sites. This page is all about the latter – often called ‘development management’.

We make observations on development proposals to help the decision-maker consider whether the promoter of the development has taken proper account of the conservation and enhancement of the Chilterns AONB and its setting when putting their plans together.

Mostly, such proposals are in the form of ‘planning applications’, where the decision is made by the local planning authority (usually a district or unitary council) under the Town and Country Planning Acts. We also comment on proposals made under a wide variety of other consent regimes, including listed building consent, conservation area consent, local and neighbourhood development orders, development consent orders for nationally significant infrastructure projects, and, of course, ‘schedule 17’ applications for developments under the High Speed Rail Act 2017.

We will also assist local planning authorities and developers with ‘pre-application’ discussions for significant development proposals where resources allow, and contribute evidence to planning appeals and public inquiries.

Proposals for development in the Chilterns vary enormously in scale, type and location, but have a common thread – if approved there would be an impact on the AONB or its setting (either positive or negative). Proposals are examined from all angles and those with the potential for positive impacts will be supported. Frequently, we need to object to the principle of a development, but often we can seek improvements to proposals where this would make them acceptable. Note that the Board’s views carry no special legal standing.

Proposals we normally respond to

In order to focus our resources on development proposals that are likely to have significant impacts on the character of the Chilterns AONB and its setting, we normally only respond to proposals for the following types of development.

  • Major housing development (i.e., 10 dwellings or more or 0.5 hectare or more) or employment and similar development (1,000 square metres or 1 hectare or more).
  • Significant infrastructure proposals, including roads, railways, airports, electricity generation (including renewables), power lines, telecommunications masts, etc.
  • Extraction of brickearth and development related to the local brick making industry.
  • Waste processing and disposal sites.
  • Floodlighting or other intrusive lighting.
  • Equestrian development, particularly larger in scale and in prominent locations.
  • Large scale agricultural development.
  • Single, large isolated dwellings (new or replacement).
  • Land operations that involve significant cut or fill or alterations to landform.
  • Noisy or intrusive recreation proposals.
  • Gypsy and traveller accommodation.
  • New visitor facilities.
  • Airport development outside the AONB or its setting likely to lead to overflying of the AONB.
  • Development involving the loss of a community facility.

We will also take an interest in smaller proposals, especially in prominent locations, that may set a precedent or contribute to cumulative impacts on the Chilterns AONB.

The Board has a protocol in place under which local planning authorities should consult us directly on these types of development proposals.

Related news

Update on the proposed expansion of Luton airport

Luton airport plans to increase its passenger capacity from 18 million to 32 million per year by 2043.

Chilterns AONB Boundary Review – Project Update

The Chilterns AONB boundary review is well underway having progressed the technical assessment of natural beauty and engaged with stakeholders.

Chinnor housing proposal rejected

A recent planning appeal decision for up to 150 dwellings on the northern edge of Chinnor has been refused.

Chilterns ANOB
Chilterns ANOB

Getting help with planning

We are sadly unable to respond to all queries we receive on planning matters from members of the public.  Here you can find out how we work and who might be able to help you.
Chilterns ANOB

Published advice and guidance

The Board publishes guidance to help stakeholders draft plans and make decisions on developments in and around the AONB. The guidance can also help people prepare proposals for development, whether or not they need to apply for planning permission.