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.

Our advice and guidance is published in several different forms, all of which are intended to help our stakeholders with implementing the aims and objectives of the Chilterns AONB Management Plan, especially (but not limited to) those in Chapter 10 relating to development. Our published advice and guidance includes:

  • the Chilterns Buildings Design Guide, plus three supplementary technical notes
  • guidance on the design, construction and management of highways
  • position statements on several complex or contentious planning issues.

All of these are detailed below.

Following the advice in these guides will help ensure that all development, whether it needs an application for development consent or not, will be consistent with the character and special qualities of the Chilterns AONB. The guides are also useful pointers for public bodies to help ensure that their decisions (including decisions outside of the planning system) observe their duty of regard to the purposes of designating the AONB under section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000. We encourage all local authorities in the wider Chilterns landscape area, not just those in the AONB, to reference our guidance in their local plans and other strategies, and to take them into account as material considerations when determining planning applications.

Please note that we are currently undertaking factual updates of our guidance, ensuring that references to policies and legislation, links to material on the internet, contact details, etc. are all correct and up-to-date.

Chilterns Buildings Design Guide and related Technical Notes

The Chilterns Buildings Design Guide contains practical advice on how to build or restore properties in a way that is appropriate in and around the AONB. It covers such topics as the setting of buildings, the design of vernacular features and the use of traditional local materials. By promoting the use of the Guide the Board aims to ensure consistency of design and materials across the AONB.

The Guide was originally published in 1999, and was updated in 2010 with a new chapter on farm buildings and more detail on how to design and build properties to cope with the effects of climate change.

There is a separate handy checklist that people can use to see how well their proposal meets the guidelines.

We have also published more detailed Technical Notes to help people with the use of particular materials: flint, clay products and roofing materials.

Please note that the Technical Notes currently suggest that the Chilterns Conservation Board maintains “details of suppliers, practitioners and other useful contacts” and invites readers to view those details on our website or by contacting us. This service has been discontinued, as it suggested that the Board approved the quality or appropriateness of listed suppliers and did not approve others. This is clearly impracticable for us to assess and keep up-to-date.

Printed copies of the Guide and Technical Notes may be purchased from our shop.

Chilterns Buildings Design Guide
Chilterns Buildings Design Guide Checklists
Chilterns Flint Supplementary Technical Note
Chilterns Brick Supplementary Technical Note
Chilterns Roofing Materials Supplementary Technical Note

Guidance for the Design and Management of Highways

In partnership with the local Highway Authorities, the Board has published guidance on the design and management of rural roads which, amongst many issues, aims to retain their special character and seek reductions in roadside clutter and light pollution. (The Guidelines were prepared before the dissolution of Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire County Councils, but the new highways authorities, Buckinghamshire Council, Luton Borough Council and Central Bedfordshire Council all continue to refer to them.)

Environmental Guidelines for the Management of Highways in the Chilterns

Position statements

The Chilterns Conservation Board has published documents that detail its position on various planning-related issues. As noted above, some references to national policy and guidance in some of these statements may need updating, but the principles and advice remain valid.

Note that since the publication of our Position Statement on Development Affecting the Setting of the Chilterns AONB, the National Planning Policy Framework was amended in 2021 to include a specific new policy that development within the setting of AONBs “should be sensitively located and designed to avoid or minimise adverse impacts on the designated areas” (paragraph 176). Much of our Position Statement is a justification for paying attention to the setting of AONBs in the absence of a national policy on this issue at the time of writing. Paragraphs 12-19 of the statement provide guidance on how the Board considers that this policy can be met.

We are currently working on a new Position Statement concerning the impact of lighting on the AONB, including the protection of our dark skies, for publication during 2022/23.

Position statement: Cumulative Impacts of Development on the Chilterns AONB
Position statement: Development Affecting the Setting of the Chilterns AONB
Position statement: Renewable Energy
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Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-2024

The Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-24: Caring for the Chilterns forever and for everyone contains a comprehensive summary of the key issues facing the AONB and the management policies and actions needed to conserve this special place.

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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.

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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.
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The Management Plan for the Chilterns National Landscape

The Management Plan sets out the policies and actions to be followed by all stakeholders to conserve and enhance this special place. The current Plan (“the Chilterns AONB Management Plan 2019-24”) has been extended to March 2025 and is currently under review.