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Submitting planning applications

Development in the AONB

Development in the AONB is not forbidden but the possible impacts on the AONB for a development proposal in or within the setting of the AONB need to be considered by the developer when producing their plans and also by the local authority when considering any planning application. Developers can influence the ease and timescale of potential and actual planning applications in or near the AONB by careful consideration of its context in the AONB at an early stage in the process.

If you are unsure of the relationship of a potential site to the AONB, check the map on our website. This is based on the original 1968 designation map which has been transferred as accurately as possible to modern map sections.

Major development
Major development in an AONB is only likely to be approved if exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated to apply under paragraph 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework. However, what is 'major' development is not defined in the NPPF and is up to local planning authorities to determine according to local circumstances. 

The AONB designation should be considered not just in relation to visual amenity. Natural beauty includes considerations of biodiversity, heritage, tranquility and the way in which the many natural and human elements of landscape combine, and these aspects should all be taken into account in proposals affecting the AONB. Applicants are recommended to refer to the local authority's landscape character assessment and the Integrated Landscape Guidance for the AONB, as well as relevant policies and sections of the AONB Management Plan

If the proposed development might damage the area's natural beauty and special qualities, it may be necessary to consider alternative options or mitigation of potential impacts.

Setting of the AONB
Developments proposed for areas outside the AONB may also need to consider if they are likely to have an effect on the designation by affecting its setting and long views into and out of the AONB. For large developments, this may be the case even some distance outside the AONB boundary.

For some development proposals, planning authorities may require a Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (LVIA), sometimes as part of a wider Environmental Impact Assessment, to help inform the determination of the application by the authority. The LVIA process, which is established nationally and applies both in and out of protected landscapes, and the accepted methodologies are set out in the Landscape Institute's third edition Guidelines for Landscape and Visual Impact Assessment (2013).

Pre-application advice
The Norfolk Coast Partnership is not normally able to offer advice on development proposals at a pre-application stage because of staff resource constraints and will not generally provide any endorsement which may be cited in a planning application as giving our support.

See our planning policies and decisions section to find out more about policies and guidance relevant to a development proposal in the AONB. For pre-application advice on the likelihood of it being approved, contact the relevant local planning authority. Liaison with the local authority should also help to determine whether an Environmental Impact Assessment or LVIA is required for the proposed development.

Permitted development
In general, some types of minor development such as changes to your house can be made without needing to apply for planning permission. These are called "permitted development rights"

However, these rights are more restricted within an AONB, as well as in national parks, the Norfolk or Suffolk Broads and Conservation Areas.

You may therefore need to apply for planning permission for certain types of work which do not need an application in other areas - contact your local authority to discuss what is or is not permitted development in the AONB.