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Guidance for Planning in the Area

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) were designated under Section 87 of the National Parks & Access to the Countryside Act 1949.

Any area of land being considered for designation as AONB, is assessed against a set of defined Natural Beauty indicators.

The full designation process is set out in Natural England’s 201 document (PDF), "Guidance for assessing landscapes for designation as National Park or Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in England".

The AONB Team/Partnership has commissioned a number of reports to ensure that the primary purpose of designation, the conservation and enhancement of the AONB’s natural beauty, is properly considered in the planning process.

The Survey document illustrates the naturally occurring colours that can be observed within the various Landscape Character Types across the AONB and the developed colour palette included in the Guide demonstrates the range of colours that can be used harmoniously in new development.

Driftwood on a beach

The Natural Beauty indicators cover Landscape Quality, Scenic Quality, Relative Wildness, Relative Tranquillity. Natural Heritage Features and Cultural Heritage Features. These define natural beauty of the Coast & Heaths AONB.

The additional project area extends approximately 44 km2 but does not benefit from the same statutory protection as the AONB, but it is considered a Valued Landscape.

The AONB team commissioned Alison Farmer Associates to undertake a Valued Landscape Assessment of the Additional Project Area.

The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and Localism Act 2011 gave new powers to local communities to prepare Neighbourhood Plans.

Neighbourhood Plans can promote development and some already made or under preparation in Suffolk fall within the Coast & Heaths AONB. Landscape will be an important consideration for local councils preparing Neighbourhood Plans that fall within the AONB.

A guide to good planning and design of farm reservoirs in the Coast & Heaths Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty

To help conserve the dark skies of both the Dedham Vale and Coast & Heaths National Landscapes (formerly AONBs), Darkscape Consulting were commissioned to produce a new Lighting Guide for these two designated landscapes.

The ability to enjoy the areas’ dark skies is at risk from increasing development pressures, the use of inappropriate or incorrect lighting and from poor design that fails to consider sources of light pollution and effective mitigation.

While the guide is intended to be used by developers, architects and planners, it will be of interest to anyone who enjoys star gazing and is keen to conserve

our amazing night skies.