Annexe planning permission in an AONB

Getting planning permission to build an annexe in your garden if you live in an AONB can be notoriously difficult.

Objections from local residents and concerns on how your development will impact the beauty of the AONB can lead to the refusal of a planning permission application. Leaving families out of pocket and unable to live near older relatives to help take care of day-to-day tasks in their senior years.

In this post, we’ll explain why careful management of your annexe planning application is important, how to potentially avoid planning application errors that might result in refusal, and provide suggestions and things to be aware of if you’ve never made a planning application.


First of all, what is the AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty)?


An Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is exactly what it says it is: an outstanding landscape whose distinctive character and natural beauty are so precious that it is safeguarded in the national interest. Did you know

  • There are 46 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty in the UK
  • AONBs cover about 18% of the UK countryside
  • No other country in the world has Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty – it is a uniquely British designation
  • AONBs protect some of the UK’s most important and sensitive habitats
  • Over 19,000km of footpaths and bridleways pass through AONBs including 10 National Trails


How can you give your application the best chance of success if located within the AONB?


Submit a detailed planning application

One of our recent applications for a client in Donhead St Andrew in Wiltshire was located within the AONB. We submitted a robust planning application which included a carefully worded 17-page planning statement, site plans, CGI’s, supporting statements from the applicant and drawings outlining the proposed materials, height and footprint of the annexe. This ensured we could demonstrate that the annexe would assimilate into the surroundings in a particularly sympathetic manner whilst not negatively impacting the beauty of the landscape.

Think constructively

In this case, our initial planning application received many objections from neighbours and residents, as well as the local Parish Council, who planned to call this application into a planning committee. Many of the objectors were worried about the proposed size, design, and use of the annexe, as well as fears it would look at odds with the landscape of the AONB.  If this happens to you, don’t feel that your fate is sealed. You are still in a good position to make further arguments to support your case.

Be methodical

In response to these objections, and to reassure the residents and parish council, we would always recommend submitting a statement directly addressing the concerns raised, confirming that the proposed size and design of the annexe would not detract from the visual amenity of the AONB and crucially that it would not intrude on the neighbouring properties and therefore compliant with both local and national planning policy. In the case of the Donhead St Andrew application, this is what our planner Joe did.

Be willing to make changes

Specific compromises were made to the design of the annexe to secure its approval. These can include minor alterations and amendments to the design of an annexe to aspects such as windows and lighting, as well as the protection and maintenance of vegetation and residential surroundings. Ultimately it was this willingness to compromise, suggested by us to our client, that won the planning permission application for them.

Joe was also able to suggest several conditions to the applicant and subsequently the case officer, that if planning was granted could be attached to the decision. This helped ensure that neighbour concerns were addressed, making what could have been an unacceptable development, more acceptable.

Celebrate your success!

We were delighted when the local planning authority agreed to proceed with these conditions. The local parish council were also satisfied by this, therefore no longer wishing to call the application into committee and the application was approved.


# Tips and Reminders for applying for Planning Permission for your granny annexe


The key takeouts from this planning permission approval are that site constraints such as being in the AONB or neighbour objections, do not mean that your fate is sealed regarding approval or refusal for a granny annexe.  There is always a possibility that compromises can be made. As a planning consultancy, we at NAPC always aim to reason with the parties that are involved and provide clarity on what is being proposed, offering potential solutions if objectors are still not satisfied. It is this flexibility, knowledge and determination to succeed that resulted in success with this application.

It is always best to first seek advice from a planning consultancy such as ourselves, who can provide information on developments in areas such as AONB’s,  whether these have a chance of being approved and the potential challenges that may arise.

If problems such as those above were to arise we can also provide support and solutions to address these. As evidenced by this application, it is possible for solutions to be found so that all parties are happy.

Whilst it is not a legal requirement, it is also always beneficial to inform any neighbours of your intention to build a granny annexe, as they may be more likely to support the development when they have prior notice of it. This may reduce the chances of them making an objection to the proposal and ultimately hindering the approval of planning permission, or even having permission refused entirely.


Here to help you make a success of your project


Here at NAPC, we know how nerve-wracking the planning process can be, especially when applications are hindered by objections. If this happens, we always do everything we can to ensure that there is a way around this and that a solution can be reached to allow planning to be approved.

When we receive planning approval, it is heart-warming to know that we have been able to help another family who will benefit from their new granny annexe.

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Still feeling overwhelmed and would like some advice from one of our planners?


Pop your details into our contact form and our team will be in touch. Or give us a call on 01285 283200. We’re happy to answer any initial questions with a view to undertaking a feasibility study to help you build the annexe of your dreams!