Do I need annexe planning permission in an AONB?

Getting annexe planning permission in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) can be tricky. However, this is something that we achieved recently for a client in Wiltshire

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

In this blog, we’ll explain why careful management of your annexe planning application in an AONB is so important.  Also, we’ll advise how to avoid planning application errors that might result in refusal.  We’ll also provide suggestions if you’ve never submitted a planning application before.

Getting annexe planning permission in an AONB

green field beautiful view


What is an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty?

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

  • There are 46 AONBs in the UK
  • AONBs cover about 18% of the UK countryside
  • No other country in the world has AONBs – 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 to give your application the best chance of success

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.  Along with site plans, CGI’s and supporting statements from the applicant including drawings outlining the proposed materials, height and footprint of the annexe. This ensured we could demonstrate that the annexe would blend into the surrounding area in a sympathetic manner whilst not negatively impacting the beauty of the landscape.

Think outside the box

In this case, our initial planning application received many objections from neighbours and residents, as well as the local Parish Council.  Who also 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 recommend submitting a statement addressing the concerns.  This would confirm 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.  Your statement will also need to comply with 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 to get annexe planning permission in an AONB

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.

Our Planner, Joe suggested several conditions to the applicant and 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.

Summary – how to get annexe planning permission in an AONB

The key takeout from this blog is that getting annexe planning permission in an AONB is not impossible! Being in the AONB does 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, NAPC aims to reason with the parties that are involved and provide clarity on what is being proposed. Ideally 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. We can provide information on developments in areas such as AONBs.  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. As evidenced by the application, it is possible for solutions to be found so that all parties are happy.

Whilst not a legal requirement it is beneficial to inform neighbours of your intention to build an 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 objecting to the proposal.  And ultimately hindering the approval of planning permission, or having permission refused.

Here to help you make a success of your project

At NAPC we know how hard it can be to get annexe planning permission in an AONB. And how nerve-wracking the planning process can be when applications are hindered by objections. If this happens we 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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