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					POLICY 97 CHILTERNS AREA OF OUTSTANDING NATURAL BEAUTY

    In the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty the prime planning
    consideration will be the conservation of the beauty of the area; the
    economic and social well-being of the area and its communities will also
    be taken into account.       Any development proposal which would
    seriously detract from this will be refused. Wherever development is
    permitted it will be on the basis of its satisfactory assimilation into the
    landscape.

    Every effort will be made to discourage development and operations
    that would adversely affect the beauty of the area. Landowners are
    encouraged to adopt the following planning guidelines which will
    contribute to the preservation and enhancement of the area. The Council
    will adhere to the guidelines whenever considering planning
    applications:

    (a)   New Buildings and Other Development

          •     Development must not be intrusive in terms of noise,
                disturbance, light pollution, traffic generation and parking.

          •     Building, plant and structures must be sympathetically sited
                and designed, having regard to natural contours, landscape,
                planting and other buildings; there should be no adverse
                effect on skyline views.

          •     Colours and materials used for a development must fit in
                with the traditional character of the area.

    (b)   Open Air Recreation

          •      Large urban-style parks and sports facilities are not
                 acceptable.

          •      Extensive recreational facilities such as golf courses (see
                 Policy 78) and country parks must be carefully integrated
                 with the landscape, natural vegetation and natural ground
                 contours.

          •      Intrusive fencing and illumination are not acceptable.

          •      Informal outdoor recreation allowing the quiet enjoyment of
                 the countryside is encouraged, but careful attention will be
                 paid to the provision of associated ancillary facilities such
                 as car parks and toilets in order to minimise their impact on
                 the local scene.

    (c)   Mineral Extraction
      •     No further chalk quarrying will be supported, with the
            exception of registered Interim Development Order (IDO)
            sites which have the benefit of consent from the County
            Council as mineral planning authority for the area.

Other mineral extraction may be supported if justified in the national
interest, if there are no other reasonable sites and if the impact on the
area is kept to a minimum.

(d)   Agriculture

      •     The intensity of farming practices should not be detrimental
            to landscape quality and nature conservation interests.

      •     Activities requiring new building should be avoided if
            possible. Where new building is necessary, it should be
            sited unobtrusively and designed to maintain the character
            and quality of the countryside: siting close to, and
            integrated with, existing complexes of farm buildings is
            normally preferred.

      •     Land filling is not acceptable.

      •     Individual trees, copses and hedgerows should be retained
            and new planting carried out in appropriate locations (in co-
            operation with relevant agencies and groups) in order to
            enhance the landscape quality and nature conservation
            interests of the area (Policy 100).

(e)   Forestry and Landscaping

      •     The retention of existing, and planting of new woodlands on
            hill tops and ridges, other than on chalk downland or other
            grassland of nature conservation interest, is encouraged.

      •     The active management of woodlands is encouraged
            (Policy 101).

      •     Broad-leaved tree species which are native to the particular
            soil and location should be used in all planting and
            landscaping schemes.

      •     Conifers should only be used as a nurse crop in forestry.

(f)   Nature Conservation

      •     High priority should be given to maintaining and enhancing
            the interests of nature conservation and, in particular,
                          acknowledged sites of importance to nature conservation
                          (Policy 102).

                    •     Changes in land use or farming practices which would
                          adversely affect the interests of nature conservation should
                          not be pursued.

            (g)     Redundant Buildings

                    •     Redundant buildings which are considered to be
                          detrimental to the high landscape value of the area and are
                          not suitable for appropriate reuse under Policy 110 should
                          be removed.

       Reasons

97.1        The Chilterns are of national landscape importance, being designated by the
            Countryside Commission as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
            in 1964. The designation affords special status in the control of development
            and establishes the primary aim as the conservation of the scenic beauty of its
            countryside and settlements. AONB policy overlies policies controlling
            development in the Green Belt and the Rural Area, and thus further constrains
            the type of change and development that can be allowed.

       Background

97.2        Government guidance in Planning Policy Guidance Note 7: ‘The Countryside -
            Environmental Quality and Economic and Social Development’ states that the
            primary objective of conserving the natural beauty of the landscape must be
            reflected in the development plan and in development control decisions.
            Consequently the environmental effects of development proposals are the
            major consideration, but the social and economic well-being of the AONB and
            the communities it supports must also be taken into account.

97.3        The Government endorses the establishment of the Chilterns Conference
            (now the Shadow Chilterns Conservation Board), a partnership of local
            authorities and other organisations, whose purpose is to promote good
            practice and co-ordination of effort in the management of the AONB. The
            Council is a partner and supports the work of the Conservation Board.
            Positive actions to conserve and enhance the landscape are encouraged
            through the Board’s partnership approach.

97.4        Planning powers to direct or control changes in the landscape are
            constrained, particularly in agriculture and forestry, but nonetheless they still
            have an important role.

97.5        Policies and guidelines in the Local Plan:
       (a)   reflect the principles in the ‘Statement of Intent’ issued by the Chilterns
             Conference in 1991 and Policy 42 of the County Structure Plan Review
             (1991-2011) (which essentially restates those principles); and

       (b)   are consistent with the guidance in the Management Plan for the
             Chilterns AONB issued in 2002.

97.6   In assessing planning applications or other proposals, the Council will have
       regard to:

       (a)   the supplementary information and context given by the Management
             Plan for the Chilterns AONB, and the associated Action Plan; and

       (b)   supplementary advice produced by the Chilterns Conference:
             ‘Environmental Guidelines for the Management of Roads in the
             Chilterns AONB’ ‘Chilterns Buildings Design Guide’ and a ‘Farm
             Buildings Guide’ (under preparation).

97.7   Some changes in the landscape are not normally considered to be
       development (e.g. ploughing up grassland, planting or felling trees). Other
       changes (e.g. fencing and buildings in gardens) and developments for
       agricultural and forestry purposes are permitted by the Town and Country
       Planning (General Permitted Development) Order. A separate procedure
       applies to some types of permitted development for agriculture and forestry:
       for example, the siting, design and external appearance of buildings may be
       controlled (but not the principle of the buildings themselves). The Council will
       expect the siting, design and external appearance of such buildings to accord
       with principles in the ‘Farm Buildings Design Guide’.

97.8   Control of mineral extraction and waste disposal and management (including
       landfilling) is exercised by the County Council, but the Borough Council is
       consulted on all proposals.

       The boundary of the Chilterns AONB was reviewed by the Countryside
       Commission in the late 1980’s and revisions approved by the Secretary of
       State for the Environment on March 14 1990.

				
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