Sizewell from Dunwich © M.FARROW

Planning & development

There is a duty on all public bodies to conserve and enhance the natural beauty of the Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB. This includes Local Planning Authorities when they set planning policy or determine applications for development within, or affecting, the AONB.

2019 Friday 25 January - OUTSTANDING PLANNING EVENT:
Planning in a Designated Landscape: Guides, Rules & Tools

REPORT on the Planning in a Designated Landscape event can be seen here.
Full programme can be seen here.
Richard Bate - Duty of Regard (1.7mb)
Alison Farmer - Natural Beauty & Special Qualities (4mb)
Peter Cosgrove - Tranquillity (3mb)
Jem Waygood - Use of Colour in Development (9mb) - full guide can be seen here
The event was an outstanding opportunity to learn about planning matters in the nationally designated AONBs. Attendees were people who work in planning, sit on a planning committee, are a developer or architect or simply have an interest in planning in the AONBs. The AONB team event featured national experts on planning policy, tranquillity, use of colour in design and factors contributing natural beauty (the reason for the national AONB designation). 


General Planning & Development Information:
The AONB covers part of three district or borough Local Planning Authority areas, and part of one county area. The wider project area, which is the proposed area for an AONB extension, adds a further district council and county council.  Each of these authorities prepares Development Plans, and the AONB team will comment on these documents on behalf of the AONB Partnership.

At a more local level the AONB team comments on individual planning applications that, if approved, would have a positive or negative impact on the primary purpose of the AONB (to conserve and enhance the area’s natural beauty). Applications that frequently draw comments from the AONB team include: 

  • Those of sufficient scale, e.g. of a footprint and/or height that could detract from the landscape qualities of the area.
  • Those that could significantly reduce the tranquillity of the area, through increased levels of noise and light.
  • Those that could lead to a notable increase in disturbance, e.g. an increased number of visitors.
  • Those that could lead to a change in landscape character, urbanisation of the countryside or an inappropriate change of use.
  • Those that relate to changes to public rights of way or areas of public access.
  • Those that seek to establish a precedent, move away from Development Plan policy or exception sites.

If you need further information please contact the AONB office.


2018 November - Use of Colour Guidance on the Selection and Use of Colour in Development 

2018 OctoberPosition Statement on Planning Consultations - clarity for local planning authorities, landowners and other interested parties about the planning proposals /applications that the AONB team would like to be consulted on.

2018 July - The AONB Partnership has responded to the Submission Draft of the Suffolk Minerals & Waste Local Plan (SMWLP). Please see here for information on the Suffolk County Council consultation information.

2018 March - Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB Partnership response to Scottish Power Renewables, based on information presented at the Public Information Days in March 2018. See the response here.

2016 - details of the event and presentations to the Planning and Neighbourhood Plans in Outstanding Landscapes event on Thursday 3 March are here.
Download the leaflet: A Guidance Note for preparing Neighbourhood Plans in the Suffolk & Essex Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Zone of Potential Visual Impact Analysis for Protected Landscapes

A Guidance Note for preparing Neighbourhood Plans in the Suffolk & Essex AONBs (2016)

AONB Farm Reservoir Design Guide

National Planning Policy Framework

AONB Landscape Guidelines (2001) Up-to-date information can be seen at

The Suffolk Coast & Heaths AONB (updated 1 Feb 2013) response to the Stage 1 pre application consultation to the Sizewell C proposals can be seen below:

Suffolk Coast and Heaths AONB response to Stage 1 Pre App Sizewell C consultation

Landscapes for life link image