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Planning and Development

Though much of the activity of the AONB Partnership is aimed at stimulating positive management of the landscape, it is through the land-use planning system that the designation carries regulatory weight.

How does the designation affect planning and development?

The protection of the AONB landscape designation and Heritage Coast status is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework paragraphs 114-116. In addition Section 85 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 dictates that Northumberland County Council has a legal duty to have regard to the conservation and enhancement of the AONB in carrying out its planning and other functions.

The built environment is an integral to the natural beauty and we aim to support development that both enhances and conserves the environment. The Northumberland Coast AONB Management Plan sets out clear policies to ensure the protection of the natural, historic and built environment. The plan is a material consideration for Northumberland County Council when determining planning applications.

Northumberland County Council Planning website

Buildings Design Guide

In addition to our management plan the Design Guide for the Built environment contains useful information in relation to the local vernacular, settlement character, materials and principle of design that are acceptable in the AONB.

Download the Design Guide

Landscape Capacity and Sensitivity Study

In recognition of the increase in development pressure along the whole of the AONB we commissioned an independent Landscape Capacity and Sensitivity Study to help guide our responses to planning applications. The study takes into accounts key views and vistas into and from the AONB together with identification of the sensitive settlement edges and ability of settlements to absorb new development.

Download the Landscape Capacity and Sensitivity Study

Preserving dark skies

Ever-increasing levels of outdoor lighting are constantly diminishing our view of the spectacular sky visible on a clear night, and most people have to travel far from their homes to experience a good view of the night sky. Areas of the Northumberland Coast AONB still retain such dark skies, and these are a special quality of the area, valued by residents and visitors alike.

THE AONB Management Plan sets out our policies to ensure that dark skies are preserved.

The British Astronomical Association’s Campaign for Dark Skies Lighting guidelines

Stargazing in the AONB

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