Monday, 7 October 2013

Permitted development excluded in an AONB

There is so much material awaiting posting that it is difficult to know where to begin, but I thought I would start with a recent query I received about the extent to which Permitted Development is excluded in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The question arose because the AONB in question encompasses a great number of towns and villages, most of which contain undistinguished housing far removed from anything that could possibly be described as being of outstanding natural beauty.

My correspondent therefore asked me whether the LPA is correct in asserting that permitted development rights are excluded in respect of development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse (under Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the General Permitted Development Order) because this is a settlement that is ‘washed over’ by the AONB designation, and is not excluded from it. The site in question is not in a conservation area.

[What follows applies in England only, not in Wales, which has different rules.]

In most AONBs, the designation covers a wide area, and towns and villages within the area are not excluded, although the boundary may be drawn around the outside of a large town if it is on the periphery of the area. The limited contribution (if any) that even the most undistinguished part of any settlement within an AONB makes to the natural beauty of the area does not affect the position in any way.

Permitted development rights are slightly reduced (but are not wholly removed) in relation to Part 1 of the Second Schedule to the General Permitted Development Order (development within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse) in certain areas (“Article 1(5) land”) which include any property anywhere within an AONB. I have confined this note to AONBs, as there is a very subtle distinction in respect of these areas, compared with other “Article 1(5) land (such as conservation areas).

Under Class A, the temporary right (until 30 May 2016) to build larger domestic extensions is excluded in an AONB. Other excluded development within Class A comprises the cladding of any part of the exterior of the dwellinghouse with stone, artificial stone, pebble dash, render, timber, plastic or tiles, any extension beyond a wall forming a side elevation of the original dwellinghouse and any extension of more than one storey beyond the rear wall of the original dwellinghouse. But, with these exceptions, other extensions and alterations within Part A can still be built within an AONB.

The enlargement of a dwellinghouse consisting of an addition or alteration to its roof (under Class B) is also excluded in an AONB, but minor alterations to the roof under Class C are not excluded. The erection or construction of a porch outside any external door of a dwellinghouse (under Class D) is not excluded either.

As regards Class E (the provision within the curtilage of the dwellinghouse of any building or enclosure, swimming or other pool required for a purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such, or the maintenance, improvement or other alteration of such a building or enclosure; or a container used for domestic heating purposes for the storage of oil or liquid petroleum gas), development is not permitted in an AONB by Class E if the total area of ground covered by buildings, enclosures, pools and containers situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the dwelling-house would exceed 10 square metres, but devlopment closer to the house is OK. In an AONB, development under Class E is also excluded if any part of the building, enclosure, pool or container would be situated on land between a wall forming a side elevation of the dwellinghouse and the boundary of the curtilage of the dwellinghouse.

Development under Class F (the provision within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse of a hard surface for any purpose incidental to the enjoyment of the dwellinghouse as such, or the replacement in whole or in part of such a surface) is not affected.

In the case of Class G (the installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwellinghouse) this development is not permitted within an AONB if the chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe would be installed on a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway, and forms either the principal elevation or a side elevation of the dwellinghouse.

Development under Class H (the installation, alteration or replacement of a microwave antenna on a dwellinghouse or within the curtilage of a dwellinghouse) is permitted in an AONB, but not if it would consist of the installation of an antenna on a chimney, wall or roof slope which faces onto, and is visible from, a highway, or on a building which exceeds 15 metres in height.

If you look at Part 1 of the GPDO, you will see that this still leaves quite a wide variety of permitted development that can be carried out within an AONB, subject to the usual limitations and conditions set out in the Order. It is certainly not the case that permitted development rights are wholly or substantially removed within an AONB. On the other hand, local planning authorities have the power to exclude permitted development rights by means of an Article 4 Direction, and also by means of a condition attached to a planning permission, and this is perhaps more likely within an AONB (and on other “Article 1(5) land”, such as a Conservation Area) than elsewhere.

So the LPA in question was correct up to a point in the case that was put to me, but the effect of the exclusion of certain permitted development rights should not be over-stated.



  1. Thank you this was a very helpful post.
    In a recent case I needed to know if an Article 4 Direction had been made restricting a certain type of PD in a particular AONB. Obviously there was a particular location in mind but that could not be revealed to the Council. It would probably save a lot of time and trouble if Uncle Eric were to require LPAs to publish all the different zone categories on their mapping systems.

  2. The residents of AONBs and national parks suffer the same discrimination, 40% of the English landscape is protected in some way yet the towns and villages are no different to those outside the suffocating boundaries.

    Who benefits? The elite who can afford to visit or perhaps buy a house?

  3. Dominic Heath-Coleman8 October 2013 at 12:16

    Hello Martin,

    This is not strictly related to this post, but it seemed a good place to ask a question. You will no doubt be aware of a recent change to the Planning Act and a very recent change to the GPDO, which means that demolition of unlisted walls, fences etc now needs planning permission in conservation areas. I was wondering whether you thought Shimizu would apply in the same way it did for the need for conservation area consent, or whether planning permission will now be needed even when the demolition is not substantial (in terms of Shimizu).

    Many thanks,

  4. In reply to Dominic’s comment, I have been so busy recently that I have not yet had the chance to get my head round the new rules. I hope in fact to post on them in the blog. The answer to Dominic’s question may depend on the precise definition of ‘demolition’. If it has not been re-defined specifically in relation to the demolition of walls, fences, etc. then Shimizu might well apply, so that partial demolition would be seen simply as alteration of the wall, fence, etc. However, I shall need to check the precise wording of the new rules to confirm this. (Yet another task for which I shall need that elusive ‘round tuit’.)

  5. Hi I am also struggling with whether the permitted development for <1m/2m high rule applies to walls etc in Conservation Areas now that GPDO has been changed as part of the bigger changes to Conservation Area Controls. All available advice on Planning Portal, barrister legal updates and local planning authority websites still states that demolition of walls under 1m (or 2m) within Conservation Areas is permitted development unless other controls apply. The GPDO amendment appears to preclude (relevant) demolition of all walls, fences, etc whatever their height.
    See the following amendment -
    2013 No. 2435
    The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted
    Development) (Amendment) (England) (No. 4) Order 2013

  6. I am sorry that I am somewhat behind in moderating comments at the moment. The question raised by ‘palmerm’ on 22/01/14 has also been puzzling me, but because I have not been called upon so far to advise on it professionally, I have not had time yet to get my head round it. It is in fact a topic with which I shall have to get to grips in the near future as it will have to be covered as a topic in the book I am currently writing.

  7. I live in Pangbourne in Berkshire and a planning application has been lodged with West Berkshire for a housing development 35+ houses on agricultural land in an AONB. What might be our main plan of objections?

  8. In answer to Pangbourne Hill, I cannot usefully add to the advice set out in my detailed note “How to object” which will be found on a separate page accessed from the top bar on this page.

  9. Hello

    Can you advise on planning laws in an ANOB area regarding existing buildings that
    were former cottages that have been uninhabited and no longer registered as housing
    We own a building dates back to 1752 and last lived in around 1930/40`s we would like to obtain planning for residential use if possible

  10. Nigel Rayer’s question could only be answered after a full consideration of all the facts and surrounding circumstances. This would require professional instructions and is not therefore a suitable point for comment here.

  11. Elizabeth Gwyther18 August 2016 at 10:05

    Please can you help. We are applying for planning permission for a single dwelling. The site is approximately 2 kms across the valley from the Malvern Hills AONB. It is outside the AONB. Objections have been raised that it could be seen (albeit at a distance) from the AONB. Is this a valid planning objection?

  12. The issue raised is a matter of planning judgement. Development within sight of, but outside, an AONB (or outside a conservation area) could in some cases have an adverse visual impact on the designated area.

    Anyone can object to a planning application on any ground. It does not have to be a ‘valid’ objection. However, it is up to the decision-maker to determine what weight (if any) should be given to such an objection in practice.

  13. Would a planning permission for housing in a village,( lapsed in 1977) which was in existence when the AONB was set up in 1959 show that development was accounted for within the village boundary, and would this have any relevance to a fresh application. Thank-you.

  14. In answer to Gerald Clayton (27 September), a lapsed planning permission from as long ago as 1977 would have absolutely no relevance now as a potential consideration in relation to any current or future proposal for the development of the land. Any such proposal will have to be considered in light of current circumstances and, in particular, the development plan as currently adopted, together with existing designations such as the AONB. The existence of a planning permission at the time when the AONB was originally designated makes no difference at all; the AONB designation must be taken fully into account in relation to any application made now.

  15. Thanks for this and your other interesting articles. I'm trying to understand Class G. Would you agree that the total removal of a chimney stack is an alternation and as such is not an installation so is permitted even if on a roof which fronts the highway in an AONB?

  16. The development permitted under Class G of Part 1 comprises the installation, alteration or replacement of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe on a dwellinghouse. The only restriction in an AONB (or other “Article 2(3) land”, such as a conservation area) is that the chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe must not be installed on a wall or roof slope which fronts a highway, and which forms either the principal elevation or a side elevation of the dwellinghouse. [Note that this restriction applies only to a frontage where both of those qualifications apply.]

    Subject to this, my view is that the restriction under paragraph G.1(c) applies to any of the types of development mention in Class G, including the “alteration” of a chimney, flue or soil and vent pipe. However, it is moot point as to whether entire removal of a chimney amounts to an “alteration”. On the basis of case law (such as Shimizu, I suspect that it might do, and so could perhaps be caught by the restriction in paragraph G.1(c).
    (But I would readily accept that this is open to a different interpretation.)