Below are some of the most commonly asked questions about Planning, a very important issue in the Quantock Hills AONB.
If you would like to view recent AONB planning application comments for 2013 click here
Does the AONB Service monitor planning applications?
Yes, the AONB Service does monitor planning applications but the process of monitoring is in its infancy. We are logging applications, noting our responses, checking and recording the planning decision and plotting this onto a GIS system. The purpose of monitoring is to identify trends in planning e.g. types of applications, numbers, locations etc. This information will then inform our work in the future - how we respond to applications and the types of guidance documents we produce.
I live within the Quantock Hills AONB and wish to make a planning application, where should I go for advice?
Your first port of call should be your Local Planning Authority (LPA) which, if you live within the hills, will be Sedgemoor District Council, Taunton Deane Borough Council, or West Somerset Council. Each of these Planning Authorities has a dedicated planning section on their websites, offering a range of useful information such as:
• Whether you need planning permission for the plans/works you are considering.
• How to get advice before making a planning application (pre-application advice).
• How to apply for planning permission.
• Searching for planning applications on line (past and present).
• Useful policy and background information.
The links to the LPA planning pages are below:
Sedgemoor District Council: http://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2700
Taunton Deane Borough Council: http://www.tauntondeane.gov.uk/irj/public/services/directory/service?rid=/guid/50a7b39f-0934-2c10-d885-9d8dd3361a14
West Somerset Council: http://www.westsomersetonline.gov.uk/template3.asp?pid=1010&area=2
If you do not have access to the internet, you can telephone the LPA and ask to speak directly to a Planning Officer or call in to the Council offices where they have Planning Receptions. For general information on planning, a very useful resource is the Government’s Planning Portal website. See http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/
There is also a dedicated section - “Planning, Building and the Environment” - on the Communities and Local Government website. See: http://www.planningportal.gov.uk/
A planning application has been submitted within the AONB. I have concerns/want to find out more. Where should I look?
You can search on line for planning application details, again via your LPA’s website using the links above. Once you have found the application, the supporting documentation is likely to be available to view. If you do not have regular access to the internet you can always contact your LPA by phone or visit their planning reception.
I want to comment on a planning application. How do I do this?
You can submit comments to the Local Planning Authority and view comments that others have submitted (individuals and organisations) in respect of the same application. For directions on how to do this, you can contact your LPA or visit their website. If you are concerned that the AONB may not have been consulted and you feel the application may threaten the character and quality of the Quantock Hills landscape, please do call the AONB Service office and ask to speak to the Landscape Planning Officer. Your comments and/or objections will hold greater weight if they are backed up by approved policies and guidance. Comments from individuals will be properly considered by a Planning Officer so do not be deterred from submitting comments as you may make a valid, ‘material consideration’ that others may have missed.
What types of response does the AONB Service make in respect of applications?
The AONB Service will consider all aspects of the application - type of development (e.g. commercial, domestic, conversion, agricultural), scale, style, location e.g. prominent hillside. These factors will be considered on an individual basis as well as collectively so as to make a judgment on likely impact on the landscape. In most cases the AONB Service will submit comments and/or questions to the planning officer - offering guidance to inform the planning decision but also prompting consideration of specific issues that may not have been picked up on. Where the AONB Service believes an application would have significant adverse impacts on the AONB, objections will be made.
Georgie Grant - April 2013-->
Caring for the Quantock Hills AONB is undertaken by many organisations and individuals including the AONB Service, all working together to keep the Quantocks as beautiful as you see today, and working to make the habitats richer, the communities stronger and the history better understood.
The AONB partnership is made up of the Joint Advisory Committee (JAC) with other interested organisations including: National Trust, RSPB, English Heritage and the Police.
The Joint Advisory Committee forms a tight executive, acting as a watchdog for the AONB Service. The AONB Service reports to the JAC at least 4 times a year, papers for which can be downloaded from this site.
The JAC is made up of our 5 core funders, Defra, Somerset County Council, West Somerset Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Taunton Deane Borough Council. Parish Council representatives for Nether Stowey, West Bagborough, West Quantoxhead and Holford, and the following organisations: Forestry Commission, Natural England, Friends of Quantock, Country Land & Business Association, Quantock Commoners Association and Somerset Access Forum.
The AONB partnership produces a Management Plan, which is a strategic document. This plan looks at how we would like to see the Quantock Hills in the next 20 years. It also looks at what work needs to be undertaken to achieve this vision. The AONB partnership works together to carry out this work.
The AONB Service is tasked with ensuring that this works occurs, which may be through lobbying, monitoring and undertaking projects. By lobbying national and local government, and also organisations such as the National Trust we can ensure their policies will help to conserve the AONB rather than detract or damage the landscape. A wide range of monitoring is undertaken by the AONB Service from wildlife surveys through to planning applications to ensure there are no damaging activities occurring on or near the AONB. Various projects may include the recent Long-eared owl survey, which led to the enhancement of our knowledge of their population and nesting sites. Further details can be found in the Management Plan.
Georgie Grant - February 2012-->
Fill in this quick survey and help influence how the Quantock Hills are cared for.
The Quantock Hills are protected as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), and are cared for by a wide partnership of organisations and people all working to look after the natural beauty of the area. A five year Management Plan guides this work, setting out objectives and action points.
This year the Plan will be revised, and feedback gained from the questionnaire will inform a new plan that will be produced for April 2014.
Anthony Trollope-Bellew, chairman of the Quantock Hills AONB partnership says:
"Due to funding cuts, resources are now very tight and so it is more important than ever to ensure that attention is concentrated on the right areas of work. We want people who live in, work in and enjoy visiting the Quantocks to tell us what is important to them".
If you would like to have your say, and help influence how the Quantock Hills are cared for, please fill out the following questionnaire.
If you have any problems, call the Quantock Hills AONB office on 01823 451 884 and we will send you a paper copy.
Georgie Grant - April 2013-->