Frequently asked planning questions:
Does the AONB Service monitor planning applications?
Yes, the AONB Service does monitor planning applications. We log applications, note our responses, check and record the planning decision and plot 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.
A planning application has been submitted within the AONB, I have concerns and 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.
The links to the LPA planning pages are below:
If you do not have access to the internet, you can telephone the Local Planning Authority 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.
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.