The Mendip Hills AONB Unit does not have any statutory planning powers as these are held by the local planning authorities – Somerset County Council, Mendip and Sedgemoor District Councils and the Unitary Authorities of North Somerset and Bath & North East Somerset. These Councils make decisions on planning applications for development within the AONB, address planning enforcement issues and adopt policies relating to local development and conservation of the AONB.
The AONB Unit role is to bring our expertise and influence to bear in seeking to protect the special qualities of the designated landscape and to work with the AONB Partnership Committee to support the local authorities in achieving the objectives of the AONB Management Plan. In particular, as the ‘voice of the protected landscape’ we aim to bring a consistent approach to planning and development issues across the whole area covered by the different local authorities.We also work at Regional and National levels as part of the ‘family’ of protected landscapes, for instance supporting campaigns run by the National Association of AONBs, lobbying MPs on issues affecting protected landscapes and the development of strategic advice and policies.
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Guidance for Referrals for Planning Applications (PDF download 26KB)
Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Development (PDF download 188KB)
“Fracking” – release of prospective resources of shale gas and coal bed methane -Update May 2012 (PDF download 12KB)
Dark skies in the Mendip Hills AONB (PDF download 25KB)
Longleat Estates Outline Proposals for new Cheddar Gorge Visitor Attractions (PDF Download 33KB)
Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) / Document (SPD)
The following have been adopted by the five local authorities as SPG with the exception of SDC who have adopted both as SPD (March 2013)
Guidelines for Horse-related Development for the Mendip Hills AONB (PDF download 1.6MB)
Agricultural Building Design – Guidelines for the Mendip Hills AONB (PDF download 3MB)
Protected Landscapes Guidance
Horses the Landscape and You (PDF download 1MB)
Current Major Planning Issues
National Grid Power Line
National Grid AONB Update February 2013 (PDF download 29KB)
AONB Unit Response NG Hinkley C Connection L&V Draft Scoping Report January 2013 (PDF download 66KB)
National Grid Stage 3 Consultation – AONB Unit response December 2012 (PDF Download 56KB)
National Grid Stage 3 Consultation 6th November – 18th December 2012 (PDF download 13KB)
Cheddar – Longleat Estate Proposals (see also Partnership Statement above)
Cheddar Gorge – Longleat Estates-New Visitor Attractions-Mendip Hills AONB Unit Update May 2012 (PDF download 160KB) Includes Natural England statement.
Cheddar Gorge – AONB response to the Longleat Enterprises EIA Scoping Report April 2012 (PDF download 24KB)
Cheddar Gorge – AONB letter to Peter Baker NVB Landscape Architects November 2012 (PDF download 45KB)
Fracking (also see Partnership Statement above)
Fracking – AONB Unit Letter to Mendip District Council (PDF Download 16KB
Planning Applications/commented on
Update Spring 2013 (PDF download 44KB)