Cheltenham Plan Pre-Submission consultation

Pre-Submission Cheltenham Plan

8 The Cotswolds AONB


8.1 The County Development Plan 1955 originally defined part of the Cotswolds as an Area of Great Landscape Value. This area has subsequently been largely overlaid by the designation in 1966, under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, of the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

8.2 In December 1990 the Secretary of State for the Environment formally altered the AONB boundary to its current form shown on the Cheltenham Plan Proposals Map. The AONB within the Borough is now approximately 10.5 square kilometres, almost one third of the Borough area.

8.3 Because of its attractive character, which derives from its built form as well as the landscape of the scarp edge, and its location on the urban fringe, the AONB in the Borough is particularly sensitive to development pressures. A restrictive approach is therefore necessary to conserve and enhance both of these elements. The Council considers it particularly important to protect the scarp as the dominant feature of Cheltenham’s setting and is concerned at the cumulative effect of even small-scale development and of development in new locations within the AONB.

8.4 In assessing proposals for development, the Council will be guided by Paras 115 and 116 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), Policy SD7 of the Joint Core Strategy (JCS) and the advice of the Cotswold Conservation Board with reference to the Cotswold AONB Management Plan 2013-18. The latter publication contains the following Vision:
In 20 years, the Cotswolds is a landscape:

  • which retains its remarkable visual unity and scenic diversity;
  • is richer in nature, and where the historic heritage is conserved;
  • is home to vibrant communities supported by a sustainable local economy;
  • provides a warm welcome and high-quality experience for everyone seeking inspiration, tranquillity and to be active outdoors; and
  • is adapting successfully to a changing climate and economic conditions.

8.5 To help maintain the special character of the AONB, the Council will limit any increase in the size of dwellings to that permitted by the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015. Proposals for increasing the size of buildings in other uses, be they through rebuilding, replacement or extension, will only be permitted where they conserve and, where appropriate, enhance the special qualities of the AONB. Blanket floorspace targets and thresholds are not being introduced as the impact of development can vary from location to location and it is considered more appropriate that each case is treated on its own individual merits. Any permissions granted will be subject to specific design requirements in accord with the combined design policies of the JCS and Cheltenham Plan.