The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Housing Design Guide was formally adopted by the Council on 6th July 2020 as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications.

The guide is available below:

It has been prepared by the High Weald AONB Partnership, which includes the 15 local authorities with land in the AONB, to support the objectives of High Weald AONB Management Plan 2019-2024.

The Housing Design Guide aims to give succinct, practical and consistent advice to set clear design expectations for new housing development within the High Weald AONB. This will help to ensure higher quality and landscape-led design that reflects intrinsic High Weald character, and is embedded with a true sense of place, without stifling innovation and creativity.

It brings together policies, best practice and analysis from a wide range of areas, including national policies relating to design quality, national urban design guidance adapted to be locally specific to the High Weald, and local studies of landscape character and identity, in order to provide a concise and easy to access resource for designers and decision makers.

Importantly, the Guide is not solely focused on the appearance or style of individual buildings, but rather about creating successful places; housing developments that are truly ‘of the place’, a genuine and integrated part of the existing settlement, rather than a generic ‘added on’ estate. It aims to help create schemes that conserve and enhance the High Weald character into the future.

It is expected that developers and designers of new housing schemes will use the Housing Design Guide at the earliest stages of the design process; the format is intended to help structure the design process, so that the setting of the High Weald is dealt with first, placemaking principles next, and detailed design built in towards the end.