Getting help with planning
We are sadly unable to respond to all queries we receive on planning matters from members of the public. Here you can find out how we work and who might be able to help you.
Who we are
The Chilterns Conservation Board employs a full-time planning officer, Dr Matt Thomson, supported by a consultant planning adviser, Dr Mike Stubbs. The work they undertake is supported by other members of staff and a handful of expert volunteers.
How we work
Our most important volunteers are our Board members and the Planning Committee. With the oversight and approval of the Board, the Planning Committee sets the principles, policies and priorities that guide our planning and development work, and the Committee has direct oversight over that work.
The principles and policies that we work to are set out in broad terms in the Chilterns AONB Management Plan, and more detail on how these may be implemented can be found in our published advice and guidance.
Our role is to advise planning decision makers – mainly local authorities – on how decisions can be made in ways that conserve and enhance the Chilterns AONB and its setting, while fostering the social and economic well-being of its communities. We also try to support communities, particularly town and parish councils, especially with neighbourhood plans.
We do not make decisions on planning proposals, and planning decision-makers are not obliged to follow our advice.
We do not have the resources to provide planning advice to individuals, organisations or businesses – whether they are proposing development or concerned about its impacts – apart from Town or Parish Councils working on neighbourhood plans. In particular, we are unable to advise on whether planning permission (or other forms of consent) is required for a development project.
If you have a general query about planning, please use one of the options shown in the panel below.
The best source of information for any queries about planning in your area is almost always your local planning authority (district, borough or unitary council).
The Planning Portal
The Government, working with built environment bodies and consultancies provides online help for all kinds of planning and development queries.
This service, provided by the Royal Town Planning Institute, offers free or low-cost planning advice to individuals or communities who might not be able to employ a planning consultant.
Hire a planning consultant
Professional planning consultants can help with a wide range of issues, whether promoting development or responding to its impacts.
Help to shape where you live
The Chilterns Conservation Board is keen to support Town and Parish Councils within the AONB and its setting with understanding their local environment and shaping the future of their communities and their landscape through neighbourhood planning.
In support of that aim, we have put together an online Neighbourhood Planning Toolkit as part of our Lottery-funded Chalk, Cherries and Chairs project. Anyone interested in helping to shape their community is welcome to use the Toolkit [here].
Conservation groups in the Chilterns
As a statutory body funded by national and local government, the Chilterns Conservation Board advises decision makers, but must be cautious about campaigning against or lobbying public bodies. There are many voluntary sector organisations that are able to challenge public authorities who may also be able to help residents or communities with concerns about planning in their areas.
A key stakeholder in this respect is the the Chiltern Society, with whom we often work in partnership on conservation and enhancement projects. Links to some of the larger groups are provided below. There are many smaller groups across the Chilterns, including residents’ associations for many towns and villages and ‘friends of’ groups for many open spaces and other locally valued places.
The Chiltern Society
Powered by an army of volunteers, the Chiltern Society gives a voice to everyone who conserves, campaigns for and promotes the Chilterns.
CPRE, the countryside charity
CPRE advocate for a countryside with sustainable, healthy communities that is available to more people than ever. There are CPRE groups across the Chilterns in Oxon, Bucks, Beds and Herts.
The Wildlife Trusts
The Wildlife Trusts aim to bring wildlife back, empower people to take action for nature, and create a society where nature matters. The Chilterns are covered by the Berks, Bucks & Oxon and Herts & Middlesex Wildlife Trusts.
The National Trust
The Gardens Trust
If you want to find out about the work we are doing to influence planning and development, please email us on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also telephone us on 01844 355507 (this number is not continuously monitored, but voicemail is available).
For enquiries about a particular development proposal, please can you let us know: the local planning authority (council) area, planning application reference number (if known) and/or a precise location (full address, grid reference, etc). Please see our planning applications page for information on the types of proposals the Conservation Board usually engages with.
If you are concerned about a breach of planning control (a development that does not have planning permission) please contact your local planning authority (council).
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