Rural Solutions works extensively in promoting developments in rural areas and we also have a dedicated landscape team. The team studied with interest the Glover Review of nationally important landscapes which make a number of recommendations into how the landscapes of National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty can be better managed and protected and also how the need to deliver development can be balanced with protection.

A link to the review which includes 27 broad-ranging proposals can be found here. An article in planning magazine which considered the implications of the review can be viewed here and includes our comments.

As a company, we broadly welcome the findings of the report. Working frequently in protected landscapes we consider that the proposals, which could lead to greater consistency in how landscape issues should be considered in the planning process is to be welcomed. As a company we find that different authorities take differing approaches to landscape, and Planning Officers can sometimes use landscape as a reason to resist much needed development.

One example was the case of three houses we promoted on behalf of an Estate client on the edge of a village, outside of, but on the boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Planning Officers, unsupported by any professional landscape input, considered that the three houses, which continued a road fronting pattern of development towards a nearby dual carriageway which bounded the village, would have a ‘significant detrimental impact on the landscape’. It was our view that the three stone built houses would be seen within the context of poor quality mid-twentieth century housing and actually enhance the entrance to the settlement, with no landscape harm occurring. The Planning Committee disagreed with Officers, and approved the application, with the contribution to the supply of new houses then being cited the following year as a reason to overturn a proposal by the education authority to close the village primary school.

More widely we see the Glover landscape review and its proposals as part of a greater focus on assessing the value of the natural environment, with other measures including a focus on biodiversity net gain, planting trees to mitigate climate changing and flood risk, and a so-called Green Brexit where landowners receive subsidies for managing and ‘adding value’ to the countryside.

In terms of the landscape review and wider environmental initiatives we believe it is important that landowners understand these priorities when embarking on new development. It is important to:

  • Have a positive understanding of the landscape impact of new development and demonstrate as part of an application how the development will protect or not have an adverse impact upon it.
  • Consider where appropriate how landscaping measures can be put in place months or years in advance of future development proposals in order to create screening of sites 
  • Consider how new tree planting and biodiversity measures can be put forward as part of development proposals to demonstrate the environmental benefits of development.

Should you have any queries in relation to how the Glover review and wider environmental issues may affect you, please contact our Planning or Landscape Teams.