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Buildings Design Guidance

Chilterns Buildings Design Guide

The Chilterns Buildings Design Guide contains practical advice for planners, architects and house owners on how to build or restore properties in keeping with the special qualities of the Chilterns AONB. It covers such topics as the setting of buildings, the design of vernacular features and the use of traditional local materials. By promoting the use of the Guide the Board aims to ensure consistency of design and materials across the AONB.

The Guide was originally published in 1999 and was adopted as Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG) by local planning authorities covering over 90% of the AONB. A second edition of the Guide was published in 2010. The Conservation Board invited all councils to endorse the second edition of the Guide and recognise it as a ‘supplementary guidance’ in the exercise of their planning powers, with weight (as a material consideration) commensurate with that of Supplementary Planning Documents (SPD).

The second edition contains a new chapter on farm buildings and more detail on how to design and build properties to cope with the effects of climate change. A hard copy can be purchased from our online shop for £20 or you can download a free medium resolution electronic version.

For a whistle-stop tour of the main recommendations in the Guide you might like our checklists:

Supplementary Technical Notes

Although the main Design Guide has been successful in promoting local distinctiveness, it was felt that further, more detailed guidance was needed in connection with the use of particular materials: flint, clay products and roofing materials. As a result three supplementary Technical Notes have been published. Copies of these Notes are available for purchase from our online shop at £14 each. They can also be downloaded free here:

The aim is that all three Technical Notes should be regarded as material considerations in decisions on relevant planning applications and ultimately be adopted as Supplementary Planning Documents by local authorities. 

Please note that the Technical Notes suggest that the Chilterns Conservation Board maintains "details of suppliers, practitioners and other useful contacts" and invites readers to view those details on our website or by contacting us. This service has been discontinued, as it suggested that the Board approved the quality or appropriateness of listed suppliers and did not approve others. This is clearly impracticable for us to assess and keep up-to-date.

The Board and Highway Authorities have also published guidance on the design and management of rural roads which, amongst many issues, aims to retain their special character and seek reductions in roadside clutter and light pollution.

Environmental Guidelines for the Management of Highways in the Chilterns (pdf 3Mb)

More information

If we haven’t covered the issue that interests you, or if you feel you need further information on an AONB planning matter please contact the Chilterns AONB Planning Officer, on 01844 355507 or planning@chilternsaonb.org.


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