The Conservancy's Role

Chichester Harbour was designated as an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) for its unique landscape. Within all AONB's the purpose of the planning system is to ensure that any change through development conserves or enhances the natural beauty of the landscape. The Conservancy therefore comments on any changes to planning policy at national, regional or local levels - planning decisions on new development requiring planning permission are made in accordance with these planning policies.

The Conservancy is also consulted on all planning applications within the AONB boundary by either Havant Borough Council or Chichester District Council, and also those applications on or just outside of the boundary that are visible from within the AONB. The Conservancy is asked to comment on the impact of development on the AONB landscape or nature conservation and also takes into account the socio-economic benefit of such developments on the AONB. The Conservancy bases its responses on the development plan policies for Havant Borough Council and Chichester District Council, the Chichester Harbour AONB Management Plan and other planning guidance.

Click here for Planning Consultative Committee information

Joint Chichester Harbour AONB Supplementary Planning Document

The Conservancy has worked closely in partnership to help the two Local Planning Authorities (Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council) to jointly publish guidance on development proposals in Chichester Harbour AONB, which has now been formally adopted by both councils.. It expands upon the relevant policies in the Local Plans, particularly relating to the design of replacement dwellings and extensions, and provides photographic examples showing the impacts of developments and suggested techniques for limiting those impacts. We would encourage you to take a look at the Supplementary Planning Document particularly if you are thinking of applying for planning permission for a replacement dwelling or extension within the AONB. 

Chichester District Council and Havant Borough Council set out their planning policy and guidance on their websites, which should be referred to in conjunction with the Conservancy’s guidance.

Chichester Harbour Planning Principles

On 17 October 2016, Chichester Harbour Conservancy formerly adopted 18 new Planning Principles, which replaced the Planning Guidance. These Planning Principles interpret and supplement the adopted policies of the relevant Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) and are prepared to promote and reinforce local distinctiveness in the AONB.

This will offer those seeking planning permission greater certainty on which to make their investment decisions. It is anticipated that this greater clarity will strengthen relationships between the LPAs, developers, voluntary organisations and general public which in turn will strengthen the delivery of the AONB Management Plan.

The key objectives for the Planning Principles are to be seen from the perspective of the Conservancy's responsibilities, recognising that these are consistent with, and seek to interpret, adopted statutory land use policies as they relate to development in the AONB.

You can download a pdf version of the Planning Principles document here.

Sustainable Shorelines

We have published new guidance for building and maintaining sea defences, called Sustainable Shorelines. The document was co-written with expert coastal engineers at Royal Haskoning DHV, and was specifically prepared for use in the Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

Chichester Harbour is the largest natural estuary in south east England and 43% of the AONB is fully submerged at high tide. In recognition of its high environmental value, the Harbour is designated as a Ramsar site for its wetlands, a Special Protection Area (SPA) for its birdlife, a Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for its habitats, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) for its flora and fauna. As a result, all proposed developments on or near the foreshore are scrutinised by the Conservancy, Natural England and the Local Planning Authorities, to ensure any potential adverse impacts are minimised.

Residents are urged to consider the guidelines before submitting a planning application for a shoreline location and to discuss their intentions with us and Natural England at the earliest opportunity.

Works Licences

To construct, alter, renew or extend any works on, under or over tidal waters or tidal lands below the level of high water in Chichester Harbour will require a works licence issued by Chichester Harbour Conservancy. Please carefully read through the Guidance Notes with the Application Form.

Landscape Character Assessment

The Landscape Character Assessment was produced by Chris Blandford Associates in 2005. It has helped to inform the AONB Management Plan and provides planning and land management guidelines to assist planners, developers and landowners in conserving and enhancing the distinctive character of the AONB landscape. It is available on request from the Harbour Office.