Planning Principles | Planning Advice | Supplementary Planning Document | Works Licences | Houseboats | Landscape Character Assessment

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 a quick guide to the planning system in Chichester Harbour in 2022/23

Chichester Harbour Planning Principles

The 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.

They 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.

Pre-application Planning Advice

The Conservancy welcomes the opportunity to provide pre-application advice on proposed developments within and adjacent to Chichester Harbour Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB). The AONB is a nationally important and protected landscape and development control is one way in which the Conservancy and the Local Planning Authorities help to conserve and enhance its unique and special qualities. To enquire about pre-application planning advice email

Joint Chichester Harbour AONB Supplementary Planning Document

The Conservancy has worked closely in partnership to help the two Local Plann/ing 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 below, 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.

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 below.


All houseboats within The Limits of the Harbour (up to MHW, exc. Chichester Marina, Birdham Pool Marina, and Emsworth Yacht Harbour) require a Licence issued by Chichester Harbour Conservancy. Please carefully read through the Guidance Notes below.

Landscape Character Assessment

The Landscape Character Assessment was produced by Chris Blandford Associates in 2005 and refreshed in 2018. 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.