Landscape Character SPD

The aim of the Landscape Character Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is to promote regard for the landscape and to ensure new development makes a positive contribution to the landscape, including its key characteristics and features in which it is located. They support Local Plan 2030 policies ENV3.

The document was adopted by the council on the 28th April 2011 and is available to view and download below:

Landscape Character SPD Adopted [pdf] 12MB

Addendum to Landscape Character SPD [pdf] 27KB

Ashford landscape character study and assessments

There are two background documents which form the evidence base for the Landscape Character SPD, the StudioEngleback (2005) study, which assesses the landscape on the edge of the Ashford urban area and the Jacobs (2009) assessment which looks at the wider rural area of Ashford.

Landscape Character Study 2005

Ashford Landscape Character Assessment 2009 [pdf] 31774KB

Areas of outstanding natural beauty

The borough of Ashford contains two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB); the Kent Downs AONB in the north and east of the borough and the High Weald AONB located in the south-west. The two AONBs are afforded the highest level of protection under the Countryside Rights of Way Act. The SPD above provides more detail on the protection of the AONBs.

The AONBs in the borough were not surveyed as part of the Landscape Character Assessment work, but the landscape of these areas has been assessed extensively by the AONB management plans, produced by the respective AONB units. Due to the AONBs being treated as separate landscape character areas, it is considered that the information for the protection of these nationally important areas should be obtained from the relevant AONB unit – see below:

Kent Downs AONB

Kent Downs AONB Management Plan

High Weald AONB

High Weald AONB Management Plan


This guidance aims to inspire high-quality design in keeping with special character of the High Weald and to prevent ‘generic’ housing developments.

The High Weald Housing Design Guide gives practical, clear advice on expectations for new housing development including site layout, building appearance and materials, public spaces and parking provision. It is aimed at all those involved in the built environment of the AONB, from designers, developers and highways engineers through to planning decision-makers.

View the High Weald Design Guide.