The North Wessex Downs have the highest status of protection in relation to landscape and scenic beauty.
Despite the relatively low density of population, there are particular development pressures on the North Wessex Downs. This is due in part to its location within the South East of England and its proximity to London. There is a need to manage these pressures with sensitivity both within and in the setting of the area in order to maintain a balance in promoting economic and social viability whilst retaining the character of the North Wessex Downs. Communities need to be economically viable and have adequate housing, amenities and facilities. However, the primary purpose of designation needs to be paramount when considering such issues.
We seek to conserve and enhance the following special qualities of the North Wessex Downs:
Remoteness and tranquillity
Undeveloped and rural quality
Distinctive architectural styles
A sparse road network
Traditional land-based and rural economy
Growing high-tech and creative sector.
The North Wessex Downs Partnership supports pre-application discussions from applicants, local communities and with the relevant Local Planning Authorities. We publish advice in the form of ‘Position Statements’ that are endorsed by the Council of Partners.
Promoting and supporting local enterprise through initiatives such as LEADER is a key part of conserving and enhancing the character and special qualities of the area. Local businesses are likely to employ local people, provide services and have a smaller environmental footprint (by reducing the transportation of goods from across communities). We also provide advice to communities about how to engage in the planning process.