High Weald


The High Weald AONB Partnership, including 15 local planning authorities, has launched a Design Guide for new housing development in the High Weald.

Design guide

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.

Packed with real-life examples and high-quality images, the guide is designed to inspire higher-quality design that reflects the special character of the High Weald landscape and is embedded with a true ‘sense of place’, without stifling innovation and creativity.

It will also help ensure that new housing development meets the National Planning Policy Framework for well-designed places and the conservation and enhancement of the AONB.

Councillor Sylvia Tidy, chair of the High Weald Joint Advisory Committee, said: “The scale of housebuilding in the High Weald AONB is currently at an unprecedented level, with the area experiencing the highest increase in the level of housing growth of any AONB in England.*

“The High Weald Housing Design Guide is a much-needed tool to help local authorities balance the need for new housing with their statutory duty to conserve and enhance this precious landscape. We hope to see fewer generic housing developments and more that capture the essential character of the High Weald, from its historic buildings to its breath-taking scenery. In short, creating beautiful places for everyone.”


Download the pdf High Weald Housing Design Guide (6.27 MB) . It is also available in print-friendly format.

The High Weald Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty is one of the best surviving medieval landscapes in North West Europe, valued for its scenery, tranquillity and wildlife. Its distinctive features include rolling hills and valleys covered with a mosaic of small fields surrounded by hedges and abundant woods. The landscape is scattered with historic farmsteads linked by a network of ancient routeways.

Covering parts of four counties – East Sussex, West Sussex, Kent and Surrey – the area offers millions of people the opportunity to experience the beauty of nature within a working countryside


*An Independent Review of Housing in England’s Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty 2012-2017, NAAONB & CPRE

About the Design Guide: The High Weald Housing Design Guide was the subject of an eight-week period of formal public consultation from Wednesday 19 June until Wednesday 14 August 2019. The High Weald Joint Advisory Committee agreed the Design Guide on 25 November 2019.

For more information visit our Design Guide page.