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Landscape and planning

We work with developers, designers, land and property owners to:

Maintain the quality and distinctiveness of the AONB’s landscape character.
Enhance the setting of the Chase within its wider urban and rural landscape.

The landscape of Cannock Chase is diverse and varied and includes the inspiring views and open prospect to and from parts of the high heathland plateau; the secluded and ‘secret’ valleys and tracks in the forested areas; and the patterns of small fields, farmsteads and parkland along its northern and eastern edges. 

Economic development around the Chase including farming and forestry should improve the lives of local people and provide additional resources for conserving and enhancing the Chase.  Nevertheless, it is important that development that comes close to the AONB boundary does not harm or intrude on the special qualities and characteristic features of the Chase’s landscapes and its setting.

Revised national planning guidance strengthens the protection for AONB’s against development, stating that the scale and extent of development should be limited in protected areas.  It is also important that the contrasts between the Chase’s natural beauty and the busy towns and countryside around it are not seen as creating a sharp boundary or barrier, but rather as complementary to each other. 


Key landscape principles for car park improvements

In May 2020 the SAC Partnership published their Detailed Implementation Plan (DIP) for Car Parking on Cannock Chase. This recommends rationalising car parking on the Chase to reduce impacts on the Special Area for Conservation European wildlife site, through redistribution of parking locations with fewer locations to park but overall an increase in parking spaces.

The Cannock Chase AONB Management Plan (Policy LCP7 and its associated Action A8) seeks to develop shared design protocols for recreation and leisure facilities. With car park alterations potentially taking place in the near future in response to the DIP, the AONB Partnership in consultation with the SAC Partnership and key stakeholders, has produced a guide to set standards for design that would to be sympathetic to the wildlife and landscape and natural beauty of the AONB.

The guide sets out planning and environmental considerations that should be taken into account when planning and implementing alterations or car park closures, along with key landscape principles, such as layout, detailed design, signage and restoration of car parks and laybys if these are closed. The guide can be viewed in our publications section.


High quality, landscape-led design

In 2020 the AONB Partnership published a new Design Guide that aims to promote good practice and encourage any future development to be landscape-led and sympathetic to existing character, so it does not detract from the natural beauty of the AONB.  The Guide has been produced to assist anyone proposing new development in the AONB as well as local authority officers making decisions on planning applications and preparing local plans and other community planning guidance that has the potential to affect Cannock Chase AONB.

The Guide is available to download from our publications section.

Understanding and protecting the view

A Views and Setting guide is another milestone study published by the AONB Partnership in 2020.  The AONB Management Plan recognises that wide-ranging uninterrupted views from the AONB are one of the AONB’s special qualities.  Views towards the distinctive profile of Cannock Chase are also an important attribute within the surrounding area.  The Guide sets out principles which should be considered by those involved in planning and new developments so that they don’t detract from people’s enjoyment of views from or towards the AONB.

The Views and Setting Guide is available to download from our publications section.


Undergrounding powerlines

The views around Marquis Drive Visitor Centre were improved during 2019 by removing and placing underground approximately 3.5 kilometres of overhead electricity lines from White House to Moors Gorse.  This involved removing 48 wooden poles as well as three pole-mounted transformer rebuilds, which has improved supplies in the area.  This is part of an ongoing £2.3 million initiative by Western Power Distribution (WPD) to enhance protected landscapes. A second phase of works will improve views around Shugborough Hall in 2020.


The AONB Partnership is working with the Trent-Sow Parklands and Cannock Chase AONB HS2 Group to develop and influence design principles, mitigation measures and environmental enhancement for the HS2 route that will minimise impacts on, and conserve and enhance, the special qualities of the AONB.  A set of design principles was handed over to HS2 in February 2020 to inform and shape emerging designs on certain key elements that will have a high visual impact.  More information about the Trent Sow Parklands HS2 Group can be found on this website.