The Ashdown Forest Special Protection Area and Special Area of Conservation is a European-designated nature conservation site.

There are particular requirements for planning and how planning applications are assessed in order to help protect the nature conservation interests of Ashdown Forest.

Planning applications for residential development within 7km of Ashdown Forest will need to mitigate the potential impacts of the development to ensure the effects of any increase in visitors to Ashdown Forest are addressed.

This may involve payments towards both:

  • Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) - Contributions are used for the ongoing management and maintenance of a strategic SANG site. On larger development sites, a bespoke SANG could potentially be provided on the development site. 
  • Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) - A financial contribution towards SAMM will be used for ongoing visitor management projects and monitoring on Ashdown Forest in accordance with the SAMM Strategy. 

SANG capacity

The East Court & Ashplats Wood SANG has been operational since 2015 and there is now very limited capacity for further development to be mitigated by the East Court & Ashplats Wood SANG. If you have submitted a planning application that is pending determination, we will advise you regarding SANG mitigation for your proposed development.

SANG mitigation for proposed residential development in future planning applications will need to be provided at an alternative SANG in Mid Sussex District and financial contributions will be for the alternative SANG. Legal arrangements required to secure additional capacity at the alternative SANG are close to completion. If the alternative SANG provides mitigation for your development, you are advised that the development cannot be occupied until the alternative SANG is operational – this is anticipated to be Spring 2022. A condition will be placed on the planning permission preventing occupancy of the development until the alternative SANG is operational and this will be enforceable by the Council. In the case of applications made under Regulation 77 of the Habitats Regulations, an occupancy restriction will be included within a Section 106 planning obligation.

There will be an update on the alternative SANG and future strategic SANG mitigation following a Council meeting on the 30th March 2022.

The table below shows the strategic SANGs that the Council uses as mitigation for new residential development and indicates their capacity status.

This information is provided for guidance purposes and you are advised that this information is subject to review and change.

The remaining capacity at a SANG will be assigned to development in the order that applications were validated. This includes planning applications and in the case of prior approvals, it will be the validation date for the Regulation 77 application under the Habitats Regulations that applies and not the initial application for prior approval. The Council will be producing SANG capacity prioritisation guidance for the alternative SANG.


Capacity Status

East Court & Ashplats Wood Very limited capacity available
Alternative SANG Capacity available


How much are the SANG and SAMM contributions?

Current as at: 23 December 2021

SAMM tariff £1,170 per unit

SAMM Strategy Tariff Guidance

Financial contributions to SANG mitigation are based on the costs for managing a SANG in perpetuity. The tariff for any new SANGs will be on a per unit basis for the reasons described in the SAMM Strategy Tariff Guidance.

Current estimated tariff for the alternative SANG £5,000 per unit


East Court & Ashplats Wood SANG
Number of bedrooms Tariff
Studio / 1 bedroom £886
2 bedrooms £1,275
3 bedrooms £1,691
4+ bedrooms £2,033

Instruction forms and guidance templates

Please see the Apply for planning permission page and the Validation Criteria for details of what forms to include as part of a planning application.

If you are looking to undertake works under permitted development rights then please see the permitted development section

Legal document

The mitigation required will be secured in a legal document often known as a Section 106 planning obligation which will be drafted by our Legal Services team.

This is a legal document and you may want to take independent legal advice. The Council’s Legal Services team cannot provide you with legal advice.

Monitoring and legal costs will be levied.

Permitted development within the 7km zone around Ashdown Forest

Mitigation is required for the change of use of certain buildings to flats and dwelling houses under permitted development rights within the 7km zone around Ashdown Forest.

The permitted development rights must not be started until a written notice of approval has been received. To receive written approval you must:

Assessing planning applications for potential impact on the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation

Each planning application needs to be assessed for its potential traffic impacts on the Ashdown Forest Special Area of Conservation.

We will undertake this assessment as part of the planning application process, however, additional traffic information may be required for some planning applications. You will be advised by us if this is the case for your proposed development and what information will be required.

Contact us

Development Management
Tel: 01444-477566


Last updated: 25 July 2022