Landscape Sensitivity Assessment

Landscape Sensitivity Assessment is a useful tool in the identification of sites suitable for development and those that should be protected due to their high landscape sensitivity and/or value.

HDA prepares character based sensitivity and capacity studies at a variety of scales, from district wide to individual sites, tailored to the needs of organisations including local authorities, parish councils and developers.

To promote urban regeneration and sustainable patterns of development, government guidance encourages the concentration of new housing and employment development within sustainable locations. HDA undertakes landscape sensitivity and capacity studies on behalf of district and borough councils as part of their Local Plan process, enabling local authorities to identify suitable locations for development by assessing the capacity of the landscape to accommodate future housing and employment, while avoiding unacceptable impact on landscape character.

Tandridge Sites Study

HDA’s study for Tandridge District Council forms part of the evidence base for it’s Local Plan, and included an appraisal of seven large areas which had been identified as potential areas for new settlements or urban extensions, and over 100 individual sites which had been presented to Tandridge District Council for consideration through it’s Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment and Economic Needs Assessment.

HDA’s sensitivity and capacity studies for parishes often combined with a local scale landscape character assessment, consider the landscape surrounding existing settlements and determine the suitability of parcels of land, either character areas or individual sites, for development. This contributes to the identification of potential locations for future development within neighbourhood plans.

Character Area sensitivity
Individual sites sensitivity

HDA’s assessment methodology follows best practice guidance from Natural England, and assesses both the physical and environmental constraints on development. Following analysis of the landscape structure, the landscape is assessed against a number of criteria relating to landscape sensitivity and landscape value.



HDA was commissioned by Basingstoke and Deane Council to prepare an updated Landscape Character Assessment for the Borough. The study looks at 20 landscape character areas, from the elevated chalklands in the south to the lowland mosaic in the north, and includes part of the North Wessex Downs Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty to the …


HDA prepared a Landscape Capacity study for potential development sites within the Vale of White Horse District, which were considered as part of the Local Plan Part 2. The study provided the foundation to HDA’s Green Belt study and forms part of the evidence base used in the site selection process for the Local Plan. …


As part of a series of studies to inform the Local Development Framework process, Worthing Borough Council commissioned HDA to assess the physical and environmental constraints on development in the Borough with a view to determine the landscape capacity of greenfield sites to accommodate future development. The assessment required detailed analysis of landscape structure and …