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Surrey Hills Landscape Assessment

Overall Brief

Project Brief for the Surrey Hills AONB Landscape Assessment


1. The Countryside Commission, in collaboration with Surrey County Council, wishes to appoint consultants to undertake a landscape study of Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

2. The Commission is responsible for designating landscapes worthy of national recognition and protection. Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks are the two statutory landscape designations. AONB landscapes are considered to be of equal importance to those of National Parks but they are generally less extensive and wild. Their primary purpose is to conserve and enhance natural beauty and, unlike National Parks, providing for recreation is not a statutory requirement.

3. The Commission's 1991 AONB policy statement (see annex 1) indicates the need to raise awareness of the importance of individual AONBs and the purpose of designation. The AONB designation is not well understood. The Commission has published 25 AONB landscape assessments (see annex 2) to provide an understanding of the landscape patterns, characteristics and special qualities which give rise to the beauty and distinctiveness of each one. The Commission's intention is to publish assessments for the other AONBs. Aims of the Surrey Hills landscape assessment

4. The study has the following aims:

  1. To provide an assessment of the special character, distinctiveness and qualities of the Surrey Hills AONB and its component landscape types and character areas to be used as supporting documentation for the 1956 Designation Order and as a foundation for further studies and policy development;
  2. To raise awareness of the national and regional importance of the Surrey Hills AONB through the preparation of a Countryside Commission publication;
  3. To identify factors that have influenced landscape change in the past and to indicate forces for change in the future;
  4. To guide and influence those responsible for developing policies for the AONB and for its management.

5. The appointed consultants will be required to :

  1. Assess the landscape character of the Surrey Hills AONB and to identify its component landscape types and landscape character areas. This should include reference to the basic features of the landscape such as geology, landform, landuse, vegetation, field pattern, tree cover, views, settlement patterns and historical and cultural associations including flora and fauna, vernacular building styles and boundary treatments. The assessment approach should be a development of Surrey County Council's county wide landscape assessment (see annex 4).
  2. Explore the cultural associations and perceptions, both historic and contemporary of the Surrey Hills image and experiment expressing these ideas as the framework for the technical aspects of the landscape assessment set out in paragraph 5a (see also paragraph 6).
  3. Summarise the national importance of the AONB landscape in relation to other similar landscapes in England, sufficient to justify its national quality;
  4. Evocatively describe the landscape types and their individual landscape character areas using text, coloured and black and white sketches, diagrams and photographs;
  5. Identify changes in the landscape that have taken place this century. Any significant trends likely to cause change in the near future and the facets of landscape which are most vulnerable should be highlighted. Any changes or developments which are likely to result in a significant loss of character should be identified together with the type and scale of change or developments which might be accommodated in different landscape types without such loss. The report should highlight, in particular, the impact of development pressures and intensive recreational use arising from the AONB's location on the edge of London;
  6. Specify the broad landscape policy and management approach required, within each landscape character area and type, to conserve and enhance its character. Any management regimes to be avoided, should be identified;
  7. The relationship between the AONB and the surrounding Area of Great Landscape Value will need to be considered in the landscape. assessment work.


6. Tenders should include ideas for developing landscape perception as an element of landscape assessments. The intention of this contract is to experiment letting the cultural associations and Surrey Hills landscape perceptions shape the assessment, and resulting publication, as opposed to landform or landscape character. An appraisal of architects, designers, writers, musicians and artists influenced by the landscape. and how their work has contributed to imagery and perceptions of the Surrey Hills will therefore be required. Some research has already been carried out by Surrey County Council as part of "The Future of Surrey's Landscape and Woodlands" (see annex 4). The report will also need to briefly discuss visitor and local people's impressions of the AONB and widely appreciated features such as views. (Please note that original survey work on public perceptions will not form part of this contract). The Countryside Commission may be willing to consider commissioning artistic work to be used to set the scene in the publication or to aid the perception led landscape assessment approach and to stimulate debate for the future management of the Surrey Hills. The artistic commission would probably be let as a separate contract but could also be combined with this contract as an additional piece of work.

7. The consultants will be expected to follow an approach linked to that recommended in the Commission's advisory document CCP 423 on landscape assessment (see annex 3) and that used in other published AONB landscape assessments. However, unlike previous publications the Commission wishes this document to lead on landscape perceptions rather than physical features - or character areas.

8. Surrey County Council have carried out county wide landscape assessment work over the last few years. There are also other appraisals such as the Historic Landscapes Survey, Heathland Strategy, village appraisals and village design statements. The appointed consultants for this contract are expected to draw on this work and the in house expertise of the County Council's Planning Department (see annex 4). The consultants will also need to refer to any previous landscape assessments or descriptions for the area which are available either from the Commission, local authorities or other sources. The basic facts and background information on the Surrey Hills AONB extracted from the 1992 Directory of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (CCP 379) are attached as annex 5. The appointed consultants are expected to consult local sources of information eg. county archaeologists, library services, museums, local societies, South East Arts, the National Trust etc as appropriate. The landscape assessment and presentation of the study should be complementary to the work already published by Surrey County Council, and landscape assessments to be published for the Kent Downs AONB and the Sussex Downs AONBs. (The boundaries of these AONBs coincide with that for Surrey Hills AONB).

9. Although the landscape assessment will be arts led the appointed consultants must still ensure that they reflect the earth sciences and take such information into account when selecting character zones and writing the assessment. It is expected that a multidisciplinary team will be needed for this contract.

The landscape assessment report and presentation

10. The chosen consultants will be required to produce two reports and briefing material for an additional photographic contract. They will also be required to check page proofs. Each task is detailed below:

  1. A technical report with full map coverage, describing the methodology used and giving a comprehensive landscape analysis as set out above. The report should include a colour summary map which shows the location and boundaries of the landscape types and character areas within the Surrey Hills AONB. This summary map should be presented on a simplified Ordnance Survey base at 1:100,000 scale (or an alternative scale agreed with the steering group), and to the standard comparable with similar maps in the existing reports. (The Countryside Commission's drawing office will compile maps on topography. geology, physical features for the publication (see report required in paragraph 13b)).Ten bound copies of this report will be required.
  2. The second report will be the one that forms the basis of a 40 page / 22-25,000 words Countryside Commission publication on the Surrey Hills AONB, and as such it will need to conform to the Commission's corporate style for landscape assessment publications eg. South Devon AONB landscape assessment CCP 404. It should include a summary. acknowledgments, references, contents list, title page, and originals of any illustrations (eg. line drawings, watercolours, maps). The final publication is intended to contain in the region of 28 illustrations, including maps. The text of the report should also be supplied on IBM compatible disc conforming to Wordperfect 5.1. If another software package is used the disc should be formatted to ASC11. Please note that the text should be typed rather than typeset, and note instructions in annex 6. Ten bound copies of this report will be required. The consultants will be expected to check publication proofs and to respond to any queries or requests for additional information from the Commission's Publications Unit prior to publication. Once the final text and photographs have been submitted the layout of the publication will be determined by Publications Unit based on the Commission's standard portrait format for landscape assessments. Please note that no publication date has been programmed as yet but it is likely to be Spring 1997.

  3. The Commission intends to place a separate contract for photographic work to illustrate the publication. The appointed consultants will be required to generate an annotated list of illustrations required for the final publication for the Commission to use as part of its brief to the photographer. The list should specify any seasonal photographs needed. The list should include three sets of colour slides illustrating thelandscape types and character areas identified in the study for the photographer to use as a reference guide. All slides should be captioned and grid references given for each one. Three copies of the brief will be required. The consultants should include the costs of photography contract itself in their tender. Surrey County Council are likely to be able to commission some photography, on behalf of the Countryside Commission, in early 1996 so the chosen consultants will be expected to provide part of the list at a very early stage of the landscapeassessment contract.

11. At the end of the contract the consultants will be required to present their findings to a meeting of all organisations with an interest in the Surrey Hills AONB.

Project supervision

12. The project will be supervised by Jenifer White who is based at the Commission's SE Regional Office, London.

13. The appointed consultants will report to a small steering group comprising of the Commission and Surrey County Council representatives. The steering group members will be consulted on the drafting of all reports. It is estimated that at least five meetings will be needed. The meetings will be held at County Hall, Kingston upon Thames.

Contract Conditions

14. The contract will be subject to the Countryside Commission's conditions of contract for Research and Experimental Projects dated September 1991 (see annex 7).

15. The Commission's Publications Unit must have approved the report text before final invoice for the contract is paid. If the Unit is not satisfied, the text may have to be rewritten by the consultants or someone appointed by the Unit, at the consultants' expense.


16. The Commission's copyright terms are set out in the attached contract conditions (see annex 7 ).

Timetable for the landscape assessment contract work

17. The landscape assessment work must be scheduled to report findings as part of the Surrey Countryside Strategy launch in November 1996. The final reports must be agreed and submitted to the Countryside Commission by 31 December 1996 for publication in 1997.

Tender submissions

18. Consultants are invited to tender for this work and are asked to provide a submission indicating how, if selected, they would discharge the brief.

19. Engaging writing style and interesting presentational ideas (within the limits of the Commission's corporate style for its landscape assessment publications - see above) evoking the Surrey Hills landscape will be considered of equal importance to the technical aspects of carrying out the landscape assessment. Examples of recent reports should therefore be submitted to show consultants' written styles. Reports in the Commission's landscape assessment series need not be submitted but reference should be made to them.

20. The submission should include:

  1. details of the relevant experience of all those to be involved in preparing the assessment;
  2. a detailed timetable for the research and preparation of the report;
  3. details and costs of any sub-contractual arrangements;
  4. a detailed breakdown of costs listing expenditure under the following headings:
    1. consultants fees (number of work days and day rates)
    2. any overheads to be charged

    3. travel and subsistence (see annex 8)
    4. any other costs
    5. VAT (where applicable)
  5. an estimate of each quarterly invoice to be submitted to the Commission in the months January, April, July and October.

21. Four copies of the tender submissions are required.

22. Sealed tender submissions should be sent, to arrive by midday on Monday 15 January 1996, to:

Administrative Officer

National Parks and Planning Branch

Countryside Commission

John Dower House

Crescent Place

Cheltenham GL50 3RA

Tel 01242 521381

Envelopes must be marked "DO NOT OPEN until 12 noon Monday 15 January 1996 - TENDER SUBMISSION - SURREY HILLS AONB LANDSCAPE ASSESSMENT"

23. Short listed candidates may be invited for discussion and interview (to include a short presentation) on 24 or 25 January 1995 at the Commission's South East Regional Office, London.

24. Successful candidates will be expected to start the contract in February 1996.

25. Invoices will only be accepted on a quarterly basis in arrears of work. They should be submitted by:

30 April 1996 for the months February and March

31 July 1996 for the quarter April, May, June

31 October 1996 for the quarter July, August, September

31 January 1997 for the quarter October, November, December

30 April 1997 for the quarter January, February. March

All invoices should be submitted to the Administrative Officer, National Parks and Planning Branch, Cheltenham (seepara 22).

26. For further information about this brief or the project please contact Wendy Thompson, National Parks and Planning Branch, Cheltenham at the address in para 22.

December 1995

List of enclosures :

annex 1 CCP 356 AONB Policy Statement 1991

annex 2 list of published AONB landscape assessments

annex 3 CCP 423 landscape assessment guidance

annex 4 Surrey County Council - landscape assessment briefing

annex 5 extract from CCP 379 AONB Directory on Surrey Hills

annex 6 Countryside Commission corporate style for landscape assessments, and The South Devon Landscape Assessmentpublication CCP 404

annex 7 Conditions of contract for research and experimental projects 1991

annex 8 Travel and subsistence rates for consultants