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Pre-application advice

What are the benefits?

There are a number of benefits of pre-application discussions. Some of these include:

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  • Saving time and money
  • Reducing the number of unsuccessful planning applications
  • Making sure you provide enough information to support your final application

If you need planning permission, you can use our pre-application advice service. If you use this before submitting your application to us we will:

  • research the history of the site and do a site visit if required.
  • look at the application against Council policies and standards.
  • arrange to attend a meeting with the applicant, if needed. This could be a telephone discussion.
  • look at the need for further investigations or key groups that need to be spoken to.
  • write to you and let you know whether we think you should continue with your planning application.

Planning application fees do not cover the cost of a pre-application advice service. Councils may charge for this service. To provide a high quality pre-application advice service Cornwall Council does charge for advice. The fees and what they cover can be found in the following document:

To apply for pre-application advice please complete the application form below:

We aim to contact you within 5 working days of receiving your application form.

Please do not submit original copies of documents, especially:

  • legal documents
  • deeds
  • historical information

Usually a copy of the document is enough. However, the case officer may contact you if any original documents need to be seen.

For further information please see our pre-application advice guidance note

For domestic alterations and extensions individual householders should refer to the:

The Planning Portal website also offers quality planning advice.

From 19 August 2019, we are able to provide responses to householder enquiries. Please note these are desktop only assessments. Listed Building enquiries should continue to use Category C when completing the form.

Contact Building Control for Building Regulation advice.

Please discuss any proposals that you might wish to make with the occupiers and owners of neighbouring properties. This is to ensure that the proposal does not adversely affect their amenity.

If you are unsure whether you need to apply for planning permission see our “do I need planning permission?” page.

Planning Performance Agreement may be appropriate for some householder proposals.

Environmental Health - Technical Advice for Planning Applicants’. This is a service for developers, applicants and agents. It provides technical and regulatory advice on environmental health matters. These are linked to the planning process. EH-TAP provides professional advice on:

  • Air quality
  • Contaminated land
  • Acoustics (sound/noise)
  • Odour

Cornwall Council has introduced a discretionary service. Domestic landlords can use this to apply for the evidence required to request an exemption from the MEES.  For further information, please visit the following page:

Cornwall Council are currently preparing a Site Allocations Development Plan Document (DPD). This will form part of the suite of documents that make up the Cornwall Local Plan. The document has reached a 'preferred Options' stage. This represents a strategy for the future development of 10 towns across Cornwall. Are you coming forward with proposals within any of the following areas:

  • Penzance and Newlyn
  • Hayle
  • Camborne-Pool-Illogan-Redruth
  • Helston
  • Falmouth and Penryn
  • St Austell
  • Newquay
  • Bodmin
  • Launceston
  • Saltash

If you are, we recommend that you pay due regard to the emerging strategies within the DPD.

The Site Allocations DPD and its associated background evidence can be viewed on the following page:

A Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) is a project management tool. The Local Planning Authority (LPA) and applicant can use it when handling particular applications. It can help them to agree:

  • timescales
  • actions
  • resources

PPAs can be used at:

  • the pre-application stage
  • the planning application stage
  • the post decision stage
  • any combination of these stages

For further information please refer to our Planning Performance Agreement Charter.

A planning case officer will advise applicants and developers on the most appropriate form of community engagement for a proposal. This will form part or all of pre-application or Planning Performance Agreement (PPA) discussions.

The purpose of enhanced community engagement is to help identify any issues. This is so that any subsequent planning application is processed more quickly. This should make the determination process smoother. In particular, community engagement by applicants:

  • identify any issues that may be considered in any formal application
  • inform Members and the public of a development  proposal at an early stage in the pre-application process
  • inform officer pre-application discussions with the developer
  • enable the developer to shape an application to address community issues

Pre-application Community Engagement guidance note contains:

  • full details of the options for Community Engagement
  • frequently asked questions

Notice of upcoming Pre-application Community Engagement Forums will also be published on the website.  Neighbours will be invited to a Forum. (This is in accordance with the Council’s standard neighbour notification criteria for planning applications.) The wider community will be able to find out details of these events on the Community Engagement webpages.  This will not however apply to confidential requests for pre-application advice.

Our first Forum was held in St Ives and the agent stated, "This was a great way for us to engage directly with the local community and we're grateful to the Council for facilitating their first ever PACE event ...". More feedback on the event is available on the Business Cornwall website.

Your enquiry, together with any response made by the Council, will be made available for public inspection. This is unless you confirm in writing to us that the information provided is commercially sensitive.

The Local Planning Authority may receive a request, under either the

  • Freedom of Information Act (FOI)
  • Environmental Information Regulations (EIR)

This may be to disclose information relating to this pre-application enquiry. If they do the Council are obliged to do disclose the information. This is unless the information is exempt under the Act.

We can only withhold information under FOI or EIR if the information falls under one of

  • exemptions (FOI)
  • exceptions (EIR)

These are set out in legislation.

For certain pre-application issues the applicant would be advised to complete the commercially sensitive checklist. That should set out the reasons why, and for how long, they feel any information relating to the case needs to remain confidential. We will take account of these views. However the final decision on whether the information should be withheld rests with the Council. The Council maintains compliance to the Data Protection Act. We will not release any personal information to third parties.