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Planning Technical Updates

Policy 7 of the Cornwall Local Plan states that “the development of new homes in the open countryside will only be permitted where there are special circumstances”.  The policy sets out different ways (the ‘special circumstances’) for providing dwellings in the countryside and this guidance note concentrates on the first part: “Replacement dwellings broadly comparable to the size, scale and bulk of the dwelling being replaced and of an appropriate scale and character to their location.” The purpose of the note is to assist with the submission and assessment of planning applications for replacement dwellings in the countryside by offering an interpretation of the term ‘broadly comparable’. The aim is to provide greater certainty and ensure more consistent and better quality decision making in the planning process.

The Replacement Dwellings in the Countryside guidance note is the product of an agent/officer workshop held in September 2018.

From 6th April 2018 The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) (Amendment) Order 2018 came into force.

The most notable change for validation is that for new agricultural buildings submitted under a Prior Approval Notification the permitted development size of the building has increased from 465 sq m to up to 1000 sq m; and for extensions under Prior Approval there has been an increase in the cubic content from a maximum of 10% to 20%.

Class Q of The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015, as as amended, (the GPDO) permits agricultural buildings to be converted to up to five dwelling houses. In order to qualify for permitted development a range of conditions and criteria need to be met which are set out in the GPDO. 

The permitted development rights have been created in order to support sustainability by the reuse of buildings and to encourage rural enterprise. Whilst the Government wishes to help rural development it is not without limitations so as to place safeguards on the impact of such development on the countryside. Therefore it has been necessary to include a number of safeguarding clauses to the legislation in respect of landscape designations, tenant farms and safe development and occupation of such dwellings.

For more details about the information that needs to be submitted and how to make an application, please see our  Class Q Prior Notification Guidance Note (Revised May 2020) the original version of which was drafted in consultation with agents who attended a workshop in 2017.

Residential annexes are a common form of development that are generally proposed in order to allow relatives to live with their family with a degree of independence.  In many cases, such proposals are considered to be acceptable by the Council.  However, over recent years we have noticed a considerable variation in the approach taken by agents and applicants to submitting planning applications and supporting these with sufficient evidence to ensure that applications do not result in proposals which are effectively the same as creating a new dwelling.  We are now following the guidance set out in the Annexe Guidance Note, revised in May 2020. The guidance does not have the weight of "adopted policy" but is intended to provide consistency in our approach and so that hopefully agents and applicants can do likewise.

Changes have recently been introduced to remove the requirement for submission of a 'sensitive development  questionnaire' (SDQ) with regard to development that is particularly vulnerable or sensitive to land contamination (e.g. residential with gardens). The SDQ was intended to apply to small scale development on greenfield sites to provide information on any potential contamination risks. To simplify requirements, the SDQ has been withdrawn and the information requirements are therefore based entirely upon whether the site has the potential to be affected by land contamination (e.g. former industrial/commercial land). There is also no longer a threshold for the number of dwellings over which a Phase 1 hazard assessment report is required. This reduces the burden on applicants, whilst ensuring information requirements are targeted towards those sites with potential risks. Please refer to the 'Developers Guide and Information Requirements for Planning Applications' guidance document for further information.

It is the landowners and/or developers responsibility for securing a safe development - land contamination should therefore always be carefully considered prior to particularly vulnerable or sensitive development taking place.

New guidance has also been produced in relation to noise (Development Sound Standard), along with an Environmental Health webpage with links to this and a range of other useful planning related information including the ‘Environmental Health – Technical Advice for Planning applicants’ (EH-TAP) service.  EH-TAP can now be accessed as an additional option as part a Planning Pre-Application advice submission.

The Government has made changes to the Planning Practice Guidance around Planning Obligations.  To find out all of the details please see the Planning Obligation Thresholds document and Vacant Building Credit guidance note which have been put together to summarise the changes and explain how they will be implemented.

The Council has developed planning guidance for renewable energy.  The document provides guidance on a range of renewable energy technologies. It explains what community ownership means and how it might be considered as part of a planning application.  It also contains detailed guidance on specific considerations, such as landscape and cumulative impact (in particular for wind turbines and solar farms).  The document has been adopted by the Council as guidance in March 2016 and it is anticipated that it will soon be adopted as a Supplementary Planning Document.

If you are submitting a planning application which contains financially sensitive information (such as viability information) please make sure that this information is clearly marked to ensure it isn't made available on the public planning register.

The Cornwall Monitoring Report webpage has more information on the Cornwall Housing Supply.

as amended, (the GPDO) permits agricultural buildings to be converted to up to five dwelling houses. In order to qualify for permitted development a range of conditions and criteria need to be met which are set out in the GPDO.