Information about Covid19:
Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

What's new in Planning

Please be aware that we are working hard to keep the planning service operating effectively in the face of unprecedented challenges.  We are undertaking site visits on a risk assessed basis where virtual means of assessment are not available.  This is to ensure that we comply with the government guidance on social distancing and to protect our staff and our residents.  We have changed our procedures for Planning Committees, site notices, availability of information by hard copy and office availability.  For more details on our revised processes, please see our FAQs Covid-19 impact on planning processes and bear with us at this difficult time. Thank you for your understanding. 

All officers are now working remotely and are available by email. Not all officers are equipped with mobile phones. However, they are able to access answerphone messages remotely. They will get back to you as soon as they are able. 

Businesses may be considering different options or ways of operating to aid their recovery from Covid-19.  We are therefore offering free initial planning advice direct to businesses. This is through a 30-minute virtual meeting. You will need to pre-book a session in advance. Morning sessions will be available on 1 and 9 July and afternoon sessions on 14 and 22 July.

If you are interested in booking one of these free advice sessions, please contact Nicola Trethewey or Jo McCabe at planning@cornwall.gov.uk.  Please include the questions you would like to ask so we can make these meetings as useful as possible.

Do you wish to join one of our virtual Planning Commmittee meetings? If so, you can find the links to live meetings on our webcast webpage.  Step-by-step instructions on how to join using Microsoft Teams are included for:

  • desktop or laptop computer
  • mobile phone
  • tablet 

The Validation Guide 2019 has been updated to version 1.5.  A number of updates have been made to provide further clarification as well as to include:

  • The introduction of Biodiversity Net Gain due to be implemented on 1 March 2020 and amendments made on 1 May 2020
  • The introduction of Habitat Regulations Assessments (HRA) submission of an Appropriate Assessment (AA) and Mitigation.  Date of implementation to be confirmed.
  • Introduction of Transport Statements for developments effecting a level crossing.

Biodiversity Net Gain is a new approach to development.  It aims to leave the natural environment in a measurably better state than before.  To quantify and measure biodiversity net gain, DEFRA have produced a Biodiversity Metric.

From 1 March 2020 all proposals for major development (excluding changes of use) must submit a Biodiversity Gain Plan

Further information can be found in the Cornwall Council Validation Guide. This includes links to our Biodiversity Net Gain page.

Cornwall Council has relaunched its Accredited Agents Householder Fast-Track Scheme.  The Accredited Agents Scheme is available for householder and tree work applications only. Accredited Agents have proven to the Council they can meet specific validation criteria. This is at the planning registration stage.

Are you a planning agent who would like to be involved in the scheme? If so, please visit the Accredited Agents Householder Fast-Track Scheme for further information.

You may wish to use an Accredited Agent if you are an applicant considering submitting an application for home improvements or tree works. Accredited Agent applications are validated and registered swiftly. This helps to streamline the planning process. Please note:  Accreditation is not based on application quality. It does not guarantee the acceptability of a proposal.  For information and a list of Accredited Agents, visit the List of Accredited Agents.

The Planning Service is unable to accept plans which are taken from the Cornwall Council Mapping web pages.  This means anything with the:

  • Cornwall Council watermark
  • Cornwall Council licence number across the bottom

This infringes the copyright and does not adhere to item 15 of the Cornwall Council website terms of use.

Please note:

If an Ordnance Survey based plan is being submitted for planning purposes it must show:

  • copyright
  • licence number

Please note from 20 January 2020, planning applications are advertised in local newspapers. This is on a fortnightly basis. There will be no change to the types of applications we advertise.

From February 2020 planning applications are no longer advertised in the Plymouth Herald. This is unless it is a major application which may have an impact on the Plymouth area.

Cornwall Council's Planning Service no longer accepts plans which contain the phrase 'Do Not Scale'.  Most applicants and agents are now aware of this. This was introduced in January 2020. This is consistent with other Local Authorities.

We are aware that this has caused some difficulties for our applicants and agents.  The change has been brought in to avoid any further inconsistencies.

From 1 January 2020 the removal of 'Do Not Scale' from plans is required for validation. Applications will not be processed until the revised plans have been received. This includes any other information required for validation.

For further information regarding validation requirements please access the following link:

There may be a need to submit information considered as:

  • ‘personal data’ or
  • ‘sensitive personal data’

This is under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Such information should be submitted in a separate document. This document should be marked as confidential. There should be no cross-referencing in other documents that can be made public.

For a definition of ‘personal data’ and ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ please see page 8 of the:

This includes for example personal circumstances and health information.