What's new in Planning

Changes to Advertising Planning Applications in the Local Press

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

Cornwall Council is consulting on a guide to planning contributions and Health Care Provision in relation to primary care premises.

This guidance note sets out Cornwall Council’s position on the collection of financial contributions to help mitigate the impact of development on Health Care Provision where need is identified. It relates only to Primary Care Services. The note has been developed to assist the assessment of whether a need will be created as result of development and how any charge will be calculated and applied. The note will be adopted at the end of the consultation period ending on 31 January 2020,  subject to any amendments which may be required to respond to representations made during that period. 

Please send your comments on the guidance to localplan@cornwall.gov.uk by 31 January 2020.

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

We are aware that this has caused some difficulties for our applicants and agents and that there has been a inconsistent approach.  Therefore until the 31 December 2019 an application will not be invalidated for the removal of 'Do Not Scale' on plans but instead this information can be provided within 14 days of validation.  Please note that if the revised plans are not provided it will delay any decision being issued.

From 1 January 2020 the removal of 'Do Not Scale' from plans will be required for validation and applications will not be processed until the revised plans (and any other information required for validation) has been received.

Further information regarding validation requirements can be found in the Cornwall Council Validation Guide 2019.

Planning and Sustainable Development's Householder Submission Guide, A Guide for Householder Applicants has been updated.

This guide is to help applicants and agents to submit a householder application 'right first time' and has been designed to be read along side the Validation Guide 2019.

As the IDOX Company has decided to close the iApply system to concentrate resources on digital services, applicants and agents will no longer be able to submit planning applications via iApply (Building Control applications can continue to be submitted until the 31 January 2020)

The alternative option for submitting Planning Applications online is to use the Planning Portal website.

Please note that the Planning and Sustainable Development Services fees for additional services increased on 19 August, 2019. The majority of our discretionary fees have increased by 4%. Certain products may increase by more than that amount on a cost recovery basis, as we propose to set prices at just below the average levied for similar products and services by other authorities across the Country.

On the 19 August 2019 Planning and Sustainable Development launched a new range of services to help our customers get answers to a range of frequently asked questions including:

  • Confirmation of use class
  • Confirmation that Permitted Development Rights have not been removed
  • Confirmation of planning restrictions e.g. occupancy/use restrictions
  • Confirmation of designated areas e.g. Conservation Area/Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)/Tree Preservation Order (TPO)
  • What constitutes a material start?

Further information regarding the above and other additional services Planning and Sustainable Development offer can be found in the Planning and Sustainable Development Fees and Charges Document starting on page 8.

Please complete an Additional Service Request Form should you wish to use one of these services.

On the 1 September 2019 changes were made to the CIL regulations and some changes to the CIL Forms, with the most significant being as follows:

  • Form 0:  Additional Information Requirement - now called Form 1
  • Form 1:  Assumption of Liability - now called Form 2
  • Form 2:  Exemption Relief Claim - now split into two different forms:  Form 10:  Charitable and/or Social Housing Relief Claim and Form 11:  Exceptional Circumstances Relief Form.
  • New Form 12:  Claiming Further Charitable or Social Housing Relief - this form should only be used to re-claim charitable relief or social housing relief from CIL when the development originally receiving charitable or social housing relief from CIL has, or is intended to be, altered in a way which changes the extent of the relief previously granted.
  • New Form 13:  Further Exemption Claim - this form should only be used to re-claim an exemption for a self-build dwelling, a residential annex or a residential extension when the development originally granted an exemption from CIL has, or is intended to be, altered in a way which changes the extent of the exemption previously granted.
  • New Form 14:  Phase Credit Application - the 2019 amendment regulations set out how phased developments consented pre CIL, but altered post CIL, can 'balance' CIL liabilities across phases (i.e. across different chargeable developments).  This form is to be used in order to do this.

Planning will continue to accept any previous versions of the forms until phased out.

Please visit Cornwall Council's Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) web page for information regarding CIL.

With effect from 1 November 2019, the planning enforcement function will be separated from the area teams to form a dedicated team of experienced enforcement officers.

Enforcement officers will be aligned to dedicated areas in a similar way to that of the area teams.  This will provide consistency and local knowledge and ensure that Members and local councils will know their local officer.  Officers in the current Cornwall-wide proactive project teams (Enforcement, Trees and Minerals and Waste) and Appeals will continue to be in this Cornwall-wide team.

From 1 November therefore the Area Team approach will comprise:

  • 8 multi-disciplinary planning teams based on a group of community network areas dealing with all types of planning applications and some compliance matters from receipt through to decision;    
  • a Cornwall-wide team of specialist functions, including appeals, enforcement, Highways Development Management and Historic Environment
  • a central function of support services.

As part of the implementation of an area-based planning service, some changes were made to existing processes and some new processes have been introduced.

Prior to the registration and validation of an application, the application goes through a process of Frontscreening. Frontscreening is a relatively quick check of an application to identify if the proposed development is likely to be acceptable i.e. whether it accords in principle with the policies of the Cornwall Local Plan/Neighbourhood Development Plan or whether there would be any other obvious material planning reasons why planning permission is unlikely to be forthcoming.

It also comprises a check to ensure all the information necessary has been submitted to allow the determination of the application. 

If the Planning Case Officer considers that the proposed development is likely to be acceptable, the application will proceed to validation in the normal way.

Alternatively, if the Planning Case Officer considers that the proposed development is unlikely to be acceptable, the applicant/agent will be contacted and given the option of having the application returned with the fee prior to validation (to potentially provide the applicant/agent with time to amend the proposals, submit a pre-application enquiry or prepare additional information) or, if the applicant/agent so wishes, the application can proceed to validation in the normal way in the knowledge that is possible the application will be recommended for refusal.

 Please note the following:

  • Frontscreening is not intended to be a full validation check as this will be completed by the Development Support team in the normal way.
  • Frontscreening is not intended to provide free Pre-Application Advice or a free Validation Checking Service and applicants/agents are encouraged to visit the relevant webpages to access these services.
  • If the application has been submitted via the Planning Portal/iApply, the relevant Financial Transaction Service Fee will not be refunded.

Site visit (carried out on the majority of applications*)

As well as displaying the site notice (if required**), the purpose of the site visit is to visualise the development in the context of its setting. This part of the process is important in understanding the extent of the proposal on the site and the following points are noted:

  • characteristics of the location including terrain, levels, surrounding buildings, and the nature of the area 
  • possible impacts on the neighbours including any loss of light, overlooking and compatibility of uses
  • visual impacts, the effect on the street scene and fitting in with the existing character
  • access
  • appropriate siting
  • environmental impacts such as trees, hedgerows and flooding
  • local facilities
  • sustainability

Checks are made to ensure that the relevant neighbours have been notified. Notes are made, and photos are taken. The date of visit, location of the site notice, and any additional neighbours that have been notified are recorded.

*Except Householder Applications where the case officer may do a site visit, but this may not always be the case.

**If it is known (based on the details contained on the application forms) that an applicant resides on the application site, the applicant will be asked to post the site notice. If the applicant does not reside on the site, or if the applicant fails to post the site notice, the display of site notices is the responsibility of the Case Officer during their site visit. It should be noted that not all types of application require site notices to be posted.

If you have any questions on the Area Team project, please send them to: egdcustomerrelations@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Cornwall Planning Partnership have been working on guidance for local councils that would be helpful in those cases where communities feel that a particular development may need some form of ongoing communication between the developers and local residents during the construction phase.

Local Councils can:

  • Raise the likely need for post-decision community engagement on Planning Application consultation responses, during the consideration of applications, or
  • Speak with the Planning case officer about what form of engagement would be appropriate to your Council were planning permission to be granted.

Where appropriate, Cornwall Council will add informatives, planning conditions, or S106 agreement clauses on planning permissions to address this point. The guidance produced by the Planning Partnership was agreed on 17.1.19 and includes an example of a condition that local councils can suggest.

More details on the work of the Cornwall Planning Partnership are contained on the Planning Partnership Meetings webpage.

The Planning and Sustainable Development Service has produced a Validation Guide (which includes an updated local validation list). This provides applicants and agents with as much information as possible to submit an application ‘right first time’ and avoid any delays at validation or during the planning process.

Cornwall Council has introduced a discretionary service whereby domestic landlords can apply for the evidence required to request an exemption from the MEES.  Please visit the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Requests for Exemptions page for further information.

Where there is a need to submit information considered ‘personal data’ or ‘sensitive personal data’ under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) this information should be submitted in a separate document without cross-referencing in documents that can be made public, and marked as confidential.

The definition of ‘personal data’ and ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ can be found on page 8 of Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will include for example personal circumstances and health information.

From 1 January 2019, Cornwall Council will be a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Authority, and any new development determined after this date could be liable to pay a CIL. CIL may also be charged on development approved by way of general consent if it commences after 1 January 2019. Visit the community infrastructure levy page now to find out how CIL may affect your development.

From 1 January 2019, we will no longer be writing to contributors individually to notify them if an application is to be considered by a Planning Committee as this information is available on our
website and can be obtained by tracking applications via the online register. We will continue to notify contributors if the Committee decides to hold a formal site meeting or public meeting.

9 out of 10 agents submit applications via iApply or the Planning Portal. If you submit applications via iApply or the Planning Portal your documents automatically drop into our back-office system giving you immediate assurance that the documents have been received. Submitting applications in this way speeds up our processes.

Applications submitted by alternative means such as by email or in hard copy divert resources to other processes that enable the documents to be published on-line, which leads to a delay in those applications being validated.

We would therefore encourage you to continue to submit applications in a way that speeds up the process.