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Planning guidance for businesses

Webinar for businesses: Compliance demystified

Looking to build, convert or extend your business premises?

Join our free webinar and learn about:

  • what development is permitted without a planning application
  • breaches of planning conditions - what to avoid and the enforcement process
  • advertisements - what's permitted, what's not and the criminal penalties for displaying unauthorised adverts.

We will also talk about various advice services we offer to help businesses navigate their development projects successfully.

Compliance demystified: Planning and development for businesses - Thursday 11 July - 14.00-14.30

You can book a place on Eventbrite using this link: Compliance demystified: book tickets

Business Support Services

We offer paid for and free Planning and Building Control services that can help in:

  • starting up your business
  • growing your business
  • having the right premises for your business. 

Our planners and building control officers offer expertise and professional advice in all aspects of the built environment in Cornwall.

Whether you are looking to build, convert or extend, we can help you get it right first time, saving you money and time. These services include:

  • helping you to understand and apply the relevant legislation
  • our knowledge of the nature and challenges in Cornwall
  • convenient points of contact
  • proven and up to date expertise in Planning and Building Control
  • free signposting service
  • chargeable support and advice packages on a cost only basis (we do not make a profit from these services). 

Premises advice

We can guide you through the planning and building regulations requirements.  This will help your business grow and improve your premises.

Most works to the outside of a place of business need planning consent. You can check using this link: Do I need planning consent and building regulations? If you do need permission, you can seek pre-application advice

Farmers can carry out certain works without the need for planning permission. More information can be found in the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 2015.

Pre-application advice

Planning officers provide pre-application advice which shows how we will determine any future planning application.  Any required changes will give your scheme the best chance of being granted a planning permission. The benefits of pre-application advice are:

  • Getting advice before you make an application can save you time and money.
  • You will normally get a quicker decision once you submit your application.
  • There are likely to be fewer conditions attached to any permission.

Seeking our advice, and following it, does not guarantee that planning permission will be granted. Sometimes other factors, particularly concerning the impact on neighbouring properties, can result in additional issues. It will mean that you have the best possible opportunity to negotiate a positive outcome.

Our pledge to you

We have made a commitment to help businesses succeed.  We will provide specialist and tailored advice for your business needs.

Working with the Better Business for All Partnership (BBFA), we will:

  • help you get it right first time
  • work with you to help your business comply with regulations
  • help reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens.

When we work with your business this means that we will:

  • gain an understanding of your business and agree a solution that:
    • is best for you and
    • also protects what is special about Cornwall
  • help you achieve Planning and Building Control compliance in the most cost-effective way
  • agree timescales, expectations and preferred methods of communication at the outset with you
  • explain our reasoning.

Our fees and charges guide gives you the opportunity to purchase the services you need with complete clarity.

Applying for planning permission

Other guidance for businesses

You may need more space to work from home.  If you are considering:

  • an annexe, the Council’s Annexe Guidance Note contains information on residential annexes.
  • a home office, you may not need planning permission to use:
    • a room in your house or
    • an outbuilding in your garden as a home office. 

This is as long as the primary purpose of the dwelling and its garden area remains residential.  For example, you may not need planning permission if you:

  • work on a computer or
  • use hairdressing equipment in a dining room or a garden shed and
  • clients attend one at a time and by appointment only.

Please have a look at Do I need planning consent or building regulations? for more information and a link to the Government’s Planning Portal.  You can also check if a planning condition has removed your Permitted Development Rights.

You can access the latest technical guidance such as Annexe guidance using this link: Planning Technical Guidance

Planning for agricultural needs is important. You can download planning application forms for this type of development from: planning application forms.

Other guidance includes:

Are you a member of the National Farmer's Union?

You can find further information about planning and farming on the NFU website. The NFU Guide to the Planning System is available for members to download. It explains the basics of the English town planning system.

Slurry Investment Scheme and Grant (SIG)

Defra have launched a Slurry Investment Scheme and Grant (SIG).  The scheme allows pig, dairy and beef farmers producing slurry to access funding to contribute towards improving their slurry storage.

Information can be found on the Government website.

Slurry Lagoons and Air Quality

If the site is within the Impact Risk Zone, a Simple Calculation of Atmospheric Impact Limits (SCAIL) assessment will be required.  If the results from the SCAIL assessment show a process contribution > 1%, a more detailed and in-combination ammonia assessment will also be required.  The impact risk zones can be viewed via Cornwall Council Interactive Mapping.


As well as the changes to the Use Class Order for flexible town centres uses, the Government have introduced Regulations that permit:

  • further temporary changes of use
  • demolition of vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes
  • building of new storeys on houses and flats,
  • building of new storeys on buildings to provide new self-contained homes. 

The regulations are complicated and detailed:

They set out how the prior approval application process will work.

Minimum space standards will apply from 6 April 2021.  These will apply to all homes delivered through Permitted Development Rights.  This means that these new homes will have to meet the Nationally Described Space Standard.  This is to ensure they provide proper living space.

Prior approval of permitted development rights to extend buildings upwards came into force on 30 December 2020. The Building Safety Programme letter contains more guidance.

New rules allowing commercial premises to be converted into home came into force on 31 March 2021.

You can find more information using this link: Permitted Development Rights

Planning Enforcement Plan

We have published a Planning Enforcement Plan (March 2022).  It provides guidance for businesses, planning professionals and the public. 

Need help?

Most issues can be resolved online, it's the quickest and most convenient way to get help.

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