Validation updates

Cornwall Council's Planning Application Local Validation List

Our current Local Validation List is available at Validation Guide.

The new validation guide is now live and effective from 1 April 2023

European Sites Mitigation SPD - Validation Update Effective 1 January 2023

From the 1 January 2023 applications within the  Zones of Influence of the European protected sites will be required to submit either a s111 agreement along with the appropriate mitigation fee before the application can be validated or confirm they will follow one of the proposed alternative methods of mitigation.

The s111 and payment should now be made online via Online s111 Form and Payment System.

For further information please visit the European Sites Mitigation SPD web page.

New Householder and Minor Extension Flood Risk Assessment Form and Guidance

Planning along with the Lead Local Flood Authority have produced a new householder and minor extension flood risk assessment form along with guidance.  Please use this template for householder and minor extensions where the site lies in a Critical Drainage Area of a flood risk area.  For more complex development you should employ a suitably qualified professional to prepare a flood risk assessment. The form and guidance is available on the Make a Planning Application web page under 'Download forms' and 'Other useful forms and documents'.

New Gypsy and Traveller Declaration Form

All applications for creation of 'Gypsy and Traveller' pitches will need a Gypsy Roma, Heritage and other Traveller’s, Status Determination Form’.

Please see Planning Policy for Traveller Sites for a definition of 'Gypsies and Travellers'.

Planning will also need supporting evidence on the status of the applicants and intended occupiers of the site

If applicants are unsure what key evidence to provide it may be helpful to use an agent or planning consultant to complete the form.

The form and supporting evidence will be used to:

  • scrutinise the planning application; and
  • to assess the need for the development.

New Heritage Statement Template

Cornwall Council have produced a new Heritage Assessment template. It helps planning applicants and agents provide the necessary information where a Heritage Statement is required.  The template can be found on our make a planning application web page, under download forms – Other useful forms and documents.

Planning Portal Launch of the 12 Remaining Prior Approval Online Application Types

On the evening of Thursday 19 May 2022 the Planning Portal will be enabling the 12 remaining Prior Approval types.

This means from Friday 20 May 2022 Cornwall Council will no longer accept the below application types via email: 

Applications for prior approval of a proposed

  • Enlargement of a dwellinghouse by construction of additional storeys
  • New dwellinghouses on detached blocks of flats
  • New dwellinghouses on detached buildings in commercial or mixed use
  • New dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in commercial or mixed use
  • New dwellinghouses on terrace buildings in use as dwellinghouses
  • New dwellinghouses on detached buildings in use as dwellinghouses
  • Demolition of buildings and construction of new dwellinghouses in their place

Application to determine if prior approval is required for a proposed

  • Change of use - commercial/business/service to dwellinghouses
  • Change of use - commercial/business/service/etc to mixed use including up to two flats
  • Erection, extension, or alteration of a university building
  • Movable structure within the curtilage of a historic visitor attraction, or listed pub/restaurant/etc
  • Erection, extension or alteration on a closed defence site by or on behalf of the Crown of single living accommodation and/or non-residential buildings

Scaling From Plans

'Do Not Scale'

We have found it increasingly difficult to ensure plans are submitted to scale.  Applicants and agents must ensure plans are submitted at the correct scale as indicated on the plan.

The National Guidance states that plans must be to scale. (If the plans have ‘do not scale’ on them it is considered that the Planning Authority cannot scale from them. Therefore they are not to scale).  We have found by trying to be flexible with the wording we are receiving a high number of various connotations. This is causing delays and increased invalidity reasons.  Therefore, from the 1 June we only accept 'do not scale for construction purposes' with the do not scale wording.  All other variations using do not scale will not be accepted.

Possible alternatives include: 

  • Contractors must check all dimensions and only work from figured dimensions.
  • All dimensions must be checked on site and not scaled from this drawing for construction purposes.

We have sought guidance from other Authorities (including Plymouth City Council, East Devon and Mid Devon District Council) and have found that the majority of them will not accept plans if they have any reference to do not scale on them.

Scale Bars

From the 1st June scale bars are required on plans and this is part of the validation criteria on the validation document.  This is not only for the validation process but also to aid consultees and interested parties when viewing plans online.

  • Scale bars are not required on the location plan or block plan.  They will also not be required on supporting plans within documents.  The scale bars are required on elevations, floor plans and other plans we are required to scale from.
  • A scale bar must be indicated on all plans (excluding location and block plans).
  • We require a scale bar for each of the scale ratios indicated on the plan.
  • This applies to all application types where scaled plans are required.
  • We can invalidate applications for scale bars.

Fire Statements

Planning Gateway One Fire Statement is a national validation requirement.  It ensures fire safety matters are included at planning stage.

You must submit a Fire Statement for all applications involving one or more relevant buildings.  These are buildings which: 

  • contain 2 or more dwellings or
  • educational accommodation and
  • meet the height condition: 18m or more or 7 or more storeys.

"Dwellings" includes flats.  "Educational accommodation" means residential accommodation for: 

  • boarding students
  • students at a boarding school
  • students in later stages of education.

You can find more information using this link: Article 9A(9) Town & Country Planning Development Management (England) Procedure Order 2015 (as amended by article 4 of the 2021 Order)

You must submit fire statements on a form published by the Secretary of State.

You must include information on: 

  • the principles, concept and approach relating to fire safety.  This is for each building in the development.
  • the site layout
  • emergency vehicle access and water supplies for firefighting purposes.  Cornwall Council guidance published on Planning Technical Guidance webpage.
  • what, if any, consultation you have done on fire safety issues. How have you considered responses.
  • how you have considered any fire safety policies in relevant local development documents.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Please note: "Relevant building" under planning legislation is different to the Building Safety Act (BSA).   The BSA refers to a "relevant building" as being 11m or 5 storeys.  The BSA calls 18m or 7 storey buildings "High Risk buildings".

You can find further guidance on Planning Gateway One requirements at: 

Biodiversity Net Gain - Updated Metric

On 7 July 2021 DEFRA updated its Biodiversity Metric to version 3.0.  From 1 April 2022 Cornwall Council Planning will no longer accept version 2 of the metric and version 3 will be required.  A working copy of the metric can be downloaded from the Natural England website.

Planning Application Submissions Via Email

From the 1 April 2022 planning applications which can be submitted via the Planning Portal will no longer be accepted by email. 

Pre-applications and Do I Need Planning Permission submissions will continue to be accepted via email along with any other application types which cannot be submitted via the planning portal.

Planning Portal application forms

Advantages of submitting applications via the Planning Portal include:

  • the ability to pay the fee at the time of submission
  • the mandatory fields to complete significantly reduce the risk of the application being invalid on receipt
  • the document repository and workflow tool for customers can be used as a management tool for agents
  • the Planning Portal is fully integrated with our back office system.  This means documents are added straight away.  As a result the applications are registered and validated much quicker.


Submitting an application via the Planning Portal

If you have submitted your planning application via the Planning Portal, please pay the Planning Portal direct. Without this payment the Planning Portal will not release your planning application to the Council.  Cornwall Council is unable to transfer payments onto the Planning Portal. The Council must refund the original payee which will delay your application.  

The Planning Portal is a separate private company.  Should you have any queries please email

Submitting an application to Cornwall Council

If you submit an application by email to Cornwall Council, please pay online.

You can pay:

  • Planning applications fees and
  • other fees

by phone by calling 0300 1234 151. 

If you pay by phone, please email to advise that you have paid to help reduce delays.

Non-Material Amendments (NMAs)

Please see the Revisions and amendments to planning applications web page for advice and guidance.  Applicants/agents should consider if the proposed change meets the criteria set out on this page prior to submission.

Nutrient Neutrality Principles and Phosphate Calculator

We have updated the local Validation list for new interim Guidelines - small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality principles.  You can find more information - Interim guidelines - small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality principles

If you wish to rely on these guidelines, please provide an assessment setting out how the development accords with conditions a) to h).  Assessments should be done by a competent person with the relevant experience. 

We have further updated the Validation Guide with requirements following the launch of our phosphates calculator on 21 October.

You will also need to submit a nutrient neutrality statement with the calculator results.  This statement should include:

  • Location of the development in relation to the Camel catchment
  • Details of the proposed application
  • Details of the current land use (please show where there is a difference in land use over the last 10 years)
  • Justification of the proposed land use and number of dwellings
  • Details of the phosphate budget calculation including a table of key findings
  • Details of any mitigation if appropriate

Areas currently under Countryside or Stewardship Agreements cannot be proposed for mitigation.  You can find this information using this link: MAGIC interactive mapping

Areas proposed for mitigation must not impact on the notified feature of the SSSI.

The completion of the calculator and nutrient neutrality statement should be done by a competent person with relevant experience.

View the phosphates flowchartOrdnance Survey (OS) and Cornwall Council Mapping

Planning are receiving an increasing number of plans taken from interactive mapping on the Cornwall Council website.

Unfortunately we unable to accept these plans as it:
  • infringes the OS copyright licence; and
  • Cornwall Council’s website terms of use.

Submitting these copyright plans for professional purposes such as submitting a planning application, published in the public domain, infringes the copyright.

All plans based on OS mapping must display an OS licence and the source if taken from another website.

You can obtain site plans from the Planning Portal using the buy a plan service.

Buy a Plan Service

Piloting an Automated Validation Tool

The Planning Service are involved in piloting an automated validation (AI) tool which looks at applications submitted via the Planning Portal to see if the application is Valid/Invalid on receipt. 

This tool is currently being trialled on Householder applications submitted via the Planning Portal.  This means that some Householder applications will get validated sooner than others. 

It is hoped if the AI tool is successful then it will be rolled out to all applications submitted via the Planning Portal.  It will help improve validation timescales and pick out the ones which are valid/invalid on receipt.

You can get site plans from the Planning Portal using the Buy a Plan service.

European Sites Mitigation SPD - new validation requirement

This document seeks to mitigate likely harm to European protected sites from recreational pressure associated with new development. It was adopted in February 2021.  You will need to make a contribution for all applications for: 

  • residential development
  • tourist accommodation beds
  • active elderly accommodation and
  • student accommodation

if they are located within the Zones of Influence of protected sites.  These sites are: 

  • Penhale Dunes Special Area of Conservation (SAC)
  • Fal and Helford SAC
  • Plymouth Sound and Estuaries SAC and Tamar Estuaries Complex Special Protection Area

You can access a map of the areas using this link: Cornwall mapping

This is a validation requirement from 9 August 2021.  You will need to complete Appropriate Assessment forms.  You can access these using this link:

You can find out more about the process and S111 agreement templates using this link: European Sites Mitigation SPD

Changes to red lines on location plans

One of the most common errors causing an application to be incomplete is the red line.  The incomplete error is when it did not include the access to the nearest public highway on Householder applications. 

We have reviewed this.  We will no longer request red lines to public highways on Householder applications unless the proposal would create a new access to a classified road.  This does not take away the requirement on any general/major submissions.

Section 73 applications to lift occupancy restrictions

We cannot grant S73 applications to lift an occupancy condition if it changes the nature of development as described on the original permission.  You will need to submit a full application where: 

  • the description of development includes reference to holiday accommodation and
  • a restrictive occupancy condition exists.

This means that we will not validate S73 applications: 

  • that seek to lift such a condition and
  • where the use is already in the description.

We will ask you to submit a full application.

Accredited agents householder scheme available Countywide

The Accredited Agents Scheme is available for householder developments across Cornwall.  Find out more about the scheme on our Accredited Agents webpage.

Contact us

Do you have a question about a specific application that has been submitted? If so please contact the Validation Officer listed on correspondence.

Need help?

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

Use our contact us form

Your feedback is important to us

Help us improve our service