Validation updates

Updated Validation Guide

The Validation Guide has been updated to version 1.1.  The Validation Guide can be found on the 'Make a Planning Application' web page.  A schedule of changes to the guide can be found in this table of Validation guide updates.

To ensure you are viewing the most up to date version, please open the document and do a hard refresh (Ctrl+F5) of your browser.

Biodiversity Net Gain in Cornwall

Although a national requirement for 10% biodiversity net gain will now not apply until January 2024, the Cornwall requirement for biodiversity net gain on major developments remains in place.

Applications should continue to make provision in line with policy G2 of the Climate Emergency DPD (February 2023) and meet the current local validation requirements. This includes the submission of the latest DEFRA metric. Applications validated in advance of mandating in January 2024 will be determined in line with Policy G2 of the CEDPD.  

New Validation Requirements - Climate Emergency DPD

Planning has been asked on numerous occasions why we are requesting information with Planning Applications.

Cornwall declared a climate emergency in 2019. Recognising that all services across the Council would have a part to play. New planning policies are a step towards improving Cornwall’s housing and infrastructure. Helping to plan for a Cornwall that our children and grandchildren can live, work and thrive in.

This plan impacts how places grow and change, whilst sitting alongside Government legislation. The policies will help to protect and shape the future of Cornwall by adding detail to the Cornwall Local Plan (2016). The aim is to address the impacts of climate change with flexible policies that can keep up with changes in technology.

National Planning Guidance supports the move to a low carbon economy. It encourages energy reduction, renewable energy and reusing existing resources.  The need to address Climate Change is urgent and remains a priority for the Council.  The DPD supports the Cornwall Local Plan. It gives additional powers to help protect our environment by:

  • reducing carbon
  • encouraging an eco-friendly approach to:
    • building
    • transport
    • land use
    • energy production

Energy Statements

 The Climate Emergency DPD Policy SEC1 introduces new energy standards to tackle: 

  • Climate emergency
  • Fuel poverty

Each new build home must only need a low amount of energy to run and have enough renewables (usually solar pv) to meet its needs.

BREEAM Excellent (or agreed alternative) is needed for major non-residential development.

From 15 June 2023: 

  • Residential - applications for all new build homes will require the submission of an Energy Report and Energy Summary Tool. This includes annexes, please refer to page 35, paragraph 12.3 of the below Planning Policy Guidance.
  • Non-residential – applications for new build non-residential over 1,000m2 require an Energy Report including a BREEAM certification estimate (or agreed alternative to BREEAM).

 Please see Planning Policy Guidance for information.

Energy Summary Tools - Update

Version 2.0 of the tools will be released in the next few weeks. These will be:

  • more user-friendly;
  • accompanied by guidance; and
  • allow for SAP data to be used for bungalows and houses of any number of storeys (in schemes of up to 9 houses). Flats and schemes of 10 more homes will continue to need to use PHPP data.

The current version of the tools will be phased out over a period of 6 weeks from the date Version 2.0 of the tools is published.

File Share/Transfer Sites

If unable to provide planning application documentation via the usual channels (see  make a planning application for guidance), please contact us.

We are unable to accept file share/transfer site notification without prior agreement.  File Transfer notifications often contain only a link with no explanation. These can look like spam emails or nothing identifiable to link it to the correct planning application.

Ecology Report Trigger Table

 Planning is currently receiving a high number of invalid applications due to missing Ecology Report Trigger Table.

 The Trigger Table was introduced when the new Validation Guide was adopted on 1 April 2023.  It is required with most applications. The aim of the Trigger Table is to help planning applicants and agents identify when: 

  • Ecology Reports;
  • Geology Reports; and
  • Invasive Species Reports

Are required.  A copy of the Trigger table can be found on the Make a planning application page under ‘Download forms’ and Ecology Checklist and Trigger Lists’.

A Trigger List will still be required where an ecology report has been provided.  This is because the Trigger list also covers geology and invasive species.

Local List Requirements

For many years planning have been validating applications where Local List documents are missing, if agents or applicants submit them within 14 days.

Following a review, from 1 May 2023 Planning will no longer follow this process. This means that all relevant national and local requirements must provided for the application to be valid.

The reason for this change: 

  • not receiving requested information;

  • delays in receiving requested information;

Both of which resulting in disputes and/or delays in the planning process.

  • high volumes of work;

  • to efficiently determine applications.

Planning have recently updated it Validation Guide which we hope is more user friendly and can be used as a checklist.

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:

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'.

Visit the make a planning application web page

New Gypsy and Traveller Declaration Form

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

Gypsy Roma, Heritage and other Traveller’s, Status Determination FormPlease see Planning Policy for Traveller Sites for a definition of 'Gypsies and Travellers'.

View the planning policy for traveller sites

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.

View the make a planning application web page

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. 

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 on Article 9A(9) Town & Country Planning Development Management (England) Procedure Order 2015 (as amended by article 4 of the 2021 Order) on the Government Legislation website.

Visit the Government legislation websiteYou must submit fire statements on a form published by the Secretary of State.

View the Fire Statement forms and templates on GOV.UKYou 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 'Additional Development 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.

View the additional development guidance page

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.

Visit the Natural England websitePlanning 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.

Pay onlineYou 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.

Revisions and amendments to planning applications

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 on the interim guidelines below.

Small scale thresholds and nutrient neutrality interim guidelinesIf 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.

View the Validation Guide

Use the phosphates calculator

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 on the MAGIC Defra website.

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 our interactive mapping.

Use the interactive 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 on our European Sites Mitigation page.

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 page.

View the accredited agents pageContact us

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

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