Planning Agents' Area


Please note validation staff are working on a backlog of applications due to an increase in the number of applications received. 

Introduction

Please note that we are experiencing high volumes of work which is causing delays to our response times. We are working hard to address this and thank you for your understanding during this difficult time.

This area provides information to Planning Agents who regularly submit planning applications to Cornwall Council. If you think anything is missing or have any feedback please email: planning@cornwall.gov.uk

Our officers are mostly still working remotely.  Officers are available by email and can pick up messages from their office phone numbers.  Officers will get back to you as soon as possible. Please can we ask that agents remain professional and courteous in their correspondence.  Sometimes frustration is directed at officers unnecessarily.

You will be aware of the changes introduced by the Government to Permitted Development Rights.  Most of the changes will need new application processes.  Please note that Prior Approvals for the creation of dwellings under the permitted changes of use: 

  • require provision of natural light to all habitable rooms
  • this is now a consideration for the Local Planning Authority
  • the easiest way to demonstrate this is to provide floor plans and elevations for the proposal
  • these should now be included with this type of prior approval application
Average number of working days to validate general and householder planning applications: 
4

The number of days quoted is indicative of when most applications are validated. Some applications may be processed earlier or later. Updated 4 July 2022.

Validation Performance 18 April 2022 to 1 May 2022 

  • Number of applications validated: 504
  • Number of applications made invalid on receipt: 291

For information on the top 10 reasons why applications are invalid on receipt please visit the make a better application page.

Chief Planner newsletters

The Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) published the latest Chief Planner newsletter on 31 May.

Key points to note include:

  • Permitted Development Rights (PDR) - The temporary use of land stays at 28 days for Class B, Part 4.  Future consultation on a new PDR to support pop-up camping in Summer 2023.
  • New changes to Building Regulations - changes to the Building Regs will influence housing design.  This could mean an increase in applications to amend planning approvals.
  • Flood and coastal resilience - new guidance by Environment Agency and Town & Country Planning Association
  • Design codes for Schools and Colleges - new guidance from the Department of Education

You can view previous newsletters using this link: Chief Planner letters

Cyber Security reminder

Please note that Cornwall Council uses @cornwall.gov.uk email addresses.  Please be aware that fraudsters might use similar addresses to try to divert payments to their own bank account.

The National Cyber Security Centre have developed a simple five steps model called “Cyber Essentials” to help protect you from these cyber attacks.

If you receive a suspicious email claiming to be from Cornwall Council, please forward it to phishing@cornwall.gov.uk. Or use the contact details shown on our website. Never rely on contact details at the bottom of any email. Our internal Cyber Security Team will investigate all suspicious emails.

If you have been the subject of a fraudulent transaction, please contact Action Fraud. A team of specialists working with the Police will take direct action.

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.

In line with our current procedure, this means from Friday 20 May 2022 Cornwall Council will no longer accept these applications vis email.

Please visit the Validation Updates page for further information.

Scaling From Plans

From the 1st June we no longer accept plans with ‘Do Not Scale’ on them except 'do not scale for construction purposes'. 

Also from 1st June a scale bar will be required on plans.

Further information regarding this including example alternatives for 'Do Not Scale' can be found on the Validation updates page.

Format of Plans

An increasing amount of time is spent tidying documents in our document management system.  Please be aware of the following which will help speed up the validation process for you and your clients:

  • Provide plans in the correct orientation
  • Remove personal details such as mobile numbers. (This is required to comply with the general date protection regulations)
  • Ensure documents are labelled correctly when uploading to the Planning Portal.
  • All plans must be submitted as separate single page PDF files. Multiple page combined PDF plans will not be accepted. 

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.

Submitting your application

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

For further information visit the Validation updates page.

Submitting an application via the Planning Portal

If you have submitted your 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.  

The Planning Portal is a separate private company.  Should you have any queries please email support@planningportal.co.uk.

The Planning Portal have provided some answers to frequently asked questions.  This provides some advice and guidance.

Non-material amendments (NMAs)

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

Development in the River Camel Special Area of Conservation

Please note there is a significant issue about phosphates in the River Camel.  This impacts on development in the river's catchment area.

Natural England released a new calculator for completing a nutrient budget on 16 March.  The Natural England advice acknowledged that a transitional period would be required where existing tools and methodologies were in place.  We are discussing the calculator with NE and will update the Cornwall Council calculator shortly.  Applicants may then need to rerun their phosphate budget calculations.  Until advised otherwise, please continue to use the Cornwall Council calculator. You can find more information using this link: Temporary pause on developments - River Camel

The following pages provide more information on this latest guidance from Natural England:

Planning Agents Forums

We offer events for planning agents and developers submitted applications in Cornwall.  You can find more information on events and resources on our Planning Agents Forum webpage.

We send out invitations direct to our subscribed agents. Would you like to get information and invitations on the Planning Agents Forum? If so, please contact Nicola Phillips at positiveplanning@cornwall.gov.uk

Piloting an Automated Validation Tool

The Planning Service are involved in piloting an automated validation (AI) tool. This 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.  Therefore some Householder applications will get validated sooner than some others.  It is hoped if the AI tool is successful then it will be rolled out to all applications submitted via the Planning Portal. This should help improve validation timescales and pick out the ones which are valid/invalid on receipt.

Saved Policies

You can now access saved policies and maps using this link: Saved Policies

Validation Checking Service

The Planning and Sustainable Development Service offers an optional Validation Checking Service. This is subject to a fee.  We currently receive a high volume of planning applications that do not meet the local and national requirements. Our intention is to reduce this amount and help speed up the process for our customers.  Please see the Validation Checking Service page for details. This includes fees and how to access the service.

Developer contributions

Community Infrastructure Levy charge on development

Cornwall Council has been a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Authority since 1 January 2019. Any new development determined after this date could be liable to pay a CIL. Visit the community infrastructure levy page now to find out how CIL may affect your development.

CIL Charge review requests

We have received 73 requests for a Regulation 113 review of the CIL charge on approved developments since 2019.  We allowed 78% of these.  There were 2 common themes:

  • the size of the development changed whilst the application was being determined.  This means that figures provided on CIL Form 1 at the start of the process are incorrect when we calculate CIL after an approval.  Please submit a revised Form 1 if plans change after original submission.
  • existing 'in-use' floorspace is not included in the calculation.  This is often not deducted because it was not correct on Form 1.  Please record existing floorspace correctly on Form 1 and discuss with your case officer if needed.

This means we have to calculate the CIL charge twice, discuss with case officers and agents/developers which all takes extra time. Please remember to use the CIL Form 1 to provide accurate and up to date measurements so we can calculate CIL correctly.

Phased development and Community Infrastructure Levy

The Council sends out a CIL Liability Notice when planning permission is granted.  When the development starts, the CIL becomes payable.  

You may not need to pay the whole amount of CIL due if development is phased. Please:

  • consider if a development could be phased
  • discuss this with your planning case officer early in the planning process.

Where a planning permission is phased, CIL is applied to each phase of the development.  Each phase is treated as if it were a separate chargeable development. The benefit of this is that different parts of the development can start without CIL becoming due on other parts of the development.  View our Phased development and CIL webpage for information on the benefits of phasing including:

  • self-build developments of more than one dwelling
  • developments containing multiple uses
  • developments where only part of the work is CIL liable.

If you want to know more about CIL and phasing please email the Infrastructure Team at cil@cornwall.gov.uk.

Projects funded by Developer Contributions

Contributions from developers play an important role in delivering infrastructure. New homes and local economies require such infrastructure.  The mechanisms used to secure these contributions are:

  • section 106 agreements (S106)
  • the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

Please have a look at our Developer Contributions webpage for more information.

Area Team Planning 

Planning case officers work in an area team structure of 8 area teams and Cornwall-wide specialists. Find out more about the area planning teams.

Enforcement officers work in areas in a similar way to that of the area teams.  This team also deal with:

  • Appeals
  • Trees
  • Minerals and Waste

Registration and validation are carried out in our Cornwall-wide Development Support team.

Frontscreening

Applications are frontscreened before registration and validation. Frontscreening is a quick check of an application. It helps to identify if the proposed development is likely to be acceptable. For example:

  • whether it accords in principle with the policies of:
    • the Cornwall Local Plan
    • Neighbourhood Development Plan
  • whether there would be any other obvious material planning reasons why planning permission is unlikely to be given

If the proposed development is likely to be acceptable, it will proceed to validation in the normal way.

If the proposed development is unlikely to be acceptable, we will contact you. You will be given the option of having the application returned with the fee. This will allow time to: 

  • amend the proposals
  • submit a pre-application enquiry or
  • prepare additional information

If you wish, the application can still proceed to validation in the normal way. In this case it is possible that the application will be recommended for refusal. Please note:

  • Frontscreening is not a full validation check. This will be completed by the Development Support team in the normal way.
  • Frontscreening will not provide: 
  • If submitted via the Planning Portal, the relevant Financial Transaction Service Fee will not be refunded.

Contaminated Land Reports

Phase 1 assessments provide preliminary information.  A Phase I assessment should be submitted with your application where potential contamination risks are highlighted for a site.

It is consistent with relevant guidance to consider this as part of the determination of a planning application where:

  • the development has sensitive/vulnerable end use
  • protection of human health is particularly important.

You can find the Land Contamination guidance (July 2021) using this link: Contaminated land - Cornwall Council

Other advice and guidance

You can find other guidance pages under the Planning advice and guidance area. In addition to those signposted, there are:

The Planning Technical Updates page contains guidance on:

  • Replacement dwellings in the countryside
  • Changes to Permitted development rights
  • Class Q
  • Annexes
  • Use classes

Planning News for Local Councils and Agents

Planning News for Local Councils and Agents is published quarterly.  This is our newsletter specifically aimed at planning agents.  You can find the latest edition using this link: Planning News

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