Planning Agents' Area

Please read our information on how we are supporting residents and businesses, as well as information on affected services.

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


Please be aware that there will be some delays in our response times which is unavoidable at the moment. The Council is committed to supporting our staff to work flexibly to enable a balance to be reached which means our officers may be working different hours.

Thank you for your understanding.

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:

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. 

The many changes at both work and home can be inconvenient and frustrating. We are all doing our best in these circumstances. 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:
The number of days quoted is indicative of when most applications are validated. Some applications may be processed earlier or later. Updated 15 October 2021.
Validation Performance 20 September 2021 to 3 October 2021
  • Number of applications validated: 429
  • Number of applications made invalid on receipt: 388

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

Development in the River Camel Special Area of Conservation

Please note there is a significant issue about:

  • the levels of phosphate entering the River Camel and related advice from Natural England
  • the impact of this on development and some planning applications in the river's catchment area.

You can find more information and latest news on our webpages:

This includes a workshop for planning agents.  You can register your interest using this link: River Camel phosphate management strategy - stakeholder workshops

New validation requirement

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

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.  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 and will help improve validation timescales and pick out the ones which are valid/invalid on receipt.

Validation Workshop

Agents who frequently submit planning applications were invited to attend a virtual Validation Workshop on 12 October 2021.  The session covered the following:

  • Invalid Applications – Top reasons for invalidity
  • Reducing the number of invalid applications received - Validation Requirements (National & Local)
  • Signposting to key information for validation
  • Questions

A copy of the presentation can be viewed here: Validation Workshop for Agents - October 2021 

Please contact if you would like a recording of the workshop.

Planning Agents Forum - 21 October 2021

Our next Planning Agents Forum will be held on 21 October.  You can find more information using this link: Planning Agents Forums

Agent Contact Details

As restrictions are lifted and more people return to work in the office your contact details may have changed.  If your contact details have changed please let us know by emailing and the details we hold for you can be updated.

Saved Policies

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

European Sites Supplementary Planning Document - validation update

New requirements started on 9 August 2021.  You can find more details using these links:

New fire safety requirements from 1 August

New guidance was published in May: Building safety: Planning Gateway One.  You can find more information on the new requirement for high-rise buildings on the validation updates page and latest Planning News for Local Councils and Agents.

Section 73 applications to lift occupancy restrictions

You can find the latest update on the validation updates page.

Fees and charges

Fees and charges document updated

Our fees and charges document has been updated. Please see our Planning Fees page for more information.

Please see our Validation Updates page for a list of updates.

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.

Scales on plans

'Do not scale'

Cornwall Council do not accept plans with the wording ‘do not scale’.  Please remove from any submitted plans.  We understand that this note is for construction. It is a national requirement that plans are to scale.  Planning must be able to scale from the plans.

You could use 'do not scale for construction purposes'.  This will make it clear plans can be scaled from for planning purposes.

Scale bars/ratios on plans

The validation requirement is to provide plans to an identified scale.  But plans with scale bars can help consultees and local councils assess them.   Where possible please can agents provide plans with a scale bar indicated.

Planning Portal

Planning Portal Submissions

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

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

Planning Portal - Planning fees

Please pay the Planning Portal direct and not Cornwall Council for applications submitted using them.  The Planning Portal will not send your application to the Council without payment.  We are unable to transfer payments to the Planning Portal.  The Council must refund the original payee which may delay your application.

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

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.

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

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.  The Enforcement team also deal with:

  • Appeals
  • Trees
  • Minerals and Waste

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


Applications go through a process of Frontscreening. This is before registration and validation of an application. 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.

The Environment Team have updated their guidance.  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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