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. 

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. 

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:
3

The number of days quoted is indicative of when most applications are validated. Some applications may be processed earlier or later. Updated 21 January 2022.

Validation Performance 27 December 2021 to 16 January 2022 

  • Number of applications validated: 571
  • Number of applications made invalid on receipt: 479

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

Fees and charges

Fees and charges document updated

Please note from 1 January 2022 the fees for discretionary products and services have been increased.

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

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.

Draft Validation Guide 2021

Consultation on the proposed Draft Validation Guide 2021 closed on 20.12.21. Please visit our Validation Guide web page for more information.

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:

The presentation from the stakeholder event for agents is published and available on the following page:

Phosphate calculator

Our phosphate calculator is now live on our Nutrient neutrality in Cornwall page.  It contains:

  • the calculator and tutorial video
  • mapping layer with waste water treatment works
  • next steps and how to take your proposal forward.

New validation requirements

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

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 need to submit a nutrient neutrality statement with the calculator results. You can find the information on the Validation updates page.

Discharge of pre-commencement conditions relating to drainage

We have received legal advice and have published the following:

Cornwall Habitat Bank: Investing in Nature survey

Cornwall Council's Environment Team have launched a market testing survey.  It is open to planning agents and developers to complete.  You can find more information and a link to the survey on the Investing in Nature Let's Talk Cornwall page.  The survey closes on 31 January 2022.

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 trialed 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.

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

A copy of the presentations can be viewed here:

Agent Contact Details

If your contact details have changed please let us know by emailing planning@cornwall.gov.uk 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:

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.

Submitting your application

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

Hard Copy submissions

If you are unable to submit electronically via the Planning Portal, forms can be downloaded from the 'Make a planning application' page.  Please send hard copies to:

Cornwall Council, Planning and Sustainable Development, PO Box 676, Threemilestone, Truro, Cornwall, TR1 9EQ

Please note this is a postal address and not open to the public.

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 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.  The Enforcement team also deal with:

  • Appeals
  • Trees
  • Minerals and Waste

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

Frontscreening

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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