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Make a better application

This page offers information how to submit a better application.  For information how to make a planning application visit the Make a planning application web page.

Submitting your application

The best way to submit your application is via the Planning Portal. Over 77% of applications are currently submitted via the Planning Portal.

Benefits include:

  • Planning fee is paid at time of submission
  • Less invalid applications on receipt due to mandatory requirements
  • Fully integrated with the back office systems
  • Document repository and workflow tool for customers

Top 10 invalid reasons

Many applications are invalid on receipt. This slows up the validation process whilst awaiting further/amended information to be received.  Please find the below list of most common invalid reasons:

  • Missing CIL Form
  • No fee/incorrect fee paid
  • Development affected or influenced by a Public Right of Way (PROW) not shown on the site/block plan
  • Site location plan incorrect. For example:
    • no north point indicated
    • incorrect/no scale provided
    • access to the highway not shown where applicable
    • incorrect redline development line
  • Contaminated land report required
  • Flood Risk Assessment required as the development lies within a Critical Drainage Area
  • Plans contain the wording 'do not scale'
  • Foul Drainage Assessment Form required
  • Heritage Statement or Heritage Impact Assessment required
  • Bat/Bat and Barn Owl Survey required

Further information regarding the above can be found in the Cornwall Council Validation Guide. This also includes a helpful checklists to use when submitting an application.  Planning have also produced common invalid reasons guidance.

Validation requirements - guidance

Before submitting a planning application, we highly recommended checking the following documents.  These documents are used to assess the validity of an application once received:

It is also recommended you check Cornwall Council's Interactive Mapping. This can help identify some constraints and designations at the site.

For general and householder applications:

  • All the information on the National List must be submitted for validation. (This is indicated within the Validation Guide.)
  • Any missing information from the Local List your application will be validated. However the missing information will be required within 14 days.

For major development:

  • All information shown on both the local and national lists are required for validation.

Service charge for “returned applications”:  Due to a high number of invalid applications being handled by the authority which are returned to customers prior to validation, the service will be deducting 10% of the expected planning application fee if processing has commenced.  The charge applies to applications where a 21 day invalid letter has been sent and any subsequent reminder letters and/or email reminders.

 The charge applies to statutory and discretionary application but does not apply to application returned following front-screening unless processing has commenced as set out above.


The Cornwall Council Validation Guide sets out the National Requirements for plans i.e.:

  • To be drawn to an identified standard metric scale
  • ‘Do not scale’ removed and replaced with other suitable wording allowing the LPA to scale from the drawing
  • Scale bar indicated to match scale ratio indicated
  • Provided on an up-to-date map (Location Plan and Block Plan)
  • Indicate North (Location Plan and Block Plan)
  • Provided at the scale indicated on the plan i.e. if the plan states 1:100 @A3 the plan must be provided at A3 (electronically and hard copy)
  • The Planning Service is unable to accept plans which are taken from the Cornwall Council Mapping web pages. (i.e. anything with the Cornwall Council watermark or the Cornwall Council licence number across the bottom.)
  • Where an Ordnance Survey based plan is being submitted for planning purposes the copyright and licence number must be shown

Please note this list is not exhaustive, please refer to the Validation Guide for a full list of requirements.

As well as the above list there are also things which applicants/agents can do to help speed up the planning process. These will also aid consultees and interested parties to review applications:

  • Provide plans ideally scaled to fit A4 or A3 (this will depend on the scale of development)
  • Submitted via the Planning Portal
  • An acceptable quality that is clear and legible
  • Plans submitted electronically must be uploaded in the orientation indicated on the plan
  • Named and titled in a logical manner, reflecting their content
  • Each plan numbered
  • Each plan submitted as a separate document clearly labelled.
  • Personal details removed such as mobile numbers. This is to reduce redaction required to comply with the General Data Protection Regulations
  • All plans must be submitted as separate single page PDF files. Multiple page combined PDF plans will not be accepted. 

Further guidance and help

Cornwall Council has a list of Accredited Agents.  The agents have proven that they can submit accurate householder and tree applications.

For further information regarding this service visit the Accredited Agents web page.

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