What's new in Planning

Area Team Planning from 1 April 2019

Following a successful trial in the Liskeard/Looe Community Network Areas, it has been decided to implement area-based planning across Cornwall, together with changes to planning processes following a lean process review which was carried out at the same time. The new structure went 'live' on 1 April 2019 and comprises:

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  • 8 multi-disciplinary planning teams based on a group of community network areas dealing with all types of planning applications and enforcement matters from receipt through to decision;    
  • a Cornwall-wide team of specialist functions, including a dedicated development management function for the Council's Investment and Housing Development Programme and a proactive enforcement service;    
  • a central function of support services.

As part of the implementation of an area-based planning service, some changes are being made to existing processes and some new processes are being introduced.

Frontscreening

Prior to the registration and validation of an application, the application goes through a process of Frontscreening. Frontscreening is a relatively quick check of an application to identify if the proposed development is likely to be acceptable i.e. whether it accords in principle with the policies of the Cornwall Local Plan/Neighbourhood Development Plan or whether there would be any other obvious material planning reasons why planning permission is unlikely to be forthcoming.

It also comprises a check to ensure all the information necessary has been submitted to allow the determination of the application. 

If the Planning Case Officer considers that the proposed development is likely to be acceptable, the application will proceed to validation in the normal way.

Alternatively, if the Planning Case Officer considers that the proposed development is unlikely to be acceptable, the applicant/agent will be contacted and given the option of having the application returned with the fee prior to validation (to potentially provide the applicant/agent with time to amend the proposals, submit a pre-application enquiry or prepare additional information) or, if the applicant/agent so wishes, the application can proceed to validation in the normal way in the knowledge that is possible the application will be recommended for refusal.

 Please note the following:

  • Frontscreening is not intended to be a full validation check as this will be completed by the Development Support team in the normal way.
  • Frontscreening is not intended to provide free Pre-Application Advice or a free Validation Checking Service and applicants/agents are encouraged to visit the relevant webpages to access these services.
  • If the application has been submitted via the Planning Portal/iApply, the relevant Financial Transaction Service Fee will not be refunded.

Site visit (carried out on the majority of applications*)

As well as displaying the site notice (if required**), the purpose of the site visit is to visualise the development in the context of its setting. This part of the process is important in understanding the extent of the proposal on the site and the following points are noted:

  • characteristics of the location including terrain, levels, surrounding buildings, and the nature of the area 
  • possible impacts on the neighbours including any loss of light, overlooking and compatibility of uses
  • visual impacts, the effect on the street scene and fitting in with the existing character
  • access
  • appropriate siting
  • environmental impacts such as trees, hedgerows and flooding
  • local facilities
  • sustainability

Checks are made to ensure that the relevant neighbours have been notified. Notes are made, and photos are taken. The date of visit, location of the site notice, and any additional neighbours that have been notified are recorded.

*Except Householder Applications where the case officer may do a site visit, but this may not always be the case.

**If it is known (based on the details contained on the application forms) that an applicant resides on the application site, the applicant will be asked to post the site notice. If the applicant does not reside on the site, or if the applicant fails to post the site notice, the display of site notices is the responsibility of the Case Officer during their site visit. It should be noted that not all types of application require site notices to be posted.

If you have any questions on the Area Team project, please send them to: egdcustomerrelations@cornwall.gov.uk.

The Cornwall Planning Partnership have been working on guidance for local councils that would be helpful in those cases where communities feel that a particular development may need some form of ongoing communication between the developers and local residents during the construction phase.

Local Councils can:

  • Raise the likely need for post-decision community engagement on Planning Application consultation responses, during the consideration of applications, or
  • Speak with the Planning case officer about what form of engagement would be appropriate to your Council were planning permission to be granted.

Where appropriate, Cornwall Council will add informatives, planning conditions, or S106 agreement clauses on planning permissions to address this point.  The guidance produced by the Planning Partnership was agreed on 17.1.19 and includes an example of a condition that local councils can suggest.

More details on the work of the Cornwall Planning Partnership are contained on the Planning Partnership Meetings webpage.

The Planning and Sustainable Development Service has produced a Validation Guide (which includes an updated local validation list). This provides applicants and agents with as much information as possible to submit an application ‘right first time’ and avoid any delays at validation or during the planning process.

Main changes include:

  • A single guide for both the public and internal staff.
  • A more concise guide achieved through reducing the amount of duplicated information.
  • Increase in information and guidance achieved through links to useful documents, webpages and guidance
  • More detailed information regarding specific plans with the aim of improving quality

Significant updates have been made with regards to:

  • Contaminated Land
  • Air Quality
  • Noise
  • Odour
  • Affordable Housing
  • Plans

From 1 January 2019 Planning and Sustainable Development will be making some changes to its process and charges.  Please see our revised process and changes document for further information.

Cornwall Council has introduced a discretionary service whereby domestic landlords can apply for the evidence required to request an exemption from the MEES.  Please visit the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) Requests for Exemptions page for further information.

Where there is a need to submit information considered ‘personal data’ or ‘sensitive personal data’ under the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) this information should be submitted in a separate document without cross-referencing in documents that can be made public, and marked as confidential.

 The definition of ‘personal data’ and ‘Sensitive Personal Data’ can be found on page 8 of Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) Guide to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and will include for example personal circumstances and health information.

From 1 January 2019, Cornwall Council will be a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Charging Authority, and any new development determined after this date could be liable to pay a CIL.  CIL may also be charged on development approved by way of general consent if it commences after 1 January 2019.  Visit www.cornwall.gov.uk/cil now to find out how CIL may affect your development.

From 1 January 2019, we will no longer be writing to contributors individually to notify them if an application is to be considered by a Planning Committee as this information is available on our
website and can be obtained by tracking applications via the online register. We will continue to notify contributors if the Committee decides to hold a formal site meeting or public meeting.

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

Applications submitted by alternative means such as by email or in hard copy divert resources to other processes that enable the documents to be published on-line, which leads to a delay in those applications being validated.

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