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Cornwall Planning Partnership

What is the Planning Partnership?

The Cornwall Planning Partnership is a group of people consisting of:

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  • Councillors and Clerks of various Towns and Parish Councils across Cornwall
  • Sarah Mason from the Cornwall Association of Local Councils (CALC)
  • Tim Dwelly CC - Cornwall Council’s Culture, Economy and Planning Portfolio Holder
  • key officers from the Planning and Sustainable Development Service.

Local council members

The local council members of the group are:

  • Linda Coles - Clerk to Dobwalls/Trewidland, St Mabyn, St Dominic
  • John Hesketh - Clerk to Menheniot
  • Chris Drake - Clerk to Launceston
  • Helen Couch - Clerk to St Just-in-Roseland
  • Cllr Anne-Marie Rance - Hayle
  • Cllr Peter Tisdale - CALC Executive/Mabe
  • Cllr Rita Lait - St Ives
  • Cllr Jinny Clark - St Agnes
  • Cllr Jenny Moore - St Blaise
  • Cllr Mike Roberts - Mevagissey
  • Cllr Mike Thompson - St Austell
  • Cllr Phil Brown - Bodmin
  • Cllr Mark Fox - Saltash
  • Cllr Christine Boswell-Munday - St Minver Lowlands
  • Cllr Amanda Pennington - Wadebridge
  • Cllr Jill Ludbrook - St Keverne

The group does not have substitutes. Nomination to the group is personal but must be supported by the relevant local council.  Members should have a wider interest in Planning.  Membership of the group is coordinated by CALC.  The group is due to be refreshed in 2021.  If you are a local councillor or clerk who is interested, please email Sarah Mason at CALC for more details:

The Partnership:

  • has a work programme
  • can attend the programme of Cornwall Council Member modular training events.

The Partnership is keen to play an active role in:

  • getting involved with consultations
  • helping to shape policy and guidance for planning in Cornwall

For example in October 2020, communications were agreed to assist local councils to respond to the Government White Paper: Planning for the Future. These included:

  • the comments and views of the Partnership
  • the presentation given to the group by the Planning Policy team
  • the draft response by Cornwall Council to the White Paper.

The group continue to work with the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) team. They have:

  • actively contributed to how the CIL monies are distributed in Cornwall
  • an important role as the CIL Funding Advisory Panel members
  • helped the Service Director to allocate the CIL share to successful projects.

The group is also helping shape planning training. They are addressing problems/challenges brought to the attention of the group.

Latest consultation advice

The group met on 16 March 2021 to:

The comments from the Partnership are being used to:

  • cascade to local councils via CALC
  • submit a response for the Partnership.

Guiding principles for pre-application discussions

The Planning Partnership improved their guidance note.  It covers:

  • dealing with approaches and requests for meetings from developers
  • parish-led community engagement
  • specific help regarding concerns over pre-determination during:
    • local council meetings or
    • local councillor individual discussions.

Guiding principles

Pre-application discussions have an important role in all types of planning applications.  Local Councils are aware of:

  • the importance of public perception in planning and
  • the need for transparency in their relationships with developers. 

This guidance aims to support local councils in their role when working with:

  • developers and
  • Cornwall Council on pre-application proposals.

It sits with the 3-way protocol document for working together on pre-applications.

Pre-application meetings

A developer may request a meeting prior to submitting a planning application.  Local councils may expect that:

  • public may attend the meeting
  • the meeting has been reasonably advertised 
  • the developer meets reasonable costs for the hosting a public meeting including large scale plans for display purposes
  • a public consultation or engagement event is either scheduled or firmly planned.

Local Councils can combine:

  • a public engagement event with
  • a scheduled local council meeting

rather than holding a separate event. The pre-app meeting and the community engagement event may be spread apart timewise for large schemes.  For smaller proposals, both meetings can be at the same time.

A Local Council will not normally hold private meetings with developers unless:

  • there is a necessary and compelling reason
  • the reason can be justified to the public (for example a strong commercial sensitivity)

A developer may want an initial steer before deciding whether to continue.

Pre-application community engagement (PACE)

A Local Council will encourage developers to engage with the local community before submitting plans for:

  • significant or
  • complex developments. 

A PACE meeting should:

  • have a venue that is convenient and accessible to the community
  • be publicised within the community and to all likely interested parties
  • be timed to allow as wide a range of people as possible to attend
  • show there is a genuine:
    • open mind and
    • willingness to adapt plans in response to community feedback
  • include the provision of large scale plans for display purposes

The developer should meet all reasonable costs for hosting the meeting.

This note advises local councillors:

  • not to attend separate private briefings as part of public consultation
  • attend a public event instead. 

PACE Forums

Options for developers include:

  • working with a Local Council on a public engagement event or
  • a formal pre-application community engagement forum facilitated by Cornwall Council.

This is appropriate for more significant applications. Details can be found using these links: preapplication advice and role of local councils in planning

Preapplication process and the Code of Conduct for Local Councils

A Local Council may have some concerns about encouraging conversations with developers on pre-application proposals.  These can include:

  • requests for meetings with individual councillors and
  • how feedback on a proposal could be viewed as pre-determination. 

This guidance includes recommendations for local councils.  For individual Councillor discussions:

  • councillors must be aware of their obligations under the Council’s Code of Conduct 
  • individual Councillors must not informally discuss possible future applications with a developer.  This could lead to a complaint for a potential breach of the Code.
  • the Local Council will nominate at least two representatives to attend a site meeting.    

A developer should not attempt to lobby individual members. The Local Council reserves the right to withdraw from any pre-application process in this case. 

Pre-determination: Councillors should not express any:

  • detailed opinion or
  • prior view which might be viewed as pre-determination. 

If the Local Council arranges a formal meeting, this wording on the:

  • agenda or
  • invitation could help:

“While Members may express an opinion:

    • for or
    • against the proposal

at this meeting, our minds are not closed. We will only come to a conclusion if we should:

    • support the scheme or
    • offer an objection

after we have listened to the full debate.”

A local council can clearly state this at the start of an informal meeting.  It will make it clear that members attending are not pre-determining their position.  Local councillors can include the words:

  • ‘in principle’ or
  • ‘subject to ..’

when expressing their views.  This emphasises that any opinions given at this stage are not pre-judging a proposal in advance of a formal planning application.

Protocol for Local Councils, Cornwall Council and developers working together on pre-applications

Local Councils will aim to:

  • publish details on its website of its:
    • pre-application procedures and
    • information for potential applicants
  • assist in facilitating public meetings in suitable pre-agreed local locations
  • share notes of pre-application discussions with the Local Planning Authority including:
    • minutes of meetings or
    • a record of the discussion
  • refer requests for advice on planning policy to the Local Planning Authority.

Applicants and agents should:

  • research the area of the proposed development
  • get an understanding of local factors
  • share with the local council:
    • plans
    • supporting information and
    • guidance given by the Local Planning Authority before attending local meetings
  • leave the information with the Local Council for any follow up comments
  • respect the role of the local council during the pre-application process
  • not lobby individual Local Council members in private
  • meet all reasonable costs of hiring local facilities to hold public meetings

Cornwall Council officers will:

  • encourage applicants to engage with local communities
  • include options for the Cornwall Council pre-application community engagement process (PACE)
  • share any pre-application advice given to the applicant by officers if requested (except in the case of confidential pre-application enquiries)
  • encourage the use of Planning Performance Agreements (PPA) and Local Council liaison
  • ensure joined-up working with other agencies in connection with pre-application submissions
  • encourage the use of the Cornwall Design Review Panel
  • adhere to the pre-application protocol when Cornwall Council is the planning applicant

Guiding principles for post-decision community engagement (PDCE)

Ongoing communication between developers and the community is important:

  • after the planning approval and
  • development has started.

The group have produced guidance for local councils. The guidance:

  • is for use during the construction phase of a scheme
  • sets out some options for local councils
  • includes an example of a condition that could be suggested to the planning case officers.

A Local Council can raise the need for PDCE:

  • in the consultation response during consideration of an application
  • by speaking with the planning case officer.

Please include what form of engagement would be appropriate for your community. 

Options for the case officer to add to a planning permission include:

  • informatives
  • planning conditions
  • S106 agreement clauses.

PDCE condition for Construction and Environmental Management Plans

Our suggested condition:

Construction and Environmental Management Plan (CEMP)

No development (including demolition) will take place until a CEMP has been:

  • submitted to and
  • approved in writing by the Local Planning Authority.

This will include all details for:

i) arrangements for post-decision community engagement with the Local Council

ii) plan showing location of the contractor’s compound and site office(s)

iii) plan showing location of building material storage

iv) plan showing the location of parking for contractor’s and visitor’s vehicles

v) plan showing the location of loading/unloading areas for deliveries to the site(s)

vi) the:

    • route
    • parking and
    • waiting areas for construction vehicles and deliveries to/from the site during construction


vii) management schedule for vehicle wheel cleaning upon exiting the site(s) onto a public highway during construction

viii) management for escorting construction traffic through the adjacent residential estates during construction

ix) controls site wide for managing dust during construction

x) all permits, contingency plans and mitigation measures needed to:

    • control the risk of pollution to controlled water 
    • protect biodiversity and
    • avoid, minimise and manage the productions of wastes

with particular attention on constraints and risks of the site.

The development:

  • shall be carried out in accordance with the approved details and
  • any amendments agreed in writing with the Local Planning Authority.

Reason: To ensure that adequate measures are put in place to :

  • minimise the impact of development on amenities of neighbouring residents
  • avoid or manage the risk of:
    • pollution of controlled waters or
    • waste production during the course of the development works.

You could request a condition like this to the planning case officer.  The developer who implements the permission would need to engage with your Council:

  • in an agreed format
  • after the decision
  • during and after construction of the development.

Ways to engage with the local community post-decision include:

  • regular update/’keep in touch’ slot at the local council planning meeting
  • a specific meeting to address progress and issues on the site
  • a formal Community Liaison Group.

Cornwall Council will also encourage:

  • the use of company websites with a dedicated page for a site being developed
  • social media
  • e-mail alerts
  • a dedicated Development helpline number
  • the use of Developers Newsletters (printed or online)
  • update leaflets circulated to residents.

These should include details of:

  • dates of commencement
  • road closures
  • unusual deliveries
  • potential changes to the scheme.

Local Councils should:

  • keep in regular contact with the Site Manager and
  • raise issues of concern as they arise.
  • not necessarily wait for the next liaison or council meeting.

If you have requested this form of ongoing community engagement, please:

  • remain open to different approaches from the developers
  • allow for the agreed engagement to take place
  • take a proactive stance to conditions discharge
  • query suspected non-compliance

at meetings with developers. You can inform Cornwall Council of non-compliance issues.

More information is included in the Council’s Statement of Community Involvement

A Day in the Life of a Planning Application 

The group held workshops to develop this online guide: Day in the life of a Planning Application. It:

  • is a step by step guide through the entire planning process
  • covers from your initial development idea through to the completion of development.

Notes from the quarterly meetings are available upon request.  Meetings were held in the last year on:

  • 14 July 2020
  • 14 October 2020
  • 13 January 2021

If you wish to have a copy of the notes from any of these meetings, please email Nic Phillips at

News and updates from the Partnership are also circulated in 'Planning News for Local Councils and Agents'. This quarterly newsletter is available on the Planning News webpages.

The next meeting will be arranged for after the May elections.

The Cornwall Planning Partnership is now a well-established communication forum. It is an important part of the process of liaison between the Local Planning Authority and our Local Councils. Should you wish to raise an issue at a forthcoming meeting, please email Sarah Mason at CALC: