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Planning Technical Updates

Policy 7 of the Cornwall Local Plan states that:

“the development of new homes in the open countryside will only be permitted where there are special circumstances”.

The policy sets out different ways for providing dwellings in the countryside. (These are the 'special circumstances'.) This guidance note concentrates on replacement dwellings:

  • broadly comparable to the size, scale and bulk of the dwelling being replaced
  • of an appropriate scale to their location
  • of an appropriate character to their location.

The Replacement Dwellings in the Countryside guidance note assists with:

  • submission and
  • assessment of planning applications.

This is for replacement dwellings in the countryside. It offers an interpretation of the term ‘broadly comparable’. The aim is to:

  • provide greater certainty
  • ensure more consistent and better quality decision making in the planning process.

The Government introduced legislation in 2020 that changed Permitted Development rights.  Some changes to the Use Class Order aim to create more flexible uses in town centres.  It includes:

  • new use class E for commercial, business and service uses
  • new use classes F1 and F2 for community uses.

New Permitted Development Regulations also permit:

  • temporary changes of use
  • demolition of vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings if they are rebuilt as homes
  • building of new storeys on houses and flats
  • building of new storeys on buildings for new self-contained homes.

They set out the considerations for the prior approval application process:

Prior approval of Permitted Development rights to extend buildings upwards came into force on 30 December 2020.  The Building Safety Programme Letter contains advice to Local Planning Authorities.

These Permitted Development rights:

These permit agricultural buildings to be converted to up to five dwelling houses. A range of conditions and criteria need to be met. These are set out in the Regulations. 

This is sustainable because:

  • buildings are reused
  • it supports rural enterprise.

The Government wishes to help rural development. But it is not without limitations. These are to limit the impact of such development on the countryside. Safeguarding clauses include:

  • landscape designations
  • tenant farms
  • safe development and occupation of such dwellings.

Please see our Class Q Prior Notification Guidance Note (Revised Febuary 2021) for:

  • how to make an application
  • information that needs to be submitted.

Annexe Guidance Note

Residential annexes are a common form of development. They can allow relatives to live with their family with a degree of independence. Annexes are considered to be acceptable by the Council in many cases.  Please note:

  • applications for residential annexes can vary a great deal
  • you need to support these applications with sufficient evidence.

This ensures that applications do not result in proposals which are effectively the same as creating a new dwelling.  Officers use the Annexe Guidance Note (May 2020) to assess proposals. Please note:

  • the guidance does not have the weight of "adopted policy"
  • it provides consistency in our approach
  • it aims to help agents and applicants do the same.

You can find more information on the changes to use classes using this link: Use Class factsheet.

The Cornwall Monitoring Report webpage has more information on the Cornwall Housing Supply.