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Planning Agents' Area

Please be aware that there will be some delays in our response times which is unavoidable at the moment.  We are experiencing an increase in Covid-related staff absence and many of our staff are working hard to balance work and home schooling.  The Council is committed to supporting our staff to work flexibly to enable a balance to be reached which means our officers may be working different hours.   

Please bear with us at this difficult time.  We are mindful of the personal pressures that a third lockdown places on us all and we respectfully ask that you are considerate when communicating with our staff.

For more details on our revised processes, please see our FAQs Covid-19 impact on planning processes. Thank you for your understanding.

Please note validation staff are currently working on a backlog of applications due to an increase in the number of applications received.  We are migrating to a new website which means:

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  • we cannot update the validation figure usually published weekly
  • the published figure will not be reliable.

We are working hard to reduce the backlog as soon as possible. 

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:

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.  Please note some officers may be working different hours to be able to balance childcare and work.  

The many changes at both work and home can be inconvenient and frustrating. We are all doing our best in these extraordinary 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.  We are working hard to set these up on our systems. 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:

13 (26.03.21)

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

Revised legislation for Class Qs require more information to be submitted at validation:

  • Completed form or a written description of the proposed development.  This must include any building or other operations
  • A plan indicating the site and proposed development
  • If Class M N O P PA or Q, a statement specifying the net increase in dwelling houses proposed
  • If Class Q, a statement which sets out:
    • the number of smaller dwelling houses proposed
    • the number of larger dwelling houses proposed
    • whether previous development has taken place under Class Q in the established agricultural unit. If so, the number of smaller and larger dwelling houses developed under Class Q
  • If Class M N O PA or Q, a floor plan showing:
    • the dimensions and proposed use of each room
    • the position and dimensions of windows and walls
    • the elevations of the dwelling house
  • Contact details for the applicant/agent
  • A site-specific flood risk assessment in an area within Flood Zone 2 or Flood Zone 3. Or in an area in Flood Zone 1 which has critical drainage problems
  • the correct fee

Please note that discretionary fees increased on 1 January 2021.  Most fees increased by 4%. However certain products increased by more than that amount on a cost recovery basis. We propose to set prices at just below the average levied for similar products and services by other authorities across the country.  Please see our Planning Fees page for more information.

Cornwall Council has declared a climate emergency.  We need to increase electronic working to support this.  There is now a charge for handling planning applications and associated documents submitted on paper.  This is on a cost-recovery basis. 

Paper planning applications should be submitted to:

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

The charge per hard copy planning application will be:

  • £100 for major applications
  • £50 for General and Other applications

This charge will be in addition to any planning application fee.

This only applies to statutory application types.  You may wish to consider submitting online via the Planning Portal or emailing us direct at

To reduce the costs associated with administering planning applications we encourage quality submissions.  From 1 April 2021, there will be a charge. This is to recover the costs of handling invalid planning applications.
If customers fail to provide the missing information we will:
  • close the application; and
  • return the fee minus 10%. 
Should the information be provided and the application remains invalid. The service will charge the below fees for more checks:
  • £60 inc VAT - Householder and other
  • £120 inc VAT - Minor
  • £250 inc VAT - Major
You may wish to consider the validation checking service.  This will ensure the correct information is submitted first time.

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.

'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 etc. Pleae note 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.

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

Planning Portal - Planning fees

Please pay the Planning Portal direct and not Cornwall Council for applications submitted using them.  The Planning Portal will not send your application to the Council without payment.  We are unable to transfer payments to the Planning Portal.  The Council must refund the original payee which may delay your application.

The Planning Portal is a separate private company.  Should you have any queries, please email:

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.

The Council sends out Liability Notices 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 contact the Infrastructure Team.  You can email them at

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.

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.


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.

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.

More information can accessed in this link:

Land affected by contamination – Developers guide and information requirements for planning applications’.