EACH week, hundreds of planning applications come before Cornwall Council’s planning department, seeking to win approval for various plans right across the Duchy.

These plans can comprise of a number of different reasonings– ranging from permission to replace windows or listed building consent ranging up to large house building developments or changing of use of a building, for instance, from an office to a café, or flats.

Within this large and often complex system, there are a number of formats from which planning advice and approval can be sought.

These range from full applications where all the details which comprise a proposed development or work to a building are submitted, to outline applications, where further details are yet to be confirmed, for example, an outline application with reserved matters for appearance may not confirm the final proposed development but rather seek permission in principle.

An example of this is one for an outline permission for 20 dwellings on land with reserved matters for appearance and scale; the reserved matters would require further permission later for their inclusion.

Other types of applications include pre-application advice requests, where would-be developers submit often outline proposals to a local authority to ascertain whether it is likely to gain support or not prior to submitting a planning application.

The vast majority of applications are decided by planning officers employed by a local authority under ‘delegated powers’, meaning they do so on behalf of their employer, however, some applications are ‘called in’ by local councillors to be discussed at an area’s strategic planning committee meeting, meaning the final decision rests with a committee of councillors.

The location of the former takeaway premises being changed to a hair and beauty salon.
The location of the former takeaway premises being changed to a hair and beauty salon. (Google)

Revert to previous use

PA24/00180: A CHANGE of use application for a property from a food takeaway shop back to a previous use as a hair and beauty salon has been approved by Cornwall Council.

Mr Stuart Wilkie applied to the local authority for the permission to change the use of his property at 24 Fore Street, Callington.

It had most recently been in use as the ‘La Parrilla’ Mexican fast-food takeaway until this use ceased at the end of December 2023.

Callington Town Council, in its consultation response said it had voted to support the proposal to a count of nine in favour and one abstention.

Concerns about contaminated land nearby were rejected by the planning officer, who noted: “Public Protection Contaminated Land (PPCL) were consulted on the proposal due to the location of the site within an area of potentially contaminated land due to the sale of automotive fuel.

“PPCL requested that a Phase one report (preliminary assessment) be submitted. Due to there being no physical alterations proposed to the unit, only a change of use that is not considered more sensitive, it is not considered necessary to request a Phase one report from the applicant.”

As it was not a dwelling, it was not required to pay a community infrastructure levy (CIL), with the planning officer noting: “This development is not liable for CIL because it is less than 100m2 of new build that does not result in the creation of a dwelling, and therefore benefits from Minor Development Exemption under CIL Regulation 42.

It was concluded that: “Taking these factors into account, on balance it is considered that the proposal is acceptable, subject to conditions. All other matters raised have been taken into account, but none is of such significance as to outweigh the considerations that have led to the conclusion.”

The application was approved by Cornwall Council, subject to the standard conditions stating that the development had to be complete within three years of permission being granted and in accordance with the plans submitted and approved.

Change of use

PA24/00532: A CHANGE of use application for land to place two wood-clad shipping containers to be used as a bike hire and maintenance facility has been approved by Cornwall Council.

It is set to be located next to the children’s play area at the public house known as the Borough Arms, next to the Camel Trail, on Dunmere Road in Bodmin. It had previously been located in the Bodmin Town Council-owned Priory Car Park.

The applicant, Mr Martin Jackson on behalf of Explore by Bikes Limited had told Cornwall Council: “Working with Bodmin Town Council, Explore by Bike gained planning permission in 2019 (PPA19/01575) to place a shipping container in Priory Park, Bodmin from which to operate a bicycle hire and servicing business.

“Over the intervening years the business has grown successfully and provides a range of bicycles from children size to battery assisted ones. Hirers can utilise the many trails around Bodmin and especially the Camel Trail for which the appropriate licence has been obtained.

“The business wishes to expand but is constrained in its current location. The business has received much praise, however the location in the centre of town has been a negative point in customer feedback due to the difficult road route to and from the Camel Trail. Customers have to cross the busy A389, the main road that runs through town, and negotiate travelling, legally, the 'wrong way' along Crockwell Street when returning from the Trail to Priory Park.

“Crockwell Street is one way for vehicles from Fore Street to Dennison Road (the A389) but two way for bicycles. In order to address customers complaints, the business has been trying to relocate closer to the Camel Trail. Unfortunately negotiations with locations at the start of the Trail at Hillside Park have been unsuccessful.

“Negotiations with St Austell Brewery have identified a site at the Borough Arms, Dunmere Road, Bodmin which is not utilised by the pub. The area is the upper hardstanding to the south of the pub grounds. The site is surrounded on 3 sides by Cornish hedges and on the north side by low timber fence which segregates it from the upper seating and play area.

“The existing container has been horizontally clad in timber in order to soften the appearance in its current location in Priory Park. It is intended to retain this cladding and clad the second container to match.

“The containers do not require connection to any services. In the future they may assess the need for solar panels to provide some electricity, however the site is shadowed by trees and it may not be cost effective to add solar panels.

“The site is in the Camel River Catchment Area, however the business will not be connecting to the mains services so will not be adding to any effluent that could affect the area.

“Bodmin is a growing town, the Wainhomes developments on this side of town are increasing the housing numbers in the area. The Borough Arms is their 'local'. The proposal would increase local employment and provide a local service, whilst also benefiting visitors and the local tourist economy, thereby having associated social and economic benefits.

“The site is now becoming integrated into Bodmin, has excellent access to the public transport network, is adjacent to the Camel Trail and is connected into the local housing and centre of town by a network of public footpaths and cycle routes.

“By providing a service for both bike hire and bike maintenance for those who already own a bike, the proposal would help to encourage a sustainable alternative method of transport for locals and visitors to Bodmin.

“Being located in the grounds of an established business there would not be an adverse increase in development, and it would be read in association with existing structures and not as an isolated unit. The container is modest in scale and will be clad in timber which will be more aesthetically pleasing than bare metal containers.”

Bodmin Town Council’s planning committee noted the application, which was then approved without any additional conditions by Cornwall Council’s planning department.