EACH week, hundreds of planning applications come before Cornwall Council’s planning department, seeking to win approval for various plans right across the Duchy, with some concerning Holsworthy handled by Torridge District Council.

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.

Tree removal refused

PA24/01978: PLANS for the removal of a sycamore tree subject to a tree preservation order located outside of the Falcon Hotel, Breakwater Road, Bude has been refused by Cornwall Council.

Cornwall Council’s planning officer described the tree as thus: “This application seeks to fell a sycamore tree at The Falcon Hotel, Breakwater Road, Bude. The sycamore tree is subject to The Efford Down Bude Tree Preservation Order 1982.

“Within the standard application form submitted, the applicant has not advised that the condition of the tree is a reason for the proposal, nor that there is a risk of alleged damage to property. No tree survey has been provided, and whilst a location plan has been provided no further accompanying written statement or supporting information in any form has been supplied in order to justify removal of this tree.

“The tree is located within the Bude Conservation Area and is sited adjacent to a public right of way. The tree is one of a small group which contributes positively to public visual amenity value.”

However, its removal was met with objections from the Council’s tree officer and Bude-Stratton Town Council.

In their response, the tree officer said: “I attended site on the 02/04/24 and undertook a basic assessment of the tree proposed for removal within this application. The tree itself is of good form and condition with no obvious structural or physiological defects and forms part of a small group of three sycamores, its removal has the potential to negatively impact the cohesive canopy of the group which could in turn lead to further failures.

“Additionally, it should be noted that many species of trees will struggle to establish this close to the Atlantic coast, sycamore is one of the few species with good establishment rates in such a location.

“Based on the grounds provided as justification for removal I am unable to support this application. As an informative, it would appear that there is a gap in the canopy to the north of this tree. Should the applicant wish to plant an alternative species with a view to improving species diversity I would recommend planting Sessile Oak.”

Refusing the application, they told the applicant: “It is the opinion of the Local Planning Authority that the sycamore tree is of significant public amenity value in the local landscape and contributes to the character of the local landscape. There is insufficient justification for the removal of this tree and clear and convincing arboricultural evidence to justify their loss has not been submitted.

“Their removal is therefore considered to result in a detrimental impact upon the public amenity of the local landscape and contrary to Policy 23 of the Cornwall Local Plan Strategic Policies 2010-2030 and paragraph 180 of the National Planning Policy Framework 2023.”

Plans for dwellings could be approved

PA24/00286/PREAPP: Pre-application advice has been issued for proposed replacement dwellings at Highway Farm, Poundstock, Bude.

Plans for the constructions of dwellings could win officer approval subject to the plans being of a high-quality.

The application and its background were described by the planning officer who issued the advice as: “The site is known as Highway Farm and sits adjacent to the A39 between Treskinnick Cross and Wainhouse Corner in Poundstock, Bude.

“The site consists of numerous agricultural buildings of varying scales and materials. In May 2022 permission was granted via PA22/03026 for the construction of a new access track, this permission included a condition which ensured that within one month of the new access being constructed, the existing access that adjoins the A39 would be permanently and effectively stopped-up.”

Prior plans for a dwelling and the conversion of an agricultural building to form four additional dwellings were approved by Cornwall Council in 2023.

In conclusion, the advice from the planning officer to the applicant was: “When assessing the full proposed development as set out in the submitted information,

“I am of the view that in principle there is potentially scope for the construction of four new dwellings on the site, however this will be dependent on a high-quality design and palette of materials being proposed.

“It will be crucial that any future proposal exhibits a clear betterment from the extant schemes and clearly maintains the agricultural character and rural feel of the site and the landscape in which it sits. Should a future application be submitted for the proposal, it is advised that the suggestions and points made within this are taken on board and reflected in any future design.”

Holiday accommodation plans withdrawn

The site notice at Lower Bodannon (Picture: Cornwall Council)
The site notice at Lower Bodannon (Picture: Cornwall Council) (Cornwall Council)

PA24/01842: An application for proposed holiday accommodation at Lower Bodannon Port Isaac was withdrawn by the applicant.

It came after concerns were raised by Cornwall National Landscape who said among their concerns: “The previous application appeared to go beyond what one might reasonably consider to be a conversion scheme but was loosely based on conservation principles for the alterations sought.

“This scheme is essentially a new build and proposes an additional residential unit (for permanent occupation) in the countryside and what exists on site at present already incorporates substantial rebuild. Coupled with raised walls and new rooflines it would be difficult to reasonably argue that this reflected a conversion scheme and we would therefore question if it is more appropriate to consider the scheme against policies for new build accommodation in the open countryside for which exceptional justification is required.

“The scheme does not currently comply with specific requirements for the conversion of rural buildings under the Cornwall National Landscape (AONB) which states explicitly that “conversion (must) very substantially retains the scale, character and appearance of the original building with repair generally preferred to renovation and (that) The conversion does not give rise to the introduction of uncharacteristic fenestration or domestication of the setting or the introduction of conspicuous domestic paraphernalia into the setting of the building”.

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