Timely or Dreckly? Understanding Planning Permission Timeframes in Cornwall

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    Introduction to Planning Permission Timeframes

    When undertaking a construction or renovation project, understanding the timelines associated with obtaining planning permission is crucial for effective project management. In Cornwall, the duration for securing various types of planning permission can vary based on the nature and scale of the proposed development.

    Here’s an overview of the typical planning permission timeframes for different types of project in Cornwall, along with key considerations for property owners and developers.

    Wristwatch on a person's wrist.

    General Planning Permission Timeframes in Cornwall

    Cornwall Council provides a general outline of the timeframes for processing different types of planning permission applications:

    • Householder Applications: 8 weeks
    • Minor Applications: 8 weeks
    • Lawful Development Certificates: 8 weeks
    • Major Applications: 13 weeks

    These timeframes are indicative and are subject to the submission of a “valid” application, which occurs when all required information has been received.



    Householder Applications

    Householder applications, which typically involve smaller-scale developments such as extensions and alterations to existing dwellings, are generally processed within 8 weeks. This category covers a wide range of projects that directly impact residential properties.

    Minor Applications

    Minor applications encompass a broader scope of developments, including small-scale residential and commercial projects. The processing time for minor applications is also set at 8 weeks, provided that all necessary information is submitted at the outset.

    Lawful Development Certificates

    Lawful Development Certificates (LDCs) are sought to confirm the legal status of a proposed development. This process typically takes 8 weeks and is particularly relevant for projects that fall within permitted development rights or require formal validation of their lawfulness.



    Major Applications

    For more substantial and complex developments, such as large-scale residential or commercial projects, the timeframe for securing planning permission is extended to 13 weeks. Major applications involve in-depth assessments and consultations due to their potential impact on the surrounding area.

    Can Deadlines Be Extended?

    Calendar with pins showing a deadline.

    The short answer is yes. The planning department can request an extension of time to extend the deadline of your application. Either the applicant or their agent must give approval for the extension of time before the extended deadline takes effect and you do not have to give permission. However, extensions of time should only requested when a planning officer is genuinely unable to make a decision before the deadline and therefore refusing to sign is unlikely to speed up the decision itself and may cause issues if your application goes to appeal.

    Therefore, we generally advise to sign an extension of time where this is requested by your planning officer in most cases.


    Understanding the planning permission timeframes is essential for effectively managing construction and renovation projects in Cornwall. By being aware of the typical processing durations for different types of applications, property owners and developers can plan their projects more effectively and anticipate the necessary lead times for obtaining the required permissions.

    It’s important to note that the indicated timeframes are general guidelines, and the actual processing duration may vary based on factors such as the complexity of the proposed development, the need for additional assessments, and any potential consultations with stakeholders or relevant authorities.

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