Cornwall’s Approach to Replacement Dwellings

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Replacement dwellings schemes – a ‘win-win’ for both parties

Planner Insight
Policy & Legislation
South West
Author Dan Rogers
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Bell Cornwell’s team of planning consultants in Cornwall are regularly asked to advise clients who wish to secure planning permission for the replacement of an existing dwelling with a new house. We have secured various approvals for these types of schemes.

In Cornwall, as elsewhere, such schemes offer benefits not only to clients who are looking to secure modern accommodation but also to the local authority.  Such schemes represent an opportunity for local authorities to replace old, often poor quality, houses with new dwellings with a much better design and environmental performance. Replacement dwelling schemes can therefore be a ‘win-win’ for both parties.

Recognising this potential, Cornwall’s Local Plan contains Policy 7 which seeks to guide proposals for replacement dwellings. This provides some flexibility to allow new houses to depart from the existing in terms of its siting and design but is nonetheless quite restrictive. It still requires proposals to be “broadly comparable” in size, scale and bulk. The strict implementation of this policy has proved to be unduly limiting and the Council have therefore recently published further guidance to assist its officers in their consideration of replacement dwelling schemes. This is notable because it makes it clear that the terms of Policy 7 should be read with considerable flexibility and that a narrow interpretation of the policy should be avoided. It also notes that the quality of design and compatibility with local character should be emphasised ahead of size comparison. This guidance is very welcome and is consistent with the Council’s wider desire to take a pragmatic approach to new development where a high standard of design or sustainability is on offer. It will be of considerable interest to anyone thinking about a replacement dwelling scheme.

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