The Cornwall Design Guide

4th July 2022

In December 2021, Cornwall Council adopted the Cornwall Design Guide which needs to be considered in the preparation of development schemes. The aim is, of course, to deliver high quality and sustainable places to live.

The Guide is split into sections, which cover the following matters:

  1. Introduction and Vision
  2. Context
  3. Identity
  4. Built Form
  5. Movement
  6. Nature
  7. Public Space
  8. Uses
  9. Homes and Buildings
  10. Resilient Places
  11. Lifespan – made to last

It covers a whole range of design matters and the Council suggest the Guide needs to be read in conjunction with the following documents:

  • The National Planning Policy Framework,
  • The Design: Process and Tools National Planning Practice Guidance,
  • The National Design Guide,
  • The Cornwall Local Plan,
  • Any design-related policies contained within a neighbourhood plan (should one exist),
  • Any approved masterplans or design codes for the area, settlement or a particular site.

The Cornwall Design guide also supplements some of the work that has been undertaken as part of the Climate Emergency Development Plan Document (DPD), which is currently in draft form and was submitted to the Secretary of State for independent examination on 8th November 2021. The examination of this plan took place from 21 to 24 June 2022, and the Inspector’s report is awaited.

Given the strategic nature of Cornwall Council’s Local Plan, policy is heavily supplemented by Guidance Notes, Saved Policies, Supplementary Planning Documents, Chief Officer Advice Notes and Neighbourhood Planning Policy. Due to the wide range of issues that the Local Plan has to cover, these documents allow the Council to provide additional detail which can be applied to specific policy issues. Some of these additions are formally adopted as policy and form part of the Development Plan – other documents (such as Chief Officer Advice Notes) are not and carry less weight.

It is important to understand the relevant “weight” (i.e. level of importance) that needs to be given to both emerging (e.g. those still going through the adoption process) and adopted policies, at both the County and Neighbourhood Plan level.  Understanding the timing at which relevant policies could ‘bite’ is important and can directly affect your development proposals and the work required to inform an application.

We have an excellent understanding of these matters, and if you have any questions regarding the policy position in Cornwall, please get in touch for further assistance.

Daniel Rogers, Senior Associate

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