Planning Permission for Polhawn Fort Cornwall

Cutting Ties to Secure New Dwelling at Polhawn Fort

Local Authority



Applications, Appeals
  • Commercial
  • Residential
Decoration Decoration

Application approved to cease a legal requirement that accommodation at the Fort could only be used in a business capacity

Client Private Client
Author Iestyn John

Project Overview

Bell Cornwell has recently had great success in securing an approval which will allow our clients to use a building at Polhawn Fort near Torpoint in Cornwall as a dwelling.

The proposal concerned an application to cease a long standing legal requirement that accommodation at the Fort could only be used as manager’s quarters. Polhawn Fort – a grade II* listed Victorian fortification sited on the cliffs of the Rame Head peninsula and within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) – has been used by our clients as a hotel and then as a wedding venue.

Following many years operating the Fort as a highly successful business, our clients applied to Cornwall Council to discharge the legal agreement which restricted the accommodation’s use. Despite providing a comprehensive justification based on well over 20 years of experience that there was no need whatsoever for manager’s accommodation on the property, our clients’ application was refused by the Council.

The Council set out multiple objections to the application. They indicated that the loss of the accommodation would undermine the business, that the application was contrary to Council’s policies on new housing in the countryside and that the accommodation – a substantial two storey house – derived from a holiday chalet and was therefore subject to specific local policies which would prevent the change.

Planning Permission for Polhawn Fort Cornwall

The Appeal

On our clients’ behalf, we appealed the Council’s decision with the intention of demonstrating that the Council’s irrational arguments did not meet the statutory tests on the use of planning obligations. Following an informal hearing, the Inspector unreservedly agreed with our position and discharged the planning obligation.

As a result of our work, our clients are now able to use the house in an unrestricted manner and free, if they so choose, of any association with the business use of the Fort. Given the nature of the Rame Head area and the highly restrictive nature of the planning environment relating to it, the decision represents an important success.

Key to the outcome was our ability to demonstrate a very thorough understanding of the clients’ business and the history of the property so that the Council’s objections could be tested – and found wanting – against the very specific requirements set out in planning regulations on the use of planning obligations.

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