Local councils (city, town and parish councils) are the statutory bodies often referred to as the first tier of Local Government. Whilst they act independently of Cornwall Council, an active partnership of joint working is essential in delivering local accountability and responsiveness.
We are keen to ensure that local communities have the opportunities to influence decision making to ensure that public services reflect local circumstances; one of the key mechanisms to deliver this vision is through enhancing the role of local councils.
The role of local councils in the planning process goes beyond acting as the eyes and ears of their local communities; they can, for example, influence decisions and policies that affect them, develop city/town/parish plans, identify potential sites for affordable housing, or lead community engagement in implementation projects. When determining planning applications, we encourage close partnership working with local councils to deliver local services which give the best deal for the community.
Local councils can take a proactive role in facilitating developments that will meet the needs of their community through close working relationships with the council. The local council can, for example, use their knowledge to help identify landowners to enable affordable housing development where there is an identified local need; and they can establish the evidence base for any identified local housing need and for community infrastructure needs through parish questionnaires.
We strongly encourage developers to consult with local communities and local councils as early as possible prior to developing their planning applications for formal submission. This method of consultation will vary relative to the scale of the development. For example, a householder extension should involve discussions with immediate neighbours, whilst a major development should involve consultation meetings with the local councils and local residents.
Pre-application engagement with the community and local councils helps to address site specific issues that the community may have, such as the need for a particular type of development in the locality. From May 2017, the Council initiated an enhanced pre-application community engagement process. As part of this process, planning case officers will advise applicants and developers on the most appropriate form of engagement for a proposal and this advice will be provided as part of all pre-application discussions.