Planning

Planning Information

Welcome to the Planning Department at the Council of the Isles of Scilly

Please explore our webpages but if you cannot find the information you require email planning@scilly.gov.uk and we can help you. Email or phoning on 01720 424455 is the best way to communicate with the department. Most correspondence is acceptable via electronic communication but if you need to submit paper copies please take them to the reception desk at the Library during opening hours and hand it to the receptionist or place in the post box in front of the desk. Please DO NOT leave post in any unattended location. The postal address for the Council is:

Old Wesleyan Chapel
Garrison Lane,
Hugh Town,
St Mary's
Isles of Scilly
TR21 0JD

This is where all post should be directed (please do not hand deliver post to the Porth Mellon Enterprise Centre).

NEW: The Planning Department offer an in-person Planning Advice Service where we will attempt to answer your burning planning questions: Click this link to find our more

Officers work on a hybrid basis (part in the Council Offices and part from remote locations) because of this we are not always in the office and as such don't offer an in person drop-in service, only the above bookable sessions. The best way to contact us is via the methods outlined above or we can be contacted through the Council's main phone number: 0300 1234 105. Regardless of our working location we always have access to phone lines/voicemail and email in our remote working so we can easily arrange electronic meetings, if the bookable sessions are not suitable. There is one qualified Planning Officer on the Islands, this is currently Chief Planning Officer Lisa Walton.  An appointment will be required to speak to the Planning Officer which can be arranged via the email address above, the Council's main phone number above or the Planning Department's direct number 01720 424455. Often the planning department support staff can assist before speaking with the CPO and information can be provided to better inform discussions. 

We also partner with other mainland Local Authorities, who can handle planning applications on our behalf and make recommendations.  We have previously worked with Exmoor National Park Authority and we are currently [during 2024] working with South Downs National Park Authority. All planning decisions are made by the Local Planning Authority at the Council of the Isles of Scilly.

If you wish to submit a new planning application, the best way is to submit through the Planning Portal. We do, however, still accept the submission of applications by email. Any application submitted by post may be subject to delays, given the remote-working nature of staff. You should provide all the information necessary as set out in both the list of national planning requirements and local validation requirements for submitting a planning application in order to reduce the chances of your application being invalid. Please ensure you allow adequate time to plan any development project ahead of time. The Planning process can reveal many unforeseen constraints, adding delays or costs to a development project. 

For information on how we handle data and Information associated with planning. Please see our Privacy Notice.

General Information

The Planning Department discharges the Council's statutory planning and related duties and plays a key role in managing competing pressures to allow a viable and sustainable community to thrive on the Isles of Scilly. There is a balance to be struck between protecting our unique environment and allowing sufficient development to house local people and enable the economy to prosper and diversify. The purpose of planning, after all, is to effectively manage development and the use of land on behalf of the wider interests of the community.

You can find out more about the Local Plan (2015-2030) by clicking on the respective links on the left of this page under Planning Policy.

You can find out about the Planning Application Process and a list of Current Planning Applications by clicking the links on the left under Planning ApplicationsIn October 2018 Members of Full Council approved the adoption of a Planning Protocol. This was updated in January 2021 and seeks to provide clarification to anyone involved in the planning process as to the standards and conduct of Officers and Members when determining planning applications.  The Planning Protocol 2021 Update can be viewed by clicking the link.

The department reports to most monthly Full Council Committee Meetings and is responsible for upholding the Isles of Scilly Local Plan, determining planning applications and making decisions that conserve and preserve the AONB and preserve or enhance the character of the conservation area and the important natural and historic environments. As well as directly consulting with the community, there is ongoing dialogue on the islands with local organisations such as the Isles of Scilly AONB (now known as the National Landscape) Partnership, the Duchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and with national agencies such as the Environment Agency, Historic England, Active Travel England and Natural England to ensure that all decisions are fully informed.

For the national planning context please visit the Planning Portal or the Government's Website. The Planning Portal provides a guide detailing information on all aspects of the planning process. You can submit your planning application online from the Planning Portal website.

The Department of Levelling-up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) have published a Plain English Guide to the Planning System which gives a good overview of the English planning system and how it works.

How much does it cost to make a Planning application? 

A list of locally set fees and charges for services offered by the department can be found here. Planning application fees, however, are not set locally but are set nationally by Central Government. The latest planning fees can be found here. Planning Fees increased nationally by 25% (all applications) and 35% (major applications) on 6th December 2023 and are intended to go up annually, in line with inflation

Planning Appeals

If your planning application is unsuccessful, you can chose to re-submit your application, but you will need to address the reasons for refusal. If you do not feel able to address the reasons for refusal or feel the Local Planning Authority has been unreasonable in refusing your application (or imposed conditions that you feel are inappropriate) then you can appeal to the Planning Inspectorate.  We provide further guidance on our appeals page and provide a list of recent appeals (back to 2015) here

Planning Enforcement

The Council can investigate and act if someone is developing, altering or changing the use of land or buildings without permission. Some types of development, alterations, or changes of use do not need permission. If permission is needed this is called a breach of planning control. We provide more information on the Enforcement Pages including how to raise an enforcement complaint.

Planning Aid

Planning Aid England (PAE) provides free, independent, professional planning advice and support to help individuals and communities engage with the planning system.  This includes online guidance and a limited amount of free email advice which can be accessed via an online enquiry form.  In some circumstances PAE may be able to offer additional bespoke support.  To find out more visit https://www.rtpi.org.uk/planning-aid/.

There is also free advice available at: www.planningaid.co.uk