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 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 community.

The Isles of Scilly archipelago covers 1600 hectares and is home to a permanent population of around 2200. The islands are designated as a Conservation Area (1975), an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) (1976) and a Heritage Coast. There are 26 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, a Special Area of Conservation under the EU Habitats Directive, a Special Protection Area under the EU Birds Directive, a Ramsar site (international designation for bird life) and a non-statutory Marine Park.

There are 128 listed buildings, with a higher than average proportion of Grade I and II* and 238 Scheduled Monuments; the highest density per hectare of any English authority. There is also a Grade I Registered Park and Garden at Tresco Abbey Gardens as well as a wealth of shipwrecks and other marine archaeology in and around the islands.

This outstanding environment is of international importance and brings in approximately 120,000 visitors a year sustaining the tourism industry that makes up 85% of the islands' economy. There is pressure for development, but policies restrict it to that which is essential although this still creates a lot of building activity for a small area.

The department reports to the Full Council Committee 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 conservation area and the important natural and historic environments.

As well as being directly involved with the community, there is ongoing dialogue on the islands with local organisations such as the AONB PartnershipDuchy of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Wildlife Trust and with national agencies such as Historic England and Natural England to ensure that all decisions are fully informed.


The planning department is located at: Town Hall, The Parade, St. Mary's, Isles of Scilly, TR21 0LW.

For enquiries, or to view a current planning application, please contact the department on Tel: 01720 424350 or by email on

An appointment will be required to speak to a Planning Officer, this can be arranged via the contact details above, otherwise, please call the Council's One Stop Shop on 01720 424000 to leave a message or be put through.


For the national planning context please visit the Planning Portal. 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.

Details on the National Planning Policy Framework and very useful Planning Practice Guidance providing information about all aspects of the planning process can be found here.

The Department of Communities and Local Government have published a Plain English Guide to the Planning System which gives a good overview of the English planning system and how it works.


A list of fees and charges for services offered by the department can be found here. Planning application fees are set by Central Government and can be found here. PLEASE NOTE - These are due to increase by 20% on 17th January 2018.

Information on how to make payments.