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Prepare a planning application

Outline planning permission and Reserved matters

When to use an Outline planning application

You can make an Outline planning application to find out whether we are likely to approve a proposal at an early stage of the design process. An Outline planning application is only suitable for large-scale development affecting more than 10 homes or 1000sqm of floorspace. This type of planning application allows you to submit fewer details about the proposed development, and other details are agreed upon by a separate 'Reserved matters' application at a later stage.

We recommend that you apply for pre-application advice to find out how much information we will need you to submit before you make your outline planning application. 

When you are ready, you can submit your planning application on the Planning Portal.

Apply for planning permission 

Validation checklist for Outline planning permission applications

Required for all Outline planning permission applications

  • Application form

    What you need to do

    Provide your contact information and details about the development that you need outline planning permission for.

    Make sure you:

    • use the 'Outline planning consent' application from the Planning Portal
    • fill in all relevant parts of the form
    • sign and date the application form before you submit it

    If you're not able to submit your application online, download copies of all application forms from the Planning Portal website.

    Why we need this

    This is a national requirement set out in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) 2015 (as amended).

  • Ownership certificate

    What you need to do

    Fill in the certificate to confirm who owns the application site. The certificate information is included as a section of the application form. You must complete and submit either Certificate A, B, C or D with your application form and also submit the relevant Notice type if required.

    There are four certificate types and two Notice types:

    • Certificate A - Sole ownership and no agricultural tenants
    • Certificate B - either you're not the owner but know who is or you are not the sole owner but you know who the other owners / agricultural tenants are; you need to also complete Notice 1
    • Certificate C - either you're not the owner but you know some of the other owners / agricultural tenants or you're an owner but only know some of the other owners / agricultural tenants; you need to also complete Notices 1 and 2
    • Certificate D - either you're not the owner and do not know the owner(s) or you're an owner but do not know any other owner(s) / agricultural tenant(s); you need also to complete Notice 2

    Download Notice 1. (PDF, 127kb)

    Download Notice 2. (PDF, 127kb)

    Why we need this

    This is a national requirement set out in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) 2015 (as amended).

  • Location Plan

    What you need to do

    Submit a plan of the site showing the application site in relation to the surrounding area.

    Make sure you:

    • scale plans at 1:1250 or 1:2500 and include a scale bar on each plan, on A4 or A3 paper size
    • use an up-to-date base map
    • show roads or buildings on land adjoining the application site (labelling at least two roads)
    • outline the application site clearly in red; this must include all land required for access to the site from a public highway, visibility splays, landscaping, car parking and open areas around buildings
    • outline any additional land under the ownership of the applicant in blue if it immediately adjoins the proposed area

    Read more about how to prepare a valid plan.

    Why we need this

    This is a national requirement set out in The Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) 2015 (as amended).

  • Site Plan

    What you need to do

    Submit a plan of the site showing the development in relation to the boundaries and existing on-site buildings.

    Make sure you:

    • scale plans at 1:100 or 1:50 and include a scale bar on each plan, on A4 or A3 paper size
    • include an arrow to show the direction of north
    • clearly label and number all immediately adjoining buildings and all main roads surrounding the site
    • outline the application site clearly in red. This must include all land required for access to the site from a public highway, visibility splays, landscaping, car parking and open areas around buildings
    • outline in blue any other land within the applicant's control that is close to or adjoining the application site

    Read more about how to prepare a valid plan.

    You can use an external service to buy a site plan.

    Why we need this

    This is a national requirement set out in The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015.

  • Fee

    What you need to do

    Our application fees are set by the government. You must pay a fee for most application types. There are some fee exemptions which you can check on our planning applications types and fees webpage. 

    Make sure you:

    • find out the correct fee for your application type
    • make your payment online when you submit your application using the Planning Portal 
    • respond as soon as possible if we contact you for additional payment

    Check how much you need to pay

    View our guide on planning application types and fees to check how much you need to pay. 

    You can also:

    Why we need this

    Planning fees are a national requirement set out in The Town and Country Planning (Fees for Applications, Deemed Applications, Requests and Site Visits) (England) Regulations 2012.

  • Information about the proposed use or uses

    What you need to do 

    Provide supporting information to outline the proposed development. The type of supporting information you need to submit will depend on your application.

    Other supporting information will be required to help progress the application, however the details might change depending on which matters are reserved. Usually, the following details will be needed at the outline stage:

    • current, prior and proposed use
    • the size of the site
    • hours of opening and employment information
    • number of proposed dwellinghouses
    • Flood risk assessment

    Why we need this

    To help us assess your outline planning application.

  • Fire Statement

    What you need to do

    Submit details on how the proposed development meets the highest fire safety standards, to meet the requirements of London Plan 2021 Policy D12 (B).

    Make sure you include all information required in the London Plan Policy D12 (B) further guidance document, including:

    • the building construction methods, products and materials used (including manufacturer details)
    • the means of escape for all building users: suitably designed stair cores, escape for building users who are disabled or require level access and associated evacuation strategy
    • features that reduce the risk to life: fire alarm systems, passive and active fire safety measures and associated management and maintenance plans
    • access for fire service personnel and equipment
    • how provision will be made within the curtilage of the site to enable fire appliances to gain access to the building  
    • ensuring that any potential future modifications to the building will take into account and not compromise the base build fire safety and protection measures

    Refer to further guidance by the Greater London Authority on the requirements of a fire safety strategy.

    Refer to further guidance on London Plan policy D12 (B).

    Why we need this

    To ensure the highest fire safety standards are achieved on all developments in the borough.

    Relevant planning policy:

    • London Plan 2021 Policy D12 (B)

  • Biodiversity Net Gain

    What you need to do

    National requirements

    From 12 February 2024, you must demonstrate how your major development site meets the minimum mandatory requirement of 10% biodiversity net gain over the pre-development value of the site. The minimum information that you must submit is set out in paragraph 9 of the draft Biodiversity Net Gain Planning Practice Guidance.

    Some of these requirements are included in the standard application form available on the Planning Portal. With your application, you must include a completed statutory biodiversity metric and a scaled plan.

    The metric should be completed by a competent person with specialist knowledge of habitat types and conditions, such as an Ecologist, who can advise on the calculations. You can find an ecology consultant on the CIEEM website.

    You must also explain how a biodiversity net gain approach has been taken at the development site. This must be carried out in line with the ecological mitigation hierarchy of avoiding and minimising impacts first before BNG is applied. 

    Extra information on the proposed BNG strategy will be required for schemes that are proposing significant biodiversity and/ or the use of off-site biodiversity gains. 

    The government has advice on exemptions from the BNG requirement.  If you think your site is exempt, then you should submit a statement with your application to explain why.  You might need to submit evidence with this statement. 

    Make sure you:

    • use the statutory metric as early as possible in the site design process to help avoid biodiversity loss
    • follow the biodiversity gain hierarchy which prioritises on-site BNG first
    • consider how BNG and the London Plan’s Urban Greening Factor policy G5 can be optimised at design stage. Meeting UGF can contribute towards the achievement of BNG
    • consider how the location of on-site biodiversity relates to adjoining habitats, green corridors or existing green space within the site and beyond the red-line boundary
    • consider how suitable multi-functional biodiversity enhancements can form part of the site’s landscaping and amenity space strategy
    • check whether your site is in or close to a designated park, open space or Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs)
    • for information on biodiversity and protected species in Southwark, refer to the Southwark's Nature Action Plan 2020

    Local requirements

    In addition to the national requirements, we require the following:

    • a completed Statutory Biodiversity Metric, with the post-development tabs completed
    • a Biodiversity Report that:
      • explains how a biodiversity net gain approach has been taken at the development site. This must be carried out in line with the ecological mitigation hierarchy of avoiding and minimising impacts first before Biodiversity Net Gain is applied
      • shows how you have followed the Biodiversity Gain Hierarchy. This should refer to the post-completed development tabs of the Statutory Biodiversity metric 
      • justifies any use of off-site biodiversity units or statutory biodiversity credits; note that the proposed use of statutory biodiversity credits should be discussed with the case officer at pre-application stage
      • shows how you have applied the strategic significance criteria 
      • explains how you propose to secure biodiversity gains and their management, maintenance and monitoring for the 30-year period
      • shows how you have followed the Biodiversity Gain Hierarchy. This should also refer to the post-development tabs of the completed Statutory Biodiversity metric 
      • justifies any use of off-site biodiversity units  
      • justifies any reliance upon statutory biodiversity credits  
      • shows how you have applied the strategic significance criteria 
      • explains how you propose to secure biodiversity gains and their management, maintenance and monitoring for the 30-year period

    We also require the following plans and drawings: 

    • on-site baseline habitat plan  
    • on-site post-intervention proposed habitat plan  
    • if off-site BNG is proposed, anff-site baseline habitat plan and an off-site post-intervention proposed habitat plan  

    The plans should identify all different habitats referred to in the Metric submission so we can check the size and location of habitat parcels.

    When you need to submit this

    You must submit the minimum biodiversity net gain requirements and the local requirements for all outline planning applications for major development. 

    Why we need it

    From 12 February 2024, most major applications will need to meet the mandatory Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) requirements of the Environment Act (2021). Major developments will need to achieve a minimum of a 10% increase in the biodiversity value of the site. This is in addition to any biodiversity, species survey reports, for example, bats, tree surveys and/or environmental assessments that are required for your site.  Refer to the Ecology and Environmental sections of the Validation checklist for more details. 

    Relevant planning policy:

    • London Plan 2021 Policies G5, G6, and G7 
    • Southwark Plan 2022 policies P59, P60, and P61 

When to use a Reserved matters application

After outline planning permission has been granted, you must submit a ’reserved matters’ application within three years of the consent. 

Validation checklist for reserved matters applications

Required for all Reserved matters applications

 

Page last updated: 05 June 2024

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