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Prepare a planning application

Lawful Development Certificate

When to use a Lawful Development Certificate application

You can use a Lawful Development Certificate application to confirm that:

  • proposed works are permitted development (which means they comply with the General Permitted Development Order legislation) 
  • existing developments have been completed for enough time to become immune from enforcement action (see the Town and Country Planning Act for more details) 
  • works or activities are not ‘development’ and do not require planning permission

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

Apply for planning permission 

Validation checklist for Lawful Development Certificate applications

Required for all Lawful Development Certificate applications

Required for all existing Lawful Development Certificate applications

  • Evidence of an existing use

    What you need to do 

    Provide evidence to confirm when the works were completed. The evidence you need to submit will depend on what you are applying for. The evidence should be clear and convincing, and you should submit at least two different types of evidence.

    This evidence can include:

    • Building Control Final Inspection Certificate
    • copies of rent or account documents
    • Council Tax, valuation tax letter, or statements specifically addressed to the flat number or floor or clearly identifying the unit in question
    • photographs 
    • Google Street View screenshots
    • invoices from construction work 

    In some cases, we might accept letters if they are used to support a sworn statement. Statements from owners or applicants that give important evidence should always be sworn in the proper form and be original documents.

    Why we need this

    To help us assess how long the development has existed.

Required for some proposed Lawful Development Certificate applications

  • 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 (Development Management Procedure) (England) 2015 (as amended).

  • Existing and proposed floor plans

    What you need to do 

    If you are making any changes to the inside of the building, then you should submit existing and proposed floor plan drawings. Floor plans show how each floor of the building is set out. The floor plan drawings should show what the building looks like now and after the proposed works. 

    Make sure you:

    • submit an individual floor plan for each floor of the building
    • scale plans at 1:100 or 1:50 on A4 and A3 paper size 
    • include a scale bar on each plan
    • include a unique reference number on each drawing
    • show any proposed buildings (including household extensions and outbuildings) in context with neighbouring buildings
    • include written dimensions, especially for proposed extensions
    • include details of materials used in the development

    Read more about how to prepare a valid plan.

    Why we need this

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

  • Existing and proposed elevations

    What you need to do 

    If you are making any changes to the outside of the building, then you should submit existing and proposed elevation drawings. Elevation drawings show what the building looks like from the outside. They show the front, back and sides of the building. The elevation drawings should show what the building looks like from the outside now and after the proposed works. 

    Make sure you:

    • submit an individual elevation drawing for the front, back, and both sides of the building
    • scale plans at 1:100 or 1:50 on A4 and A3 paper size
    • include a scale bar on each plan
    • include a unique reference number on each drawing
    • show any proposed buildings (including household extensions and outbuildings) in context with neighbouring buildings
    • include written dimensions, especially for proposed extensions
    • include details of materials used in the development

    Read more about how to prepare a valid plan.

    Why we need this

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

  • Existing and proposed cross-section drawings

    What you need to do 

    If you are making any changes to ceiling or roof heights, for example, basement works or a roof extension, then you should submit existing and proposed cross-section drawings. This also includes changes to ground levels such as sunken patios or decking. Section drawings show the height and size of the building stories and internal features. 

    Make sure you:

    • scale plans at 1:100 or 1:50 on A4 and A3 paper size 
    • include a scale bar on each plan
    • include a unique reference number on each drawing
    • include written dimensions, especially for proposed extensions
    • include measurements of ceiling heights on the drawings, especially for loft and basement conversions
    • label any living space with a ceiling height of less than 2.3m

    Read more about how to prepare a valid plan.

    Why we need this

    To provide details on internal and external ground level and ceiling heights and ensure these spaces provide good residential amenities.

    Relevant planning policy:

    • Southwark Plan 2022 policies P12, P13, P56

  • Cover letter (for proposed changes of use within the same planning use class)

    What you need to do 

    If you're making an application for a change of use within the same use class, you must submit a cover letter.

    The cover letter should confirm:

    • the existing use
    • the proposed use
    • any changes taking place to the outside of the building

    Why we need this

    To help us understand all the proposed changes so that we can do a full assessment.

  • Supporting information (for works to a listed building)

    What you need to do 

    If you are proposing changes to a listed building then you must submit:

    • a detailed schedule of the proposed works
    • details of the listed building including the published listing description
    • a statement setting out why the works would not affect the special architectural or historic interest of the listed building and therefore do not require Listed Building Consent

    Why we need this

    To ensure that heritage assets are protected and enhanced by development.

    Relevant planning policy:

    • London Plan 2021 policies D1, D2, D4, HC1, and HC2
    • Southwark Plan 2022 policies P13, P14, P15, P16, P17, P18, P19, P20, P21, P23, P24, P25, and P26

Required for applications for works to your home

If you're making an application for works to your house, you should include the following details.

Extending your home

Make sure you:

  • submit at least one plan that must include the entire curtilage of the property. You must provide details of the area of the curtilage, and the area of the extension or outbuilding, in square metres
  • if side-facing windows are proposed, the plans must show whether these can be opened and if they are obscure glazed
  • label the existing and proposed building materials

Alterations to the roof including extensions, dormer windows, and roof lights

Make sure you:

  • include full calculations of the existing and proposed cubic content of the roof space
  • if you're proposing to install roof lights, mark how far they will project from the roof slope on the drawings 
  • if you're proposing dormer windows, mark the distance between the eaves of the original roof and the bottom of the dormer window on the drawings
  • label the existing and proposed building materials on the drawings

Front garden hardstanding

Make sure you:

  • confirm the proposed ground materials are semi-permeable

Page last updated: 17 July 2024

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