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Submitting a planning application

The planning application process

This webpage provides an overview of the procedure once the council receives your planning application, and the stages that your application will entail.  

The planning application process can be complicated with many stages depending on each application type.

You can download a flowchart (pdf, 185kb) of the planning application process.

The validation process

Once we receive your planning application, it will be checked by our Validation Team to ensure that all the required documentation have been provided. This is known as the 'validation' process.

Invalid applications 

If your application is missing required documentation or the wrong fee amount has been paid, we will ‘invalidate’ your application and send you a letter outlining the additional information that we require in order to validate your application. Upon receipt of this letter, you'll have 21 days to supply the required documentation. If you do not provide the information within 35 days, then your application will be returned.

Valid applications

Once validated, the application will be allocated to a case officer and you, or your agent, will receive an acknowledgement letter. The acknowledgement letter will include the case officer's contact telephone number and email address. The consultation process then starts, allowing at least 21 days for responses. Depending on the application type and size, we may consult using one or more of the following methods:

  • individual letters to neighbours
  • site notice (usually attached to a lamppost or other fixture near site)
  • press adverts (Southwark News)

All applications can be viewed and tracked within the planning register. After expiry of the consultation period, the case officer will complete a full assessment of the proposed development and agree the appropriate decision level for the application. Planning applications have to be decided in line with the council’s development plan - unless there's a very good reason not to do so.

Planning decisions on householders and other minor applications are usually completed within 8 weeks. Major applications take up to 13 weeks or longer (through a formal planning performance agreement with the applicant) to decide.

Decisions on planning applications are made either under delegated powers or by the planning committee or sub-committee made up of elected members (councillors) depending on the size of the development or a 'call-in' from members. These meetings are open to the general public. The applicant and a representative of objectors and supporters are allowed to address the meetings. Councillors will discuss then vote to grant or refuse planning permission. For more information about how a decision is made at Planning Committee, see this extract of the council’s constitution.

Matters reserved for decision making by the planning committee and planning sub-committee are specified on pages 43 and 45 of the Southwark constitution  respectively. The constitution was published in May 2012.

After receiving a decision, if you believe an incorrect decision has been reached or where a decision has not been made within the above statutory time frames or an application has not been validated, you have the right to appeal.

Validation checklists

Before you submit your application, use our validation checklists to ensure that you have prepared all the required documents. If you don't include all the required documents, your application will be made invalid. It's also important to refer to the fee list before submitting your application.

Further planning application guidance

To view further guidance on validation requirements for more complex application types, see the list on the further guidance page.

CIL Liability - Submission of CIL Forms

All planning applications must be accompanied by a CIL Additional Information Form (Assessment Form). The completed form will provide necessary information to allow us to determine whether the development is liable for the Mayoral and Southwark Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)

Where the development is CIL liable, the owner of the land (for example, material interest in the relevant land), is responsible to pay the levy, unless another party has assumed liability. The assumption of liability form can be submitted to the council with the planning application to ensure that the CIL liability notice is issued to the correct party. 

To understand more about the CIL procedure and Southwark policy, please go to our dedicated CIL webpage. The Planning Portal's guidance  also provide further details on CIL and CIL forms. 

Please see the council’s data protection standards for further information on data protection.

Please see the delegated report authorising consultation on the revised validation checklists (pdf, 176kb) for further background on these changes.

If the above documents don't provide the information you require, email us your enquiry.

Page last updated: 15 July 2021

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