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Submitting a planning application

The planning application process

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.

After your application has been received, it will be checked to ensure that all the required documentation has been provided. This is known as the 'validation' process. If your application is missing required documentation, we'll invalidate it and send you a letter setting out the additional information we require in order to validate the application. Your application will be returned if you do not supply the required information within 35 days of the initial non-valid application notification.

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 householder 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 timeframes or an application has not been validated, you have the right to appeal.

How to submit a planning application

The most effective method of submitting your application form is online via the Planning Portal.

It's important you include all relevant information (eg drawings, photos, other supporting documents etc) for your application to be processes as quickly as possible. Please also provide an email address where available for quicker contact.

How to avoid delays in processing your application

An application will only be made valid and progressed once we receive all necessary items. These may include an appropriate fee, plans and any other supporting documentation where applicable.

Applications are often made invalid for the following reasons:

  • unpaid application fees
  • site plan not submitted, or site plan submitted but not adequately identifying the site (to be edged in red)
  • existing and proposed plans not showing a site and scheme accurately
  • drawings submitted without a scale bar, without a written scale (eg 1:100), without clearly annotated dimensions and/or displaying a 'do not scale' bar

Incorrectly completed application forms with:

  • incorrect site address details (eg flat number not stated)
  • incorrect or incomplete descriptions of a development which do not include all aspects of the proposal requiring planning permission
  • missing ownership certificates
  • forms not dated and unsigned

Missing supporting documents required for specific types of application, such as: 

  • Design and Access Statement
  • Heritage Statement (for properties within a conservation area)
  • Schedule of Works (for listed buildings)
  • Flood Risk Assessment
  • Daylight and Sunlight Impact Assessment
  • Noise Assessment, Air Quality Assessment, Arboricultural/Construction/Environment/Management Plan, etc

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.

Further information

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). Please see the Planning Portal's guidance for additional details on CIL.

The owner of the land is responsible to pay the levy, unless another party has assumed liability. An Assumption of CIL 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.

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 your enquiry to planning.enquiries@southwark.gov.uk.

Page last updated: 26 January 2021

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