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.

Page last updated: 10 February 2020