London Borough of Culture 2023

Back our bid to become the London Borough of Culture 2023

Back our bid

About the planning process

About planning

The planning application process can be separated into 6 key stages. The process is largely governed by legislation and is designed to allow the input of both expert and interested parties into the decision making process.

Stage 1 - Pre-application advice

Stage 2 - Application and validation

Stage 3 - Consultation and publicity

Stage 4 - Site visit and assessment

Stage 5 - Recommendation

Stage 6 - Decision

Stage 1 - Pre-application

Pre-application advice service

We encourage all applicants to seek advice before submitting an application, and offer a range of services including advice on householder, minor and major schemes. We will be able to advise you whether your proposal is likely to be approved or not, and can recommend changes to ensure that your planning application has the best chance of success.

Apply for pre-application advice

Permitted development

Before submitting an application you may want to use the Planning Portal to check whether your project requires either Planning or Building Control consent. The links below contain helpful guides for common projects;

Stage 2 - Application and validation

Validation

Sutton do not currently have a Local Validation List so all applications must meet national standards.

These are currently the top ten reasons applications are found invalid;

  1. Incomplete, unsigned or undated certificates (ie. Certificate of ownership, Agricultural Holdings certificate) and unsigned or undated declaration
  2. No site location plan submitted. Site location plan not drawn to the scale indicated or application site not edged in red
  3. Drawings show encroachment onto adjoining land and notice has not been served onto owners
  4. Not all the works that are shown on the plans are described on the application form
  5. No roof plans or site sections submitted with application
  6. Not all elevations submitted (all elevations are required where the proposed work or part of works will be visible)
  7. Installation of replacement window applications (these applications are often submitted with little or no details)
  8. Block Plan (absence of a plan indicating the exact location of proposed works drawn in relation to the existing buildings and site boundaries)
  9. Discrepancies between the floor plans and elevations submitted regarding the proposed works and frequently where dimensions are stated they are not accurate when compared with the scale indicated. (These discrepancies are very common and delay could be avoided if plans were checked thoroughly before submission)
  10. Incorrect fee or absence of the statutory planning fee

Information on design and access statements

Information on drainage and SuDS requirements

Applying for planning permission/certificate of lawfulness

Most planning applications are now submitted online and using the Planning Portal is the preferred way to submit your application to us. Registration is easy and you can complete your application form, buy site location plans, upload supporting documents and pay fees online. The benefits of applying online include:

  • You can work on your applications in draft before submission
  • Immediate delivery and acknowledgement
  • Savings on postage and printing costs
  • Online help function when completing applications
  • Online record of your completed applications 

Apply Online

Applying for Prior Approval

When applying for Prior Approval you can find all forms available for download. Once downloaded please complete and email to development management with all drawings and supporting documentation.

Please remember to check for the appropriate fee. This should then be paid online (Planning falls under Misc. Payments) and referenced in your submission email.

Help & Support

Use the Planning Portal Help Centre to support you with completing your online application. You can use the Help Centre if you encounter a problem filling out an application or have a query with how to use the Portal website. 

Sensitive Information

Please note that all documents submitted with your application could be made publicly available to view online once your application is valid. Should you wish us to consider posting a redacted copy please put your request in writing to developmentmanagement@sutton.gov.uk stating the application number, document name, information to be redacted and the reason this is required.

We do make all reasonable efforts to redact medical, financial and sensitive information (mobile numbers, email addresses, personal signatures) from application forms and documents submitted.

Architects’ Registration Board

If you are considering employing an architect please refer to the Architects’ Registration Board – the government body which maintains the Register listing every architect in the UK.  If you are appointing a planning consultant please refer to the online directory on the RTPI's website.

Stage 3 - Consultation and publicity

Consultation and advertisement of applications varies on the type of development that has been applied for. In general a mixture of letters, site notices and press adverts (Sutton Guardian) are used alongside our website which contains all applications. Details of how we consult on each type of application can be found in our Statement of Community Involvement.

Anyone has the right to comment on current applications, irrespective of how they came to know about it, or where they live. We usually ask for comments to be received within 21 days of the date of our notification. Please use the Public Access to see whether comments on a particular application are still being accepted.

Neighbours can view plans and comment using Public Access. If you wish to view an application in hard copy please email development management with the date and time you would like to view (giving at least 24 hours notice). We are open during normal office hours (9am to 5pm Monday to Friday) at 24 Denmark Road, Carshalton, SM5 2JG. 

Commenting on an application

Comments are best made after you have seen the planning application, when you have an understanding of what is proposed. Whether offering support, comment or objection you should do so by putting your comments in writing as soon as possible as verbal comments cannot be taken into account. Due to the volume of comments we receive we are unable to reply to each individual comment submitted, however a summary of all comments will be given in the officers report.

To submit your comments you will need to register online and submit them through Public Access, a tutorial video guidee is available to show you how. Please note that your comments will not be confidential and may be viewed as part of the application. Your name and address will be posted online and available to view as part of the application once submitted, however we do not publish any personal email addresses or phone numbers you may have registered online. Please do not put confidential information you do not wish to available online in the main body of any comments submitted.

Anonymous letters and emails will not be taken into account.

If several other people agree with your views you may wish to organise a petition which should be sent to development management. Petitions should clearly state the reasons for objection or support and must include the name and address of each individual and their signature. The Council will not respond to each individual named on the petition. The petition must also include the details of a person who can be contacted by the council on behalf of the petitioner. It will be that person's responsibility to keep the other petitioners informed.

Material considerations that the council can consider may include:

  • undue loss of privacy or overlooking;
  • loss of sunlight/daylight;
  • effect on trees;
  • access or traffic problems;
  • need for car parking;
  • unacceptable or incompatible use;
  • noise;
  • fumes;
  • excessive height or bulk of buildings;
  • inappropriate design/layout;
  • inadequate landscaping/means of enclosure.

The following are examples of commonly expressed concerns which the council cannot consider:

  • disputes over boundaries;
  • restrictive covenants, including ancient and other rights to light;
  • loss of value; 
  • inconvenience or other problems caused by building works;
  • opposition to business competition;
  • opposition to the principle of development when outline permission has already been granted for the same type of development; 
  • matters dealt with by other legislation for example building control
  • comments on an applicants morals, character or motives

 Stage 4 - Site visit and assessment

The site is inspected and the application assessed by the planning case officer, taking into account planning policies, consultation responses and public representations.

Where relevant, the planning officer will also gather any site specific information such as photographs. The case officer will only visit neighbouring properties if they feel it necessary to fully assess the application.

What is taken into account when making a decision on a planning application

The Council cannot refuse or approve a proposal simply because many people oppose or support it.

Planning applications must be assessed against the Sutton Local Plan, The London Plan and any other relevant development plans and policies, unless other considerations indicate otherwise. The weight that can be given to other considerations will depend on the circumstances of each case.

Just because many people object, it does not necessarily mean an application will be refused. Planning applications can only be refused on valid planning reasons. The number of objectors may indicate the strength of local feeling, but that in itself, may not be sufficient to result in a refusal. A single objection based on relevant planning matters can be effective, whereas a hundred irrelevant objections may carry no weight at all. If relevant planning objections are received from 10 or more separate addresses then the application will be referred to the Planning Committee (see below for further information).

Stage 5 - Recommendation

The planning officer will make a recommendation, via the an officers’ report on the application to the person or body authorised to make a decision.

Case officers do not make the final decision on applications. The officer’s report will include all of the relevant facts relating to the application in order to inform the decision maker.

Stage 6 - Decision

Most planning applications are decided at officer level under a scheme of delegation approved by the Council and published in its constitution, however some applications are decided by the Planning Committee.

Once a decision has been made it can be viewed on Public Access along with the officers report.

Planning committee

Attending and speaking at the Planning Committee

When an application is referred to the Planning Committee for a decision everyone who wrote in will be advised of the committee date so they can attend if they wish. 

Representatives who wish to speak in support of, or in opposition to, planning applications are able to address the Planning Committee at the discretion of the chairperson. Usually speakers are only allowed four minutes to address the committee, where there are several people who wish to comment they should choose one person to speak on their behalf or they can choose to split the time between them.

You can register to speak at the Planning Committee by completing the online registration form (note: this must be submitted by midday on the day of the meeting at the latest)

Residents who have not given prior notice may still register to speak in person up to 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. Speakers will be asked for their address, their interest in the application and, if appropriate, the organisation or group of residents they are representing.

Submitting written material to the Planning Committee?

Any written correspondence you have previously submitted before the reports dispatch in respect of the application has already been summarised in the officer’s report to be considered at the Committee meeting. Please note that only material planning considerations and, on occasion, non material considerations, will be summarised in the officers report. Should you wish the Committee to consider any additional written or photographic material to your original representation, please send it via email to committee services by midday on the Monday before the scheduled Planning Committee. It will then be distributed to Committee members and the appropriate Case Officer, who will share the information with the applicant, prior to the meeting.

This committee comprises of elected councillors from all parties. The committee receives written reports from the planning officers which include a recommendation to refuse or approve the application. The committee consider the reports, listen to objectors/supporters, the ward councillors and the applicant where appropriate, discuss the item and vote on the recommendation. Copies of the Agenda will be available online at least 5 working days before the committee date.

To view applications which are decided by committee, please visit the modern.gov - committee details site.

A list of Councillors who sit on the Planning Committee can also be viewed. 

Appeals

If an application is refused, or approved conditionally the applicant has the right to appeal (please note that objectors do not have the right of appeal against an application granted). Appeals are handled by the Planning Inspectorate, an independent government body. It is recommended that you seek professional advice before deciding whether to appeal as this can be an expensive and lengthy process.

If this happens, everyone who was originally consulted or commented will be advised of the appeal.

Cases at appeal can be found both on Public Access and on the Planning Inspectorate website.