Find out if you need planning permission

Use this guide to find out whether you need planning permission.

Planning application advice

As from 1 October 2014 we no longer provide a duty planner service. There are many sources of good online advice for common developments and some of these are explored below. We also offer a paid pre-application advice service if you would like our informal opinion of your proposed development.

You may also want to consider employing an architect or planning agent to help you develop your plans. Architects and planning agents may also be able to advise if you will need planning permission or any other formal consents and help you to submit your application.

Will you need planning permission?

For some developments you do not need our formal permission because planning laws grant permission under permitted development rights. The Planning Portal provides comprehensive and easy to follow advice on whether planning permission is required for many different types of development. The Government also offer technical planning guidance for householders to help with interpretation of the permitted development rights.

If you would like our confirmation of whether or not a development will require planning permission, you will need to submit a Lawful Development Certificate Proposed (LDCP) application. We recommend that you apply for a LDCP even if you believe that you do not require formal permission, as a mistake in interpreting the rules can be expensive once building work has commenced.

Get advice on householder developments

If you do require planning permission, our Building Alterations and Extensions Supplementary Planning Document (PDF, 9.8MB) gives details of our policies on householder development. There is also specific guidance for the replacement of windows in residential properties and the steps to take to get permission for a vehicle crossover (dropped kerb).

We offer a paid pre-application advice service that will give you our informal opinion of your proposal.

Get advice on other developments

For other types of development, including house conversions, new dwellings, advertisements and commercial developments, we recommend that you look at our planning policies and the Mayor’s London Plan, as the policies within form the basis on which all applications for planning permission will be decided. We also have detailed guidance for particular types of development in our Building Alterations and Extensions Supplementary Planning Document (PDF, 9.8MB).

We also offer a paid pre-application advice service that will give you our informal opinion of your proposal.

Get information about what to submit with your application

You can find general advice on the planning application form guidance notes and the Local Planning Applications Requirements document (PDF, 2.25MB) provides more detailed advice.

Get information about a property's history or use

Our online planning application database and register of historic decision notices provides details of all planning applications decided since 1986 and copies of many decision notices going back to the formation of the borough and beyond.

Historic application files can also be ordered for viewing at our office in Brixton. A charge will be made for file retrievals. Please email us at with details of the files that you wish to view.

If you would like our written confirmation of a property's history or use, you can apply for a Lawful Development Certificate for an Existing use or development (LDCE).

Get information about a nearby development

If you are interested in finding out more about a proposed development in your area, you can review the plans and documents submitted with the application for permission online in our planning applications database.

Get advice on other planning matters

The government provides planning practice guidance that gives clear and easy-to-read advice on planning and the planning application process. Our website also has useful advice about some of the other planning subjects:

If you would like our written informal opinion on other planning matters, this can be provided for a fee of £33 per half hour (including VAT) up to a maximum of 1½ hours.

This service is provided at our discretion and may be suitable for matters such as:

  • a solicitor's request for copies of all planning consents for a site or property
  • requests for our advice on whether a property is within a consultation zone or has pending applications or proposals
  • requests for our advice on planning matters that we believe do not require the submission of a pre-application advice request
  • requests for our advice on conservation or design matters that we believe do not require the submission of a pre-application advice request
  • requests for our advice on detailed planning policy matters.

Please note that some of the information that this service can provide is also available free of charge or at a lower cost through the planning application database, on our website, or by arranging to view old planning application files by appointment at our Phoenix House office in Vauxhall.

To use this service, please email details of your enquiry to

We will then assess how long it will take to answer and advise you of the cost. Payment is required before the advice is provided.