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Get planning pre-application advice

Developers and applicants can get formal, face-to-face pre-application advice on large and complicated schemes outside of the scope of the Duty Planner (Standard) and Duty Planner (Complex) services before submitting a planning application.

Why you should get pre-application advice

  • The pre-application advice service allows you to discuss your development proposals with a planning officer before you submit your planning application.

  • We are more likely to be able to approve your application quickly following a positive pre-application stage. However, we cannot guarantee the outcome of your application.

  • Discussing your proposal early on with planning officers can help identify:

    • if the principle of development is acceptable

    • if any changes are necessary

    • what information is needed before you finalise and submit the proposal to us.

  • We set high standards for design. Thorough and effective dialogue between the applicant, local community and our officers helps us secure high-quality schemes.

  • In line with the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), we seek ‘to secure developments that improve the economic, social and environmental conditions of the area’. If we can’t support a scheme, we will be able to tell you at an early stage.

  • The planning officer will tell you how much detail you need in your application and what supporting materials you need.

  • We are keen to make sure that your projects are well-designed from proposal stage right through to delivery. We will seek assurances from you that the qualities shown at the planning application stage will be retained when the project is delivered.

What the-pre application service covers

At the meeting, you will find out:

  • if your proposals are acceptable in principle

  • if your proposal is likely to be acceptable in terms of design, scale, adjacencies, uses, etc

  • what you need to do to make your application acceptable if there are any issues

  • how we will apply our policies to your proposal

  • what type of local engagement is appropriate

  • what type of application you should submit, and what supporting documentation you need to supply with it.

Choose from two pre-application advice services

You can book either a 30-minute concept meeting or a longer full pre-application meeting.

Concept meetings

If you book a concept meeting, you will get:

  • a 30-minute meeting with a planning officer

  • a brief written response within 10 working days of the meeting.

At the meeting, you will find out if the principle of development is acceptable. Checking if a proposal has merit at this very early stage can save lots of time and money. We recommend choosing a concept meeting unless there is an established principle for developing a site in a certain way (such as when it is an allocated site or it has a clear planning history).

Before the meeting, you need to submit:

  • a location plan

  • up-to-date photos

  • pre-application form (available below)

  • the fee (we will contact you by telephone to collect this).

If we get a high volume of enquiries about a particular site, for example one that is coming to auction, we may not be able to accommodate lots of requests for meetings. Instead of a concept meeting, we will give you written guidance or a briefing note. We will agree this with you before we take payment.

Full pre-application meetings

If you book a pre-application meeting, you will get:

  • a single meeting with a planning officer (the length of the meeting depends on the service requested)

  • a written response covering the matters discussed at the meeting within 10 working days of the meeting.

A pre-application meeting can consider issues beyond the principle of development. For larger scale or more complex schemes, the first pre-application meeting will be about:

Before the pre-application meeting, you need to submit:

  • preliminary design and access statements that show the position of the buildings and indicate heights and options for development

  • a statement of compliance with the Mayor of London’s housing supplementary planning guidance (SPG) if you are proposing a residential scheme and have had your design and access statement approved

  • site photographs

  • options for development (not finalised floor plans and elevations) – please note we can only provide specific comments on a single proposal

  • the pre-application form (below)

  • the fee (required before we can schedule and confirm a meeting).

Follow-up meetings

Follow-up meetings will follow the same format, structure and timescale as your concept or pre-application meeting.

Pre-application advice costs

We will call you to take the payment after you submit your booking form.

Development type Cost
Concept meeting – single-plot subdivision (conversion of one house into two flats or one plot into two plots or addition of residential annexe) £366 (inc. VAT)

Includes a 30-minute meeting and a brief written response
Concept meeting (minor) – all development except single-plot subdivision £612 (inc. VAT): one-off meeting

Includes a 30-minute meeting and brief written response
 Concept meeting (major)

£1,230 (inc. VAT): one-off meeting.

Includes a 60 minute meeting and a brief written response.

Small minor development 2:
One additional property (including conversion and annexe)
£924 (inc. VAT)
the first meeting

£492 (inc. VAT) single-issue follow-up meeting

Includes a one-hour meeting and a written response
Small minor development 1:
2–4 new residential dwellings (including conversion and annexe)
Changes of use from 150 sqm to 500 sqm.
£1,476 (inc. VAT) for the first meeting

£738 (inc. VAT) single-issue follow-up meeting

Includes a one-hour meeting and a written response
Larger minor development:
5–9 residential dwellings (including conversion)
500–999 sqm non-residential floorspace
£1,848 (inc. VAT) for the first meeting

£864 (inc. VAT) follow-up

Includes a one-hour meeting and a written response
Small major development:
10–30 residential dwellings (including conversions)
1,000–1,999 sqm non-residential floorspace
£2,952 (inc. VAT) for each of the first three meeting

From meeting four the cost is £1,356 (inc. VAT) per meeting

Includes a 90-minute meeting and a written response
Medium major development
31–99 residential dwellings (including conversions)
2,000–2,999 sqm non-residential floorspace
£3,690 (inc. VAT) for each of the first 3 meetings

From meeting four the cost is £1,722 (inc. VAT) per meeting

Includes a 90-minute meeting and a written response
Large major development:
100–149 residential dwellings (including conversion)
3,000+ sqm plus non-residential floorspace
£4,920 (inc. VAT) for each of the first three meetings

From meeting four the cost is £2,214 (inc. VAT) per meeting

Includes a 90-minute meeting and a written response
Very large major development:
150+ residential dwellings (including conversion)
EIA development
£6,150 (inc. VAT) for each of the first three meetings

From meeting four the cost is £2,460 (inc. VAT) per meeting

Includes a 90-minute meeting and a written response
For very large and complex development schemes, we will advise you about the benefits of entering into a planning performance agreement.

Additional costs

  • These costs do not include the fees for listed building advice.

  • These rates include the presence of one case officer at a concept meeting and one case officer and one urban design, conservation or highways officer at a pre-application meeting. There is an additional charge if you want representatives from other council services to attend.

  • The meetings are usually held at our offices, but we may be able to travel to your preferred location. We will charge for travel time.

  • If, during the pre-application process, we agree that you should present your scheme to the Lewisham Design Review Panel (DRP) you also need to pay for this service.

General information about concept and pre-application meetings

  • You should bring no more than four people to the meeting. You need to tell us the name, job title and place of work of each attendee before the meeting.

  • You need to send all your documents so that we receive them at least five working days before the meeting. If you don’t, we will reschedule the meeting.

  • Officers can only comment on the plans and documents submitted before the meeting. They will not be able to look at additional material you bring to the meeting or submit after the meeting.

  • If you are planning a minor development, you should send us electronic copies and one hard copy of your documents before your concept or pre-application meeting.

  • If you are planning a major development, you should send us electronic copies and two hard copies of documents before your pre-application meeting.

  • Officers can only make detailed comments on one option. You can include other options in the design and access statement to illustrate the scheme’s development, but officers will not comment on these in detail at the meeting or in their written response.

  • You can cancel a meeting up to four working days in advance without charge. If you cancel less than four working days in advance, we will charge 50% of the meeting cost, plus a charge of £100 + VAT for administration costs if the meeting is rescheduled.

How to request pre-application advice

  • Email the pre-application advice booking form (below) and any other documents you want us to review at the meeting to planning@lewisham.gov.uk.

  • We will call you to take your payment. After the payment has been processed, a planning officer will contact you to arrange a meeting time.

  • If you are discussing a major scheme, you can find out more about the process we follow after you apply for a concept or pre-application enquiry.

Disclaimer

Any planning advice given by officers, either orally or in writing in the course of their duties, is offered in good faith and is based on the information and evidence provided. Advice is offered without the benefit of a site visit or the involvement of other consultees (not internal and external), neighbours or other interested parties. Such views are therefore the personal opinion of that officer and are not a formal decision of, nor are they binding, on the local planning authority. The local planning authority will only be bound where a formal application is submitted and a formal decision is issued in writing.

A 24-hour notice is required for any refund or meeting cancellations.